FOLLOWING TOURS OF AFFECTED AREAS, GALLAGHER
DEPLOYS MOBILE RESPONSE UNIT
TALLAHASSEE-After touring many of the areas affected by Hurricane
Frances, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher has deployed
the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Response Unit to assist
Floridians in filing insurance claims and quickly resolving insurance
“We’ve taken another hit, but Floridians are incredibly resilient,” said
Gallagher, who has traveled with Governor Jeb Bush over the past two
days to get a firsthand look at damage caused by Frances. “Local and
national support organizations, including the Red Cross and FEMA, are
coming together to ensure food, water and shelter are immediately
available. It’s now my job to make sure insurance claims are paid
quickly and that no one takes advantage of storm victims.”
The department’s Mobile Response Unit will be arriving in Ft. Pierce
today, and will begin canvassing damaged areas. It will center
operations at the Furniture Mart Shopping Center (Old Ft. Pierce Outlet
Mall) at 2817 Peters Rd. in Ft. Pierce. The site is accessible from Exit
152, Okeechobee Rd., of the Florida Turnpike or Exit 129 of I-95.
Available on the mobile unit are satellite and cellular phones,
computers and other information resources to allow staff to assist
victims immediately, in their communities. The unit will also help
insurance agents and adjusters locate policyholders. Co-locating at the
site are representatives from the following insurance companies:
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Allstate, American Strategic,
Florida Select, Metropolitan Property and Casualty, State Farm, First
Floridian and Nationwide.
“Thousands of Floridians have suffered tremendous losses, both from
Charley and from Frances, but we will recover,” said Gallagher, who
served as insurance commissioner during Hurricane Andrew. “Our hurricane
hotline is open at 1-800-22-STORM and consumer specialists are being
mobilized in the affected communities.”
Since Hurricane Charley made landfall little more than three weeks ago,
the department has fielded more than 18,000 calls from consumers dealing
with both storms. For Floridians coping with Hurricane Frances,
frequently asked questions include: consumers searching for claims
reporting phone numbers, assistance in obtaining basic necessities and
debris removal. The department also has heard from many Floridians who
have uninsured property loss. For those consumers, the department has
forwarded requests to FEMA, at 1-800-621-3362, which can assist
uninsured residents with immediate shelter needs and also in the
Gallagher reminded Floridians who are returning to their homes that the
recent heavy rains may continue to pose flood hazards. In such
conditions, road surfaces can become obscured, causing drivers to
unknowingly steer into a deep body of water, such as a canal or pond.
Electricity from downed street lights or power lines can be conducted
through standing water, causing a potentially deadly shock. Gallagher
further advised affected Floridians to take the following actions
immediately following the storm:
· Make emergency repairs to protect from further damage, document the
damage and repairs in writing, and with receipts and photos.
· Maintain copies of your household inventory and other documentation,
including photos. This will assist the adjuster in assessing the value
of the destroyed property.
· Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses. Hire licensed and reputable
· If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, verify
that they are licensed by calling the department’s toll-free storm
hotline at 1-800-22-STORM.
· Be sure you understand how much a public insurance adjuster is
charging and what services are included before signing any contract.
Consumers who are approached by an unlicensed agent or adjuster or have
been the victim of an insurance fraud scam can also file a complaint
online on the department's web page or by calling the storm hotline.
Consumers can also continue to call the disaster hotline at
1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) and find additional resources on the
department’s website at
flyers are also being distributed to storms victims, copies of which are
also available on the above website.
Our September skyline is Charlotte Harbor
looking toward Punta Gorda before Hurricane Charley.