The Board of Governors of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. voted Thursday to approve a transition plan as President and CEO Barry Gilway prepares to step down next year after more than a decade at the helm of the state-sponsored insurer.
Gilway, 77, will work with chairman Carlos Beruff on to find a successor as the corporation implements legislative reforms aimed at stabilizing the Florida property insurance market and return Citizens to its role as the state’s insurer of last resort.
“Leading Citizens has been the capstone of a 52-year career in the insurance industry,” Gilway said in a statement. “The historic reforms that we fought so hard for are now in place and it’s time to make way for the next generation of leadership. It’s truly been an honor to lead such an incredible group of dedicated professionals.”
No date has been set for his departure, but Citizens wants to have a successor selected before the state Legislature convenes its new session in March.
The board also authorized Beruff to negotiate a multiyear agreement with Gilway to continue to advise Citizens and assist in the transition.
“Mr. Gilway has capped off his tenure at Citizens by leading the way for passage of historic legislation that, over time, will fix the Florida property insurance market and return Citizens to its role as Florida’s insurer of last resort,” Beruff said.
Following a recently concluded special legislative session, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 2-A, calling it the most significant property insurance reform bill in recent history. It is aimed at stabilizing the state’s property insurance market, foster increased competition and strengthen protections for consumers.
The new law is supposed to help Citizens return to its role as the state’s insurer of last resort. In a year during which two strong hurricanes struck Florida, Citizens said its policy count — reflecting property owners who cannot obtain coverage from the private insurance market — increased almost 50% to roughly 1.14 million policies from Jan. 1 to Dec. 9.
Gilway came to Citizens in 2012.
During that time, the corporation said, Gilway became a trusted source of information for legislators, insurance regulators and the media regarding the state’s property insurance market, which has dealt with insolvencies and skyrocketing premiums caused in part by litigation, claims fraud and abuse.