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FSU experts talk climate change and property insurance as part of Hurricane Preparedness Week

Hurricane Evacuation Route Road Sign on blue with arrow
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Hurricane season is looming as the Florida Legislature prepares for a special session this month on the state’s troubled property insurance market.

It's National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and faculty at Florida State University are offering insights. They say the hurricane risk to Florida is increasing because of population growth and uncertainties from climate change.

Allison Wing, Associate Professor of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, says climate change doesn’t necessarily affect the number of tropical systems in a given year.

“But climate change is increasing our risk from hurricanes in other ways. We've observed that hurricanes are getting stronger,” Wing says. “We expect that the hurricanes will continue to intensify, especially with an increase in the number and intensity of the strongest storms - those category 4 and 5 storms.”

Hurricane season is looming as the Florida Legislature prepares for a special session later this month on the state’s troubled property insurance market.

Charles Nyce, Associate Professor of Risk Management and Insurance, says lawmakers need to act quickly to tackle what he calls “the fraud balloon”

“What we've done is we've kind of squeezed in one area and it pops out somewhere else,” says Nyce, noting the legislature has been trying for years to tackle skyrocketing insurance fraud in Florida, with bad claims ranging from storm damage to sinkholes to roofing issues.

Now, it’s also a matter of making sure property insurance policies will fully cover potential losses. “Construction costs are really high in the state. If you bought a policy a few years ago and you have a 2,000 square foot house and you think it’s going to cost $100 a square foot to fix it, that’s not the case anymore,” Nyce says. “Make sure your policy limits are high enough to cover how much damage you could potentially have.”

Hurricane Season is June 1st through November 30th. Forecasters are predicting an above-normal season with nine hurricanes, four of them major.