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Storm victims keeping insurers busy; FEMA addresses confusion over denials

October 28 is the deadline to register with FEMA
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 9:51 PM CDT
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Homes damaged by Hurricane Ida.
Homes damaged by Hurricane Ida.

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Some local insurance brokers say they are swamped with calls from customers who have damage from Hurricane Ida. As more electricity is restored in southeast Louisiana more and more residents are returning to their homes. And FEMA is addressing confusion over why some property owners are being denied federal grants almost immediately.

Dave Heil unpacked his vehicle in his driveway after returning from evacuation to a nearby state.

“We left last Friday, so we’re just back today,” he said.

FOX 8 asked Heil about the damage his home sustained. (SW) How much damage did you sustain?

“I don’t know all of it; compared to some, it’s really minor, some roof, some fencing, some soffits,” Heil stated.

He said he had already contacted his insurance company but is not sure if the damage meets his insurance deductible.

“I don’t really know at this point, probably not meet the hurricane deductible and we’ll see,” said Heil.

Holly Maronge suffered damage to her home as well and to other properties.

“We have a little roof damage, fence went down in the yard, basically that’s it here. I was kind of shielded by my two-story neighbor with a two-story house but that’s all I got. I have some offices that took on water, one on the west bank, the mid-city office in the Carrollton area, roof damage,” she said.

She also has her properties insured.

“I’ve filed six claims and heard a peep from anyone,” said Maronge.

She said she reached out to FEMA.

“I did check yesterday with FEMA, and they said that I would be receiving a denial letter in the mail,” said Maronge.

John Mills is an external affairs officer with FEMA.

“It’s not one size fits all. We work with everyone on a case-by- case basis,” he said.

Mills said by law, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments.

“If you do have serious damage, serious needs related to Ida and you don’t have insurance or if your insurance isn’t going to cover everything apply for disaster assistance, FEMA will work will with you on a case-by-case basis whether you have insurance or not because as you know, a lot of people are really hurting because of Hurricane Ida,” said Mills.

And FEMA is providing two types of rapid assistance to storm victims who meet the criteria.

“FEMA is providing money for critical needs for people who have an urgent need for money for food, water, fuel for transportation and prescription drugs. We’re also providing expedited rental assistance money people who had to evacuate to any hotel before Ida hit or right after Ida and even if people have an urgent need to evacuate right now because of the ongoing power outages. We’re also providing grant money for basic home repairs for homeowners to help them restore their home to a habitable condition,” said Mills.

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