Structural Debris Removal – Insurance Cost Recovery Information

What is the Santa Cruz County Consolidated Fire Debris Removal Program?

The Santa Cruz County Consolidated Fire Debris Removal Program had two phases that are done: removal of household hazardous waste and removal of other fire-related debris.

What is the Right to Entry (ROE) form that keeps being referred to?

The Right to Entry (ROE) form is the document you signed prior to the debris removal. This form authorized government contractors to access your property and perform debris cleanup. This was the initial form used; however, we need additional documentation regarding your insurance which may have been provided to you by your insurance company.

Why am I being requested to provide this insurance information?

California state law and the Federal Stafford Act require the avoidance of duplication of benefits in administrating a private property debris removal program. FEMA is prohibited by Section 312 of the Stafford Act from approving funds for work that is covered by any other source of funding, including insurance proceeds. Therefore, State and local governments must take reasonable steps to prevent a duplication of benefits by verifying that insurance coverage or any other source of funding does not exist for the debris removal work accomplished on each parcel of private property.

Why do I need to comply with this process?

The signed Right-of-Entry (ROE) form that allowed this debris removal work to be performed stated that the property owners will reimburse the County for the cost of removing fire debris only to the extent covered in the homeowner’s insurance policy. Property owners are not required to reimburse the County more than the amount that their insurance company has paid them for debris removal. Submitting your documentation ensures proper invoicing and remittance to the County.

Duplication of Benefits, Compliance, and Quality Assurance

What does Duplication of Benefits mean?

Duplication of Benefits refers to payment from more than one source that is used for the same purpose or activity (i.e., you receive money from your insurance company for debris removal while a public assistance program pays for the same activity). Tetra Tech is ensuring that this duplication does not occur.

Will I have out-of-pocket expenses because of the Duplication of Benefits law?

No. Property owners in the program will not incur any out of pocket costs for the services provided by the program. You are only responsible to reimburse funds from your insurance company specifically for debris removal already provided and paid for by the State. Any out-of-pocket expenses you may have paid for debris removal may be deducted from the insurance amount. Retaining the insurance payments specifically intended for the services provided by the State is considered a duplication of benefits. If a duplication of benefit has occurred, then those dollars and only those dollars are to be reimbursed to the State. Please find the enclosed Frequently Asked Questions flyer that provides additional details about the program.

What type of review will be taken of any additional Debris Removal documentation?

Debris removal receipts will undergo a review process to determine eligibility. They will be reviewed with each individual policy and coverage. Deductions applied will be based on this information and to only the insurance coverage they pertain too. Below are examples:

  • CalRecycle did not remove all of your structural debris. Contractual work was completed to remove a retaining wall. This out-of-pocket expense can be deducted from your structural debris removal coverage.
  • Cal Recycle did not remove all of your trees and tree debris. Contractual work was completed to remove 5 trees. This out-of-pocket expense can be deducted from your trees and shrubs coverage.

We remain available to assist you in determining what, if any, obligation you may have to reimburse the State for the debris removal work covered by your insurance company. We can provide assistance in identifying the necessary documentation needed from your insurance company to support your compliance with the duplication of benefits regulations and requirements. Resolution can be as straightforward as providing a document from your insurance company confirming the amount of full and final payment of benefits associated with debris removal.

Contact

Please email SantaCruzInsurance@TetraTech.com with questions regarding your insurance coverage of debris removal and what is required. To leave a voice mail 24-hours a day for a return call please dial: (831) 219-3134 you will be asked to leave your Name, Property Address and Assessors Parcel Number and contact information to receive a call back.