Volume 4 Number 6
February 9, 2007

STORM LINE REMAINS ACTIVATED

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink wants Central Florida tornado victims to know that insurance consumer specialists remain available to take phone calls on the Department of Financial Services’ storm hotline, 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676.)  

The department’s consumer specialists can assist with questions regarding steps to take to contact an insurance company, file an insurance claim or check to make sure a public adjuster is licensed.

 “We are committed to doing all we can to make sure these tornado victims get the help they need to rebuild their homes and their lives,” said CFO Sink.  She further urged storm victims to be sure to read and understand any contract they are contemplating signing with a public adjuster and to call the department if they have any concerns or questions.  

Public adjusters are not affiliated with any insurance company and are hired by the consumer for a fee, which is usually a percentage of the claim payment as stated in the contract.  That means, for example, that if your insurance company determines your home is a total loss, the contracted public adjuster would be entitled to part of the claim payment you would need to rebuild.   

To find out more about public adjusters or get help with filing an insurance claim call 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) or log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com.  The department has investigators in the area ready to respond to complaints.

CFO Sink 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.