What hospital, residential damage means for providers post-Hurricane Michael: 4 thoughts

Some analysts estimate property damage caused by Hurricane Michael will cost the insurance industry up to $5 billion, while others project the losses could mount to $8 billion, according to NPR. The insurance industry's ability to cover these claims could have implications for some area health systems damaged by the storm, as well as for patients' propensity to pay.

Here are four thoughts:

1. While damage caused by Hurricane Michael will create substantial losses for insurers, Fitch Ratings said Oct. 12 the industry is "well positioned to absorb the losses from Michael."

2. Still, the area's healthcare industry sustained significant damage. The hurricane caused five hospitals, 15 assisted-living facilities and five nursing homes to shut down, according to The Wall Street Journal. The storm forced other Florida hospitals to evacuate patients. Panama City, Fla.-based Bay Area Medical Sacred Heart began evacuating its 200 patients Oct. 11 after the storm's winds blew out the hospital's windows and caused a section of the roof above the hospital's materials management building to collapse.

3. Large and damaging storms increase concerns about whether insurance companies will be able to cover all their claims without risking bankruptcy. NPR referenced a similar situation in 1992, when damage caused by Hurricane Andrew forced some smaller insurance companies into bankruptcy because they couldn't cover the claims. As a result, premiums increased, putting more financial strain on businesses and residents.

4. Residents are also banking on the insurance industry to stay afloat. Without covered insurance claims, patients' propensity to pay could be negatively affected. And some communities in Florida, such as agricultural communities, were hit hard by Hurricane Michael, according to the report.

"People's livelihoods depend on the crops that they have," Chris Chandler, an adjuster with Alfa Insurance in Alabama, told NPR. "This was [going to be] a good year for cotton. ... This is going to take a lot of farmers financially really, really hard."

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