After Irma: Citizens expects more than $1 billion in claims

State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. expects about $1.23 billion in claims from Hurricane Irma, though the number of claims is likely to be lower than once feared, officials said Wednesday.

Chris Gardner (left), chairman of the Citizens board, and president Barry Gilway meet with the Post Editorial Board to discuss issues ahead of the Florida Legislative session in February. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

About 56 percent of more than 45,000 claims filed so far are coming from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, with another 15 percent in Monroe, where Citizens provides 60 percent of the wind coverage.

At one point Citizens projected 125,000 claims from Irma, but now expects about 70,000 over two years, chairman Chris Gardner told board members meeting by telephone.

The company’s capital position remains “strong,”  he said, though “given the magnitude of reported claims, we are sure to encounter unforeseen challenges.”

Citizens, the state’s second largest insurer, expects to be reimbursed $193 million from the state’s hurricane catastrophe fund and pay a net amount of about $1 billion from its surplus, leaving it with a $6.4 billion surplus after claims, Gardner said.

At this time, no private reinsurance has been tapped, a company spokesman said.

Though the company has had trouble arranging enough claims adjusters after previous storms, Gardner described  current staffing as “adequate,” with about 800 adjusters in the field.

 

 

 

 

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