The state of Florida's hurricane insurance strategy was built around assumptions of high hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin. But for many years, actual storm incidence has largely fallen short of those assumptions. As another slow storm season draws to a close, Florida's insurance industry finds itself in unexpectedly strong fiscal condition.
The Tampa Tribune has this Associated Press report: ("Fla. hurricane fund still strong at end of season"). "The state-created fund that backs up private insurers in Florida remains in the best financial shape it has been since it was created 20 years ago," the report says. "Jack Nicholson, executive director of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, said the fund remains strong since it has nearly $10 billion available in cash after years of no storms hitting the Sunshine State. 'We're in as strong as a position as we have ever been in,' Nicholson said."
That's good news. But wait a minute—didn't experts expect a busy hurricane season this year? Yes they did. So what's the explanation? According to a report in National Geographic, hot air is to blame ("Why Scientists Were Wrong About This Year's Hurricane Season," by Willie Drye).
National Geographic reports: "A high-pressure system known as the Azores-Bermuda High that often parks over the Atlantic Ocean during the summer is the reason so much dry air has moved over the Atlantic, scientists say. The Azores-Bermuda High often has a significant influence on the direction tropical storms take as they move northward. But this year, that high-pressure system pumped dry air from the Sahara over the Atlantic, and that air quashed tropical storm formation, said meteorologist Jeff Masters, director of the private weather forecasting website Weather Underground. In addition, an extreme drought in Brazil is creating more dry air over the Atlantic, and that also helped suppress tropical storm formation, Masters said."