St. Petersburg, Florida - Citizens insurance has agreed to change its travel policies after numerous irregularities were found from January to February 2012.
According to details in an audit by the Chief Inspector General, Citizens lacked strong accountability when paying out travel expenses, which are paid for with by customer premiums.
"Citizen's continues to cry poor mouth. They say that they don't have enough money to cover future hurricanes, yet they have over $6 billion in a trust fund," said State Rep. Mike Fasano.
Reports find 'excessive' travel spending at Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
Among the accusations of poor travel expense management, an employee did not use actual receipts to claim reimbursement for a trip to New York City.
Instead, the employee used the Chief Financial Officer's actual receipts as documentation for his expenses, which made it difficult to figure out how much the trip cost, or if he actually took the trip in the first place.
In another instance, the Chief Financial Officer upgraded her room at a posh Bermuda to $633 a day which on a company trip to the island.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is the issuer of last resort. In other words, it is the only place Floridians can be insured if private companies are unwilling to do so.
It was formed in 2002 and is government-owned and not for profit, yet argues that it is not required to follow the stricter travel policies held to other state agencies.
"They are a quasi-governmental agency...They should follow every rule and regulation every other state agency has to follow," said the state rep.
The heads of Citizens have seen the report and wrote a response:
"Citizens therefore will implement changes to our travel and expenses procedures that will more closely mirror the travel guidelines followed by Florida's state agencies."
-Barry Gilway, President/CEO and Executive Producer