Six months after Hurricane Irma devastated parts of Florida, recovery efforts are still underway. FEMA reported on the progress being made as of March 2.
Volunteers have contributed greatly to the hurricane recovery effort. According to FEMA, 1.5 million hours have been spent by around 43 million volunteers cleaning out and repairing damaged homes. Florida businesses have pitched in too, with more than 180 companies assisting in getting help to 1.7 million people. In the interest of prevention, local home improvement stores have hosted events that provide information on constructing hazard-resistant homes. FEMA provided travel trailers and apartments to displaced homeowners in areas that allowed families to remain close to their communities. Many homeowners received aid from the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power program that allowed them to continue to live in their homes while they were under repair.
The National Flood Insurance Program has paid out nearly $855 million to policyholders. There have been about 28 million claims filed, with the average cost of closed claims at $48,500. Low interest loans have been provided by the Small Business Administration to businesses, nonprofits and homeowners. Some workers who were left temporarily unemployed due to hurricane damage were able to receive disaster unemployment assistance. Florida will receive additional funding to continue disaster prevention and reduction projects.
After a natural disaster, people who have insurance on their homes would expect to be paid by their insurance company as long as they have made their payments on time. But unfortunately, insurance companies are likely to contest claims, even a hurricane damage claim after a major storm that caused widespread disaster. A typical argument that insurance companies might use is to suggest that the damage already existed prior to the storm. When an insurance company denies a claim, the policyholder might want to have legal assistance.