Hurricane Andrew Fact Sheet

 

Damage and economic losses

Hurricane Andrew was a Category 5 storm that hit South Florida on August 24th 1992 with wind speeds of 165 miles per hour[1].  The storm caused damage to south Louisiana and the Bahamas, but the brunt of its impact fell on South Florida, where:

  • About 250,000 people were left homeless in Dade County alone.
  • There were 26 deaths[2].
  • 25,524 homes were destroyed and 101,241 others damaged. [3]

 

Andrew’s impact on insurers

  • Insured losses: $27.3 billion (in 2017 dollars)[4]. Only Hurricane Katrina has caused more damage in terms of insured losses.
  • Catastrophe models: Since Andrew, catastrophe models used by insurers have improved, but accurate loss predictions remain a challenge, according to Karen Clark, founder of the first catastrophe modeling firm. [5]
  • Insurer failures: Andrew was responsible for at least 16 insurer failures[BA1] [SM2]  in 1992 and 1993.[6]

If an Andrew-sized storm hits Florida again…

  • Increased population: The 2016 Census estimates the population of Florida to be 20.6 million, an increase of 51 percent from 13.6 million in 1992. About 98 percent of the total population of Florida lives in one of its coastal counties.
  • Improved building codes: Florida’s building codes were substantially overhauled after Andrew; now there is a uniform set of codes across the state.  These codes stipulate that all new structures undergo tougher inspections and be built with shatterproof glass and straps to reinforce the connection between roof and walls. [7]
  • Storm surge: Nearly 3 million homes are at risk from storm surge flooding. The metro area that includes Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach has the greatest number of homes at risk (784 thousand) and the reconstruction cost of those homes is estimated at $143 billion. [8]
  • Property exposure: In Florida’s coastal counties, about $3.7 trillion worth of properties are vulnerable to hurricanes.[9] 

 

 

Meteorological data

  • Preliminary NOAA report: Written in 1993, the preliminary report on Andrew had an extensive amount of information, however, landfall intensities cited were too low. A 2005 addendum provided updated information.
  • A reanalysis of Hurricane Andrew’s intensity: Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University atmospheric scientist, and I.I.I. non-resident scholar, says that the most comprehensive report on Hurricane Andrew was done in a 2004 NOAA paper. This paper was the justification for National Hurricane Center's upgrade from a Cat. 4 to a Cat. 5 for Andrew's landfall in SE Florida. 

 

 

Many more facts can be found here…

http://www.iii.org/article/florida-hurricane-insurance-fact-file

http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/hurricanes

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/20-facts-hurricane-andrew-anniversary_n_1819405.html

http://www.npr.org/2012/08/23/159613339/hurricane-andrews-legacy-like-a-bomb-in-florida

 

…But seeing the devastation wreaked by the monstrous storm in a video really brings the impact home

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hurricane+andrew

https://vimeo.com/56045972

http://www.peabodyawards.com/award-profile/hurricane-andrew-as-it-happened

 

 

Sources:

    


[1] Sun Sentinel, August 22, 2002

[3] National Hurricane Center

[4] Property Claims Services (PCS), adjusted to 2017 dollars by the I.I.I. using the CPI inflation calculator

[6] Best's Insolvency Study, May 2004

[7] Miami Herald, May 27, 2015

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