Gov. DeSantis signs bill allowing surplus lines insurers to take over Citizens policies

The companies must be A-rated and the takeout plan must be approved by state regulators.

Lightly regulated insurance companies will soon be able to take over policies from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Friday that includes that provision.

The bill, HB 1503, contains several pieces related to Citizens, including allowing the state-run company to obtain patents, copyrights and trademarks. However, the part of the bill that grabbed the most attention from lawmakers was allowing regulators to approve takeouts by surplus lines companies.

Surplus lines are out-of-state insurers that haven’t been admitted to the state market. The Office of Insurance Regulation doesn’t approve their rates, and any dispute over a claim must be resolved in a court outside of Florida. However, surplus lines companies are still subject to Florida regulatory oversight in some areas of the law. Typically, surplus lines carriers insure riskier, more expensive homes the domestic market won’t cover.

To qualify as a surplus lines takeout company under the new law, the insurer must be A-rated by the AM Best rating agency, and OIR must approve their takeout plan. Citizens’ properties with a homestead exemption won’t be available to be taken over by surplus lines carriers.

The bill passed both chambers unanimously.

Domestic carriers are already allowed to take over policies from Citizens once OIR approves.

Citizens’ customers must opt out of the process if they don’t want to join the new company. Still, under existing law, Citizens’ customers must go to the private market if they are offered a rate within 20% of the Citizens’ rate.

Citizens have nearly 1.17 million policies, and some lawmakers have sought to reduce the number of policies to reduce the risk of assessments of homeowners’ policies if a major hurricane or series of storms were to wipe out Citizens’ claims-paying ability.

As the private market struggled in recent years, with seven companies going bust, several other companies ending coverage for thousands of homeowners, and other companies imposing large rate hikes, Citizens’ policies skyrocketed. At the start of 2021, it had 542,739 policies, which ballooned to 1.4 million by October 2023.

Gray Rohrer


  • woke

    May 11, 2024 at 8:48 am

    It’s just wrong that Florida homeowners have to pay money to subsidize risky Citizens’ policies. What ever happened to free market capitalism? Funny how the GOP is always cussing Socialism when they set up Citizens to do just that anti-American transfer of wealth from smart people to rich people who live along the coast or in wetlands.

  • Cheesy Floridian

    May 11, 2024 at 9:27 am

    DeSantis just making the home insurance market more and more horrible

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 11, 2024 at 10:58 am

      To put a positive spin on that: DeSanits scores an A++++ in consistency.

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 11, 2024 at 10:57 am

    If the companies are required to b A-rated, why would they want any Citizen’s, aka the insurer of last resort’s, policies? Oh they wouldn’t!

    This is just more pro-Life-ish talk from G0P. Claim to be doing something, but when the rubber meets the road, when it’s time for action that benefits a voter, the road is iced over and the car don’t go nowhere at all.

  • PeterH

    May 11, 2024 at 12:02 pm

    Is this new proposal an improvement? Do homeowners get a choice? This looks like more government FREEDUMB IM FLORIDA!

  • Richard D

    May 11, 2024 at 4:18 pm

    Just more patches on a broken system that will disappoint a lot of homeowners when the next catastrophe hits. Having home insurance provides a sense of security until it can’t or won’t pay for damages/destruction.

    • rick whitaker

      May 11, 2024 at 4:27 pm

      RICHARDD, i don’t think florida is going to be getting any better any time soon. it appears to be the new puerto rico. bad weather, bad government, gangs, and high prices. i am so glad i got out in time. that is one of the best decisions of my life. florida may have some good spots, but then there’s desantis.

  • What happen to americanism

    May 11, 2024 at 8:55 pm

    I remember now the musical wipe out. Welcome to the far end

  • Stan Parsons

    May 14, 2024 at 6:53 am

    I understand why we need to do this sort of thing. I understand why Surplus Lines carriers don’t want to subject themselves to Florida case law and juries.
    I wish I understood why we insist on unexplainable monster subsidies for folks living on the beach. We have watched the legislature try to kill the regulated Florida property insurance market over and over since 1992. This time drastic measures are necessary to minimize the risk of Citizens trashing Florida’s economy like none of us can imagine.

  • Ins in FL is the Wild Wild West

    May 14, 2024 at 8:39 am

    No other state has the problems of Florida. I love the comments of those who clearly are uninformed. Florida is the pariah of the insurance industry. Florida consumers caused it to themselves. Now we all suffer the consequence. DeSantis is attempting to fix a broken arm with a band aid. His efforts wont be seen for years but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep it up.

  • rick whitaker

    May 14, 2024 at 8:35 pm

    with desantis at the wheel, a big wreck is inevitable.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704