WICHITA, Kan. -- Kansans who suffered losses during the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding of May 4-18 should register for state or federal assistance even though they believe their own insurance will take care of everything.
Only after they get their final insurance settlement do many renters and property owners learn what isn't covered.
"You have to know what your policy covers," said Angee Morgan, the state coordinating officer for the disaster recovery. "For example, if insurance coverage does not include the expense of being displaced from your home, disaster housing assistance may."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offer assistance programs for homeowners, renters, and businesses in 20 Kansas counties designated for Individual Assistance.
Even those who are insured for their damages should register so eligibility can be determined. After an insurance claim has been paid there may be uninsured losses that could be eligible under disaster assistance programs.
"Insurance is an important part of the recovery process." said Michael L. Karl coordinating officer for the Kansas storms recovery. "But insurance may not meet all your needs, so registration with FEMA and staying in touch with FEMA is very important."
The State of Kansas Insurance Department is prepared for consumer concerns, complaints, and questions and can act as a liaison between Kansans affected by the storms and their insurance companies. If a policyholder does not remember the insurance company name or policy number, but does remember the agent or agency's name, the department will have current contact information. The department does not recognize "public adjustors," but is able to deal directly with insurance company claims adjustors if needed.
"Kansans who have any difficulty or confusion with their insurance needs should contact the Kansas Insurance Department," said Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. "Protecting Kansas consumers is our responsibility and our No. 1 priority."
The Kansas Insurance Department Consumer Assistance Division number is 1-800-432-2484.
Residents in Barton, Clay, Cloud, Comanche, Dickinson, Edwards, Ellsworth, Kiowa, Leavenworth, Lyon, Osborne, Ottawa, Phillips, Pratt, Riley Reno, Rice, Saline, Shawnee and Stafford counties who need disaster assistance are urged to register with FEMA as soon as possible by calling 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with special speech or hearing needs. Residents can also go to a Disaster Recovery Center or register on line at www.fema.gov.
Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be in the Disaster Recovery Centers to answer questions about registering for disaster assistance and hazard mitigation measures.
SBA representatives are at all of the Disaster Recovery Centers to meet individually with each resident or business owner to answer any questions about SBA's disaster loan program, help them complete their SBA disaster loan application and accept their completed applications. Anyone not able to go to a Disaster Recovery Center should call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 for SBA information and assistance or visit the SBA website at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.