Many homeowners in Florida hope that a positive announcement about federal funding for hurricane damage may soon be followed by action from their own insurance companies. Hurricane Michael hit the state hard on Oct. 10, 2018, causing billions of dollars in damage to agricultural enterprises, businesses, public facilities and homes. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that, following a meeting with President Trump, the federal government had extended an offer for full reimbursement of hurricane cleanup costs in Panhandle communities.

Earlier, the eastern Panhandle area of the state had been directed to select 5 days of cleanup for 100 percent cost reimbursement from the federal government. However, following the meeting, this offer was extended to cover 45 days. The governor made the announcement in front of a building that continues to show the damaging effects of the hurricane, the Jackson County Road Department facility torn apart by the massive storm. State officials project that the announcement could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings to state and local governments.

Estimates indicate that Hurricane Michael caused $1.49 billion in damage to agricultural areas, including $1.3 billion in damage to timber farmers. Homeowners and businesses suffered greatly in the storm. Over 142,000 insurance claims have been filed amounting to $5.27 billion in damages, most of that by residential homeowners. The population in the area has declined by 20 percent due to affected families being displaced from their communities.

While the hurricane was devastating to communities throughout the Florida Panhandle, some insurers continue to delay, deny and question homeowners' insurance claims. As a result, many residents are still waiting for the funds they need to rebuild and restore their properties. An attorney may be able to help affected homeowners put pressure on insurance companies to fulfill their obligations and pay their hurricane damage claims.

Source: FOX 35, "Feds boost money for Hurricane Michael recovery", Jim Turner, 01/24/2019

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