Hurricane Irma – This is what the FMIT is built for
By Holly McPhail
Florida League of Cities
The strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean came barreling toward Florida in early September. Instead of anticipating inclement weather in isolated regions, the size of the storm resulted in the entire southern part of the state bracing for impact.
Fuel was in short supply as 6.3 million Floridians fled north from their homes. Those who stayed behind included local government leaders and first responders. In many cities, the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) was by their side with strategically located Critical Incident Response Teams (CIRTs), ready to assess damage and coordinate recovery services as soon as conditions allowed. In fact, the FMIT staged the largest number of CIRTs in its history.
As Hurricane Irma approached Florida, the FMIT’s Catastrophe (CAT) Team, which consists of FMIT adjusters and its recovery program partner, SynergyNDS, were also prepared to respond. Sequestered in the League’s Orlando office, the CAT Team ensured smooth communication between members and CIRTs. They also coordinated field resources to deliver on its initial focus – emergency response and stabilization.
Also standing alongside cities were the FMIT’s Trust Services staff to assist those members that would be impacted by Irma’s wrath.
Together, this group delivered alert notifications, emergency communications support, rapid assessment technology and the FMIT’s Turn-Key Recovery program to FMIT members. The Turn-Key Recovery program eliminates members’ upfront out-of-pocket expenses associated with an insured property loss. When the eye of Irma or one of its outer bands ripped through an FMIT member city, they were ready.
On Sunday, September 10, Hurricane Irma made two U.S. landfalls. First, in the lower Keys and then on Marco Island. It then skirted up the west coast to Naples and Fort Myers. By dusk, Irma moved northeast toward Lakeland and then on to Gainesville before crossing into Georgia. While the strong winds of the eye wall battered roofs, drove rain into buildings and toppled trees, the outer bands of the storm also packed a punch with tornados touching down along the east coast and storm waters surging onto streets.
When the sun rose on Monday morning, cities across the state were strewn with debris, without power and many without potable water. It was time for the FMIT teams to step in. After all, is what they are built for.