As Hurricane Irma strengthens in the Caribbean, Floridians and East Coasters brace for potential landfall as a Category 4 or 5 storm. Our thoughts are with those in the expected affected areas to safely and carefully prepare for the storm. 

The Atlantic Hurricane season runs every year from the beginning of June to the end of November across the North Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Hurricanes are measured based on intensity according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), this 1-5 scale estimates the potential property damage of a particular storm. A category 1-2 is considered Tropical Storms, while a category 3-5 is considered to be a major hurricane. 

If there’s one thing we know for sure about hurricanes, it’s that they are unpredictable. The path and intensity of a storm can only be predicted 36-48 hours before it hits.   A hurricane watch alerts of the possibility that a region could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours. A hurricane warning indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours.  Storms could change course and head back out to sea, or head inland and affect coastal areas.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has established FORTIFIED Home TM: Hurricane Standards to help homeowners in coastal areas strengthen their houses against these powerful storms. These include features such as strengthening roofs, protecting doors and windows and ensuring that all openings are properly sealed in the event of flooding.  For older properties, there are ways to retrofit your home or property to ensure minimal damage in the event of hurricanes, storm surges and floods.

To best understand your property’s needs, we recommend you know you understand your property’s risk.   Our FIRST Score® and Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™ property reports, available at, enable you to evaluate your property’s flood risk currently and in five-year increments over the next 30 years. These assessments can identify risk from hurricanes up to a Category 5—a critical first step will help you keep your property safe for hurricane seasons to come.

Given Irma’s potential of damaging winds and rainfall, please ensure the safety of yourself, your family and loved ones first and foremost.  For questions on how to keep your property safe, visit

Here are a few resources to help you prepare for Hurricane Irma