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Board members of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. picked Tim Cerio as the state-backed insurer’s new president and CEO.
Cerio currently works as Citizens’ general counsel, a position he has held since mid-2021. Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway, who has led the insurer since 2012, announced last month that he would retire before the 2023 Legislative Session, which begins March 7.
“Over the past decade under Barry Gilway’s leadership, Citizens has become an industry leader on so many fronts,” Cerio said. “I’m excited and honored to continue that legacy as we address new challenges and work toward stabilizing the Florida property insurance market.”
Cerio had been in line to become interim CEO after Gilway’s exit, but the board instead decided to forgo a national search and elevate Cerio to the top spot on a permanent basis.
“Tim brings institutional knowledge and a strong track record of leadership and service to all Floridians,” Citizens’ Board Chair Carlos Beruff said. “I’m going to sleep well knowing that Citizens is in good hands.”
The leadership change comes during a tumultuous time in the property insurance industry. Several private insurers have collapsed due to insolvency or have otherwise exited the Florida market over the past two years.
As a result, Citizens — the state’s “insurer of last resort” — has seen its policy count grow from a low of about 475,000 in mid-2020 to more than 1.1 million as of Dec. 30.
Cerio has a long history in Florida politics. In the mid-2010s, he worked as general counsel to then-Gov. Rick Scott and from 2005-07 he served as general counsel and Chief of Staff at the Florida Department of Health.
Additionally, he was named chair of the vicennial Constitution Revision Commission, served on the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 1st District Court of Appeal, and is a current member of the State University System Board of Governors.
Between his various public sector jobs, Cerio has practiced at the GrayRobinson law firm. He first joined the firm in 2001. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida.
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Last Call is published by Peter Schorsch, assembled and edited by Phil Ammann and Drew Wilson with contributions from the staff of Florida Politics.