Filed Under:Markets, Reinsurance

Cat Fund Gets a $4 Billion Promise of Help

Fearful that a giant storm or a series of hurricanes could cripple the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (Cat Fund) this year and lead to huge assessments, the trustees of the fund in July made an extraordinary decision to pay $224 million now to secure a guarantee from Berkshire Hathaway that the Nebraska-based conglomerate would buy $4 billion in bonds in the event that the amount of storm losses reach $25 billion.

Governor Charlie Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum, and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink all voted in favor of the transaction, but it only came after a round of criticism from both McCollum and Sink that the state was in a bind due to the potential exposure of the Cat Fund, which was expanded in 2007 right after Crist came into office. The two elected officials implored Crist to set aside time in the coming months to consider alternatives that could reduce the potential claims paid by the Cat Fund, which would likely trigger large assessments.

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