The Nov. 30 ending of the Atlantic hurricane season marked the eighth consecutive year that Florida escaped hurricane damage.
But the state remains vulnerable to costly storms, and it's still No. 1 for insurance dollars paid out for catastrophe-related claims in the last three decades, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Property losses for Florida represent 15 percent of all catastrophe claims paid out over 30 years nationwide. Texas is ranked second at 11 percent, and Louisiana is No. 3 at 9 percent.
Wilma in 2005 was the last hurricane to hit the state. Although it's impossible to predict exactly when and where the next hurricane will strike, another big storm eventually will hit Florida, and costs for rebuilding are likely to be higher than in previous years.
When Hurricane Andrew hit Homestead, Fla., in 1992, it caused more than $16 billion in insured losses at that time. If Andrew were to hit today, estimated losses would be more than three times higher at $50 billion, III said.
"It's not merely inflation that drives up the costs," Florida Insurance Council Executive Vice President Sam Miller said in a press statement. "Florida has seen continued population growth in the two decades since Andrew hit, along with increased construction. There are simply more people and more property at risk."
The biggest storm to hit Florida was the Miami Hurricane of 1926, a Category 4 storm that ended a real estate boom and ushered in the Great Depression in the region. If the same storm occurred now, insured losses would total more than $125 billion, the III said.