- More than 535,000 insurance claims have been filed since Hurricane Ian roared ashore last month.
- At the same time, the Florida Disaster Fund has collected approximately $45 million in donations to aid this hit hardest.
- State officials are seeking a way to use the money to assist educators in school districts affected by the storm
Hard-hit Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties accounted for nearly 62 percent of insurance claims reported as of Monday from Hurricane Ian, according to data posted online by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
The data showed that 535,445 claims had been reported, with 191,640 from Lee County, 82,451 from Charlotte County and 56,270 from Sarasota County. Collier County was next, with 31,338 claims, followed by Volusia County, with 28,665 claims, and Orange County, with 25,612 claims. The Category 4 hurricane made landfall Sept. 28 in Lee and Charlotte counties before crossing through Central Florida.
Monday’s totals included 378,710 claims for residential property, with other claims involving such things as auto damage. Estimated insured losses as of Monday were about $6 billion, though the number of claims and estimated losses are expected to continue to increase. The data showed that 45,054 claims had been closed with payments made, while 39,717 had been closed without payments.
Meanwhile, more than $45 million in donations to aid recovery after Hurricane Ian have piled up in the Florida Disaster Fund, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced Monday. The fund is administered by Volunteer Florida and was activated after the Category 4 hurricane made landfall Sept. 28 in Southwest Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a Monday visit to a North Port elementary school that state officials are looking at ways to use part of the money to help educators. The governor said he has asked the state Department of Education to talk with school districts in affected areas about how the funds could help.
“We’re going to be working on that and hopefully be able to roll something out very soon, with those awards from the fund, to help charitable groups that are going to be focused on folks who are involved in education,” DeSantis said.