Citizens touts post-Irma financial strength
Citizens Property Insurance has incurred $1.81 billion in losses from Hurricane Irma and handled an estimated 70,800 claims, which has led the state-backed insurer to go outside to cover nearly one-third of its storm-related costs.
But Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Montero told Citizens’ Audit Committee on Tuesday that the insurer’s financial picture is “incredibly strong” despite the losses due to Irma.
With more than two months remaining in the 2018 hurricane season, Montero pointed, for example, to a $6.5 billion surplus and $2.2 billion in coverage through state’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which provides relatively low-cost reinsurance.
The estimated number of claims for last year’s Irma represents about 16 percent of the 442,629 policies that Citizens had as of Aug. 31.
As part of its response to Irma, Citizens expects to receive $534.7 million from the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and an additional $126.4 million from private reinsurers. The company pays for reinsurance coverage — essentially insurance for insurers — so it doesn’t have to dip deep into its surplus.
Irma barreled through much of Florida in September 2017, with the state Office of Insurance Regulation last month estimating $10.45 million in insured losses. That was up