The Viridian Design Movement

Viridian Note 00464: Florida Is Becoming Uninsurable

Key Concepts:
Florida, Key West, insurance rates, housing costs, abandonment, involuntary parks
Attention Conservation Notice:
Same story, latest verse. More sure to come.

The Failed States Index. If we had these indices for American states, it might be pretty rough news for Montana, Louisiana and Florida.

If you've got oil or gas this season, you can make anybody's else life hell. So much for the Washington Consensus; welcome to the Caracas Consensus. Of course they're gonna nationalize the oil and gas.

In a war for oil, who wouldn't?,,1768920,00.html

Austin, "Clean Energy Capital of the World," has its power networks hammered by hard weather.

Uninsurability: a subject we Viridians have been observing for many years now. The interesting development now is that American citizens, the particularly vulnerable Key Westers, are being forced to abandon their homes due to financial pressures. They don't blame climate change, but insurance companies. Same thing, folks.

Search – Viridian Note 00289: The World Is Becoming Uninsurable, Revisited. Bruce 00289_the_world_is_becoming_uninsurable_revisited.html

Subject: Viridian Note 00022: The World Is Becoming Uninsurable ...
We are fast approaching the situation where some parts of the world are becoming uninsurable,' he said. The map shows where rising sea levels and more ...

Subject: Viridian Note 00023: The World is Becoming Uninsurable ...
A world map of Involuntary Parks would be an interesting and perhaps enlightening addition to new maps of our newly uninsurable world. ...

Subject: Viridian Note 00021: The World Is Becoming Uninsurable, Part 1 Key concepts: Weather violence, insurance costs

Viridian Note 00403: Przwalski Chernobyl As we Viridians have pointed out on a number of occasions, the world is becoming uninsurable.

This means more abandoned areas and many more involuntary ... 401-450/00403_przwalski_chernobyl.html 301-350/00334_bitter_reality.html

Source: Laura Myers, Planet Ark

"FEATURE == As Hurricanes Loom, Many in Florida Keys Flee

US: May 5, 2006
"KEY WEST, Florida == Spiralling living costs, lingering trauma from past evacuations and fear that one day million-dollar homes could be reduced to rubble or again flooded are driving people out of the vulnerable Florida Keys as another hurricane season looms.

"While most of Florida experiences one of the country's fastest population growths, the number of people living in the low-lying 180-km (110-mile) island chain at the southern tip of the peninsula is slowly dwindling.

"In the last two years, residents have been ordered to evacuate six times up a narrow, mangrove-fringed 200-km (126-mile) road, the Overseas Highway, linking the Florida Keys to the mainland.

Where in Florida do you imagine they're supposed to re-settle?

"When Hurricane Wilma swept by on Oct. 24, it flooded about 3,700 of 15,000 homes in Key West with a foot or more of water and destroyed 1,000 cars. Most residents were stunned.

"'We're seeing adjustment disorders, post-traumatic stress,' said Betsy Langan, assistant director of Womankind Inc., a health services provider. 'Because of the hurricanes, people are exhibiting sleeplessness, difficulties in concentration and are feeling hopeless and overwhelmed.'

"On top of that, property values have soared beyond the reach of most working families. Home insurance rates are sky-rocketing. And salaries can't keep pace.

"'You pay US$400,000 for a trailer that's going to be junk soon. It's incredible,' said Jose Cuevas, a moving company manager who commutes to work in Sugarloaf Key from Miami each day == a 490-km (300-mile) round trip.

(((Do you suppose he drives a big truck?)))

"The moving-out business is booming. "Clients are worried about insurance. One said, 'They only want rich folks,'" Cuevas said. "They don't want to go, but they have to."


"A palm-fringed paradise that boasts the only living coral reef in the continental United States, (((hmmm...))) the Florida Keys is the sort of island paradise that many dream about. But much of it is hemmed in by turquoise waters and the island at the end of the chain, Key West, is densely populated and usually crowded with tourists.

Link: Key West tourist trade taking hits for an interesting variety of supposed reasons.

"Home prices in the entire Florida Keys average US $846,000, and in Key West, the main city, US$935,000, according to Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate. The head-turning price of real estate, and limited land for development, also is putting a squeeze on renters as apartments and mom-and-pop motels are converted into condominiums and sold off as second and third homes to wealthy retirees. (((Key West is losing population and spiking in real estate costs at the same time. Perhaps the entire town will end up owned by a single billionaire who never goes there.)))

"We're gun-shy about going through another hurricane. We gave up on buying a home here in Key West," said Dorothy McCoy, a daycare provider who with her painter husband Denis recently left the Keys.

Keys homeowners also suffer Florida's highest insurance premiums. Citizens Property Insurance, the state-run insurer of last resort, proposed a base windstorm rate of US$20.91 per US$1,000 of insured home value for this year. ((("Base windstorm rate." Sounds like a coinage with a future.)))

"Furious Keys officials threatened to sue the state, and a grass-roots organisation, Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe, or FIRM, met with Governor Jeb Bush, brother of US President George W. Bush, in April to seek support. (((Whole nest of ironies there.)))

"Florida insurance regulators rejected the rate filing on Monday and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty froze Keys' windstorm rates at the 2005 level of US $20.58 per US$1,000, still the state's highest and two to three times as high as the rates in other hurricane-hit counties.

"Key West resident David Lane and his wife Pam recently listed their historic 186-square-metre (2,000-sq-ft) home at US$1.5 million and plan to head to Asheville, North Carolina. Their windstorm insurance premium: US$12,700.

"'If a really bad storm hit here, a big part of the value of our house is the land. What would the land be worth?' David Lane said.

"'I don't want to feel like I'm turning into an old weenie. We really love Key West, but evacuating is hard. It just gets tedious." (((I bet it does.))

'North Carolina has a long and notorious history of destruction by hurricanes. Ever since the first expeditions to Roanoke Island in 1586, hurricanes are recorded to have caused tremendous damage to the state. '


'Many residents feel the same way, and the result is a slow exodus from paradise.

'The population of Monroe County == the entire Florida Keys == dropped 2.16 percent to 76,329 in the year to July 2005. In the last five years, the county's population has shrunk 4.1 percent at a time when most areas in Florida are growing rapidly, according to a US Census report in March.

"'These are people who've lived here 20 to 25 years,' said John Strong, owner of Pak Mail, a packing and crating franchise. 'They're going to Arizona, North Carolina and Central America, seeking no hurricanes.' (((Arizona might work for that. In Arizona, though, they're not real optimistic about climate-change finance and insurance problems.)))

"Even if tomorrow we could somehow magically put an end to global warming, the frequency and magnitude of climate-related disasters would continue to rise (...) Our research suggests that for every $1 of future hurricane damage that scientists expect in 2050 related to climate change, we should expect an additional $22 to $60 in damage resulting from putting more people and property in harm's way."

"'The problem is acute for teachers, nurses and police officers. An increasing number of Monroe County sheriff's employees commute from Miami. Sheriff Rick Roth is adding 18 bunks at a detention centre which could be used by the commuters in an emergency.

"A recent Monroe County School District poll found that 7 percent of families with school-aged children planned to leave when the school year ends in May.

"'We can't get nurses, we can't get doctors,' said John Dolan-Heitlinger, an advocate for affordable housing for working professionals.

"On Big Pine Key, resident Pam Henry said she is struggling to pay US$16,000 a year in property taxes and home insurance, and is moving to central Florida.

"'The hurricanes put the icing on the cake,' Henry said.'

Story by Laura Myers

O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O

Go back to the Viridian Design home page.