Region 10 Staff Completes the Master Exercise Practitioner Program
FEMA Region 10 concluded its Regional offering of the Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP) with the final course in the three part series held June 24-27, 2014 in Lynnwood, WA. Thirty-two federal, state, tribal, county, and local emergency management and preparedness professionals participated with the primary goal of mastering the essentials of exercise program management and the overall exercise design process. Students were required to progressively build and facilitate a Table-Top, Functional, and Full-Scale exercises collaboratively in a team-based classroom setting. Additionally, students were given vigorous homework-based proficiency demonstration assignments which focused on building exercises that addressed possible vulnerabilities of their respective jurisdictions. They were then encouraged to conduct their exercise to gauge best practices and lessons learned in relation to the critical exercise design components.
The Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP) is a three-course series designed to improve the capabilities of emergency management exercise personnel in every phase of the overall exercise processes in accordance with policy, doctrine, practices and tools in the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP).
More information about EMI’s MEPP series may be found here: http://training.fema.gov/EMIGrams/2014/1058%20-%20Training%20Opportunity%20-%20MEPP%20FY%202015.pdf.
Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program
UPDATE on Insurance Misrepresentations and Deceptive Sales Practices
Recently, OPM has received an increase in the number of complaints from both Federal agencies and employees regarding solicitations from private life insurance companies and agents marketing their life insurance products to Federal employees. Because the solicitations reference the FEGLI Program and offer to save Federal employees “money off their FEGLI” premiums, employees asked whether these companies work for, are endorsed by, or have permission from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), or the Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) which is the administrative unit of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company that processes FEGLI claims.
Neither OPM nor OFEGLI uses sales agents to administer the FEGLI Program or to promote the Program’s benefits. Marketing materials offering to help Federal employees “reduce future FEGLI cost increases” are, at a minimum, misleading, because these companies are not offering a FEGLI product. As a reminder, FEGLI premium rates are fixed at government-wide rates based on age, salary, and individual enrollment elections. Federal employees may not obtain discounts to reduce these premiums.
Additionally, OPM does not endorse any privately-sponsored life insurance policies or products, and OPM has no connection with any other supplemental life insurance products marketed to Federal employees. In this regard, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Justice, OPM continues to take affirmative steps to correct third-parties’ improper and/or deceptive use of OPM trademarks, including FEGLI.
Any questionable private company marketing materials utilizing the terms “FEGLI” or “Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance” and or any complaints should be forwarded to FEGLI@opm.gov.
As a Federal employee you are free to purchase whatever life insurance products you choose. Comparison shopping is encouraged and employees should do so knowingly and not because they were misled into believing that the insurance was sponsored by OPM or OFEGLI, or because they believe it is connected with the FEGLI Program in any way.
Questions? Email: FEMA-HC-Benefits@fema.dhs.gov
For further information please visit the FEGLI website at www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/life-insurance.
“100 Percent Touch” Raises The Bar On Disaster Aid
If a customer receives exceptional service in the private sector, it’s called “legendary customer service.” Federal Emergency Management Agency Individual Assistance personnel working a federally declared disaster in Mississippi call it “100 percent touch.”
That touch on the federal disaster declared April 30, 2014 (DR-4175-MS) was responsible for an additional $2.6 million approved for individuals and households as of July 9, 2014. More than 5,000 people registered for disaster assistance after the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding struck the state April 28. FEMA is circling back with them to make sure they understand letters from FEMA and what they need to do to complete the process started when they contacted the agency for help.
For years, Individual Assistance Branch Director Jon Arno has encouraged IA applicant services representatives to reach out to registrants a second time in a review of the case file. “It’s extra care to make sure they did their part,” he said. He said in small towns hit by big disasters, the additional money can help to ensure disaster survivors stay locally for the recovery.
When disaster survivors contact a FEMA call center either by phone or mobile device, they are asked a series of questions. Survivors receive a FEMA letter based on the responses to those questions. Sometimes, the personal information reported does not pass the identity verification requirements, and the applicant may receive a FEMA letter that can be discouraging.
National Processing Centers Liaison Susan Lopez, who has watched the development of 100 percent touch, said often, when applicants “receive an ineligible FEMA decision letter or see the dollar sign as a zero, they dismiss the content of the letter explaining FEMA’s decision, or advising them on how to appeal for another FEMA review. They might miss the opportunity to have a favorable outcome.”
Disaster survivors must take the additional steps needed to continue the process, but a variety of factors – illness, illiteracy, access and functional needs, etc. – may prevent them from knowing how to take the next step. That’s where “100 percent touch” comes in.
“It’s going above and beyond,” Lopez said. “The Joint Field Office reaches out to the applicant as a courtesy to ask if they have any unmet needs, to answer basic questions and advise them. The NPSC has over the years modified letters to make them more understandable to applicants, but many people still need that one-on-one contact.”
Even if FEMA has provided all the disaster assistance it can, referrals can be made to other agencies where an unmet need may be met. FEMA’s 100 percent touch is a best practice that is a win-win for everybody.
Disaster web page, click below