TAMPA, Fla. — As we close out hurricane season, the state’s emergency management director says he believes this will be the most expensive hurricane season so for on record in the state of Florida.

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Kevin Guthrie, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, says the state is expecting it to take 7 years before the damage left behind from this hurricane season can be completely closed out. That means vendors paid, all issues settled, and final payment requests made to FEMA.

“These are heavily populated areas and that’s why the debris and damage dollar amount is so high. I believe this will go down as the most costly disaster in the state of Florida,” Guthrie said.

The Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state-backed insurance company, estimates that the 2022 hurricane season will cost roughly $3.8 billion. That projection is up from its $2.3 billion estimate due to litigation costs, inflation, and the massive number of claims that were filed.

Guthrie says the total is still climbing because many home and business owners on the barrier islands were delayed in returning to their properties due to either access issues or because they went out of state.

“We had a lot of snowbirds impacted by this particular disaster and they didn’t get back down here,” he said. “I think original estimates are what they are and the additional increases are people reporting damage late.”

After a monumental hurricane season like this one, Guthrie says the state is taking a closer look at their protocols and examining what they can do more efficiently. He says the state wants to reexamine the process of storm debris collection and create more standardization in the claims process.

“I want to make sure that we move forward with standardization,” Guthrie said. “I think that’s one thing we could do to move forward to help the recovery process among government is to do more standardized forms and reports that come into FEMA. That right now does not exist at FEMA or in the state of Florida and we’ve been working on that for the last 3 years.”

Issues that still remain from the 2022 Hurricane season are cleanup and reconstruction in many costal areas of Southwest Florida, erosion and damage on the east coast, and the thousands who still remain without homes.

Both FEMA and the state program have promised trailers that could be used for families in need of temporary housing. Guthrie said he’s hoping to have the first families moved into those this week.