“This year as we all know marks the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew,” Rep. Bullard said in opening his presentation. “They called it a 25-year storm, because a storm like that only comes around every 25 years, but more importantly, they viewed that as a recovery time that it was going to take to come back from that storm. We’ve been able to prove them wrong in every facet of our ability to bounce back and be resilient.”
That said, Bullard still stressed the importance of being ready for possible storms since hurricane season began on June 1. To everyone attending the meeting he handed out copies of Tropical Cyclones, a preparedness guide from the National Weather Service, with full color charts, photos and tips from NOAA, FEMA and the American Red Cross.
Rep. Bullard also talked about the problems with property insurance, especially with Citizens Insurance, which was established in the wake of many commercial insurance companies abandoning South Florida after Hurricane Andrew’s costly damages. He said there are still inequities in the system.
“When you have shutters; when you have burglar alarms and other safety precautions that you put in place in your homes and businesses, what you’re supposed to see is a rate reduction for your ability to prepare yourself for any future incidents of natural disasters such as hurricanes,” Bullard said.
“We haven’t seen that happen in a very significant way in the course of the last few years, so there’s a lot of frustration. But we can’t let that frustration overshadow the importance of being prepared.”
He also said that efforts were underway to reverse earlier decisions in Tallahassee that allowed the insurance companies to “cherry pick” the kinds of policies they would offer here and avoid windstorm coverage.