Hurricane Michael Prompts Closures
State offices throughout the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend are closed as the state braces for Hurricane Michael. The state’s emergency operations, of course, remain open and active. In addition, insurance commissioner David Altmaier has said senior Office of Insurance Regulation officials are working remotely as the OIR’s offices are closed for regular business.
Hurricane Michael was unknown to us just a few days ago, but has grown into the strongest storm to ever affect Florida’s panhandle. This morning, sustained winds are reported to be 145 mph, and the storm will push a large wall of water in Florida’s coastal communities for hundreds of miles.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Commissioner Altmaier held a conference call yesterday with industry officials. Commissioner Altmaier noted that the industry has shown itself to be well-prepared to handled recent hurricanes, but each new storm creates a new expectation that insurers will be there for their consumers. Several insurers have reported that their mobile units are standing by and are ready to enter the region as soon as it is safe. Early reports suggest that as many as 500,000 consumers could be affected.