>I would like to add something to this thread that has worried me. I worked
>for a number of years as a building inspector and was on a team that studied
>the damage done by Andrew. In 1993 I built a house that exceeds all codes
>regarding wind loads, vertical steel/uplift and storm panels continuos
>lateral bracing, every structural element I could think of. When I received
>my insurance bill a couple of years ago I noticed my old company that I had
>been with since 19 years of age had changed it's name a little. Why? Was it
>to limit liability? I remembered a computer model of estimated damage it
>Andrew had struck 50 miles farther north and I think now I understand. In
>case of this occurring the "new company" with almost the same name could now
>cover perhaps 10% of the damage and the liability would be limited to them
>and not the old name company that originally insured me. So what have I
>done? In a category 4 storm I don't expect any damage of consequence greater
>than my deductible. In the event of a severe category 5 the insurance that I
>now carry would be worth very little. I realize that my carrier doesn't
>insure everyone, and I considered that in my evaluation. Having said all
>this first and foremost is the protection of life. During Floyd ( a
>hurricane on steroids) much of the east coast and central Florida were told
>to evacuate. The highways were jammed and those lucky enough to find a
>parking spot in walking distance of a rest stop had restrooms and water.
>Thousands of people spent the night in their cars parked along the
>interstates with less. If and only if you are not in an area prone to tidal
>surge then by all means consider steel panels for every window and door and
>a safe room. Regards, - Frank
Seriously, most of the big insurance companies did this after Andrew in
Florida. The bottom line is that if you get severely wrecked by a really
big storm nowdays (and this is NOT limted to Florida - it applies to almost
all coastal areas) you had better pray to God the damage was flood-related
because that way you'll get paid (up to the limit of the flood insurance
I have no faith that the insurance companies that did this won't turn
around and bankrupt the "division" they spun off in this instance. No
faith whatsoever. All the companies big enough to absorb a hit from a
monster Cat5 storm have done this, so it makes no difference who you
write with in that regard.
We're talking about a real monster here - a solid Cat 5. Smaller hurricanes
won't trigger this event, because I suspect the insurance companies know this
is a "one shot" deal in any given state. Do it once, lose operating
certification (and the business) forever. As a consequence stiffing
homeowners isn't something they'll do lightly, but if there's a 100-mile-long
stretch of land from the coast 20 miles inland that is basically wiped clean
you bet your britches that they will. There is no other explanation for
the "split-off" game they've all played in the last few years.
My current home was here during Opal, and the house itself was undamaged
despite NOAA claiming that there were 130-140mph winds right here (their
maps for wind velocity, not mine.) Surge got close but didn't come inside.
That's a solid Cat 4 storm, by the way, if the wind velocities NOAA claims
The landscaping was totalled (salt water will do that) and the pool was full
of salt water and had to be drained and refilled (AFTER the waterlogged
ground dried out! We don't want to pop the pool!)
But the house itself rode it through without trouble.
The former owners stayed home for it.
Storms like Floyd are aberrations. When you got something that runs up the
coast like that without coming ashore you've got real trouble, in that
"rolling" evacuation orders just pile people on people. In my case
(Panhandle) that really can't happen, since there's no peninsula for people
to pile up on. This is one of the reasons, by the way, that I refused to
consider property on the Destin side (you think I want that low and little
spit of land being all there is between me and a monster? No thanks.....)
I have inland routes out of here that get me to friends homes in Alabama on
high ground within 2 hours. Provided that I am willing to go on some "false
alarms" I can button up and leave 24 hours in advance of potential arrival
without any trouble at all. The roads won't have washed out 'cause the
rain won't be falling yet. I have the luxury of being able to do that
and take the "risk" of having a nice visit instead of a storm evasion
meneuver if it turns and misses us.
If it looks to be a Cat 3 or less, we'll just button up and stay home.
If its a monster both we and the boat are putting up the shutters, shutting
down, and leaving.
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