Research & Commentary: Windstorm Insurance on the Atlantic Coast

Published August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene appears likely to make landfall in the United States sometime in the next few days. The storm, predicted to become a “major hurricane” by the end of the week, may hit both Florida and North Carolina. If it is as big as some forecasters predict, it will be the first major hurricane to hit the United States in five years. Different states in the Hurricane’s path have reacted to the storm in very different ways. The following is a selection of Heartland research on the states of Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina. New Florida Study: Solutions for Restoring Florida’s Property Insurance Market This paper, a James Madison Institute Backgrounder by Eli Lehrer, Vice President at The Heartland Institute, examines Florida’s property and casualty insurance environment and its unique challenges and makes several recommendations for how Gov. Rick Scott and the new Florida legislature can change Florida’s current insurance policies to solve the state’s growing insurance problems. North Carolina’s Beach Plan: Who pays for Coastal Property Insurance? This paper from the John Locke Foundation examines the state’s Beach Plan and provides a plan for stabilization which would return the Beach Plan to its intended place as a true market of last resort for people who cannot find insurance anywhere else. South Carolina’s Omnibus Coastal Insurance Reform Legislation: Baby Steps in the Right Direction This paper describes the reforms in South Carolina and sketches out a plan to move towards a truly free market for wind insurance in South Carolina or elsewhere. Insurers, Regulators Spar Over Hurricane Risks In this article from Finance, Insurance and Real Estate News, I discuss the struggle between insurers in Florida and state regulators over how windstorm insurance regulations insurance work and how they affect the insurance market. Florida Bill Would Free up State’s Ailing Insurance Market This article by Arin Greenwood of Out of the Storm News discusses an insurance reform bill that would change the regulation controlling how insurers provide mitigation credits and replacement values. Property Insurance Solutions to Protect Homeowners, Taxpayers, and Florida Government from Financial Devastation During its 2010 session, the Florida Legislature could build on the progress it made during 2009 by continuing efforts to revise the state’s laws and reduce the state’s fiscal peril. This paper aims to explain why and how the Legislature and the state’s other elected leaders might go about doing this. Florida Can’t Afford Insurance Tax Plan This editorial by Eli Lehrer and Sean M. Shaw examines a recent tax proposal that would have changed how insurance companies purchase reinsurance and its effect on the Florida insurance market. Florida Needs Property Insurance Reform In this article Arin Greenwood discusses a new report from Insurance company rating firm Demotech, Inc. which examines the failures of three Florida property insurance writers. The report, “Recent Developments in the Florida Property Insurance Market,” highlights the need for meaningful reform in Florida’s property insurance market. Hurricanes: Florida’s Fund Can Be Repaired In this Jacksonville Times-Union editorial, Eli Lehrer argues that opportunities to reform Florida’s catastrophe fund do exist, and should be considered before the state faces a storm it cannot afford.