Disaster Recovery FEMA Public Assistance Program Management
Tidal Basin Group is the nation’s premier provider of integrated disaster recovery consulting services, providing its services to recipients to maximize and expedite reimbursement from FEMA Public Assistance grants and property insurance claims. We offer each service independently, as well as a Total Solution® package, customized to your needs.
The removal of disaster debris is an essential first step to a faster recovery. Collecting, sorting, and disposing large quantities must be carefully evaluated within all response planning activities and is the responsibility of any applicant requesting supplemental funding through the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Program, which has strict requirements for the Disaster Debris Management (DDM) process.
Our team can help immeasurably. We have managed large scale debris management operations throughout the country after some of the worst disasters, and can help eligible recipients by:
- Developing a DDM Plan (DDMP) in compliance with current state and federal funding requirements.
- Pre-selecting and training staff and all contracted resources for an efficient, coordinated removal effort.
- Utilizing our knowledge and experience of our planners, managers, and field monitors to provide the necessary monitoring to maximize FEMA PA reimbursements.
When recipients have been impacted by an event serious enough to trigger a Major Disaster Declaration, they are usually overwhelmed just trying to complete emergency measures to restore essential services without dealing with the additional burden of accurately assessing all the damages that were caused by the disaster.
Our Tidal Basin team has the expertise to assess and estimate the damages, and also the FEMA policy knowledge to provide guidance on eligibility criteria early in the application process for reimbursement through the FEMA Public Assistance Program.
- 1 Coordinate with county, state, or tribal emergency management, as appropriate, to discuss the type of assessment that is needed, timelines, and to coordinate damage reporting.
- 2 Conduct a complete, accurate assessment of damages and costs incurred to date.
- 3 Ensure damages are identified by location and type.
- 4 Document all eligible damages and begin assigning them to initial categories of work.
- 5 Submit assessments to County and State officials as appropriate.
- 6 Prepare for FEMA/State Joint PDA Teams.
Project Worksheet, Scope Development & Project Formulation
When it comes to Public Assistance advisory services and project formulation, Tidal Basin’s approach is to “Get it right the first time!” We initiate our process by conducting exploratory interviews and scoping meetings with our clients to assist with the development of a comprehensive list of FEMA eligible projects.
These efforts are designed to segment work based on available data and to assign projects into three (3) processing lanes:
- 100% completed
- Non-completed normal
- Non-completed complex
- 1 Ensure all eligible costs/damages have been identified and reported to the state and FEMA and support the client during scoping meetings.
- 2 Identify any circumstances that may require special reviews and support the client with these efforts (Insurance, environmental, hazard mitigation, etc.).
- 3 Support overall PW formulation efforts to include the development of damage descriptions, scopes of work, valid cost estimates, and identify any possible alternate or improved projects.
- 4 FEMA Grant Portal assistance and responding to Requests for Information (RFI’s) from FEMA.
- 5 Provide general insurance support/guidance to ensure appropriate anticipated insurance deductions by FEMA and fully integrate your insurance claim with your FEMA recovery.
- 6 Provide Quality Assurance and Quality Control support and general eligibility guidance.
Insurance & Supplemental Funding Reconciliation
Most recipients for FEMA funding do not have a thorough understanding of their property insurance coverage. Add to that the nuances of how insurance pertains to the FEMA Public Assistance Program and even a slight misreading of a policy could jeopardize a significant amount of the applicant’s funding.
Whether it’s a duplication of benefits issue or FEMA’s mandatory reduction for a facility located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), an applicant that’s not familiar with the policies as they relate to these types of issues could find themselves lost in a whirlwind of misinformation. Tidal Basin has the both the FEMA policy knowledge and property insurance expertise to understand any insurance related issue and can guide recipients to proper resolution.
FEMA Obtain & Maintain
What is FEMA’s requirement to obtain and maintain insurance?
When the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides assistance for permanent work to replace, restore, repair, reconstruct, or construct a facility, the applicant must insure that facility against future loss. FEMA refers to this as the requirement to “obtain and maintain” insurance, or, the “insurance requirement.”¹ In short, FEMA expects the applicant to protect their investment in local communities against future disasters of similar types.
What happens if an applicant does not meet FEMA’s requirement to obtain and maintain insurance?
The applicant will risk de-obligation of currently obligated funds. Additionally, if the applicant is impacted by a similar disaster, it will jeopardize its access to future Public Assistance Grant funding.
- 1 Confirming FEMA’s actual obtain and maintain insurance (O&M) requirement.
- 2 Assisting with a GAP analysis to determine if and where gaps in insurance coverage exist.
- 3 Working with the applicant and their insurance producer (agent/broker) to comply with FEMA’s obtain and maintain requirement.
- 4 Negotiate with FEMA’s representatives regarding the applicant’s compliance.
- 5 Assisting the applicant in obtaining an Insurance Commissioner’s Certification (ICC), in the event insurance coverage is either unavailable or unreasonable or both.
Appeals, Arbitration, Audit Resolution
Due to the often confused interpretations of FEMA Public Assistance policies and inconsistent administration of the program itself, applicants can be left with no other option but to appeal or arbitrate a determination of ineligibility made by FEMA. Tidal Basin has the experienced team to assist and guide recipients through either appeal process.
Whether it’s properly documenting and reformatting the information to prepare the appeal documents or attending an arbitration hearing with you in Washington D.C. to present your case to the panel of judges, Tidal Basin will be there. Also, if an Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendation report or audit contains negative findings, Tidal Basin has the policy expertise to counter-argue those findings to potentially save the jeopardized funding.
- 1 Try to avoid appeals, arbitration, and audit findings through collaboration and sound grant management strategies.
- 2 Formulate effective appeals and ensure they contain documented justification supporting the client’s position, specify the amount in dispute, and cite relevant statutes, regulations, and policies.
- 3 Ensure all appeals, arbitration, and audit finding responses are filed within specified timelines.
- 4 Develop appeals to establish an administrative record that will help with any possible second appeals.
- 5 Review and respond to audit findings with the goal of retaining all eligible funding.
We had initially thought we would be able to assess the damage and work with FEMA and our insurance carrier's adjusters by ourselves. It quickly became evident that we were going to need help. We realized we did not have the personnel, time or expertise it was going to take to deal with complex governmental regulations and equally complex insurance and adjusting issues, especially when it was taking all the resources we had just to get essential county services up and running again. ... your organization really came to the rescue. You delivered what you promised, and that counts for everything down here in South East Texas.
I also want to thank your organization for the outstanding service that was provided to CORSA and Putnam County after the August 2007 flood. ...The assistance provided by the your team saved a lot of valuable county staff time in expediting the request for assistance, and their expertise significantly increased the amount of recovery that was received from FEMA.I would recommend the services provided by your team to any entity who is attempting to expedite receiving the maximum public assistance that is available from FEMA after a disaster.
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