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            Emergency Info

Louisiana Flooding August 2016

Contact GMFS FEMA Info Disaster Loans Offers, & Resources
FAQ
LA Dep't. Insurance LA Dep't. Revenue

Last updated October 28, 2016 at 10:45 a.m.

The devastating flooding in south Louisiana has impacted thousands of GMFS customers, partner clients, main office employees and our vendors. Our immediate and primary focus is on assisting our customers and employees. Here you can access information on assistance and resources from GMFS as well as various federal, state and local agencies.

GMFS Disaster Assistance Team

(866) 768-7354

M-F  7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Central
Sat.  7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Central


Please Keep In Mind:

  • You should have your 10-digit loan number handy. If you do not know your loan number, continue to press 0 through the messaging prompts until you reach a dedicated claims servicing specialist.
  • We have proactively suspended late fees, collections and adverse credit reporting in the parishes declared Federal Disaster Areas.
  • Typically GMFS will also be listed on your insurance claim check and therefore require our endorsement. This is due to both federal regulations and your mortgage agreement to ensure your property is restored back to normal as soon as possible.
  • Credit Tips for Disaster Recovery - Don Clement Jr. of Credit Plus

No Flood Insurance:

  1. Contact FEMA for additional assistance options at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week.
  2. Contact U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for additional assistance options available for both impacted businesses and residents. More info is available at www.sba.gov/disaster.
  3. Use the Emergency information, resources and special offers available on this page. 

If Have Flood Insurance:

  1. Use the Emergency information, resources and special offers available on this page.
  2. Make a claim with your insurance carrier.
  3. Contact FEMA for additional assistance options at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week.
  4. Contact U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for additional assistance options available for both impacted businesses and residents. More info is available at www.sba.gov/disaster.
  5. Work with insurance claims adjuster and agree to final settlement amount with your insurance carrier.GMFS will also be listed on your insurance claim check and therefore require our endorsement. This is due to both federal regulations and your mortgage agreement to ensure your property is restored back to normal as soon as possible.
  6. To obtain your insurance claim final settlement funds as quickly as possible create a profile at www.InsuranceClaimCheck.com. Use this site to access required forms, upload documents, request inspections and track your claim status.

GMFS Can Endorse Emergency/Advance Type of Fund Checks Locally in Baton Rouge:

  • Your loan must be serviced by GMFS (meaning your monthly mortgage payments are made out to GMFS) and not in a delinquent status
  • Emergency/Advance funds checks can only be endorsed by approved, designated GMFS employees at main office in Baton Rouge.
    Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Central
    7389 Florida Blvd., Suite 200A, Baton Rouge, LA 70806
  • Approved government issued photo ID matches check presenter and is not expired (e.g. Louisiana drivers license or passport)
  • Address on photo ID matches loan property address with claim (in some circumstances, alternate verification procedures may be available)
  • Maximum amount of emergency/advance funds check that can be endorsed locally is $40,000 depending on circumstances.

Final Insurance Settlement Claim Fund Checks and Permanent Repairs

Per federal government guidelines, additional process and documentation are required to endorse your final insurance settlement claim funds and licensed contractors must be used to make permanent repairs to the home. This is to ensure the insurance claim funds will be used to repair the home per code requirements and restore its value. Your final insurance settlement claim funds require additional process and documentation for payout. As described in more detail below, these funds are issued through a draw process as repair progress is verified by inspection.

Self-contracting of permanent rebuild/repairs is only an option if the TOTAL damage costs are less than $20,000. If total damage costs are more than $20,000, then per federal loan guidelines, ALL permanent rebuild/repair work must be performed by a licensed contractor. Search Online for Louisiana Licensed Contractors

To obtain your insurance claim final settlement funds as quickly as possible, create an account online at www.InsuranceClaimCheck.com or call (866) 222-8118 M-F 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Central. The site allows you to access required forms, upload required documents, request inspections and track your claim status.

Documentation Required for Drawing Final Insurance Settlement Funds:

  1. Adjuster's Worksheet
  2. W-9 IRS Request Form for Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and Certification
  3. Contract signed by both homeowner and licensed contractor
  4. Contractor Waiver of Liens Form
  5. Copy of Contractor's license
  6. Get started at www.InsuranceClaimCheck.com to obtain your insurance claim final settlement funds as quickly as possible. Access required forms, upload documents, request inspections and track your claim status.

Draw Process for Final Insurance Settlement Funds:

  • First Draw: Maximum amount of $40,000 depending on circumstances (e.g. equal to amount of contract for repairs and minus any amount of Emergency/Advance funds previously received)
  • At least a week before a draw is needed, you should send us an email request via www.InsuranceClaimCheck.com or call (866) 222-8118 that you are ready for an inspection to verify the status of the repairs to your home.
  • Additional Draw: After independent inspection verifies 50% or more of repairs are complete, then half (50%) of remaining funds can be made payable to all payees listed on original claim check plus the contractor.
  • Final Draw: After independent inspection verifies 100% of repairs are complete, then remaining funds can be made payable to all payees listed on original claim check plus the contractor. 

FEMA Info

You should contact FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) using the info below to apply for financial aid. If applicable, contact your flood insurance company to file a claim.

www.DisasterAssistance.gov
www.fema.gov/disaster/4277

1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week
1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired

How to File a FEMA Appeal
People have 60 days from the date on their assistance rejection letters to appeal FEMA decisions.

FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) Locator

FEMA’s Find Assistance Tool
Complete this anonymous online questionnaire to get the most accurate, personalized list of possible assistance from various sources. The questions are directly related to disaster assistance. Search results include suggested assistance program descriptions, requirements and application information.

FEMA Daily Fact Sheet 9/05/16:
Topics include debris pile sorting, short & medium term housing options (e.g. "Louisana's Shelter at Home" program), Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) locations, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, etc.

Parishes Officially Declared Disaster Areas by FEMA:
Acadia Parish, Ascension Parish, Avoyelles Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, East Feliciana Parish, Evangeline Parish, Iberia Parish, Iberville Parish, Jefferson Davis Parish, Lafayette Parish, Livingston Parish, Pointe Coupee Parish, St. Helena Parish, St. James Parish, St. Landry Parish, St. Martin Parish, St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, Vermilion Parish, Washington Parish, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana Parish.

Disaster Loans

GMFS will offer information about multiple home loan disaster programs to assist S. Louisiana flood victims to purchase a new primary residence or repair their current home. Program features and qualifications vary, but each will provide helpful benefits to impacted flood victims in a Presidentally Designated Major Disaster Areas (PDMA).

FHA 203(h) For Home Purchase
For disaster victims whose primary residence within a Presidentially-Declared Major Disaster Area (PDMDA) was destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary. The FHA 203h disaster loan allows these victims to more easily purchase a Single Family Property as their new principal residence.

Home Rebuild Disaster Relief Loan
If your primary residence was destroyed or damaged as a result of the flooding that occurred in August of 2016 in Louisiana and is within the Presidential Major Disaster Area, then the Home Rebuild Disaster Relief Loan may be right for you.  This loan may allow you to easily rebuild or restore your primary residence and help replace lost/damaged furniture and appliances.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans for Louisiana Flood
Low interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are now available to Louisiana businesses and residents affected by the severe storms and flooding that began August 11, 2016. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit www.sba.gov/disaster call their disaster customer service center at 1-800-659-2955, or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
SBA Disaster Loans
SBA Business & Disaster Recovery Center Locations for Louisiana Flood

Disaster Offers, Podcasts & Resources:


DISCOUNT OFFERS:

 Flood Recovery Podcasts

 
Sales tax refunds available for personal property destroyed in floods

Free Legal Advice for Flood Victims from Local Lawyers
Aside from seeking assistance in person at local disaster recovery centers, flood victims can also call 1-800-310-7029 M-F 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.. to get free legal advice from local lawyers.

Louisiana Flood Assistance Information from Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D.

Search Online for Louisiana Licensed Contractors

Louisiana tax relief for Louisiana taxpayers affected by flooding

IRS tax relief for Louisiana taxpayers affected by flooding

State of Louisiana Resources for Flood Survivors
Lots of information and links including state programs such as “Shelter at Home”, “Disaster Unemployment Claims”, “Office of Motor Vehicles”, “Disaster Food Stamps”, etc.

Bleach Does Not Kill Mold

LSU Ag Center - Disaster Information

LSU Ag Center - Storm Recovery Guide

LSU Ag Center - Guides to Disaster Recovery
(e.g. Hiring a Mold Remediation Contractor, Replacing Important Papers, etc.)

LSU Ag Center - Guides to Rebuild After Storm or Flood
(e.g. Using Generators for Electrical Power, Build Safer, Stronger, Smarter: Elevating an Existing Home, etc.)

Red Cross - Repairing Your Flooded Home

The tips below are not considered legal advice and may not apply to your specific situation.

  • Don't throw away appliances and cabinets until your insurance adjuster can see them to know the model, features, materials, finish, etc. Make sure you keep the contents somewhere where the adjuster can see and photograph them to document your loss. Typically they must see samples of the items in order to allow compensation for them. (floor, sheetrock)
  • To assist the adjuster and also speed up your claims process, try to take photographs of the outside of the premises showing the flooding and the damage of the inside of the premises showing the height of water and the property damaged. One type of recommended photo is one that includes the insured person(s) standing by any debris pile with their impacted house in the background.
  • FEMA highly recommends that all photos of damage have a date and timestamp(e.g. using a free iPhone camera app such as "Timestamp Camera").
  • Mold is typically not covered by a homeowners policy so the prevention of mold is extremely important at this stage to avoid future health and damage problems. (Blog: Bleach does not kill mold)
  • If you have flood insurance, understand that under the flood policy issued by the government, usually out buildings which are not attached to your property are not generally covered by that insurance. The contents of those building may be covered so document the contents of any non-covered building as well (detached garage, storage shed, pump house, bath house etc.).
  • Your repairs may require things be brought up to newer code standards, so be aware that additional costs may be associated. You need to be sure your claim includes these additional costs if applicable.
  • Place all account books, financial records, receipts, and other loss verification material in a safe place for evaluation by the adjuster. Mortgage documents, tax documents, insurance documents are documents you will need to facilitate your recovery and make claims for damages. If you are unable to find these documents, you can request copies of them from the IRS, your insurance company and your mortgage company.

FAQ

Information provided as general guidance only, and may not apply to your situation.

Q: How do I contact the GMFS Disaster Assistance team?
A: (866) 768-7354
M-F  7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Central
Sat.  7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m Central

Q: What is forbearance?
A: Forbearance is a temporary suspension of your monthly mortgage payment. During forbearance, your payments are suspended for a set period of time.

Q: Am I eligible for forbearance?
A: If you have been directly impacted either due to property damage and/or financially from the recent flooding, you qualify a forbearance plan for a minimum of 3 months in order to recover from this difficult time. Please contact our Disaster Recovery Team at 866-768-7354 for assistance.

Q: Am I eligible if my employer has been impacted by the flooding?
A: Yes. If your employment status has been impacted by the recent flooding, you may qualify for a forbearance plan due to the financial impact incurred. Please contact our Disaster Recovery Team at 866-768-7354 for assistance.

Q: How will a forbearance plan impact my loan?
A: A forbearance plan is a temporary suspension of your monthly mortgage payment. During the forbearance period, payments are not required. Also, credit reporting and late charges will be suppressed for the duration of the plan.

Q: Do I need to apply for forbearance?
A: If you are in a FEMA declared disaster area and your property or finances have been directly impacted by the disaster, upon contact with us, you will automatically qualify for a minimum 3 month forbearance plan. You will also receive an email and a letter outlining the terms of the forbearance plan. Please contact our Disaster Recovery Team at 866-768-7354 for information regarding the options available to you.

Q: When will I need to repay the payments that were forborne during the plan?
A: You will be contacted towards the end of the forbearance plan to reassess your current circumstances as well as be provided information on alternatives that may be available to you. In addition, we may be requesting additional information pertinent for the review. 

Q: Do I need to cancel my automatic monthly draft if I am on a forbearance plan?
A: No. Your automatic monthly draft will be stopped when your forbearance plan begins.

Q: Can forbearance be offered for longer than 3 months?
A: Towards the end of the plan period, your hardship and financial status will be reassessed to determine eligibility for further workout options which may include an extension of the plan or a loan modification and may have additional eligibility requirements.

Q: Can I continue to submit payments even if I am on a forbearance plan?
A: Yes. If you are able to make payments sooner than the end of the forbearance, you may do so. However, you will not be required to make any payments during the plan period.  Please note: Partial Payment(s) made through the plan period will be held in a suspense account specific to your loan and applied only when a full contractual payment is available. Payments will be applied to the oldest contractual Last Paid Installment due date.

Q: Will the mortgage company be sending any documentation to FEMA on my behalf?
A:  You will need to contact FEMA directly to apply for disaster relief. If you have not already done so, please contact FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or visit FEMA online at DisasterAssistance.gov, to review assistance options that are available to you.

Q: Who should I contact regarding damage to my property?
A: You should contact your insurance company advising them of the damage to your property. If you have flood insurance and have not already begun the claim process, please contact your insurance carrier directly. Once the claim has been filed with your insurance carrier, you may contact our Claims department at 866-222-8118 or online at InsuranceClaimCheck.com/mortgage.

Q: What happens if I don’t have flood insurance?
A: If you do not have flood insurance, please contact FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or visit FEMA online at DisasterAssistance.gov, to review assistance options that are available to you.

Q: My loan is in my spouse’s name but I signed the deed at closing. Do I need to provide any information to GMFS?
A: Louisiana is a community property state, meaning that if you purchased your home with your spouse, you signed some of the documents at closing including the deed of trust. However, if you are not a borrower on the loan, your spouse will need to provide verbal or written authorization in order to discuss details of the loan with us. Our Disaster Recovery Team is available to assist at 866-768-7354.

Q: I received a claims check from my flood insurance carrier and it is made out to GMFS. How can I have the check endorsed?
A: Typically GMFS will also be listed on your insurance claim check and therefore require our endorsement. This is due to both federal regulations and your mortgage agreement to ensure your property is restored back to normal as soon as possible. Please contact our claims department at 866-222-8118 to begin the endorsement process.

Q: I received an emergency/mitigation funds check. How do I have the check endorsed?
A: Emergency checks may be referred to as “advanced checks”, “good faith checks” or “emergency checks” which are immediately issued by an insurance company before the adjustor worksheet is prepared.

 A claim check is considered an emergency check if the check stub or enclosed letter from the insurance company states the check was issued as “emergency funds”.

More information on the emergency checks process.