What if a Hurricane the Size of Andrew Hit Miami?

It’s been nearly 25 years since Hurricane Andrew devastated southern Florida. More than 25,000 homes were destroyed and another 100,000 damaged. At the time, Andrew was the costliest disaster in U.S. history, one that led to a major overhaul of building codes in Florida.

As the anniversary of the monstrous storm approaches, Swiss Re has released a report called Hurricane Andrew: The 20 miles that saved Miami. The report speculates what would happen if an Andrew size storm hit Florida today and if a present-day Andrew made landfall in Miami, or 20 miles north of its original landfall.

Since 1992, Miami-Dade County has population growth of more than 35 percent and huge growth in property values and asset concentration.  The same storm today could cause an estimated economic loss between $80 billion and $100 billion, of which only $50 billion to $60 billion would be covered by insurance, leaving a significant shortfall to be made up by taxpayers and governments.

If a present-day Category 5 hurricane made landfall 20 miles north of Andrew’s historical landfall location, putting its eye directly over Miami, losses could be between $100 and $300 billion.

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