Hurricane Victims Seeking $200M
Oct. 25, 1999
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Florida property owners are seeking at least $200 million to cover damage caused by Hurricane Irene _ and that doesn't include crop damage that could total more than $400 million.
Insurance companies will pay an estimated $100 million to cover damage by Hurricane Irene to homes and businesses, not including damage from flooding, an industry group reported Monday.
An additional 6,200 claims for insured flood damage _ amounting to another $100 million _ will be covered by the federal government's National Flood Insurance Program.
Floridians are expected to file more than 60,000 claims for personal and commercial property loss and auto damage related to the storm, according to a report from the New York-based Insurance Services Office Inc., which calculates loss figures for the insurance industry.
Irene blew in from the Caribbean earlier this month, dumping more than 18 inches of rain on some parts of the state and causing widespread flooding in South Florida. Six people died in the storm, including five people in Broward County who were electrocuted by downed power lines submerged in flood water.
Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford said Monday that Irene destroyed an estimated 15 percent to 20 percent of the state's fresh citrus crop and as much as 90 percent of the winter vegetables growing in six counties.
``An early conservative estimate puts the loss of crops and farm infrastructure at nearly $400 million in the six counties alone,'' Crawford said in a letter to Gov. Jeb Bush. Crawford is seeking federal assistance for Florida farmers hit by the storm.
Estimates of crop damage were still being made in the rest of the state. Those figures are not included in the insurance industry projections.
Last month, Hurricane Floyd caused about $50 million in insured damage in Florida. That storm stayed off Florida's coast, and caused far more damage in the Carolinas.
In contrast to the expected $200 million in losses for Irene, Hurricane Andrew cost insurers $16 billion in 1992, leading many home insurers to flee the state.
Last year, Hurricane Georges caused $340 million in insured losses.