‘It’s like someone dropping a nuclear bomb’: 2,000 companies report millions in losses

LEE COUNTY, Florida. – Speaking from a makeshift office in Fort Myers on Wednesday, Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle sounded numb as he spoke of the devastation of his childhood town.

“It’s like someone dropping a nuclear bomb on it. I’m not kidding,” Eagle told News 6. “There are companies I grew up in: Dairy Queen, mom and pop, my earliest childhood memories, gone.

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These companies match the profile of the nearly 2,000 companies that have already “self-reported” the structural and financial fallout from Hurricane Ian on the state’s Floridadisaster.biz.

“We’ve seen a lot in central Florida, a lot in the Tampa Bay area, and we know that number is going to increase.”

Evidence currently being gathered by federal investigators suggests Eagle is correct.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau has teams on the ground tracking illegal contractors and pending insurance claims in Florida.

According to the NICB, “nearly 230,000 insurance claims were reported in the State of Florida this morning, of which nearly 150,000 are homeowner and business claims.”

According to the NICB, an additional 80,000 claims relate to damage to vehicles.

In terms of overall property damage, the NICB estimates losses at more than $60 billion “based on current projections.” Insurance fraud and crime could cost carriers and owners between $3 billion and $6 billion.

While insurance villages and rescue centers have been based in southwest Florida, Eagle told News 6 the interior has not been forgotten.

News 6 asked if the state could introduce insurance villages to hard-hit communities in central Florida, and CFO Jimmy Patronis and Eagle said locations were being evaluated.

“It’s possible,” Eagle told News 6. “We’re evaluating right now. I can’t promise we’ll be there, but we’re definitely looking at counties that are affected. The governor hasn’t forgotten the interior counties.

If you need to present your business needs, visit FloridaDisaster.Biz. For rooftop assistance, call the US Army Corp of Engineers at 1-888-766-3258.

If you’re having trouble getting help, we’ll try to connect you. Just email [email protected]

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