Survey Finds 70 Percent of Floridians Fear Costly Hurricane Tax Assessments

December 6, 2011

A new survey finds that 70% of Floridians fear being assessed hundreds or thousands of dollars in hurricane taxes, because the state’s Catastrophe (CAT) Fund may run out of money to pay insurance claims.

The telephone survey of 805 consumers conducted by the American Consumer Institute (ACI) asked, Do you support or oppose allowing the Catastrophe Fund to selling more insurance coverage than it can pay in claims?” Eighty percent opposed.

Nearly half of consumers were willing to pay “A little more,” if it were to avoid insolvencies and taxes.

When specifically asked if they would be willing to pay $15 a month more in premiums to make the CAT fund financially sound, 55% agreed, with 35% opposing. Support for paying somewhat higher premiums to make the CAT fund financially sound were the greatest among Democrats (62%), those using Citizens homeowners insurance (65%) and those with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 per year (63%).

The question mirror legislation filed by Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, that addresses the fund’s finances.

The group said its survey was conducted after the state CAT fund’s chief operating officer, Jack Nicholson, reported that the fund was “dangerously exposed” and billions of dollars short of meeting its insurance obligations, if the state suffered major hurricane damage.

The American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research is a Washington, D.C. educational and research organization that supports fiscally responsible government, lower taxes and regulation, and more consumer choice.

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