Hurricane Ian Disaster Recovery

The impact of Hurricane Ian has been significant in several regions in Florida. We want to provide some general information for what could become a significant and complex recovery process. While communities are now focusing on initial response to this catastrophic event, we encourage all local governmental units to keep in mind the critical pieces of achieving maximum funding for recovery through what will be a long and complex process. As a Florida-based company, The Integrity Group’s innovative approach and a proven team can alleviate some of the overwhelming burden of the FEMA, HUD, insurance claims, and other critical processes. We are prepared to serve as your one resource for multiple funding and recovery solutions.

Eight Lessons Learned

After 12 years of disaster recovery funding services totaling over $4.8 Billion for local clients, The Integrity Group has learned eight critical lessons

  1. Insurance carriers typically pay out far less than they should—as they assume that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pay what insurance will not. This is a major problem as it adversely affects the bottom-line benefits received by a community and increases their costs for recovery. It benefits affected communities to obtain maximum insurance payments prior to seeking FEMA assistance, as there is no local match requirement (as there is with FEMA) and payments are usually timelier.
  2. FEMA damage assessors and project writers usually drastically under calculate damages and repair/replacement costs, sometimes actually following the subpar work of insurance carrier adjusters. The estimated value at the time of loss is NOT sufficient; the total repair/replacement costs needs to be funded.
  3. Lack of proper and timely documentation is the major barrier to maximum funding from insurance carriers and In the initial period after a major disaster, documentation of costs incurred as well as emergency procurement actions are not well documented as the focus of most local leaders (justifiably) is to work on immediate response measures. The documentation necessary for full reimbursement is much tougher to “create” post-event.
  4. Debris management, which is always one of the costliest aspects of recovery, is quite complex with many requirements that are often not adhered to—a very costly problem that leads to project disapprovals or funding claw-backs.
  5. Comprehensive damage repair/rebuild estimates drive all available funding from insurance carriers, FEMA Public Assistance, FEMA Mitigation, and U.S. HUD programs.
  6. Time is of the essence in documenting and pursuing maximum funding. Delays result in less than optimum documentation and lost funding.
  7. The fees paid to professional recovery consulting companies are critical. Price should be a major consideration in the selection decision as FEMA reimburses the affected entity a maximum of 5% of the total value of all projects for all administrative duties. The higher the professional fee; the smaller number of consulting hours available without impacting the local budget. This is important as the recovery process is complex and usually long-term. Some firms tend to charge the full 5% fee long before the projects are officially audited and closed out, creating a serious financial problem for the client.
  8. All disasters are local! It is tough to effectively lead federal and state bureaucracies to a position from which they expedite and maximize recovery funding for local communities.

The Integrity Group Disaster Recovery Process

Key Performance Values

Key Advantages

Overcoming these barriers: Key Advantages of  Integrity Group Methodology

  • Experience in pursuit, management, and closeout of billions in federal disaster recovery and insurance Beyond FEMA, we are also experts in HUD CDBG-DR, FHWA, and other funding.
  • Recent and ongoing experience with Category Five Hurricane Michael, many lessons were learned (including above). Our clients include school districts, counties, cities, housing authorities, churches, and non-profit organizations.
  • Focus on maximum recovery funding to local governmental entities from all sources (beginning with maximizing insurance claims).
  • We conduct complete damage and cost assessments—bridging the “siloes” between insurance claims, FEMA projects, and HUD grants. Our assessments are fundamental to maximum results from ALL
  • Our complete claims data provides the basis for “negotiations” with funding Funding disputes are best settled quickly with reliable data.
  • Work well with State Administrative agencies which provides the critical linkage to FEMA and HUD funding. We equip those State agencies to also fight for local agencies.
  • Manage the complexity of debris removal claims, ensuring that activity is 100% compliant with FEMA guidelines.
  • Perform compliance monitoring of all short and long-term procurements needed in all phases of recovery. This is critical as the number one reason for FEMA to de-obligate funding is a non-compliant procurement.
  • With comprehensive assessments, presentation of data, and knowledge of insurance regulations and FEMA policies, our team is well-positioned to guide those entities into a level of funding that results in success.
  • We offer a single source for all recovery service needs, deploying staff with significant experience in all areas of disaster recovery. Our Recovery Consultants are made up of: Damage Assessors; Insurance & FEMA Claims Developers; Engineers; Grant Managers; Environment & Historic Preservation Specialists; Financial Auditors; Procurement Specialists; Hazard Mitigation Experts; and Information Specialists. We offer a network of some of the nation’s most accomplished and respected professionals in disaster response and recovery. Our innovative expert assessment team develops one of the most thorough event impact analyses and assessments in the industry.
  • Generally, our professional consulting fees are reimbursed to you via FEMA Category Z claims, greatly minimizing cost to your jurisdiction.  Recovery tasks that may fall outside of FEMA allowances are discussed with our clients in advance so there are no surprises.
  • The deployment of our professionals follows a “just‐in‐time” philosophy, resulting in excellence in service and cost‐effectiveness. The complex and long recovery process requires specialized expertise when needed, and in some cases, that expertise is needed for a short‐term deployment at various steps through the process. This helps us serve you efficiently and contain costs.

Key Questions

As you begin to lead the disaster recovery efforts for your community,  consider the following key questions:

  1. Do you have the expertise and staffing to successfully position your community into the critical leadership role from which YOU drive the recovery efforts of FEMA and other involved agencies?
  2. Do you agree that insurance companies are excellent at collecting premiums, but not always good at paying full damages to the insured? Do you really trust the carriers and their agents to adequately assess and pay your damages and full replacement costs?
  3. Likewise, do you trust the temporary staff or contractors that FEMA will hire, train for three days, and then deploy to your community empowered to lead your recovery— including the documentation of your damages and replacement costs? Do you think they will focus on a concerted, strong, and innovative effort to secure maximum funding for your community? Are you aware that the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on May 4, 2020, that included several negative findings concerning the training, quality, and performance of FEMA staff assigned to disasters nationwide?
  4. Do you have a team that is very familiar with each new policy and specification contained in the 276-page FEMA Public Assistance Program & Policy Guide and the many hundreds of items in that document that can lead to the disapproval of your FEMA recovery claims? Do you realize that even years after FEMA has approved and paid a claim to your community that their review of your documentation could result in funding being “clawed back?”
  5. Do you have experienced and specialized attorneys on board to dedicate to the appeals, mediation, and possible litigation related to disapproved or inadequate insurance claim payments and FEMA projects?
  6. One of the largest disaster expenditures is debris removal. Do you have staff that can adequately oversee and implement the incredible number of requirements related to detailed debris monitoring; how stumps and root balls must be processed in a specific manner; how temporary disposal Storage & Reduction sites must be permitted, documented, and operated; how the problematic process for removal of debris from the private property of your residents and businesses must be conducted; and the many problems that will certainly arise in the invoicing by your debris contractors and their payments?
  7. Have you implemented a system or procedure to perform the following: Adequately track the efforts of your internal staff assigned to disaster response and recovery tasks; document in a manner consistent with FEMA regulations the materials and equipment you have shifted from normal duty to disaster duty; process the correct formulas for overtime and benefits expenses that should be included in force account labor reimbursement claims?
  8. Since the major justification for FEMA disapprovals and de-obligations are “non-compliant” procurements, is your procurement office staffed and capable of ensuring that all of the many contracts that will be let for disaster response and recovery tasks are 100% compliant with the myriad federal regulations, including 2CFR200.317- 326?
  9. Does it make sense to contract with a firm that can help you maneuver the many pitfalls and barriers of a complex recovery process and help you achieve maximum success?
  10. Would you like to discuss more details to enable you to consider how The Integrity Group Methodology can be used for maximum results for your community?

How can you deploy The Integrity Group team?

  • We suggest an expedited exigent contract for services, which is fully compliant with all Federal regulations. 
  • We can provide you such contract document (that we have utilized with a number of clients). 
  • After the exigent period, we can be procured through Florida State Term Contract (#84111600-20-1). 
  • Executing a contract does not result in any immediate service fees.  Service fees will only be initiated after you execute a task order.
  • Please call the Hurricane Ian Recovery Center at 850-460-3316 or email


2120 Killarney Way, Tallahassee, FL 32309

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