Florida Governor Declares State of Emergency in 26 Counties; Office of Insurance Regulation Advises Insurers on Adjuster Staffing, Claims Response
May 5, 2014
Following last week’s severe storms and record flooding in the Northwest Florida, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency to facilitate the response of state and local agencies in 26 affected Florida counties. His Executive Order included the following counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty, Franklin, Gadsden, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy and Alachua.
To view the Governor’s Executive Order 14-144, click here.
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) followed that action by issuing Informational Memorandum OIR-14-03M on May 2, in which the agency advised that all insurers with in-force policies in the aforementioned counties must ensure that sufficient adjusters are available to provide customer service and respond to policyholders claims.
The OIR noted that if insurers deploy mobile units or set up offices in the affected area, the Florida Department of Financial Services must be notified of the location immediately via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view Informational Memorandum OIR-14-03M, click here.
Governor Scott Seeks Federal Major Disaster Declaration
Florida Governor Rick Scott also asked President Barack Obama in a detailed letter today, May 5, 2014, to issue a major disaster declaration for certain Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) Individual Assistance programs for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.
In the letter, he outlined the severe weather that affected Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, noting that both received over 20 inches of rain, which he described as a “maximum of 600 percent of normal and a minimum of 200 percent of normal” for the region.
To view the letter, click here.
Under FEMA’s Individual Assistance program, Governor Scott specifically requested the Individuals and Households Program, which provides financial help or direct services to those who have necessary expenses and serious. He also asked for deployment of the Temporary Roofing (Blue Roof) program, Rapid Temporary Repair and Crisis Needs Assistance, but said that Florida’s need for these programs would be re-evaluated at a later date.
Governor Scott wrote that he anticipates a future request for FEMA Public Assistance programs, which include debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly-owned facilities, as well as those of certain private non-profit organizations.
He noted that additional Florida counties are expected to qualify for both Individual and Public Assistance programs.
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