Monday, June 13, 2011
CIty of Joplin video provides answers for insurance reimbursement questions
(From the City of Joplin)
Many residents have had good questions about how their personal property insurance works with the Expedited Debris Removal initiative recently announced after the devastation of the May 22nd tornado.
To help with this, City Manager Mark Rohr has recorded a video to provide specific information on how the Expedited Debris Removal initiative works for the property owner describing various insurance scenarios. One concern many residents have is whether they will incur an out-of-pocket expense for this service. The video is being posted on You Tube on the internet, and the City’s website will have the link posted as well. The address is:
In addition, there is a question and answer video. It is posted on You Tube at:
To complement this video is written information describing the initiative and these scenarios. These documents are also on the website at www.joplinmo.org
The Expedited Debris Removal (EDR) initiative allows the removal of loose tornado-related debris from private property by government-funded contractors in those areas with extensive or catastrophic damage. A map of this area has been released by the City and is available on the City’s website at www.joplinmo.org.
In order for residential property owners to participate in the EDR initiative, a properly completed Right-of-Entry (ROE) form must be signed. The deadline to return these has been moved back to Friday, June 17 instead of the original date of June 15.
“We are moving this date to June 17 to help our residents who have had concern on how the EDR program works with their personal property insurance,” said Mark Rohr, City Manager. “We have been meeting with the Insurance Commission, FEMA representatives and insurance carriers to resolve these questions, and I’m happy to say that we have some answers for our citizens.”
As required by Federal Law, residential property owners may not receive a duplication of benefits between government cleanup efforts and insurance coverage for debris removal. This means, property owners can’t have their debris removed by government-funded contractors and receive an insurance benefit for the same service. The City has established a process that gives residents a method to review to help them decide whether to participate in the EDR initiative.
“This can be cumbersome to understand,” said Rohr. “But we want to assure our citizens that the process we’ve developed protects our citizens over the long term, as well as provides a transparent system for our residents as they move through their disaster recovery. We want them to have the facts about the assistance that the EDR can provide, and how their insurance reimbursement could be affected when participating in the initiative.”
Here’s how the process works if government-funded contractors remove debris from residential private property:
A residential property owner who did not have insurance coverage at the time of the tornado will not be required to remit any funds to the City of Joplin for debris removal because there is no duplication of benefits.
A residential property owner who had insurance at the time of the tornado but has not been provided specific money for debris removal, will not be required to remit any insurance proceeds or additional funds to the City of Joplin, because there will be no duplication of benefits.
A residential property owner who had specific insurance coverage for debris removal and/or demolition will be required to remit part or all of those proceeds to the City of Joplin if the government-funded contractors do, in fact, remove debris from their property. The amount that will be remitted is either the total amount allowed for debris removal under the insurance policy OR an amount set forth in a 3-tier cost structure, whichever is less.
The City of Joplin created this 3-tier cost structure in the wake of the tornado to provide a value for debris removal in cases where insurance policies do not specify an amount. In order to determine a fair and reasonable cost for the debris removal, the City obtained and reviewed information from the following sources:
1) Local bids for loose debris removal in non-disaster related areas;
2) Insurance estimates for debris removal; and,
3) The average local cost for the same type of work performed during the past year.
The result is this 3-tier cost structure:
Lot Size Value
Up to 10,000 square feet $1,500.00
10,001 square feet to ½-acre $2,500.00
½-acre and greater $4,000.00
Residential property owners, who submit a valid, signed ROE form and whose property is within the designated area for the EDR initiative, will not be asked to remit to the City of Joplin more than the insurance proceeds they were provided for debris removal.
The City has also received numerous questions about demolition of residential structures. The City has requested demolition assistance from FEMA, but is still waiting on the final decision concerning government-funded demolition. As soon as the City has information on this area, details will be announced through the news media and website postings.