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'It's all driving up the cost of insurance': Climate change fuels hurricane season stress

'I think the early predictions of a supercharged season have people's attention,' Mary Blakeney says
Posted at 6:09 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 18:38:13-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — In the lobby of the Palm Beach County Convention Center, almost everyone attending the Governor's Hurricane Conference knows about the predictions for the upcoming hurricane season.

"I think the early predictions of a supercharged season have people's attention," Mary Blakeney, Palm Beach County's Emergency Management director, said.

Early forecasts point to a warming Atlantic Ocean and a return to a La Nina weather pattern as reasons for a very active storm season starting on June 1.

RELATED: WPTV Hurricane Guide

Mary Blakeney speaks to WPTV reporter Matt Sczesny about the upcoming hurricane season.
Mary Blakeney speaks to WPTV reporter Matt Sczesny about the upcoming hurricane season.

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"The inland flooding, the storm surge, those are all factors, and we really need to get focused on that," Blakeney said. "I think the storms over the last couple of years really emphasized how flooding and wind are a huge factor."

"It's all driving up the cost of insurance," Bob Bunting of the Climate Adaptation Center in Sarasota said.

He said the recent sea level rise of just a couple of inches has now made moderate storms capable of causing serious damage.

Bob Bunting discusses efforts to reduce insurance costs as sea levels rise.
Bob Bunting discusses efforts to reduce insurance costs as sea levels rise.

It has led his organization to meet with reinsurance modelers on how insurance can adapt.

"We're helping them think through innovative products that could help lower the risk of certain kinds of events," Bunting said. "The insurance industry needs to use the information we have about climate and where it's going to design innovative insurance products for the threats we’re going to have not the threats we used to have."

If you have a question or comment on homeowners insurance, email WPTV reporter Matt Sczesny at matt.sczesny@wptv.com

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2024 STORM NAMES

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TERMS TO KNOW

TROPICAL STORM WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

TROPICAL STORM WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

HURRICANE WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

HURRICANE WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.