JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Florida leaders had been crossing their fingers in hopes Mother Nature would spare the state from a major hurricane this year, as the state’s property is in the early stages of recovery after facing total collapse last year.
Thankfully, it seems like Hurricane Idalia won’t be the death blow to the market many had feared.
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Hurricane Idalia’s impact came at a tragic cost to communities in the storm’s path, but in some sense, Florida insurers dodged a bullet.
“Had the storm hit the Tampa, St. Petersburg area we’d be looking at a totally different situation,” said Michael Barry with the Insurance Information Insitute.
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Barry said because the storm hit relatively low-population areas, estimated costs to insurers were significantly less than other recent storms, with early insured damage estimates putting the cost around $9 billion.
“When you compare it for instance to Hurricane Ian, which was in excess of $50 billion and was the second costliest natural disaster in US history, Idalia is about one-fifth the size of Ian as an insurance event,” said Barry.
Jeff Brandes with the Florida Policy Project worked for years on the property insurance crisis as a state senator.
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“I would say that the patient is in stable but improving condition,” said Brandes.
Brandes argued reforms passed by lawmakers in a round of special sessions last year aimed at reducing litigation costs in the property insurance market helped position the industry to weather a storm like Idalia.
“Ultimately, I think it really is going to take some time and lack of storms in major populated areas that are going to kind of provide the medicine that we need to cure the property insurance market,” said Brandes.
Brandes predicted homeowners in less impacted areas like here in Duval likely won’t see their rates increase because of Idalia, but he warned there are still three months left to go in hurricane season and another major storm could change that calculation.
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Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.