WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) — The frequency of hurricanes that cause more than $1 billion worth of damage has nearly doubled over the last 40 years – and the cost of recovery and rebuilding after those storms has skyrocketed.
A number of factors are contributing to the cost problem – like more people living along the coast and inflation – but the bottom line is it can be a struggle to get back on your feet after one of these storms.
Hurricane Ian will likely be the most expensive hurricane to ever hit Florida – with estimates pegging total damages as high as $90 billion -surpassing even Hurricane Andrew.
Lingering supply chain issues and the sudden spike in demand for materials have only made things worse.
Right now, definitely the cost of hurricanes is higher than it’s ever been," remarked John Franzese, a public insurance adjuster with Full House Public Adjusters. “Roofing materials are hard to get, building materials are hard to get. The cost of everything going up, it’s hurting every month and it just continues to get worse and worse.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) is doing its best to help, tweaking policy just this week to make more disaster survivors eligible for assistance.
We’ve opened our 34th Disaster Recovery Center and the seats are full with people that are applying for FEMA for the first time. So that tells us a lot,” said FEMA Media Relations Specialist La-Tanga Hopes.
Hopes advises anyone living along the coast to do research on their coverage before a storm comes through, as that's where the damage – and the cost – is greatest.
“The more houses that are being built on the coastline, it’s just adding to the numbers going up every year when there is a storm for sure,” Franzese added.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is holding another special session of the legislature later this month to address the ongoing home insurance crisis as fewer and fewer insurers write policies in Florida in the face of these disasters. Whatever comes out of those meetings, every homeowner in the state will be paying higher premiums next year thanks to Hurricane Ian's growing price tag.