Hurricane Ian, the ninth named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, revealed in horrific detail the risks that floods and major storms can bring. Ian formed in the Atlantic in late September and eventually strengthened to a massive Category 4 storm. By the time it carved a path across the Florida peninsula, the storm caused major devastation — and the amount of utter destruction and loss of life it brought caught many Floridians by surprise. Here are some of the difficult lessons Ian taught.
It’s about wind speed — and storm speed. While wind was a major factor in coastal impacts, Ian demonstrated that a slow-moving rain event can cause major flood damage even without high, sustained winds. That’s why it’s important to never assume you’ll be OK because a hurricane is “just a Cat 1.” Even as the worst of the winds started to dissipate, Ian caused major damage as it slogged across Florida as slow as 8-to-10 miles per hour, allowing the rain to continue to accumulate in the areas it slowly moved through.
Concern beyond the projected path. Much of Ian’s flood damage occurred in areas not directly in its projected track. A storm’s path can rapidly and continuously change as it approaches — as Ian’s did. When preparing for the arrival of a major weather event, it can be easy to focus on spaghetti models and storm path projection cones. Damage, especially from a cyclone as large as Ian, can be far reaching. A staggering 500-mile-wide storm with hurricane-force winds extending out about 240 miles from the eye, Ian caused destruction far from its projected path.
Never say never. Many communities impacted by Ian had never seen flood damage from other major storms. Don’t assume that just because you haven’t had an issue before that you never will. Be prepared and secure adequate insurance protection for your property.
Have an emergency plan. As Ian showed, flooding can happen in an instant. One minute you’re fine and the next, water could be seeping in under your door. That’s why it’s so important to have an emergency plan and supplies in place. Ian was the deadliest hurricane to strike Florida since the Labor Day storm of 1935, which left more than 400 fatalities in its wake. Your emergency plan could be what helps you and your family survive the next major hurricane.
Consider flood insurance. Ian showed that more people need flood insurance than currently have it. Estimates have indicated that less than 20% of Floridians in vulnerable areas had flood insurance before the storm hit. Every property owner should evaluate their need for flood insurance in consultation with a qualified insurance professional. Your local We Insure agent can assist you. Remember, you don’t need to live in a flood zone to sustain catastrophic flood damage.
Coastal vulnerabilities. In addition to inland flood damage, coastal areas suffered a severe impact as storm surge eroded and washed out the coastline, undermining the foundation of homes along the ocean. Homeowners along the coast must make sure they are adequately insured and take extra precautions in the event of major storms.
Service matters. Having an insurer that provides good service in a crisis is essential. While price is always an important consideration, it’s probably not going to be what you’re most focused on in the midst of a catastrophe. The We Insure Source & Solve support team immediately deployed to areas deeply impacted by Ian. Our crisis team provided direct relief and claim assistance to affected homeowners. When disaster strikes, you want to work with an insurer that is willing to go over and above to help make you whole again. We Insure does this time and time again, as depicted in our powerful documentary, “We Insure: Beyond the Policy”, which conveys the impacts of Hurricane Ian and how We Insure looked beyond the policies to the people behind them.
Take Ian’s Lessons to Heart
We Insure can help you secure homeowners and flood insurance to help protect you in the event of a covered loss. Our experienced agents will look at your property and individual needs and recommend coverage from top-rated insurers in your area. We’ll take the time to answer your questions — and we’ll be there for you should you ever need to file a claim.
Take Ian’s lessons to heart by preparing for the next big storm that hopefully never comes your way.
The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations. We Insure makes no guarantees of results from the use of this information.