Well, Eric, your first premise is flawed; “no storms with significant damage” when in fact, there have been many. Just one storm Ivan costs were in the billions. Insurance companies don’t have different pots of money for each and every catastrophy or State. That money gets spread all over when disaster strikes; earthquakes, forest fires, major floods, etc. The same insurance companies that pays for the earthquakes and mudslides in CA pays for the hurricanes in FL and any other disaster that strikes our country. ALL of those costs gets figured in when the “restoration” phase goes into affect. I used to be a Public Adjuster in FL. I did not work for the insurance company, I worked for the homeowner who was getting shafted by the insurance company. Basically their hired gun. They may have built or bought a house in 1988 that costs them $80K but because of Government mandates and new codes, EPA requirements, FEMA requirements, etc. put into place by the local and national agencies, they have to spend $300K to be “made whole” again.
I know this because I dealt with cases just like that. Some could not even build on their own property again so they not only lost their home, they lost the ability to be restored to their original position. That happened thousands x thousands of times up and down the gulf coast. Do the math. I talked to another adjuster who was called to Tallahassee after Ivan since he was both an adjustor and a well known insurance pioneer in the State. Many insurance companies lost their ASSES due to having heavy liabilities on their books in FL. You have to consider commercial properties, boats, residencial, thousands and thousands of automobiles and other vehicles. It is not as simple as collect the money and pay out the claims. Anyone that showed up with a roofing license from any State could go to work immediately. Many permits were never pulled or paid for which created a problem for people now trying to get Wind Mit. It is a royal cluster ****.
Don’t even get me started on the amount of insurance fraud that was and is perpetrated during and after these storms, I got to see it first hand as both a home inspector and an adjustor. I have a lot of friends who do the FEMA inspector thing too all over the country and they have many stories of the fraud that goes on. I know also first hand there were thousands of homes that had no roof damage but the homeowners were not home so the “blue tarp” army went down their streets tarping every home because they got paid by the house. When the homeowners returned, they had to turn in a claim for a new roof which had no problems until the tarp army rolled down their street. I talked with many roofer from out of State who were here doing the roof repairs and I heard that story over and over. Once they peeled back the tarp they found perfectly good shingles with no damage other than nail holes from the tarp bandits.
Then there were those who needed a new roof before the storm so they tarped the roof and the adjustors from the Insurance company did not question it or tear back any tarps. Just Paid it and moved on to the next house. So some of this lies at the feet of dishonest ciitzens on all sides of the situation. I have heard numerous people bragging about how they got a new roof, new generator, etc, etc. making false claims for all kinds of things. Insurance passes those costs on to their customers, just like a home inspector who has to cover his or her costs of doing business.