WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Idalia is raising concerns about what it could do to homeowners insurance all across Florida. The storm strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane on Tuesday and is expected to make landfall in Florida's Big Bend.
Many residents are hoping that this will be a quiet and uneventful hurricane season to allow Florida's troubled insurance market to calm down.
But the storm season is revving up, putting insurance companies and residents on edge.
"Anytime storms come to Florida, now with our sensitivity in the marketplace, is not a good thing," Robert Norberg with Arden Insurance in Lantana said.
Idalia not just a problem for Florida's Gulf Coast
He has been navigating the rough ride of property insurance recently, which has included skyrocketing premiums and canceled policies.
"On our coast, they're saying, 'What's the problem?' and I have to explain to people anytime there is a hurricane [affecting the state it] doesn't matter east coast or west coast, you're going to feel some impact," Norberg said. "It may not be now, but it will be in the future as far as availability and pricing."
Last year, Hurricane Ian left a costly path of death and destruction in southwest Florida.
Norberg points out that Ian strained many insurers and drove up losses and premiums to cover the costs.
In recent years, litigation and lawsuits have paired up with storms to contribute to large spikes in premiums as insurance companies try to absorb losses.
The insurance crisis has inflated the numbers of policies, shifting more people to the state-run Citizens Insurance, which now has more than 1.2 million policies.
State officials and lawmakers hope new reforms and a break from destructive storms can get the industry back on solid footing and not hammering policyholders.
Disaster items are tax-free in Florida as state prepares for Idalia
Jimmy Patronis, Florida's chief financial officer, said he's been working to get more private companies to come to Florida and assume some of Citizens Insurance policies.
"A lot of the relief I'm looking forward to seeing come to the state of Florida, they're not coming till after November, hurricane season," Patronis said. "Why does somebody want to come and invest in a state if they may be susceptible to hurricane catastrophic damage."
The bottom line is that even if Idalia misses South Florida and the Treasure Coast, it doesn't mean we're necessarily in the clear with insurance costs.