FEMA Seeks Comments On Public Assistance Insurance Policy

FEMA is seeking comments from insurance companies and associations on a proposed policy which requires applicants of its Public Assistance program to obtain and maintain insurance coverage equal to the assistance FEMA provided. Comments must be submitted through the process outlined in the Federal Register notice and are due on December 8, 2014. In 2013, the Public Assistance program obligated more than $4.5 billion.

Under Federal law, applicants who receive assistance under the Public Assistance program are required to obtain and maintain insurance coverage for the peril which caused the damage for at least the amount of funding FEMA provided. The proposed policy, among other things, clarifies that this requirement extends to both flood and non-flood events and can be satisfied through a variety of options including commercial insurance, blanket polices, insurance pools, self-insurance or a combination of these options.

The Public Assistance Program provides grants to state, territorial, local, and federally recognized tribal governments and certain private non-profit entities to assist them with the response to and recovery from disasters. Specifically, the program provides assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent restoration of infrastructure such as roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and contents, public utilities, and parks, recreational, and other facilities.

The Public Assistance Policy on Insurance was posted to the Federal Register this morning. The notice and related documents can be accessed here.

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Save the Date! Navigating Public Assistance Following a Disaster

A Webinar and Live Chat Event
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 3:30 – 5:00 pm Eastern
Instructor: Kristy Barbier, Program Specialist – Appeals Team, Public Assistance, FEMA Region VI
Following a Presidentially declared disaster, federal funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program is available to help cultural institutions recover. The aim of this free 90-minute webinar is to provide an overview of the PA process to both state cultural agencies and emergency management agencies, so you in turn can provide proper guidance to affected cultural institutions.Details and registration information to follow shortly.

Note: Participation in this webinar will be limited to members of state heritage emergency networks. A recording of the webinar will be posted to the State Heritage Emergency Partnership website and made available free of charge to cultural institutions and interested individuals at a later date.

This program, the first in a series of four webinars on topics relevant to the State Heritage Emergency Partnership, is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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New Monetary Thresholds for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program

The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) of 2013 directs FEMA to implement changes to the Simplified Procedures thresholds for eligibility under the Public Assistance (PA) grant program. FEMA’s PA program provides supplemental Federal disaster grant assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and certain types of private nonprofit organizations for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged facilities.

FEMA determined that a change in the thresholds for Simplified Procedures would benefit grantees and sub-grantees, specifically raising the Simplified Procedures maximum threshold to $120,000 (from $68,5000) and raising the minimum threshold for project eligibility to $3,000 (from $1,000), thereby eliminating much of the administrative burden placed on larger projects. Both threshold amounts will be revised annually to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI) published by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Final Rule is effective February 26, 2014.

More Support for Your State Partnership

Heritage Preservation has been awarded an off-cycle grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to provide additional training and guidance to the 23 state heritage emergency partnerships that were launched at three forums this past spring. As part of the new grant, Heritage Preservation will host four two-hour webinars in 2014 on the following topics:

How an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Operates
Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning
Mitigation and the Mitigation Planning Process
Navigating Public Assistance Following a Disaster

We would love to draw from forum emergency managers to help us present these webinars; you are the experts, not us. If your area of expertise is in one of the above topics and you’re interested in sharing your knowledge, please let Lori Foley know. We’ll even pay you an honorarium.

And we’ll keep all of you posted as planning proceeds.