The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund’s advisory board Tuesday certified that its potential claims-paying obligation for the final half of the year is $18.77 billion, of which $9.36 billion could be raised through municipal bonds.
Twice a year the board must affirm how much in claims it could legally be required to pay and how much of that would be raised through the sale of bonds to support the payment of claims.
The so-called Cat Fund is a state-run nonprofit agency that provides low-cost catastrophic reinsurance to Florida’s private property insurers and the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
The fund’s four senior underwriters — Citi, Goldman Sachs & Co., JPMorgan and Barclays Capital — estimated it would have access to between $10 billion and $26 billion of bond financing in the market, an average of $16 billion. That would exceed the current claims-paying obligation when other liquid resources such as fund balances are included.
Any bonds sold by the Cat Fund would be repaid through an assessment placed on nearly all kinds of insurance policies sold in the state.
Since Florida has gone a number of years without a devastating hurricane, the fund’s finances are in good shape, John Forney of Raymond James & Associates Inc., the reinsurer’s financial adviser, told the advisory board.
The Cat Fund “has enough bonding capacity to meet its obligations so we end 2010 on a relatively positive note,” Forney said.
The fund’s bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Service, AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s, and AA by Fitch Ratings.