A statewide consumer survey conducted by the American Consumer Institute (ACI) finds that 70% of Floridians fear being assessed hundreds or thousands of dollars in hurricane taxes, because the state’s Catastrophe (CAT) Fund may run out of money to pay insurance claims. The telephone survey of 805 consumers found 80% of Floridians did not want the state to sell more insurance coverage than it could pay in claims. Nearly half of consumers were willing to pay more, if it were to avoid insolvencies and taxes. When specifically asked if they would be willing to pay $15 a month more in premiums to make the CAT fund financially sound, 55% agreed, with 35% opposing. Support for paying somewhat higher premiums to make the CAT fund financially sound were the greatest among Democrats (62%), those using Citizens homeowners insurance (65%) and those with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 per year (63%).
The survey was conducted after the state CAT fund’s chief operating officer, Dr. Jack Nicholson, reported that the fund was “dangerously exposed” and billions of dollars short of meeting its insurance obligations, if the state suffered major hurricane damage. Recently, Rep. Bill Hager filed HB 833, which seeks to put the Cat Fund into financial order, consistent with Dr. Nicholson’s proposal. The survey results provide empirical evidence supporting the need and approach to fix the state CAT fund.
A summary of the survey results are available here.