My Safe Florida Home ‘blowing’ through Wind Inspections
Tara Klimek or Brannon Jordan
CFO Sink urges more homeowners to sign up for free wind inspections
More than one month ahead of schedule, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today announced that the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program has “blown” through its waiting list and urged more Florida homeowners to take advantage of the valuable service through the program. Since the program resumed offering inspections in late April, more than 50,000 Floridians who were on the program’s waiting list from the pilot phase have received free wind inspections.
After the program got off to a slow start in 2006, CFO Sink streamlined the program to provide better service to more Floridians. New applicants can apply at the MSFH program’s Web site at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com
or over the program’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-513-MSFH (6734). With a free wind inspection from the MSFH program, Floridians can learn how safe their homes are, what they can do to strengthen their homes against hurricanes, and if they are eligible for savings on their hurricane insurance premiums. Homeowners who receive an inspection through the MSFH program may be eligible for matching grants up to $5,000 to help harden their homes.
“As a businesswoman, I wanted the My Safe Florida Home program to serve Floridians more efficiently and provide the critical information homeowners needed to harden their homes,” said CFO Sink, who leads the Department of Financial Services. “We are well on our way to informing Florida families about ways to harden their homes and helping them save money on their insurance premiums.”
Any Floridian who lives in a single-family site-built home is eligible for a free wind inspection through the program. Homeowners who receive free wind inspections through the MSFH program will receive a detailed inspection report, complete with eligibility information on matching grants and estimated insurance premium discounts, if the homeowner is eligible.
In order to be eligible for the program’s matching grant reimbursements of up to $5,000, homeowners who sign up now must meet the following requirements under a new law: have received a completed wind inspection report after May 1, 2007; live in a single-family, site-built home – built before March 1, 2002; have a valid homestead exemption; insured value of $300,000 or less; and be located in the wind-borne debris region.
CFO Sink this week led the Florida Cabinet to require insurance companies for the next 90 days to recognize the MSFH wind inspection reports as sufficient evidence for homeowners to access insurance premium discounts, if they are eligible.
Previously, participating homeowners were required by insurance companies to hire a wind inspector or other licensed professional to fill out a separate form to access insurance discounts, often at great cost to the consumer. After 90 days, future inspections with the MSFH program will include a certified Uniform Mitigation Form for Florida homeowners who are eligible for a discount on their insurance premiums.
Since April 2007, the MSFH program has awarded more than 5,600 grants to homeowners to harden their homes. Nearly 250 homeowners have completed the improvements recommended in their inspection reports for a total payout of more than $680,000. Homeowners are being reimbursed for half the cost up to $5,000 on a variety of home improvements, including hurricane shutters, reinforced garage doors and roof enhancements.
CFO Sink’s goal is to complete 400,000 free wind inspections over the next two years.
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.