|By Maria Mallory White, Sun Sentinel|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"We've made some serious missteps, in my opinion," said CEO and President
Gilway also said fewer employees will attend the invitation-only State of the Florida Insurance Market Summit beginning Wednesday in
The choice of hotels reflects a new direction for the state's largest insurer. Earlier this year, an investigation by the state office of the Inspector General found the company's travel expenses were lavish and free-wheeling.
"I can't afford another perception in the press that the Citizens people are at it again," said Gilway.
That's not the only image adjustment on the horizon for Citizens. Gilway acknowledged the state's largest insurer must do a better job communicating with its policyholders, explaining their coverage clearly and helping them find affordable alternatives to Citizens when possible.
Last year was rough for Citizens as the company racked up negative headlines and opinion pieces after a year of outrage over rate increases, a home reinspection debacle and pullbacks on discounts for storm-readiness.
Gilway's preaching moderation heading into what promises to be a contentious session, as lawmakers wrestle with how to fix the embattled insurance carrier. With the risk of a major storm looming, state leaders are looking for the company to shed policies as quickly as possible.
Last year, the company's "depopulation" efforts resulted in some 277,000 fewer policies on Citizens' books. Fully 45 percent of that figure were homes in the three counties of
Meanwhile, however, the company continues to write 8,000 new policies each week. Currently, Citizens holds some 1.3 million policies.
Lawmakers have been vocal about slashing the billions in risk associated with Citizens' large policy load. Sen.
Gilway, who joined the embattled company in
(c)2013 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
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