FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hurricane Ian survivors flocked to Lakes Regional Library in Fort Myers, Florida, Wednesday to take advantage of resources provided by FEMA, the state, and insurance companies at the Disaster Recovery Center.
The longest line at the center was to speak with aFEMA representative about relief assistance. The agency can begin the process of giving eligible survivors money to help cover expenses. FEMA’s assistance is meant to help people who were not insured, or were underinsured.
Many people did not have flood insurance, and the storm surge from Ian flooded their property. Flood insurance is often not included in a standard homeowner’s policy.
FEMA is also accepting claims over the phone and through a mobile app. Please call 1-800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time or download the app. To apply for relief, you will need:
- A phone number
- Address at the time of the disaster and current address
- Social security number
- List of damage and losses
- Banking information (if you’d like a direct deposit)
- Insurance policy number (if you have insurance)
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has representatives at the site to help people sign up for both the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program and the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program. Both programs are meant to help people who cannot work because the hurricane damaged their livelihoods.
About 20 insurance providers set up mobile claims centers in the parking lot of the Disaster Recovery Center. Representatives from each company will help clients begin the claims process or answer questions.
Representatives from the Florida Department of Financial Services are on hand to accept complaints about insurance issues, and to answer questions.
A representative from the office said the first things you should do after a disaster are take pictures, talk to your insurance company, and don’t sign an agreement with a contractor until you’ve talked to your insurance company.
The Disaster Recovery Center is located at the Lakes Regional Library, 15290 Bass Road, Fort Myers, FL 33919. It is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. The state plans to open more centers soon.