Citizens Insurance ready for hurricane season

Citizens Property Insurance has closed on a $1 billion bond transfer, which the state-backed insurer said Friday completes its financial preparations for the 2015 hurricane season.

“Like our counterparts in the private sector, Citizens continues to strengthen its financial position and ability to serve its customers,” Citizens Chairman Chris Gardner said in a prepared statement.

“Florida has been lucky to have had nearly a decade of no storms and we have worked hard to take advantage of that good fortune. Citizens is ready.”

The transaction, closed Tuesday, provides readily available cash for Citizens to cover claims immediately following a catastrophic storm. Hurricane season began Monday.

Citizens, which has shed about 1 million policies into the private market during the past four years, has benefited from favorable global pricing on reinsurance — insurance for insurers — and a private insurance market that has grown while Florida has avoided being hit by a hurricane since 2005.

Citizens enters the six-month Atlantic storm season with a $7.5 billion surplus, the highest in its history, and $3.9 billion in reinsurance coverage.