South Floridians were benefited with leniency earlier in the month when Tropical Storm Emily was weakened by its bout in the Caribbean. Only four months remain in hurricane season – one that was forecasted as being highly active – and no significant storms have yet reached the state. Despite the seemingly benign activity in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, insurers are warning residents of Florida to not be caught off guard, as a powerful storm can make landfall at any time.
Spurred by this advice, and the recent disasters that have befallen much of the Eastern U.S., many Florida residents have begun taking a hard look at their insurance coverage. Recent changes to the state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. have left Floridians straddled with higher rates, yet these changes have done nothing to offer protections against hurricane damage. In fact, the most prominent change made to the state-run insurance company has been in terms of sinkhole coverage, a change that citizens have been decrying.
Pressured by Floridians to make further changes to the state’s insurance industry, legislators are now considering ways to improve the hurricane protections offered by Citizens and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. Some of the changes being considered would have Florida citizens cease paying for coastal developments located in risk-prone areas. Changes to Citizens Property Insurance would also expand the insurer’s coverage of both wind and water damage and provide coverage despite what caused the damage.