A total of 25 exhibitors and attendees whose airplanes were damaged or destroyed in the March 31 tornado at Sun 'n Fun have by now received an invoice from the show for the towing and environmental cleanup costs associated with their aircraft. In a podcast interview, SNF spokesman Jim Bernegger said the show's insurers did not cover those expenses because they consider them the responsibility of the individual owners and their insurance carriers. He said a letter accompanying the invoice recommends owners submit the invoice to their insurance companies as part of their overall claim. The total cost is about $90,000. Individual bills vary with the circumstances of the wreckage removal and the amount of oil, fuel and other pollutants spilled as a result, but all the bills are in the thousands of dollars. He noted SNF has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in tornado-related costs not covered by its insurance.
Within hours of the destructive storm, crews from a local towing company and environmental cleanup company were hauling away debris and making the site safe for the show to reopen the next day. Although there was still evidence of the storm the following day, most of the damage had been repaired and the damaged aircraft had been moved to a secure area at the south end of the field. Bernegger said that so far SNF has heard from two of those sent letters. One had actually moved his airplane himself and the associated costs were adjusted. The other had done as requested and submitted the bill to his insurer. Bernegger said no decision has been made on what to do if individual insurers balk at the recovery costs. Meanwhile, he said there have been numerous meetings and discussions about the lessons learned from the storm and new policies and procedures will be in place in time for next year's show.