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Consumer Alert:

10/19/2007

CFO Sink Activates Storm Line for Tornado Victims

 

 

CONTACT:  Tara Klimek or Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842    
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is urging residents whose homes or businesses were damaged by a tornado that struck downtown Pensacola to call the Department of Financial Services’ storm hotline at 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) if they have questions regarding steps to take to immediately protect their homes or if they need help filing an insurance claim.
The storm line was activated moments after the powerful storm hit the area on Thursday, and is active from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT.
 
“We have consumer specialists on the phone ready to assist victims with insurance and financial questions,” said CFO Sink, who also serves as State Fire Marshal.  “We will do all we can to help the residents of Pensacola get back on their feet quickly.”
CFO Sink offered these safety tips to tornado victims as they begin the recovery process:
 
• Stay away from downed power lines.
• If safe, make emergency repairs to protect from further damage; document the damage and repairs in writing and with receipts and photos.
• Immediately report property damage to your insurance agent and company.
• Gather copies of your household inventory and other documentation, including photos.  This will assist the adjuster in assessing the value of the destroyed property.
• If you must leave your home because of the damage, let your agent or insurance company know your temporary forwarding address and phone number.
• Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses. Hire licensed and reputable service people.
• If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, verify that they are licensed by calling the department’s storm hotline.
• Be sure you understand how much a public insurance adjuster is charging and what services are included before signing any contract.
• Use generators in well-ventilated outside areas, never indoors or in a garage or carport.

As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.