Ian Recovery Roundup: New building codes made big difference; Claims keep coming; Allstate takes hit

by | Oct 20, 2022

 

  • New reports submitted to the Florida Building Commission confirm updated construction codes are working
  • Newer buildings survived with significantly less damage than older buildings
  • Ian claims topped 550,000 this week, with $6.45 billion in damages
  • Allstate reported gross auto and property losses of $671 million

Two separate studies of post-storm damage from Hurricane Ian concluded that newer construction codes made a significant difference in building survivability. At ground zero near Fort Myers in southwest Florida, many newer structures withstood the brunt of Hurricane Ian’s 140+ mph winds, underscoring the importance of recently updated Florida building codes.

The new construction standards helped reduce property insurance losses in some areas.

The two reports, one by university professors and one from CoreLogic, a data analytics company, concluded in a preliminary report to the Florida Building Commission that more modern buildings fared significantly better than older structures thanks to hurricane resistant building codes.

According to a report submitted this week by the University of New York, 18 homes built before 1981 were totally destroyed by the storm, however a single house in the same survey area built in 2020 survived with minimal damage. The report noted that the house was built high enough that it evaded some, though not all, of the storm surge.

A report submitted last week from CoreLogic said wind losses in Lee County were twice as high for structures built before 1996. After that, Florida’s building codes and techniques were updated to require tougher structures able to handle higher wind loads.

In 2018, the Tampa Bay Times reported similar findings after Hurricane Michael devastated Mexico Beach in the Florida Panhandle, noting that many modern structures survived the Category 5 storm.

In related news, reported property insurance claims from Hurricane Ian reached 553,242 this week, data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation shows.  Those claims now total $6.45 billion and claims are still coming in.

Storm damage isn’t limited to real estate, though. The Allstate Corporation released an estimate Wednesday of approximately $671 million in estimated gross losses, 75 percent of which is from auto claims and the remaining 25 percent from real property losses. But the company also said that their loss total will be reduced by $305 million thanks to reinsurance coverage that will make their net losses approximately $366 million.

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