Monday, July 2, 2012

Will your voice be heard at the upcoming Citizens Board meeting?

Most of us understand and lament the issues confronting our State's largest insurer: an insufficient CAT Fund should this Hurricane Season prove to be the one where we get hit after 6 years of calm; Citizens' insistence on shedding policies; its failure to honor mitigation efforts and its desire to increase rates beyond the current 10% statutory cap.

Now that you know some of the problems, are you aware that the Citizens Board of Governors will be meeting on July 16th from 10 AM to 1 PM at the JW Marriott Hotel, 1109 Brickell Ave, Miami, 33131? For those of us in South Florida, this is a unique opportunity to show up and be heard on the issues that will impact our state's long-term health and all of our wallets as Florida taxpayers. Even if you live elsewhere in the State, you can and should participate and make your voices heard.

For those of you unable to attend in person, you can participate via phone: the teleconference # is 888-942-8686 and the Participant Code is 5743735657#

At these meetings, the most impactful testimony is often that which comes from the recipients of the services, provisions and products provided by Citizens. This compelling, reality-based narrative should come from you, the consumers, along with the possibility of viable solutions.

The following suggested topics may provide some guidance to the Board of Governors regarding your experiences with the Citizens Property Insurance Corp.:

a.) How well does Citizens communicate with you? How friendly and effective are their employees? How useful is the Citizens website?;
b.) How helpful was the insurance agent that placed you with Citizens and serviced you as a policyholder?;
c.) What has been your experience with mitigation inspections and inspectors?;
d.) Have you ever submitted a claim to Citizens and, if so, did you require the assistance of a public adjuster or attorney to receive payment on that claim;
e.) Do you have a recommendation for any ‘take-out’ insurance company as a replacement for Citizens?; and,
 f.) Have you experienced any difficulties in buying or selling a property insured by Citizens?

The Community Advocacy Network (CAN) will once again be actively involved in representing our membership at this upcoming meeting of the Citizens Board of Governors. Barbara Zee, one of our Advisory Council members and the CAN Insurance Liaison, plans to testify at this Miami meeting before the Citizens Consumer Services Committee as she has done elsewhere in the state.

CAN is always ready and eager to listen to associations regarding concerns, issues and legislative matters. Therefore, at this time, we encourage everyone who has anything to contribute to this important subject to either attend the hearing in person, telephonically or to provide us with your comments, opinions, ideas, and suggestions. We, in turn, will incorporate all of your contributions in a packet that will be provided to the members of the Citizens Consumer Services Committee as well as Florida legislators.

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