Idalia claims still coming in, but won’t trigger Citizens assessment

by | Sep 21, 2023

Photo credit: U.S. Army National Guard Spc. Ana-Grace Catoe

  • Estimated insured losses from Hurricane Idalia have reached $188 million, offering some relief to insurers and policyholders in Florida.
  • The hurricane has resulted in a total of 20,151 claims, with 13,864 claims related to residential property damage.
  • Citizens Property Insurance Corp. announced that claims related to Hurricane Idalia will not trigger assessments for its customers, but the state still faces potential hurricane threats in the 2023 season.

As the cleanup and recovery efforts for Hurricane Idalia continue, updated figures offer some relief to insurers and policyholders. This week, the estimated insured losses from the Category 3 hurricane reached $188 million, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Though the losses are slowly mounting, they may not be as bad as initially feared.

Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall on August 30 in the Keaton Beach area of Taylor County before sweeping through parts of North Florida into Georgia, has resulted in a total of 20,151 claims so far. This is an increase from last week’s numbers, which estimated losses at $178.7 million based on 19,324 claims. The current week’s tally includes 13,864 residential property damage claims, with the remaining claims pertaining to other categories, such as auto damage. As of Monday, 4,124 claims have been closed with payments made, while 3,313 claims were closed without payments.

While the updated figures show that the losses are accumulating, there’s a notable positive aspect. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-owned insurer, announced last week that claims related to Hurricane Idalia will not reach the critical $420 million mark that would trigger assessments for all of its customers. Craig Sakraida, the company’s vice president of non-litigated claims, revealed that Citizens has received about 2,000 claims, constituting approximately 10% of the 19,324 total Idalia-related claims reported by all insurers to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation through Sept. 14.

That said, Citizens also cautioned that Florida isn’t out of the woods yet, with more than two months remaining in the 2023 hurricane season and a rapidly forming storm that popped up virtually overnight lurking off of the state’s east coast.

According to an estimate provided by disaster modeling firm Verisk, Citizens is likely to pay out $128.8 million in Idalia-related claims to its policyholders. A substantial portion of this amount, $109 million, will be covered by the $420 million surplus in the company’s personal lines account. Most of the claims received by Citizens have originated from Pinellas, Taylor, and Pasco counties. “We anticipate having this wrapped up relatively quickly with low claims counts,” Sakraida said.

Despite the grim circumstances, there’s a sense of cautious optimism. The dwindling surplus that Citizens entered this year’s hurricane season with—largely due to last year’s Hurricane Ian—appears to be holding up better than expected. If Citizens manages to get through the year without exhausting its remaining $311 million surplus, it could be a sigh of relief for policyholders, especially given the planned merger of Citizens’ accounts next year, which will combine surpluses and potentially ease the burden on individual accounts.


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