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Hurricane Ian - Insurance issues for barrier island residents, and efforts to help teachers in Lee County who lost their homes

A damaged causeway to Sanibel Island on Sept. 30, 2022, near Sanibel Island, Fla.
Tom James for WGCU/NPR
A damaged causeway to Sanibel Island on Sept. 30, 2022, near Sanibel Island, Fla.

Sanibel Island took a direct hit when Hurricane Ian made landfall two weeks ago. It was about 10 days before any residents were able to make it back to the island, but efforts are now underway to begin the process of removing the contents of water-soaked homes that experienced up to 12-feet of storm surge in some areas. And, the process is also underway to begin filing insurance claims — for those who have insurance.

Hurricane Ian washed out several stretches of the Sanibel Causeway, and while it's been temporarily repaired enough to allow FPL trucks and emergency vehicles to reach the island — and residents are being told they should be able to access the island by bridge beginning Oct. 21 — fully repairing or rebuilding the causeway is going to be a long-term issue.

We get a glimpse into the issues around insurance that barrier island residents like those on Sanibel are facing right now with Chris Heidrick, he is Agency Principal at Heidrick & Co. Insurance on Sanibel Island.


And, it’s currently estimated that more than 100 Lee County Schools teachers and district staff lost their homes — or are currently unable to live in them — due to damage from Hurricane Ian. Earlier this week, the district held three Days of Support to help teachers and other employees navigate these difficult times. To get an update on these efforts we check in with Dr. Denise Carlin, she is Chief Communications & Government Relations Officer with The School District of Lee County.