2021 is a year that will be remembered by all of us for several reasons. Along with the Covid-19 pandemic and social/political unrest, those of us in Florida also experienced yet another unusually active Atlantic hurricane season. In fact, experts tell us that the 2021 hurricane season may not have been unusual. Instead, it may be the new norm. For Florida property owners, understanding the threats posed by the hurricane season, as well as how to ensure that a hurricane damage claim is paid in full and without delay, is critical to protecting your family and your financial investment.
At Malik Law, we have extensive experience negotiating – and litigating when necessary – with insurance companies that have denied, delayed, or underpaid a hurricane damage claim. We understand what is at stake for a property owner, and we are committed to ensuring that your claim is paid in full.
In an average year, the Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), six hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), and three major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Over the last decade, however, hurricane season has been consistently showing signs that it is getting both longer and stronger. This year (2021), Tropical Storm Ana formed on May 22nd, making 2021 the seventh consecutive year to have a named storm form before the official start of the hurricane season. This year also brought with it the earliest fifth named storm on record. Although the official start date of the season remains June 1st, the National Hurricane Center started issuing routine Atlantic tropical weather outlooks on May 15th to account for the lengthening of the season.
This year also saw increased activity during hurricane season, making 2021 the third most active year on record in terms of named storms. It was also the sixth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season and was the first time on record that two consecutive hurricane seasons exhausted the list of 21 storm names, according to the NOAA. Ultimately, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season produced 21 named storms, including seven hurricanes of which four were major hurricanes.
It only stands to reason that as the Atlantic hurricane season gets longer and stronger, the cost increases as well, both in terms of dollars and lives. In total, the 2021 hurricane season is estimated to have caused about $70 billion in damages and killed more than 160 people. Hurricane Ida alone, which made landfall as a massive Category 4 storm in Louisiana at the end of August this year, caused an estimated $64.5 billion in damage, NOAA reported. Ida was so costly that it surpassed the estimated cost of all 2020 hurricanes combined. Grand Isle, Louisiana took a direct hit with 100 percent of its homes damaged and nearly 40 percent were destroyed or sustained significant damage. In addition, there was heavy damage to the energy infrastructure across southern Louisiana causing widespread, long-duration power outages to millions of people along with damage to about 94 percent of oil and gas production in offshore Gulf of Mexico facilities. Hurricane Elsa caused another $1.2 million worth of damage from wind and storm surge when it came ashore in Taylor County, Florida and insured losses from Hurricane Henri were $155 million excluding losses for the National Flood Insurance Program, according to the Insurance Information Institute (iii).
The NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center does not issue its official prediction for hurricane season until May; however, Matthew Rosencrans, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, did point to climate factors, which include La Niña, above-normal sea surface temperatures earlier in the season, and above-average West African Monsoon rainfall as primary contributors for this year’s above-average hurricane season.
Experts at Colorado State University are already predicting an above-average 2022 hurricane season. Their 2022 outlook is based on probability scenarios for a weather index called, Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE). ACE is a named storm’s potential for wind and storm surge destruction. An ACE index above 126 indicates the likelihood of a more active than normal hurricane season. The team at CSU is currently predicting a 40 percent chance of an ACE Index of approximately 130, which would typically mean 13-16 named storms, 6-8 hurricanes, and 2-3 major hurricanes.
Florida home and business owners understand all too well the potentially destructive nature of a tropical storm or hurricane which is why they purchase homeowners or property insurance. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always pay claims in full and in a timely fashion. Instead, a hurricane insurance claim might be:
The Florida insurance claim attorneys at Malik Law P.A. are committed to helping home and property owners who have suffered losses during the Atlantic hurricane season. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial damage that can be caused by a hurricane. That damage is only made worse when an insurance company refuses to pay a claim in full within a reasonable amount of time.
Call us at 407-500-1000 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced Florida insurance claim attorneys will explain your rights to you and discuss your legal options at no cost.