BRIAN WATT: Hurricane or not, Ernesto is headed for Florida. Nonresidents should have left the Keys by now. This will certainly take a toll on tourism. But Gov. Jeb Bush advises stocking up three days worth of provisions, so the lines are long for food and fuel. From WLRN in Miami, Marketplace’s Dan Grech tallies the economic winners and losers.
DAN GRECH: Home Depot and Lowe’s are obvious winners. Every storm season, they sell plywood, generators and hurricane shutters to frantic homeowners. Grocery stores and gas stations also see a spike in sales. Meanwhile, businesses that cater to tourists suffer when they’re in the path of a storm. Hotels can be especially hard hit.
Robert Hartwig is with the Insurance Information Institute. He says hotels in Key West are emptying out.
ROBERT HARTWICK:“On the other hand, inland hotels further away from the storm may be winners this time around as they actually see people trying to get away from the storm.”
Economists have found that communities that get hit by a storm often see a surge in activity afterwards as people rebuild using insurance proceeds. In the past two years, insurance companies have injected $31 billion into Florida on hurricane claims alone.
From Miami, I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.
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