Heritage’s outlook and approach to the marketplace is different from its peer group and 2015 was once again marked by innovation in how we look at the business: innovation in the handling and resolution of claims; innovation in new business production; innovation in our ability to secure alternative channels of reinsurance coverage; and innovation in how we assume policies from Citizens Insurance. First and foremost, our business success stems from the treatment of policyholders and how quickly they are helped in their time of need. We had the idea for in-house claim mitigation early in our history and acquired water mitigation assets from SVM in 2014. Our thinking was that we could provide quicker, better and more satisfactory claims resolution by doing it ourselves instead of outsourcing to third parties.
Our water mitigation program was instantly successful and we decided to add to our capabilities with the acquisition of BRC Restoration Specialists (BRC) in August 2015. The addition of BRC’s professionals, trucks and materials further expanded our internal water mitigation services and provided new reconstruction capabilities. All of this was executed in an effort to better serve our policyholders. We pride ourselves as a company on our rapid response times and getting to the policyholder within hours of a call.
Our solutions-oriented approach to claims mitigation contributes to customer satisfaction, and ultimately policyholder retention, but also mitigates run-away costs. Heritage will continue to emphasize and evolve our claims-resolution initiatives, as we believe this will serve as a competitive differentiator for years to come. For example, we are currently training and certifying our repair technicians to become licensed claims adjustors. We believe the continued development of our technicians will allow Heritage to capture additional efficiencies.
As it relates to our largest expense, reinsurance, we once again secured multi-year reinsurance coverage through a catastrophe bond issuance. This practice helps to insulate Heritage from yearly reinsurance price swings and, with the attractive pricing in the reinsurance marketplace over the last few years, positions Heritage well in the coming years. The multi-year insurance cover allows Heritage to achieve greater stability with reinsurance costs, which allows the Company to keep prices more stable for policyholders. Because of this market-leading business practice, Insurance Insider recognized Heritage as the 2015 Insurer of the Year.
Amid market speculation about state-run Citizens’ take-out pool as a long-term viable growth channel, Heritage continued to identify attractive policies in 2015 that met our underwriting requirements. For the year, we assumed approximately 68,200 personal residential policies and approximately 860 commercial residential policies representing roughly $139 million and $21 million of annualized premium, respectively. We will continue to assess whether additional Citizens policies meet our underwriting requirements. At the same time, we are focused on new channels of growth. This was evidenced over the past year as we experienced growth in voluntary policies, with notable success within our commercial residential business. We are also exploring new product introductions, including general liability insurance, which launched in March 2016. We will continue to explore strategic expansion initiatives, including M&A and strategic partnerships.