Law360 – Fla. Real Estate Attys See Lengthy Rebuild From Hurricane Ian (September 29, 2022)
By Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L. October 4, 2022
Fla. Real Estate Attys See Lengthy Rebuild From Hurricane Ian
By Nathan Hale
On Thursday, Florida started the painful process of assessing damage wrought by Hurricane Ian, which slammed into the state’s southwest coast Wednesday with 150 mile-per-hour winds and what the governor described as “biblical” surges of seawater, even as the storm continued to churn through its northeastern corner and set a course toward Georgia and South Carolina.
Cautioning that it will be some time before there is a clear measure of the loss of both life and property, several real estate attorneys based in the state offered Law360 their perspective on how Ian compares to past hurricanes and how current issues affecting the real estate, construction and insurance industries and the broader economy may affect rebuilding and recovery efforts.
Insurance is another major area of concern. Florida’s property insurance market has been on the cusp of, if not already in, a state of crisis, with several insurers having either gone out of business or pulled out of the state in recent years. The attorneys said insurers are almost certain to take a big hit from Ian, and expressed concerns about how quickly they will pay claims, or if some will even have the funds to do so.
“The insurance carriers that remain and that are either Florida-only insurers or those that have a high concentration of policies in the impacted areas could easily be pushed into insolvency, which will make it difficult for people to collect on their claims,” Marko Cerenko, a shareholder with Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine, said.
Cerenko added that the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Co., which covers homeowners unable to get coverage, has seen its ranks increase by 25% over the past year and could potentially assess Florida residents if it is unable to cover its claims.