The Real Deal Miami

Hurricane Irma has already resulted in 20k flood insurance claims — and it’s still early

Irma could top the $11B in federal flood damage claims that resulted from Hurricane Harvey
September 20, 2017 05:26PM

Homes flooded by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key, Florida (Credit: Getty Images)

Hurricane Irma has already resulted in about 20,000 federal flood insurance claims in Florida, according to a top FEMA official.

Roy E. Wright, head of the National Flood Insurance Program, said flood damage claims in Florida could total “several billion dollars,” adding that Hurricane Irma could generate more than the $11 billion in flood damage claims that resulted from Hurricane Harvey, according to the Miami Herald.

“It’s a little too early to know the full impact of this storm,” Wright told the Miami Herald. “We usually see the numbers accelerate in weeks two and three. We’re coming into that now as people get back into their homes.” He estimated that the number of Florida claims could reach 100,000.

Wright said that the Florida Keys have contributed 20 percent of the claims to date, and 50 percent of the claims have come from Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier, Lee, and Duval counties, each of which filed 10 percent of flood insurance claims in the state.

“The Keys’ number is going to grow faster because the people in the Lower Keys just started returning to their homes,” Wright told the Herald. Households with federal flood insurance policies can claim up to $100,000 for personal property in addition to $250,000 for their property.

About 25 percent of homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed after Hurricane Irma barreled through the islands, according to estimates by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

CoreLogic on Tuesday estimated that property damage from Hurricane Irma could reach between $42.5 billion and $65 billion. Flooded homes are estimated at $25 billion to $38 billion in losses. That includes storm surge, inland and flash flooding in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. CoreLogic estimated the loss for homes with flood insurance at $5 billion to $8 billion and homes not covered by flood insurance could account for $30 billion worth of damage.

Hurricane Irma property insurance claims filed in Florida already total $2 billion in estimated losses, according to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation. A total of 335,347 claims were filed through Sunday, including 243,473 claims from homeowners, as well as 19,283 from mobile homeowners.

Only 1.7 million homes in Florida are covered by federal flood insurance policies. [Miami Herald]  Grace Guarnieri