Florida's hurricane insurance fund in good shape entering 2018's storm season

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida fund that helps private insurers pay out claims after a hurricane remains in good shape heading into a storm season.

Despite losses from Hurricane Irma, estimates show the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund will have $17.3 billion available this year. This means that the fund has more money than it would need to pay out if storms racked the state.

The estimates were formally approved last week.

The financial health of the fund is important because the state can impose a surcharge on most insurance policies to replenish it if the money runs out. Some critics have called the surcharge a "hurricane tax."

The fund built up its reserves during a lengthy period when there were no storms. The fund is expected to pay out $2 billion for claims associated with Irma.

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