TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It’s official: The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR) eliminated the last of a series of emergency assessments on property insurance policyholders in Florida. The assessments were levied to pay off claims from the eight hurricanes in 2004 and 2005.
FOIR yesterday issued an Order to the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) terminating the 1 percent emergency assessment on premiums paid by generally all property insurance policyholders in Florida, including Citizens policyholders. The assessment will be eliminated on policies issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2015 – two years ahead of schedule, due to an early payoff of the bond used to pay the claims.
The charge began at 1.4 percent in 2007, was reduced to 1 percent in 2011, and is now eliminated completely due to growth in the number of policies being assessed over the years to pay off the bond. In all, $1.38 billion has been collected.
The latest assessment elimination follows an early termination last summer of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund’s 1.3 percent emergency assessment on most property and casualty insurance policies. That also ended earlier than expected – 18 months ahead of schedule.
“Citizens … expects to enter the 2015 hurricane season with more than $4 billion in reinsurance coverage and about $7.5 billion in surplus available to pay future claims – the highest in its history,” says FOIR Commissioner Kevin M. McCarty. He says another key to protecting Florida insurance consumers is the continued depopulation of Citizens.
“Citizens went from a high of 1.48 million policies in 2012 to 661,161 policies by the end of 2014 – an 11-year low,” says McCarty.
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