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Miami is State’s Most Vulnerable Area for Hurricane Damage, according to Study

Miami is the most vulnerable area in Florida for damage caused by a hurricane, according to a new study released this week by Florida State University.

The Miami Herald reports that the Miami area is the most vulnerable of Florida’s 12 population centers. The state capital of Tallahassee is the least vulnerable. Cape Coral is ranked fourth, according to the Fort Myers News-Press.
The Florida State University study used a new Hurricane Risk Calculator to determine that Miami can expect a Category 3 hurricane once every 12 years on average. As we reported on our Florida Insurance Lawyer Blog, Category 3 storms have winds of 111 to 130 mph.

Tallahassee can expect such a storm once every 500 years. Other high-risk areas were Port St. Lucie, Key West and Cape Coral. The Panhandle, Panama City and Pensacola were a bit less susceptible to wind. While Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville joined Tallahassee as cities that are the least vulnerable.

The list has irritated real estate agents and developers in several of the “at-risk” cities. But the State of Florida is only about 100 miles wide and the reality is that you are paying high insurance rates anywhere in the state because of your risk for a hurricane. In exchange, you expect your insurance company to deal fairly with you in the event that a claim is necessary. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Our Miami insurance claims lawyers urge anyone faced with filing a significant claim to enlist the help of a qualified attorney.

The university’s Hurricane Risk Calculator is a statistic model based on the extreme value theory — that is a theory used to estimate the occurrence of extreme events such as hurricanes Andrew and Katrina. Researchers used wind speed data from the National Hurricane Center dating back to 1851. The researchers said the risk calculator could provide important information to emergency planners, the insurance industry and homeowners.

They said Florida has sustained more than $450 billion in hurricane damages in the last century.

Florida’s top 12 population areas in order of vulnerability:

1. Miami
2. Port St. Lucie
3. Key West
4. Cape Coral
5. Sarasota
6. Pensacola
7. Panama City
8. Daytona Beach
9. Orlando
10. Tampa
11. Jacksonville
12. Tallahassee
If you are facing a dispute over an insurance claim in South Florida, contact Alvarez & Barbara, LLP toll free at 866-518-2913 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

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