Happy New Year to you! We start this first edition of 2023 with a fond farewell to Citizens President, CEO, and Executive Director Barry Gilway, who announced just before Christmas that he will be retiring. While he will likely stick around for most of this year as a special consultant to Citizens, his announcement should not go without mention – both for his many accomplishments at Citizens and his contributions to the insurance industry over a distinguished 52-year career.
Barry had already accomplished so much before he become Citizens chief in 2012. He had led Zurich Canada, Zurich North America, Maryland Casualty Companies, Crum and Forster, and served as CEO of Mattei Insurance Services. He could have retired – but chose to devote the past ten years to making a difference at Citizens and to the taxpayers of Florida who ultimately back the state-created insurer of last resort.
Barry (along with Citizens’ talented staff) showed great consideration to new Board of Governors’ members throughout the years, providing his tremendous expertise and institutional and industry knowledge. The Board acknowledged the same during its December 22 meeting in accepting Barry’s announcement, with Board Chair Carlos Beruff noting Barry’s “intelligence and tenacity,” and member JoAnne Leznoff saying “It is a huge loss for us.”
Barry called the recent legislative reforms “truly historic” that “will absolutely have a lasting impact on Citizens and Florida.” It was his thought leadership and persistence to principle throughout the years that I and many others believe, pushed the Florida Legislature to finally make the changes it did in last month’s special session that will help stabilize the Florida property insurance marketplace.
I was at the Board meeting a decade ago when Barry interviewed for the job. I knew instantly he was the right person to assume the reins at Citizens. Every time I have ever called Barry, he has picked up the phone with a smile, an encouraging word or a thoughtful idea. His steady hand during all the years he has led Citizens is the reason the market has survived, despite its challenges. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Barry Gilway.
Up next, the latest on those reforms, new developments from the legislature, some additional goodbyes, plus other insurance and disaster recovery news you can use!