TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Barry Gilway, the long-time CEO and Executive Director of Citizens Property Insurance, announced he is retiring. 

Gilway has overseen operations of the state-backed insurer of last resort since June 2012.

8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi was first to report this new development. Tim Cerio, General Counsel of Citizens, will serve as interim Chief.

Gilway has been at the helm of Citizens during some of the most turbulent times in Florida’s property insurance market.

In July, 8 On Your Side talked with Gilway about his concerns over the state’s property insurance crisis.

In 2022, at least 6 insurance companies have become insolvent. Many of those policy holders are forced into Citizens.

The state-backed company has hit 1.2 million policies. That means they have more than doubled in just two years.

“Citizens is growing, why is that a problem?” asked Investigator Mahsa Saeidi in July. 

“The whole objective is to basically hold the exposure down so that we’re never in a position to have to assess,” said Gilway.

Essentially, an assessment is a tax on Floridians.

“First we assess our own policyholders, then we assess under an emergency assessment – we can assess the general public, whether it’s an auto policy, a homeowner’s policy, etc.,” said Gilway. “It’s highly unlikely that we’re in a position where we have to assess but it’s most definitely a possibility if we have that one in 100 storm.”

8 On Your Side asked how long Citizens can continue to take on new policies.

“Well the more policies you take on, the more reinsurance you need. In other words – when we grow, we attempt to place a lot of that exposure offshore,” Gilway explained. “The reason people are getting cancelled is not because you’re a bad homeowner, it’s not because you have losses, it’s because the insurance companies are exiting the state.”

Gilway has called the new property insurance reforms passed in December historic. 

Stay with 8 On Your Side for more details on this breaking development.