Insurance Issues

An estimated 29,000 homeowners have filed damage claims from more than one hurricane and have been forced to pay at least double deductibles.

This plan being circulated by the governor would use $150 million from the state’s catastrophic re-insurance or "cat" fund to reimburse homeowners up to $10,000 for double deductibles.

Florida’s insurance industry is on board with the rebate, but has some concerns going forward.

"Now there are other issues that we haven’t seen the details of yet including allowing consumers to choose the size of their deductible and say maybe one to five percent. We are still looking at that, we do have some concerns for that."

If approved as written, the plan calls for the $150 million to be reimbursed to the cat fund through higher premiums over the next five years.

How much gets tacked on to everybody’s premium to cover the cost of reimbursing double deductibles will depend on the number of claims and their size. But right now, the average looks like it will be about five dollars a year for five years.

When lawmakers meet next week, it is unclear if they will eliminate double deductibles for the 2005 hurricane season or if they will wait until they meet again in the spring.

"If we don’t have good numbers on some these issues then perhaps they will wait until regular session."

Regardless of when it happens, eliminating double deductibles all together is not without cost. The insurance industry estimates rates will have to go up by 15 to 18 percent.