Insured Ala. Disaster Victims Advised to Register with FEMA While Waiting on Insurance Response

December 2, 2004

With recovery well underway following September’s devastating hurricane, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) are urging individuals and businesses to apply for disaster assistance before the Jan. 3, 2005 deadline – even if they are waiting to hear from their insurance company or have received an insurance settlement.

“We can’t pay your deductible, but you may be either uninsured or under-insured for certain expenses or losses, or there may be other ways that we can help you,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Tony Russell. “After a disaster hits, it can take a while for people to resolve insurance issues, so we encourage folks to consider registering for help now.”

Insured individuals may be eligible for assistance ranging from emergency housing aid, grants for other serious disaster-related needs and crisis counseling. Low-interest loans are also available for homeowners, renters and businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that can be used for under or uninsured losses, including insurance deductibles. By law, disaster assistance cannot pay for losses compensated from other sources.

“We want everyone who is qualified for assistance to receive help while it is available,” added AEMA’s State Coordinating Officer Bruce Baughman. “That is why we encourage people to register, regardless of their insurance situation.”

Like FEMA, SBA urges all disaster victims to register for assistance regardless of the status of their insurance claims. Later, SBA can take into account insurance settlements received by the disaster victim and adjust the eligible loan amount accordingly. If applicants do not qualify for a loan, they may then be considered for other forms of assistance, including grants.

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