FEMA cuts red tape on federal flood insurance payments for Florida policyholders

CFO Jimmy Patronis said the funds are essential to helping Floridians rebuild.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has expedited access to flood insurance dollars in the wake of Hurricane Ian, according to Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronus.

On Friday, Patronis announced that FEMA had authorized the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to approve Florida’s request for a waiver allowing policyholders within the program to access a portion of their claims without going through the full claims process. Patronis and Gov. Ron DeSantis had requested FEMA waive the usual requirements.

“Today, FEMA granted a waiver that will allow National Flood Insurance Program policyholders to access tens-of-thousands of dollars upfront without having to go through a normal claims process or involving an adjuster,” Patronis said in a prepared statement. “This process cuts through a lot of red tape, and provides critical funding to policyholders who can provide FEMA with basic information of out-of-pocket expenses related to repair or replacement of NFIP-insured property.”

This program provides NFIP standard flood insurance policy holders $5,000 for combined building and contents losses, or up to $20,000 for policy holders who can provide FEMA with photographic evidence of claims and demonstrate proof incurred out-of-pocket expenses related to repair or replacement of property insured under a standard flood insurance policy.

“These advance payments are going to be essential to help Florida families get started on the difficult work of rebuilding,” Patronis said. “Make no mistake, Governor DeSantis deserves a lot of credit in getting the federal government to issue this waiver. This means a lot to Floridians who are having to rebuild their lives.”

The surge from Hurricane Ian will likely produce more flood claims than wind claimsDeSantis said Wednesday. The vast majority of flood claims are covered under the National Flood Insurance Program, run by the federal government. Wind claims are typically covered by homeowners insurance policies.

Images of storm surges of more than two feet engulfing homes and washing away vehicles in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties have popped up on social media and in news reports.

DeSantis said that while FEMA has some programs that can help people who didn’t have flood insurance, it won’t be the same as having a full flood policy.

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