Volume 1 Number 40
October 4, 2004










TEXT VERSION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


HURRICANE STATUS REPORT
(as of September 28, 2004) 

ESTIMATED INSURED DAMAGES (Estimates based on data call through the Office of Insurance Regulation)

Hurricane Charley: $6.5 Billion
Hurricane Frances: $3 Billion
Hurricane Ivan: $1 to $3 Billion

Claims filed to date: More than 1 million (one in every five homes damaged). Expect as many as 2 million claims to be paid out. 

Hurricane Jeanne: $4 to $8 Billion (Industry estimates)

 STATUS OF FLORIDA HURRICANE CATASTROPHE FUND

The Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (Cat Fund) provides reinsurance to insurance companies writing homeowners coverage in Florida.  It was created after Hurricane Andrew to ensure companies could quickly pay claims after a major hurricane and still have the ability to write coverage.  The Cat Fund also offsets rising homeowners’ premiums because insurance companies are purchasing reinsurance at significantly lower prices than what is available in the private market. 

 The Cat Fund currently provides $15 billion of capacity, or reinsurance.  It has a current cash balance of $5.6 billion and is expected to make all payments for reinsured losses from the recent back-to-back storms with available cash. 

STATUS OF CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Florida’s unique insurer of last resort for consumers unable to obtain property insurance coverage from the private market, was created by the Florida Legislature just two years ago to achieve tax savings ($300 million to date) and enhance consumers’ access to comprehensive coverage.  Citizens currently provides coverage for 815,000 policyholders.

To date, approximately 78,000 claims from the recent storms have been filed totaling more than $1.8 billion.    Until we know the extent of damage and claims from all four storms, it is impossible to determine the financial impact to Citizens and Florida policyholders in general.  However, we do expect claims to be paid in a timely, efficient manner. 

ACTIONS TAKEN TO HELP CONSUMERS
 

  • Instituted a moratorium on insurance companies canceling or non-renewing homeowners during hurricane season or because they have filed a storm claim.
  • Working with insurance companies and policyholders to resolve cases involving multiple deductibles.
  • Placed a 10 percent cap on what public adjusters can collect on a homeowner’s insurance claim and prohibited them from charging fees up front.
  • Required Florida’s health insurers and HMOs to waive restrictions on prescription refills to enable citizens to fill prescriptions in advance. 
  • Urged banks and credit unions to expedite loan applications, eliminate late fees on loans and waive ATM and check-cashing fees for storm victims.
  • Mediation centers will soon be open in key areas to ensure consumers have a program in place, at no charge to them, to quickly and fairly resolve claim disputes.

 

CONSUMER RESPONSE
 

  • Since August 13, the day Hurricane Charley made landfall, the department has received more than 40,000 calls and is currently working on nearly 11,000 consumer requests for assistance.
  • After each storm, mobile response units were deployed to impacted areas and mobile command centers were up and running within 72 hours of landfall. 
  • More than 150 department employees are in the field providing insurance help, with the assistance of 30 insurance experts from eight other states.
  • There are 35,000 adjusters now working storm claims. Of this number, 11,000 emergency adjuster licenses were issued to expedite the payment of insurance claims.

SAFETY RESPONSE (FIRE MARSHAL/FRAUD)

  • Coordinated 230 search and rescue missions –mobilizing more than 400 local firefighters.
  • Cleared access routes to help emergency responders get into damaged areas.
  • Provided law enforcement to prevent looting and other crimes associated with natural disasters, including insurance scams and price gouging.
  • Four arrests to date of unlicensed adjusters.

The skyline for October is Daytona Beach, photo courtesy of the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.