Irma’s Fla. insurance claims already near $2 billion

Irma’s Fla. insurance claims already near $2 billion

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sept. 18, 2017 – With 335,000 insurance claims representing $1.9 billion in property losses, Hurricane Irma has already exceeded the claims and losses from the two hurricanes that pummeled Florida last year, the state Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) reported Monday.

Calculated through Sunday afternoon, Irma’s losses easily exceeded the 119,000 claims and $1.2 billion in losses for Hurricane Matthew and the 19,700 claims and $139 million in losses from Hurricane Hermine, the OIR data showed.

The heaviest claims activity was in the half-dozen counties that form the southern tip of Florida: Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Collier and Lee. The area bore the brunt of Irma, which hit the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds on Sept. 10, and then made a second landfall in Collier County, before moving up the state.

Citizens Property Insurance, which is among the state’s largest property insurance companies with some 443,000 policies, has not been able to calculate a projected property loss yet, said Michael Peltier, a spokesman for the state-backed insurer.

As of Monday morning, Peltier said Citizens, which is the largest property insurer in the Florida Keys, had received 27,970 claims, with company officials estimating they will eventually receive 125,000 claims because of the storm.

Citing projected losses in the range of $25 billion to $50 billion from Irma, Fitch Ratings said the property losses will test the reinsurance market, which provides backup coverage for the property insurers.

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