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What Community Association Directors Should Know About Working With Citizens

While Citizens has become a popular choice among residential homeowners in recent years - due primarily to skyrocketing private carrier costs and non-renewals from companies leaving Florida - the commercial world is just starting to see a sharp incline in Citizens policies needed to cover their communities and Boards.

As you may already know, Citizens is the government-backed insurer created to be a "last resort" for properties that either can't get insured through the private market or aren't able to find an affordable option among other carriers.

Today more and more condominium associations are going with Citizens if they aren't being renewed by their current carrier - or if private options exceed 20% of Citizens rates for the same policies. And if you do find your HOA/Board going with Citizens, you'll need a little time to prepare for the transition. A few things to know about Citizens policies:  

  1. You will have to have an appraisal within 12 months of binding your policies - but we've seen some associations granted up to 36 months (decision is made on a case by case basis).
  2. You'll have to have a roof condition form completed, which will accompany your Citizens application. This document verifies the building roof is in good condition.
  3. If your building is more than 40 years old, you are required to have an electrical inspection form completed by a licensed electrician - verifying that all complex wiring and electrical are in good condition.
  4. You will also need a wind mitigation inspection that is less than five years old.

These requirements mean you should consider getting with your insurance agent four-to-six months prior to your renewal date, so we can assist in connecting you with the appropriate inspectors, help you get your appraisal completed, etc.

Something else to know about Citizens - they have a 14% rate increase maximum per year, whereas private carriers have no maximum on cost increases. So the good news is - your rates can't get too astronomically high with Citizens as your insurer.

Overall, there are pros and cons of going with a government-backed insurer, but in the end, Citizens may be your only viable option. That being said, your best bet is to get with us as soon as possible to discuss how to be ready for your potential transition over.

With this or any insurance topic - as always - please feel free to call or email us anytime. We'll always be here for you!