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Faced with a rising number of consumer complaints, Florida’s state-backed property insurer has announced a series of changes to its takeout program. The news comes as the insurer said it is highly unlikely to need policyholder assessments next year.

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has been focusing on its depopulation program under which private insurers are allowed to try to assume Citizens policyholders.

Citizens officials said the takeout program has reduced the size of the insurer from its high of 1.5 million policyholders in November 2007 to its current level of 727,000 policies. Those takeouts have sent Citizens exposure down from $511 billion to $229 billion.

All told, this year alone private insurers have assumed 300,000 Citizens policyholders. State regulators just announced that it has cleared the way for five private insurers to assume 132,440 additional policies.

The takeout program, however, is not without its flaws.

Citizens policyholders are being inundated with offers of coverage as multiple private insurers are competing for the same policy. And there is little uniformity with regard to information provided by insurers, some of which neither the agent nor homeowners have previously heard of.

Although an agent or homeowner has the ability to reject the offers of coverage, in cases where multiple insurers make offers of coverage each offer must be responded to.

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