Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday said the state plans to assist people who suffered damage to their homes after Hurricane Ian with insurance claims and called for them to be “paid very quickly so that people can get back on their feet.”
As part of Florida’s disaster recovery centers, the state will also set up “insurance villages” under the leadership of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis to assist with insurance claims, anticipating that there will be a lot of flood claims and wind claims, DeSantis, a Republican, said in Tallahassee during an update on hurricane recovery efforts.
The “insurance villages” are a site for Floridians to file their claims in-person with their carrier. The state’s preliminary site will have between 20 to 25 carriers in RVs to initially give out living expense funding, according to Patronis.
Florida homeowners had already been facing an expensive and difficult market for home insurance before Hurricane Ian hit the state, and damage from floodwaters is not covered by homeowners’ insurance. Such claims are filed with the National Flood Insurance Program, a federal insurer operated by FEMA.
“Make sure if you’re looking at claims on your property, you document that. Take photos, make sure you have it. We want you to be able to be made whole as quickly as possible,” DeSantis advised.
Patronis advised people who have suffered damage to their homes that the “first phone call” for people to make “needs be to your agent, your carrier, or to my office.”
On Thursday, he warned those impacted by Hurricane Ian to be cautious of insurance scammers.
“The predators that are going to come up, that are initially try to sign up construction management contracts, public adjusters. They’re going to come in like a bunch of locusts, and they’re going to try to hit the neighborhoods, and people are vulnerable right now,” Patronis said in Punta Gorda during a briefing with DeSantis, adding, “If it sounds too good to be true, it is.”
On Friday, DeSantis praised the “Herculean effort” from the response and rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ian, as the state works to assess the damage, restore power and get food, water and supplies to people.
The governor also spoke with President Joe Biden by phone on Friday, the third time this week as the Sunshine State deals with catastrophic devastation.
Biden said Thursday that he plans to visit Florida “when the conditions allow” and that he would meet with DeSantis, a top political rival, during his trip “if he wants to meet.”
CNN’s Betsy Klein and Chris Isidore contributed to this report.