Wind insurer drops 'citizens'

Citizens Property huffed and, whoosh, upstart company has new name.

By Tom Zucco, Times Staff Writer
Published May 26, 2007

After registering with the state April 25, Citizens Wind Insurance Rebate Corp. quickly caught the attention of the state's largest property insurer.

That would be Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-backed insurer of last resort that covers nearly a third of Florida homeowners.

Unlike its much bigger, nonprofit sound-alike, Citizens Wind was formed in the Panhandle as a for-profit company to help homeowners get discounts on their policies.

"We want to make it clear there is absolutely no connection between (Citizens Wind) and Citizens Property, " Citizens Property spokesman Rocky Scott said Thursday, adding that his company's legal staff was looking into the matter.

By Friday, the Citizens Wind name was no more. In its place, Wind Insurance Rebate Associates was born.

Company founder Tracy Priest said he didn't want people to think his company was affiliated with Citizens Property, so he changed the name. But the mission of his Sandestin-based company remains the same.

For $299, Wind Insurance Rebate will inspect a home and file forms for a discount.

Priest said the company should launch in about two weeks, and promised homeowners could save "hundreds or even thousands of dollars" on windstorm premiums.

Corporate records list the president of Wind Insurance Rebate as Tampa eminent domain attorney D. Tobyn DeYoung.