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Times-Union: Floridians ‘get’ the Cat Fund troubles

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

By The Times-Union

Floridians recognize that the state’s property insurance system is broken and are willing to take reasonable action to fix it.

A landslide majority of Floridians, 70 percent, fear being assessed hundreds of dollars in fees because the state’s Catastrophe Fund is unable to cover insurance claims, according to a scientific poll conducted for the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research.

It is a nonprofit based in Tallahassee.

Floridians understand we have been lucky with no major storms in the last six years.

What if another Hurricane Andrew hit a populated area as in 1992?

What if the state were hit by three storms in a row, as happened in 2004?

A total of 55 percent of Floridians were willing to pay $15 a month more in premiums to make the CAT fund sound.

The survey was conducted after the CAT Fund’s chief financial officer reported that the fund is “dangerously exposed” and billions short of meeting its obligations following a storm.

The presumption had been that the state could just go to the international debt market to fill in any gaps, but recent years have shown that the world financial market is just as shaky as Florida’s property insurance foundation.

Unless Florida fixes its very real exposure to hurricane loss, its financial future is in jeopardy.

Uncertainty is a killer to business.

This is a cloud hanging over the state.

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