Is Florida’s last-resort insurer underfunded?
Recently, Florida Governor Rick Scott warned that the state’s last-resort insurer, Citizens, is underfunded – alluding that if another major hurricane hit Florida the dramatic increase in hurricane claims could leave the insurer facing unfunded liability.
Recently at an insurance summit, Gov. Scott noted that even though Citizens currently has roughly $6 billion in surplus, that “one storm the size of Hurricane Andrew could result in nearly $14 billion in losses to Citizens.” Scott continued, “That’s an unfunded liability of nearly $8 billion dollars. The only way to pay for those losses is by taxing Florida families.”
Fortunately for Floridians, the Palm Beach Post reports that Citizen’s records indicate that it does in fact have a $6 billion surplus, but also that it has $19.5 billion in claims-paying ability – meaning no emergency assessments would likely be necessary if another storm like Andrew were to occur this year. Hopefully for Florida homeowners, these estimates are proven correct if another major storm tragically hits Florida.
Florida hurricane claims
Citizens is currently enjoying their $6 billion surplus mainly due to seven straight years without a major storm hitting Florida. However, as any Florida resident knows, the next big storm can hit at any time.
When that big storm does hit, many homeowners will experience severe damage. In fact, most Florida hurricanes leave catastrophic damage in their wake. Some of the common types of Florida hurricane damage include:
- Roof damage
- Broken windows
- Water damage from flooding or rain
- Water damage from broken or bursting pipes
- Damaged furniture and carpet
- Uprooted trees
- Damaged cars
When this damage does occur, it is important for homeowners to make sure their hurricane insurance claim is filed properly and that they are compensated for the full amount of their damages.
Unfortunately, insurance adjusters can often undervalue hurricane damage in Florida for a variety of reasons – one reason being that hurricane damage is not always obvious at first glance and easily missed. For instance, it isn’t always obvious when a home may be suffering from structural damage as there may only be small cracks in the home’s foundation. Moreover, it isn’t always obvious when a home will require mold remediation.
Consequently, if you have suffered property damage due to a hurricane, it is may be advisable to speak with a knowledgeable hurricane damage claims attorney to learn what your options are given your circumstances.