Fewer Storms, More Money

By: Matt Horn Email
By: Matt Horn Email

By: Matt Horn
October 18, 2013

A hurricane season forecasted to be busier than recent years has so far turned out to be another quiet season.

“Thus far we’ve not had a land-falling hurricane and that’s good news for the State of Florida,” said Bryan Koon, the Director of the Florida division of Emergency Management.

There is still more than a month to go until the end of hurricane season, but several years with few tropical events have allowed the state-created catastrophe fund to build the largest reserve in its 20 year history. The fund provides cash to insurers when there are big losses.

“This is probably the best year we’ve ever had in terms of liquidity and our cash balance,” said Jack Nicholson, Director of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

The fund can be looked at as a ‘rainy day’ account. Right now the account has around 10-billion dollars available. If more is needed it could borrow several billion more. But, one big storm could possibly deplete the fund.

“Two back to back storms, very large storms could cause us problems. So they’re very events. But we take that seriously,” said Nicholson.

During this hurricane season, only three tropical systems affected the state. If this season mirrors history, the likeliness of a strong tropical system hitting Florida this late in the season is low. However, Hurricane Kate hit the Florida Panhandle a week before Thanksgiving in 1985, prompting hurricane experts to remind people to stay prepared.

“Things you do to prepare for hurricane season are the things you prepare for hazards in the State of Florida; for flooding, for wildfire, for tornadoes, and other severe weather,” said Koon.

Hurricane or not, storm experts and those overseeing the catastrophe fund say they’ll be prepared for the next big storm.

Hurricane Wilma was the last time a hurricane had a direct impact on the state in October 2005.

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