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Insurance firm CEO, co-founder to retire

Ernie Garateix will succeed Bruce Lucas at Clearwater-based Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc.

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  • | 11:51 a.m. November 4, 2020
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Courtesy. Heritage Insurance Holdings CEO Bruce Lucas plans to retire at the end of November.
Courtesy. Heritage Insurance Holdings CEO Bruce Lucas plans to retire at the end of November.
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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CLEARWATER — Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc.CEO and co-founder Bruce Lucas plans to retire at the end of the month and will be succeeded by Ernie Garateix, who currently serves as COO of the Clearwater-based property and casualty insurance company.

Lucas, according to a press release, will remain with the company through 2021 as an executive consultant. Heritage’s president and other co-founder, Richard Widdicombe, will retain his role in addition to being named chairman of the board of directors.  

"Ernie is a highly accomplished executive and has been instrumental to Heritage's success,” Lucas states in the release. “He's been with the company since inception, knows the business inside out, has a tireless work ethic and has the trust and respect of our employees and partners. He's uniquely suited to take over as CEO and I know I'm leaving the company in good hands."

During his tenure at Heritage, the release states, Garateix also served as executive vice president. Prior to joining the company in 2012, when it was founded, he held an executive role at American Integrity Insurance Group. 

"Bruce has done a tremendous job building Heritage from the ground up with impressive operating results,” Garateix states in the release. “I've learned a lot working with Bruce over the past eight years and I'm grateful for this opportunity to succeed him as CEO. I look forward to continuing to expand Heritage's footprint as the premier super-regional carrier."

Heritage generated $511.31 million in gross revenue in 2019, up from $480.17 million in 2018. The fast-growing firm, traded under the NYSE under the symbol HRTG, recently announced that it plans to relocate from Clearwater to Tampa's Westshore business district. 


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