Disaster declaration extended
Estimated insured losses from Hurricane Ian rose another $2.5 billion in the first 21 days of December, and losses from Hurricane Nicole another $20 million in the first 10 days of the month as recovery efforts continue. Governor DeSantis last week extended the Nicole disaster declaration for another 60 days because impacted areas from the November 10 hurricane are still recovering from its strong winds, storm surge, flooding, and heavy rainfall and require continued state support. The state has also decided to foot the bill for $25 million to help repair homes damaged in Hurricane Ian after FEMA denied the state’s request to fund it.
Ian: With recovery and rebuilding efforts still ongoing from the September 28th storm, the National Alliance Against Home Repair Fraud held a series of workshops in Southwest Florida last month for homeowners that I also attended. The free two-hour workshops covered how to find, hire, work with, and pay contractors to avoid being ripped-off. These sessions were very thorough, covering the timeline of repairs, including what should and should not be in the contract, how to set up payment schedules, relevant insurance issues, and how to deal with problems that may arise. The workshop in Estero included a presentation by the state’s Property and Casualty Insurance Fraud Task Force, represented by Greg Gilkey of Tower Hill Insurance, Mariela Pennock of Assurant, and Joe Theobald of Citizens. In other Ian news:
- As of December 21, Florida insurance regulators reported nearly $12.6 billion in estimated insurance losses on almost 670,000 claims. The percentage of closed claims has grown to 69%, with 67% of those closed with payment (view data chart here). Lee County has had the most claims reported (238,633), followed by Charlotte County (100,052) and Sarasota County (68,173). OIR is requiring enhanced catastrophe reporting for Ian for January 2023, with the reporting deadline this Wednesday (January 11) at noon.
- FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) last week reported it had received more than 45,500 claims and paid more than $1.7 billion to policyholders. It previously announced its initial estimate of NFIP losses at between $3.5 billion and $5.3 billion, including loss adjustment expenses for a five-state area, with the majority coming from Florida.
- FEMA has set a deadline of this Thursday (January 12) for homeowners and renters impacted by Ian to apply for disaster assistance. FEMA has paid out $859 million so far in Individual Assistance to residents in 26 counties for help with home repair, replacing personal belongings, rental, and temporary lodging. It’s part of the $4.45 billion FEMA reports it has provided in federal grants, disaster loans and flood insurance payments to Floridians and the state in the recovery.
- FEMA in early December denied the state’s request to expand the Sheltering in Home Recovery Continuation (SHRC) program, citing “limited authority” to approve funding. So the state has decided to fund it itself with $25 million, to go to certified nonprofits to buy building supplies to get folks back in their homes. The repairs will provide livable conditions in houses while permanent repairs are made.
- The latest estimate puts Ian’s overall agricultural damage at $1.18 billion to $1.9 billion, with citrus damage accounting for about one-third of the total.
Nicole: President Biden on December 15 approved Florida’s request for a major disaster declaration to help Floridians recover from Hurricane Nicole, which made landfall on November 10. Homeowners and renters in Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Putnam, St. Johns or Volusia counties who were impacted will now be eligible to apply for FEMA disaster assistance. FEMA is also providing assistance to the state for Category G costs, specifically for damaged engineered beaches and the costs to restore them. In other Nicole news:
- As of December 9, Florida insurance regulators reported $405.3 million in estimated insurance losses on 45,512 claims. The percentage of closed claims has grown to almost 69% with almost 64% of those closed with payment (view data chart here). Lee County has had the most Nicole claims reported (6,870), followed by Orange County (4,397), Volusia County (3,909), and Brevard County (2,948).
- FEMA has not reported any information on National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims.
- FEMA had received 3,476 valid registrations from Nicole survivors as of last Wednesday and has approved $1.8 million as part of the Individuals and Households program, of which $1.6 million has been distributed.
- An additional 51 Florida counties affected by Hurricane Nicole are now eligible for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance under FEMA’s Public Assistance program.
In our last newsletter we reported on a mysterious structure that had been unearthed on the beach in Daytona Beach Shores in Nicole’s aftermath. An archeology team has since investigated and according to WESH-TV in Orlando, it’s the remains of a wooden-hulled shipwreck from a merchant or cargo ship dating back to the 1800’s!
LMA Newsletter of 1-9-23