- The Climate Adaptation Center (CAC) forecasts 14 named storms during the coming hurricane season, with at least 7 reaching hurricane status and a further 2 or 3 becoming major hurricanes.
- The CAC attributes the potentially-active storm season to warmer-than-usual temperatures in the waters surrounding Florida.
- Florida’s insurance market is still reeling after the devastating economic and infrastructure toll brought upon by hurricanes Ian and Nicole in the 2022 hurricane season, which yielded more than $120B in damage and almost 200 deaths.
- The tumultuous nature of the state’s property insurance market could mean that another storm in 2023 could bring about drastically catastrophic economic trends in Florida.
The Sarasota-based Climate Adaptation Center (CAC) is forecasting 14 named storms during the coming hurricane season, with at least 7 reaching hurricane status and a further 2 or 3 becoming major hurricanes.
The organization attributes the potentially-active storm season to warmer-than-usual temperatures in the waters surrounding Florida, stating that temperatures have peaked at a level high enough in April to spawn tropical storms. The group predicts several of the potentially major storms to show rapid intensification, with a focal point presenting itself between the June through August period.
“There is a warm loop current in the Gulf of Mexico that is already 4°C warmer than normal, and the same can be said for all Florida coastal areas, the Bahamas, and the Atlantic east of the Bahamas,” wrote Bob Bunting, CEO of CAC. “The entire hurricane formation area is mostly warmer than normal. Any storm traveling or forming over or traveling over the brown and red areas will get a big energy boost.”
The 2022 hurricane season featured 14 named storms, including hurricanes Ian and Nicole, which grew from a weak tropical storm to a 150 mph sustained large-scale hurricane in less than 48 hours. The 2022 season yielded more than $120B in damage and almost 200 deaths.
CAC’s prediction comes in poor timing for Florida’s insurance market, which is still reeling after the devastating economic and infrastructure toll brought upon by hurricanes Ian and Nicole. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) identified nearly half a million claims related to Hurricane Ian in the months after its landfall, with 471,581 homeowner claims, 272,465 business claims 272,465, and 151,892 automobile claims.
Estimates last year forecasted Ian to become the most significant natural disaster for the insurance sector in decades, with industry losses from the storm having the potential to reach as high as $75 billion.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post published an investigation that some Florida insurance companies amended repair estimates provided by licensed adjusters, reducing expected payouts to customers by 45 to 97 percent, indicating that policy writers are struggling to keep up with the sheer number of open claims.
Moreover, Gov. Ron DeSantis caught attention during a press conference earlier this month in Fort Myers — where Ian made a near-direct impact — in stating that the state-ran Citizens Property Insurance may not be solvent and could struggle to pay out on filed claims.
“I think most people know Citizens has not been solvent,” he said. “If you did have a major hurricane hit with a lot of Citizens property holders, it would not have a lot to pay out.”
The tumultuous nature of the state’s property insurance market could mean that another storm in 2023 could bring about drastically catastrophic economic trends in Florida. To mitigate the worst negative fiscal impacts, CAC emphasized the need to adapt and shift focus towards preventing the worst impacts and not just responding after the fact, including reform in the way the state prepares for storms, a major overhaul of preexisting building codes, and expanded evacuation policies.
The Capitolist attempted to reach Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation for comment but did not receive an immediate response.