Nine days after Hurricane Irma left Florida with less structural damage than expected, 496,532 insure claims were filed with a worth estimated of $3.1 billion.
According to Sean Snaith, an economics professor from University of Central Florida, as soon as the light comes back on, the state’s economy should rebound quicker than it was originally expected. However, the statistics show that even the damages were less than expected they have noticeable affected Florida’s economy.
Hurricane Irma left millions of people without electricity, flood damage affected homes and many buildings and the Keys were destroyed. Since this historic storm left Miami up until now, more than 496,532 insurance claims were filed with an estimated of $3.1 billion.
Many claims that agents are reporting are minor, such as trees falling on fences, and broken gutters. Claim counts are high because policyholders want to get the damages on record so that the annual deductibles will be reduced if another catastrophic storm comes.
Outside of the Keys, structural damage occurred in Marco Island and Naples and some other places along northern east coast beaches, such as in Flagler and St. Johns County.
Out of the 496,532 claims only 46,060 have been closed, and out of the ones that were closed, only 17.184 were closed with no payments. The largest number of claims were filed in Miami-Dade County (with a total of 55,012 claims). The next two largest number of claims belong to Orange and Broward (with 44,696 and 38,836 claims respectively). However, as a percentage of population, claims in these counties are running proportionately low.
2016 Census data shows that 29.4 percent of all Florida residents live in Broward, Palm Beach or Miami-Dade counties, but just 22.7% of Hurricane Irma claims have been filed on that Tri-County area.
If we compare the number of filed claims with the percentage of population, Monroe County, which includes hard-hit Keys, shows that for every 100 residents there are 15.3 claims being filed. That number could increase, as Keys residents have just recently returned to their homes from shelters, and insurance agents are still assessing damages. Leading then, the top of counties affected.
Rounding out the five most impacted counties is Okeechobee County, located north of Lake Okeechobee, with 6.0 claims per 100 residents. Counties in the western Panhandle seemed to have escaped most of Irma’s damage. Just six claims have been filed in Liberty County so far; nine have been filed in Gulf County, northwest of Apalachicola; and 11 have been filed in Holmes County, along the Florida-Alabama border.
If we ranked the claims per capita, Broward County becomes 24th most impacted with 2 claims per 100 residents; followed by Miami-Dade on the 25th and Palm Beach County is in 33th place with 1.3 claims per 100 residents.
Yet the claims total to-date represent a fraction of what researchers and catastrophe modeling firms are projecting will be the total cost of Irma’s damage and we will need to wait on final results.