|By Maria Mallory White, Sun Sentinel|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
They're not, for the moment, many analysts say. But Citizens is also one major storm away from catastrophe.
And therein lies the rub. Many homeowners are angered over the Citizens surplus and neverending rate increases. They want to deal in the present.
"Without a major hurricane impacting the state in six or seven years, they need to account for fees collected and how they've managed that to date,"
But lawmakers, state leaders and others who scrutinize Citizens are focused more on what could happen than what hasn't happened. They worry that if a major storm hits the Sunshine State in an upcoming hurricane season, that the surplus would quickly disappear, and Floridians -- both those who are Citizens policyholders and those who are not -- would by law be on the hook to cover the shortfall.
Dealing in the future, a murky future, could be horrendous. A catastrophic storm means residents with fire, auto, pet coverage and other types of insurance policies (see box) would be assessed statewide to make up the difference.
And that's a difference that could be in the billions.
In the case of a once-in-a-hundred-years storm, Citizens' exposure in its high-risk coastal account could top
Here's how claims from Citizens' coastal policies (191,092 in
STEP ONE: First up, Citizens' cash reserves earmarked for the coastal policies would be utilized. In this case, that's
"The first dollar we go to is our own surplus on hand," Ashburn said. This could be thought of loosely as Citizens paying a deductible, she explained.
The so-called "
STEP THREE: With its reserves for the coastal account exhausted, the company data shows Citizens would then tap four successive sources of funds. Citizens policyholders would be levied a surcharge to raise