FSU launches stormrisk.org for one-stop property insurance information

Florida State University’s Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center has launched a comprehensive Web site (www.stormrisk.org) designed to serve as a one-stop shop for citizens, policymakers, the news media and others seeking to learn about Florida’s property insurance issues, especially in relation to hurricanes.

“Florida has struggled to address homeowner insurance issues since Hurricane Andrew hit the state in 1992,” said Patrick Maroney, the Kathryn Magee Kip Professor in FSU’s Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate & Business Law and director of the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center. “Stormrisk.org serves as a clearinghouse for the information that’s available on the issues, including past and current efforts to find solutions to the problems of insurance affordability and availability.”

By clicking on the “Our Insurance Landscape” tab on the left side of the center’s home page, visitors can learn what contributed to Florida’s current insurance situation. They also can explore the many ways the situation is being addressed by clicking on “Developing Solutions,” which takes them to five sections:

  • Understanding Insurance Pricing: Learn about insurance and how it is regulated, and find links to the laws, elected officials, agencies and task forces that oversee Florida’s insurance industry.
  • Government-Sponsored Insurance: Find links to taxpayer-supported forms of insurance and reinsurance, as well as to the promotion of federal catastrophe insurance.
  • Addressing Property Losses: Read about building codes, home-strengthening programs and cutting-edge research and engineering projects — all designed to make homes less vulnerable to hurricanes.
  • Land-Use Planning: Find links to the state and federal agencies, laws and programs that regulate where, how, and what we build in Florida.
  • Predicting Future Losses: Use these links to learn about catastrophe modeling, the most widely used loss prediction models and how global climate change may affect future losses from hurricanes.

From the home page under “Consumer Quick Links,” homeowners are able to quickly access resources that allow them to compare insurance rates, learn how to obtain reduced insurance premiums through home inspections and request insurance quotes. They also can learn specific steps to protect their homes and families from hurricanes.

The “Additional Resources” tab will take visitors to links for academic journals and centers, emergency management agencies, disaster planning resources, weather-related resources, insurance news, research papers and reports, and more. The “Calendar” tab links to upcoming conferences and events relevant to the issues addressed in the site.

Information on center research and events can be accessed on the home page, along with a scrolling RSS feed that provides links to relevant news stories. The entire site is searchable by keyword.

“This site is very well done,” said Jack Nicholson, senior officer of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. “I tried very hard to find something about Florida’s insurance issues they missed and couldn’t.”

Because the issues continue to change and evolve, the site will always be a work in progress.

“We welcome visitor feedback, ideas and suggestions,” Maroney said.

Housed within the Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate & Business Law in the FSU College of Business, the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center was created by the Florida Legislature to support the state’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from catastrophic storms.