Bay area customer reacts to Citizens excessive expenses report

11:55 PM, Jan 17, 2013   |    comments
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New Port Richey, FL - A Bay Area Citizens Insurance customer is reacting to a recent report outlining "excessive" travel expenses by executives.

"More than anger, it's just heart-felt disgust," said Alice Scheer-Dorsey.

The report by the Chief Inspector General shows that executives spent $1.3 million from January 2012 to August 2012 on travel. 

Florida Governor Rick Scott had the non-profit insurer investigated after a Miami Herald article highlighted some of the travel expenses.

Scheer-Dorsey can't understand how Citizens can spend so much on travel, when her rates have about doubled over the past six years.

"How are they having enough money to expense those type of high expenditures," she said.

Examples listed in the report include a time when the CFO upgraded her $459 per night deluxe room in Bermuda to $633, the "gold" status. 

Another instance lists a London dinner of three Citizens higher-ups at a cost of more than $78 per person.

Also, when the former president took a limo from his house to the airport at a charge of $114.

"It's shameful on Citizen's part," said State Representative Mike Fasano.

He said the non-profit insurer needs big changes.

"That everyone of their employees follows the same per diem reimbursement rate that every other state employee gets.  Secondly those that have abused this should be fired immediately," said Rep. Fasano.

Citizens CEO, Barry Gilway, issued this statement in part " guardians of public funds, we must hold ourselves to a more rigorous standard...."  and "...As recommended in the report, Citizens will further tighten our policy to better comply with state travel standards and reporting requirements..."

Scheer-Dorsey believes more needs to be done. For more than a year, she's been battling Citizens over sink holes claims.

"I don't feel like there's any personalization in the policy claim or oversight. I think there needs to be oversight," she said.

In the report summary, the travel expenses are describes as "excessive" and it is recommended that Citizens be required to follow state travel laws.

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