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Citizens policies approved for April takeouts


Up to 66,500 policies may be moved from state-backed Citizens Property Insurance into the private market in April for what will be the fourth "takeout" of the year. The Office of Insurance Regulation's approval Monday of the takeout came as the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee backed a proposal (SB 1630) that would make changes to a measure Gov. Rick Scott vetoed in 2015.

The proposal, by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, is intended to give policyholders more options as the state seeks to move homeowners out of Citizens. In his veto, Scott wrote that the 2015 proposal "undermines progress" in shifting policies into the private insurance market and "perpetuates reliance on Citizens." Flores said she is still working on some concerns expressed by Scott's office. Flores' current bill would, in part, limit takeouts to six times a year as a way to reduce the number of solicitations policyholders may receive.

The measure also would require private insurers to agree that initial premiums that former Citizens policyholders pay don't exceed 10 percent of the initial estimates. The takeout approval on Monday will allow two private firms --- Anchor Property & Casualty and Heritage Property & Casualty --- to select up to 65,000 residential policies and 1,500 commercial residential policies. Regulators have approved up to 343,649 policies to potentially be shifted this year in the takeout process. Not all will change hands. The process, which along with an electronic clearinghouse that compares policies that are new and up for renewal with the private market, have helped reduce the number of policies at Citizens by nearly 1 million over the past three years.

Citizens reported having 484,788 policies last month. Private insurers typically try to pick up the least-risky policies in the takeout process. Policyholders can also reject the takeout offers. In 2015, of the 1.3 million policies offered through the takeout process, 272,785 have been moved from Citizens into the private market.