Hurricane Irma Closing in on Florida

As Hurricane Irma barrels down on Florida, insurers are vulnerable to a myriad of exposures. As of this writing, all the major and minor ports serving the state have been shutdown. The Tampa,…

Hurricane IrmaAs Hurricane Irma barrels down on Florida, insurers are vulnerable to a myriad of exposures. As of this writing, all the major and minor ports serving the state have been shutdown.

The Tampa, FL port is a crucial gateway for fertilizers as it handles over 20% of the US exports, with its biggest customer, The Mosaic Company, being affected in particular – not just from the port closure, but due to the closure and potential impact on its phosphate production locations in the vicinity.

Mosaic serves customers in over 40 countries, and acknowledges that it conducts operations through a limited number of key production and distribution facilities. (Phosphates accounted for nearly 41% of the company’s revenues in 2016). The larger implications on agri-based businesses (including Campbell Soup, Kellogg, Tyson Foods and PepsiCo) remains to be seen.

Irma is also after orange juice: Bradenton, FL based Tropicana, is the world’s largest producer of branded juice, and one of the billion-dollar-plus subsidiaries of PepsiCo. The Tropicana plant is in the path of the hurricane, and its closure could severely impact production for days to come.

A quick rundown of industrial exposures at major ports follows:

Major PortIndustryPotentially Impacted Companies
TampaFertilizer, Agriculture, Food & BeverageMosaic Company; PepsiCo; Campbell Soup
JacksonvilleAuto industry (635,000 automobiles imported annually)Volkswagen; Porsche; Toyota
Port EvergladesIndustrial and heavy equipmentHurst
MiamiClothing, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, metal products, and printingSteiner Atlantic; Noven Pharmaceuticals
West Palm BeachShips and boatsRybovich; Horizon Yacht; Bahama Boat Works

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Hurricane Irma’s Forecast Cone image courtesy of the National Hurricane Center.

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