No Time For Complacency

It has been 10 years since Hurricane Wilma wreaked havoc on South Florida.

That means there are plenty of newcomers here who haven’t been through a hurricane. Even those of us who went through Wilma may not understand the worst case scenario for a hurricane in South Florida.

The closest in recent decades was Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It was a Category 5 hurricane with speeds up to 165 miles per hour. I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to help do some clean-up afterwards, so I got a first-hand view. New homes in the Country Walk subdivision had their roofs totally peeled away and the rafters tumbled like dominos. Across the street, I came across a couple who came back to pick through the remains of their mobile home. There were no walls left standing. At one point the wife poked through a cupboard on the floor and exclaimed, “Honey, look a can of peas!” Yup, that’s what was about left.

While Andrew devastated the area it hit, the impact could have been a lot worse. One reason has to do with its size. Compared to the sprawling Wilma, it was a relatively compact hurricane. Parts of Palm Beach County experienced worse weather with severe thunderstorms a few weeks later. Andrew also hit on the southern end of the region. I remember picking up the newspaper the day before and there was fear that it could hit at the Miami-Dade/Broward County line.

Our story in this issue looks at some of the worst case scenarios for a hurricane hitting the region. The potential for insurance claims is incredible The story is not meant to be alarmist, but falls under the saying of “he who is forewarned is also forearmed.”

A final note for this column is to congratulate Greenspoon Marder on 35 years of growth. I’ve known Co-Managing Shareholder Gerald Greenspoon for close to two decades, so I’ve had an up close work at what he’s has been able to accomplish. While I’m used to hearing news about the firm’s growth, but there has been an amazing wave of developments in the past year. Unlike some business leaders, Gerry isn’t one to crave the spotlight and ask for a cover story, actually not even a story at all in this case, but it’s certainly a story worth telling.

There was a great opportunity to meet his counterpart, Orlando-based Michael Marder, during the opening celebration for the firm’s Miami office. As you can judge from the story, Michael turns out to be every bit as impressive as Gerry.

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