PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Victims of a tornado that hit the Kings Point senior community near Delray Beach last year are still picking up the pieces.
"We were the unfortunate few that got hit the hardest," condo owner Richard Martin said.
His upstairs condo is still sitting untouched after being shredded by a tornado that had estimated winds of 125 mph.
"The building permits, the insurance companies and everything else, so that's why it's taken so long, I guess, [to get repaired]," Martin said.
It was a harrowing night that saw the community clipped by feeder bands spawned by Hurricane Ian. The winds tossed dumpsters, cars and air conditioning units around like toys and ripped off Martin's roof.
"I just heard a bang. Everything was on top of me," Martin said last year after the storm hit. "I was on the floor, under the table thank goodness, digging myself out."
He survived, but his insurance policy only covered theft and fire.
"Apparently I have no claim because I didn't have wind damage insurance," Martin said.
He now waits for his condo association to repair his roof.
NWS: Tornado that struck Kings Point had peak winds of 125 mph
"They said it would probably be another four to six months," Martin said.
Just across the parking lot, condo owner Susan Berstein has her own story.
"Were you here the night the tornado hit?” WPTV anchor Shannon Cake asks.
"Oh yeah, I luckily had just gotten off the phone and had walked away from my couch into the kitchen," Berstein said. "Trees came and knocked down the railing … and everything was like sucked."
She was covered for all of the damage but said it took months to get help from her insurance company.
"I had a contractor, wonderful contractor," Berstein said. "He fixed my apartment in three weeks. It wasn't a matter of that. It was a matter of getting the money."
She said getting the payout was painful.
"They paid part of it," Berstein said. They lowballed. It wouldn't have covered everything."
Condo and construction premiums were already rising in Florida before the tornado hit the community.
The Champlain Towers south crumbled in the dark of night, killing 98 people in Surfside in June 2021.
That cave-in sent condo insurance costs skyrocketing, with older construction in Florida now ordered to undergo additional structural analysis.
So, for newcomers to Florida like Berstein, the insurance problems and costs have been troubling.
"Have you seen anything, as a New Yorker, like the insurance market in Florida?" Cake asked.
"Oh, God no, oh, God no," Berstein said. "This is a nightmare."