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Insurance assessment to end in 2015

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation on Tuesday ordered insurance companies to terminate a 1.3 percent assessment on most property insurance policies that has been used to pay off past hurricane claims. 

The assessment will be eliminated on policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2015 — 18 months ahead of schedule, due to an early payoff of the bonds used to pay the claims.

The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund emergency assessment applied to all premiums on property and casualty insurance policies in Florida, including surplus lines, but excluded those specifically exempted by law. The charge began at 1 percent in 2007 and was increased to 1.3 percent in 2011. The $2.9 billion collected through May 31, 2014, was used to reimburse insurance companies for claims from the series of eight hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 and 2005.

The fund has $12.95 billion available, which is made up of a projected 2014 year-end fund balance of $10.95 billion and $2 billion in pre-event bonds, with additional borrowing ability to pay future claims - its highest level in recent years. 

Both orders, one to property and casualty insurers and the second, to the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office and surplus lines agents give specific guidance as to the types of insurance affected and related information on reporting requirements.

All policies issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2015, will no longer be subject to the catastrophic fund emergency assessment. The assessment will continue to apply to the direct written premium on all related transactions including, but not limited to, endorsements, policy cancellations, and audit premiums related to policies issued or renewed prior to Jan. 1, 2015, at the applicable percentage below for policies issued or renewed:   

• On or after Jan.1, 2015, assessment is 0 percent;

• Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014, assessment is 1.3 percent;

• Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2011, gency assessment is 1 percent; and

• Prior to Jan. 1, 2007, assessment is 0 percent. 

For more information, visit the Office’s “Assessments” webpage at www.floir.com/Sections/PandC/Assessments.aspx.