Florida Hurricanes and Damage Costs


Florida has been visited by some of the most destructive and devastating hurricanes on record in the United States causing well over $450 billion in damage since the early 20th century. The value of insured property in Florida against windstorm damage is the highest in the nation and on the rise. The frequency and severity of hurricanes affecting Florida are examined from the best set of available data and the damages are related to characteristics of the storms at landfall. Results show that normalized losses are increasing over time consistent with small increases in hurricane intensity and hurricane size. The best predictor of potential losses is minimum central pressure. Hurricane size alone or in combination with hurricane intensity does not improve on the simpler relationship. An estimate of potential losses from hurricanes can be obtained using a formula involving only a forecast of the minimum pressure at landfall. The ability to estimate potential losses in Florida will increase the ability to estimate losses in other areas of the United States, and will also allow policy makers and insurance companies to provide relevant information to the concerned public.