President Biden to get Ian storm briefing from Gov. DeSantis Wednesday
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - President Joe Biden will travel to Fort Myers on Wednesday and get a briefing from Gov. Ron DeSantis and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell on Hurricane Ian recovery efforts.
DeSantis said Tuesday he will discuss with state Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie possible areas for requesting more federal assistance from the Biden administration.
"If there is more FEMA can do, we’ll put that in," DeSantis said during an appearance in Fort Myers. DeSantis has already directed Guthrie to request an additional 30 days on a 30-day disaster declaration Biden signed last week.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that Biden will also tour the region.
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"While there, the president will meet with small-business owners and local residents impacted by Hurricane Ian and thank the federal, state, and local officials working around the clock to provide life-saving assistance, restore power, distribute food and water, removing debris, and beginning rebuilding efforts," Jean-Pierre told reporters at the White House. DeSantis and Biden have publicly put aside sharp political differences during the response to Hurricane Ian, which hit Southwest Florida as a deadly Category 4 storm last week.
The two leaders have talked at least three times by phone about relief efforts. DeSantis expects to tour Sanibel Island in Lee County on Wednesday. He toured Pine Island on Tuesday.
Ian insured losses in Florida climb over $2B
More than 282,000 insurance claims have been filed after Hurricane Ian, totaling $2.04 billion in estimated insured losses, according to numbers posted Tuesday on the state Office of Insurance Regulation website.
Claims and estimated losses have steadily increased as residents and businesses assess damage from the Category 4 storm that hit Southwest Florida last week and continued across the state.
Tuesday’s totals were up from 222,261 claims on Monday, with estimated insured losses of $1.61 billion.
Of Tuesday’s total, 209,940 claims involved residential properties, while others included such things as auto damage. The data showed that 2,574 claims had been closed with payments, while 6,169 had been closed without payments.