Storms Cripple Florida's Catastrophe Fund

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The verdict is still out on total damages from Hurricane Ivan, but Hurricanes Charley and Frances will likely cost Florida more than $11 billion in insured losses.

Still, Sam Miller with the Florida Insurance Council says the industry can weather the storm.

Sam says, "There isn’t any other state in the country where an insurance system could handle three major hurricane hits in one year.”

Miller credits a major overhaul to Florida’s insurance industry after Hurricane Andrew a dozen years ago. Up to 300 percent rate increases then mean homeowners probably won’t see major increases now because companies are in much better financial shape.

Downed tree limbs one litter the state from one end to the other, a continuing reminder that even counties well inland suffered hurricane damage.

Insurers expect more than a million claims just from Frances and Charley, but Office of Insurance Regulation spokesman Bob Lotane says that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be granted rate increases.

Bob says, "They would have to show actual losses that they’ve actually experienced, insured losses that show that going forward, that their rates were inadequate or are inadequate at the present time, and going forward they would have to have higher rates so that they would have adequate resources to pay claims."

For now, insurers are forbidden from canceling or non-renewing polices through November 30, and even after that you can’t be cancelled just for filing a hurricane-related claim.