Florida’s record hurricane season finally comes to an end Wednesday, at least as far as the calendar is concerned. But the affects will be felt for years to come.
Florida’s insurance market was dealt a mighty blow, and state officials are still struggling to come up with long-term solutions.
After four hurricanes and three tropical storms, insured losses in the state from this year alone top 14 billion dollars.
Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings is among those concerned about what state officials can do to keep insurance available and affordable. “We don’t have a solution yet, but I think it’s going to take all of us working together with our legislative partners and with the industry to see where we go from here because we have to have an insurance market in Florida,
There are many proposals. Among them, cap the value of luxury homes insured by the state-run citizens insurance corporation at a million dollars and extend tough new building codes to the panhandle.
But the most ambitious proposal may be the creation of a national catastrophe fund similar to the one used in Florida since Hurricane Andrew.
Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher says the fund would operate like an insurance company for insurance companies to help cover their losses. “We should have a reinsurance mechanism that the federal government sets up for the states to use to back up not only their state cat fund if they have one but also their state’s insurance companies so we keep insurance available and affordable for citizens.”
Two members of Florida’s congressional delegation have already filed legislation to create a national cat fund. Since next year’s hurricane season could be just as nasty, support is expected to grow. 128 people lost their lives during Florida’s hurricanes this year.