Hurricane Recovery

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Belva Mazzio is still fighting with her insurance company after Hurricane Ivan. A thousand other Florida homeowners have gone to arbitration after they were unhappy with their settlement offer.

Belva says, "So far it’s been what? Two months or two and half months and no results."

When hurricane season ends next week, a moratorium on canceling policies also ends and insurers will be free to send out cancellation notices, but those notices can’t go to owners of homes that were damaged.

By unanimous vote, the governor and Cabinet are requiring companies to keep insurance on a property until 60 days after it’s been fully repaired.

Tom Gallagher, Florida Chief Financial Officer, says, "That helps people that have not had their home fully repaired and it keeps them from having their insurance dropped or non-renewed."

Higher premiums are also on the horizon because the state fund that handles the policies nobody else wants is short on cash.

Kevin McCarty from the Office of Insurance Regulation expects the fund to assess insurance companies so it can build up cash reserves.

Kevin says, "They are talking about actual increased amount or enhancement to premiums, so there is an actuarial charge for the premium, but they suggest a charge of 15 to 20 percent on top of that to help build money into the cat fund."

And those increased charges from the high risk fund to companies that are writing insurance will eventually end up as higher premiums to all homeowners, which means even those homeowners who didn’t see damage from a hurricane will pay as well.