Last year’s intense hurricane season has motivated most Florida residents to prepare for hurricanes that could hit the state this year, according to a recent survey by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). The results showed a higher percentage of preparedness among Floridians than other hurricane-prone states, but more than 60 percent still say they have not purchased flood insurance.
Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of residents in Florida say they have taken precautions in advance of the 2018 hurricane season, according to a new poll conducted online by SurveyMonkey on behalf of PCI. More than half of the 654 Florida respondents of the poll, taken between July 9-23, said last year’s hurricanes prompted them to take precautions. Nearly 38 percent reported that their property suffered damage due to last year’s storms.
Among the other hurricane-prone states surveyed in this poll, including Texas, North Carolina, and Louisiana, Floridians reported being the most prepared. Overall poll results of 1,831 residents across Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida found 56 percent have not taken any precautions this year in advance of hurricane season. Only 35 percent said that last year’s storms prompted them to take any precautions this year.
Florida is the most hurricane-prone state in the United States, with 40 percent of all United States hurricanes hitting the state, according to the National Oceanic Atomospheric Administration (NOAA). Since 1851, there have been 118 direct hurricane hits in Florida.
“While we’ve not had much activity this hurricane season in the Atlantic basin, the threat of a storm quickly developing is still a possibility. Historically, August and September are active months for hurricanes and as we saw last year with Hurricane Irma it only takes one storm to cause massive amounts of property damage,” said Logan McFaddin, PCI’s Florida regional manager.
The poll included various categories to gauge hurricane readiness, including:
- 63 percent of Floridians do not have flood insurance despite 71 percent saying it’s necessary to help in recovery efforts following a natural disaster
- 13 percent of residents do not know if their existing homeowners or renters insurance policy covers flood damage
- 68 percent of Florida residents are familiar with their local municipality, county, or state evacuation plan, with the same percentage saying they have developed an emergency plan and shared it with their household
- 54 percent in Florida have an emergency bag, which includes necessities such as medication, non-perishable food, and water
- More than half (51 percent) have not conducted a home inventory in the event that property and/or possessions are destroyed, damaged, or lost in a disaster
- 71 percent of Floridians have readily available cash or savings to meet short term expenses that may arise following a natural disaster
- 69 percent report that they have stored important financial papers and documents in a safe deposit box or online for easy access
Contractor Fraud & Abuse
PCI said following a severe storm it is common for “crooked” contractors to try and take advantage of consumers needing repairs. In Florida, abuse related to water damage and assignment of benefits claims has been a particular problem and the insurance industry and regulators are working to educate policyholders on this escalating abuse.
- 80 percent are at least somewhat familiar with the signs of contractor fraud and abuse
- Yet, 14 percent said they would pay upfront for the rebuilding or repair costs if it meant getting their property fixed more quickly and 18 percent aren’t sure if they would
- 8 percent of residents said they would accept an unsolicited offer from someone to make repairs to their home