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CFO Sink Announces My Safe Florida Home Fair to Be Held in Pensacola Saturday

9/13/2007

CONTACT: 
Cliff Long      or     Brannon Jordan
(850) 453-7800     (850) 413-2842     
 
PENSACOLA – Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program is partnering with Escambia County non-profit organizations and businesses to hold a fair designed to raise awareness about the safety and financial incentives of mitigation.
 
The MSFH fair will take place at the Pensacola Civic Center on September 15, 2007, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  CFO Sink is hosting the fair with the Escambia County Commission, Gulf Power Corporation and WEAR-TV.  More than 50 hurricane-preparedness exhibits will be on display at the fair, and all exhibits and workshops are free to the public. 
“We are taking the My Safe Florida Home program on the road to educate Florida homeowners about the importance of mitigation,” said CFO Sink who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “I encourage every homeowner in Northwest Florida to apply for their free wind inspection and see if they are eligible for discounts on their windstorm insurance.”
 
Representatives from the MSFH program will be on hand to sign up eligible homeowners for their free wind inspections.  Last week, CFO Sink reported that nearly 75 percent of homeowners who have received inspections from the MSFH program have learned they are eligible for a discount of 16.3 percent on their wind insurance premiums.  Savings vary by region, and through the program, 1,652 Escambia County residents have learned they are eligible to receive an average windstorm insurance discount of 20 percent or $253.66 annually.
 
Insurance company representatives will also be at the fair to assist homeowners in understanding which hurricane-resistance measures will best protect their homes and how policyholders can apply for discounts on their insurance premiums. By law, insurance companies are required to offer policyholders discounts on the wind-coverage portion of their homeowner policy premiums for specific measures that reduce their homes’ exposure to windstorm damage.  Homeowners are encouraged to bring insurance documentation to obtain information on possible insurance savings through the program.
 
To date, the MSFH program has completed more than 90,000 free wind inspections. More than 109,000 Florida homeowners have signed up for free wind inspections through the program, signifying the program has exceeded 25 percent of its long-term goal of 400,000 free wind inspections in the next two years.  More than 9,500 homeowners statewide have been approved to receive matching grants to make the improvements recommended on their inspection reports.  To date, more than 1,000 homeowners have received matching grants totaling more than $3.1 million. 
 
Any Floridian who lives in a single-family, site-built home is eligible for a free wind inspection through the MSFH program, which helps Floridians identify how they can strengthen their homes and reduces the overall potential for hurricane damage in our state.
 
Floridians can apply on-line at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com or by calling the program toll-free at 1-866-513-6734. Homeowners who receive free wind inspections through the MSFH program will receive a detailed inspection report, complete with additional information on estimated insurance premium discounts, if insurance information is provided at the time they applied.
 
Additionally, some Florida homeowners receiving free wind inspections may be eligible for matching grant reimbursements of up to $5,000 to make recommended improvements. To be eligible, the Legislature requires that homeowners: have received a completed wind inspection after May 1, 2007; live in a single-family, site-built home built before March 1, 2002; have a valid homestead exemption; have an insured value of $300,000 or less; and be located in the wind-borne debris region. Additionally, while the free wind inspections will still cover seven potential wind-resistance improvements, matching grants may only be applied to opening protections, including windows, exterior doors and garage doors, as well as the bracing of gable ends.
 
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.