Citizens Status

No reporter does a better Job of covering all of the goings-on at Citizens Property Insurance Corporation than Toluse Olorunnipa, from the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times. On February 20, 2013, he reported on Governor Scott advocating that Citizens’ executives should give back the pay raises that they gave themselves last year. Apparently, thousands of Citizens employees have not received raises in six years, yet the executives felt they were worthy of raises (some as large as $31,000).

On February 23, 2013, Olorunnipa and Steve Bousquet coauthored an article detailing not only the spending practices and executive raises at Citizens, but also the cost of insurance in Florida. This article details that in Miami-Dade, Citizens policyholders pay an average of $3,300 a year for insurance coverage, and that number equals nearly 5% of a typical family’s budget.

On February 28, 2013, Olorunnipa and Jay Weaver coauthored an article about the class action case that has been filed against Citizens for their faulty re-inspection program. The plaintiffs in this proposed class action suit aim to halt the program because it illegally stripped discounts from homeowners, and the program essentially acted as a back door rate hike for a great deal of Citizens’ policyholders. The re-inspection program has seen Citizens’ policy holders’ premiums increase by an average of $810 after an inspection.

Today’s blog from Olorunnipa details the meeting held between Citizens’ President, Barry Gilway, and the Florida Cabinet. Some facts of note from that hearing include that corporate expenses have been used on alcohol and strippers, nearly one in five Citizens employees have corporate credit cards, Citizens has only recently implemented a per diem limit for food, and in one case, a Citizens’ executive spent more than $40 on afternoon tea in London.

The citizens (lower case “c”) of the state of Florida owe a debt of gratitude to the excellent journalists working to shine a light on fraud, corporate greed, and mismanagement of state funds. Thank you, Toluse Olorunnipa.