Florida Assessment Calculator Now Online
By: Tom Crabb
The Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate has created an internet-based program to illustrate an insurance consumer’s potential assessment liability if Florida were to sustain a 1 in 25 year, 1 in 100 year, or 1 in 250 year hurricane. Florida has three entities with assessment authority: the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (“Cat Fund”), Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”), and the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (“FIGA”). By plugging in his or her annual premium for homeowners, auto, and business insurance, the calculator shows how much the consumer can expect to pay in assessments if a storm to one of those levels hits. For example, a consumer paying $1,000 a year for homeowners insurance and $1,000 a year for auto insurance will pay approximately $1,088 in assessments following a 1 in 100 year storm. This is in addition to the financing costs that would apply if an assessment by Citizens or the Cat Fund is spread over a period of several years.
In conjunction with the launch of this program, the Consumer Advocate’s office also released a report discussing the assumptions underlying the calculator, some of which are quite interesting. The assumptions include that the hurricane would first make landfall near Tampa or Miami and that storms at the 1 in 25, 1 in 100, and 1 in 250 year levels would cause $25.92 billion, $65.63 billion, and $98.54 billion in losses and expenses, respectively. The calculator does not include any insurer insolvencies (which would result in FIGA assessments) for the 1 in 25 and 1 in 100 year levels. The calculator also assumes that the Cat Fund would be able to borrow enough money to meet its entire potential $27.18 billion obligation, even though current estimates show about a $10 billion shortfall between the Cat Fund’s total obligation and its borrowing ability given current market conditions. Despite the limitations inherent in any calculation of assessment liability, this online calculator should give consumers a good idea of the extent of their liability following a hurricane. The calculator and related report are available online at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/AssessmentCalculator/Consumers/AssessmentCalculator.aspx.