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Florida and Louisiana have reduced the number of high-risk policyholders covered by their state-run property insurers of last resort since 2008 while still leaving non-coastal property owners vulnerable to paying for these same insurers’ potential coastal losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute‘s (I.I.I.) recently updated Residual Market Property Plans: From Markets of Last Resort to Markets of First Choice.

Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the largest property insurer of last resort in the U.S., provides insurance to residential and commercial property owners unable to purchase coverage in the standard market. Yet Florida Citizens saw the number of its total policies in force drop to 1.2 million at year-end 2009, down 14 percent from 1.4 million at year-end 2008. Meanwhile, Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the fourth largest state-run property insurer of last resort in the U.S. in terms of total policies in force behind Texas and Massachusetts, has seen an even more dramatic reduction in its total policy count. Louisiana Citizens had about 165,000 policies in force in June 2008, a figure that dropped to 127,000 policies as of June 2010, a reduction of around 40 percent.

“However, this year’s report by the Insurance Information Institute, like the reports of the last two years, records the ongoing growth in the exposure base of the residual market property insurers along with the still-precarious financial condition of some plans. This growth comes despite a collapse in the housing sector that has brought development in many catastrophe-prone areas to a near standstill,” write the report’s co-authors, Dr. Robert Hartwig, president of the I.I.I. and an economist, and Claire Wilkinson, vice president of Global Issues at the I.I.I.

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