While not yet a hurricane and still days away from landfall, Tropical Storm Isaac now poses a threat to the Republican National Convention, scheduled to begin on Tuesday in Tampa.

Florida experiences more tropical storms and hurricanes than any other state, and in 2004 Tampa was hit by Hurricane Frances, which killed five people directly and 32 indirectly in state, and caused about $9 billion in damage. But it wouldn’t take a direct hit, or even an actual hurricane to negatively affect the convention.

“Given that Tampa is so low lying, basically a massive flood plain, it’s conceivable that the Republican National Convention would need to be cancelled,” curtailed, rescheduled or relocated,” says Howard Mills, director and chief advisor of Deloitte’s insurance industry group.

“The basic responsibility of the municipal officials would be, if there were a tropical storm so bad that they needed to order evacuation, you can’t allow an event like this to bring in additional people. It would put extra burden on emergency services and put those people at risk.”

The GOP National Convention is likely an insured event, which would include cancelation coverage to cover some of the losses.

But if the convention occurs, insurers are prepared, Mills says. “This is Florida. All the big operations have teams on the ground to help people with filing claims and loss mitigation. This is what they do. The insurance industry will be more prepared than most other actors in the relief effort.” 

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