IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
In a recent op-ed published by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Brewster Bevis, Senior Vice President of Associated Industries of Florida, urges Floridians to prepare for the Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1. He reminds readers that practicing hurricane preparedness is critical to fortifying our communities and maintaining the growth businesses have experienced since reopening from the pandemic.
With experts predicting this season to be “above average,” Bevis recommends homeowners look for simple, inexpensive ways to bolster their home’s resiliency and asks leaders to ensure the CAT Fund is well supported should a disaster occur. Municipalities are encouraged to consider natural solutions to blunt the effects of severe weather.
Floridians are not strangers to the fierce and unpredictable nature a storm can have. Bevis advocates that Floridians “work together [to] protect ourselves from what is coming.”
The full opinion piece is linked here and pasted below.
Guest opinion: Prepare now for Florida’s hurricane season
By: Brewster Bevis, Senior Vice President, Associated Industries of Florida. In partnership with the Stronger Safer Florida Coalition.
JUNE 4, 2021
It is that time of year again – hurricane season – and Floridians should prepare for more frequent and more intense storms capable of devastating damage. With many businesses still recovering from the ongoing pandemic, practicing storm preparedness is crucial to maintain the momentum and growth we have built since reopening from the pandemic.
The hurricane forecast team at Colorado State University recently released their predictions for the upcoming storm season. Reported data suggests there is a 45% chance that a hurricane will make landfall on the East Coast, including the Florida peninsula. This is well above the average chance of 31% over the past century.
In addition the research indicated that this storm season could equal some of the most active years, including 2017. You may remember that 2017 was the most financially devastating hurricane season to date; it caused $306.2 billion in damage across America. In fact, three hurricanes in 2017 – Harvey, Irma and Maria – are among the top seven most intense hurricanes ever recorded.
With a hurricane landfall in Florida a real possibility this year, it remains imperative that our state’s policy leaders continue to ensure that the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund remains sufficiently funded.
This fund, along with private market reinsurance, backstops our domestic insurance industry. It also ensures that claims of hurricane-damaged residences and businesses are made whole in a timely manner. While our leaders continue to address many pressing state issues, a sound and stable hurricane catastrophe fund is a key element to storm preparedness and recovery.
Florida should also look to create universally standard building codes while supporting the small and inexpensive ways that builders and homeowners can fortify their spaces. We must remember that being prepared for a storm starts with how and where we build: the stronger our homes, the less damages they receive. These efforts can also lower the impact of a hurricane on Floridians and Florida’s economy.
Finally we should continue to brace ourselves for storms that are supercharged by a warming ocean and sea level rise. Communities should consider structural and nature-based solutions to help blunt some of the worst effects of future extreme weather. They also should develop partnerships with local, state and federal governments – and also with the private sector.
Only by working together can we best protect ourselves from what is coming. Ultimately building more resilient structures and keeping the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund financially strong are two elements we can control to limit the economic challenges of future extreme weather.
Brewster Bevis, the Senior Vice President of the Associated Industries of Florida, in partnership with the Stronger Safer Florida Coalition.
Stronger Safer Florida is a nonpartisan coalition comprised of businesses, consumer and environmental groups from throughout Florida. This diverse membership seeks to protect consumers before, during, and after catastrophic events impact Florida.