CFO SINK ANNOUNCES STORM LINE ACTIVATED, DFS AND STATE
FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE COORDINATING ASSISTANCE
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is urging
Central Florida residents whose homes or businesses were damaged
overnight by powerful storms 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
need help filing an insurance claim.
The storm line was activated early
this morning after a powerful storm system suspected of spawning
tornadoes struck Sumter, Lake, Volusia, and Seminole counties and parts
of Flagler County. This is the second storm with tornadic winds to
strike the area in two months.
“My heart is breaking for our
citizens in those counties,” said CFO Sink, who also serves as State
Fire Marshal. “We have resources available on the phone and on the
ground and will do all we can to help these residents and communities
get back on their feet quickly.
is urging all Floridians to stay tuned to weather announcements and heed
any warnings or watches that may be issued.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is responsible for
coordinating search and rescue and fire operations at the state’s
Emergency Operations Center and has teams in those counties now. The
Department of Financial Services, which CFO Sink oversees, later today
will also announce locations for consumer assistance sites to be located
in those counties. Sink recommends that property owners take the
following actions if they suffered damage:
- 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.
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
If you must leave
your home because of the damage, let your agent or insurance company
know your temporary forwarding address and phone number.
fly-by-night repair businesses. Hire licensed and reputable service
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
also reminds residents that because of the declaration of emergency that
has been issued, the maximum fee that public adjusters can charge for
storm victims in counties named in the order is capped at 10 percent of
the claim payment. Furthermore, public adjusters are prohibited from
demanding or accepting any type of advance fees, retainers, or other
compensation prior to any payment being made on the claim.
A new rule, which went into
effect on September 3, 2006, triggers these consumer protections when
the governor declares a state of emergency. Under the new rule, the fee
cap will not expire for tornado victims regardless of when they may
enter into a public adjuster contract for a claim related to damages
sustained from the storm.
adjusters are not affiliated with any insurance company and are hired by
the consumer for a fee which is usually stated as a percentage of the
claim payment the public adjuster is responsible for recovering.
Independent and company adjusters work for insurance companies and do
not charge fees to consumers.
should make sure they are dealing with a licensed public adjuster by
calling the storm hotline or by logging on to
www.MyFloridaCFO.com to verify licensure of any adjuster, and should also
read and understand any contract before signing.
department has activated its storm hotline, 1-800-22-STORM
(1-800-227-8676), to help storm victims with questions or complaints
they may have with filing an insurance claim.