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Articles by Jake Bittle

Jake Bittle is a staff writer at Grist who covers climate impacts and adaptation. His book about climate migration is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster.

Featured Article

A man stands in front of his destroyed house in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Matlacha, Florida on October 3, 2022.

When Hurricane Ian pummeled Florida last week, it left a stunning trail of physical devastation in its wake. Entire neighborhoods vanished beneath water, cities were shredded by 150-mile-per-hour winds, and thousands of people lost their homes overnight. 

Though the storm has since dissipated, it will bring even more turmoil to the Sunshine State in the coming months — but this damage will be financial rather than physical. Ratings agencies and real estate companies have estimated the storm’s damages at anywhere between $30 and $60 billion, which would make it one of the largest insured loss events in U.S. history.

Wind damage is covered by standard homeowner’s insurance, and the payouts necessitated by Hurricane Ian’s extensive wreckage are likely to accelerate the collapse of the state’s homeowner’s insurance industry, driving private companies into bankruptcy and forcing thousands more Floridians into a state-run program with questionable long-term prospects. The process offers an early view of the way that natural disasters fueled by climate change threaten to upend regional economies.

Home insurance costs are poised to skyrocket for all F... Read more

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