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CFO Sink Announces My Safe Florida Home Fair to Be Held in the Fort Lauderdale Area Saturday

11/2/2007

CONTACT: 
Marie Buchanan (954) 321-2900 
Brannon Jordan (850) 413-2842     

FT. LAUDERDALE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program is partnering with Broward and Palm Beach 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 Broward County Community College in Coconut Creek on November 3, 2007, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  More than 50 hurricane-preparedness exhibits will be on display at the fair, and all exhibits and workshops are free to the public.  Door prizes will include: a generator, an emergency radio, restaurant gift certificates, a $100 Publix gift certificate, garage door openers, and a $25 Home Depot certificate.

“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 South 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.  CFO Sink has reported that many homeowners who have received free wind inspections from the MSFH program are eligible for discounts on their wind insurance premiums without making a single improvement to their homes.  To date, 78,739 or 71 percent of participating homeowners are eligible for an average discount of $192.55 on their wind insurance premiums, based on the current structure of the home during the free MSFH wind inspection. 

Savings vary by region, and through the program, 12,787 Broward County residents have learned they are eligible to receive an average windstorm insurance discount of 18 percent or $348.33 annually. In Palm Beach County, 9,645 homeowners are eligible to receive an average of 18 percent or $358.29 on their windstorm insurance.  In Miami-Dade County, 8,549 homeowners are eligible to receive an average of 17 percent or $312.10 on their windstorm insurance. 
 
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.
 
The MSFH program resumed offering wind inspections and expanded statewide this year after conducting a pilot program during the previous year.  Since April 2007 the MSFH program has performed over 111,200 free wind inspections.  More than 13,500 homeowners have been approved for matching grants and are working with the MSFH program to harden their homes.  Statewide, the program has issued a grand total of more than 1,876 grants to homeowners for more than $6 million.

Any Floridian who lives in a single-family, site-built home is eligible for a free wind inspection through the program.  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 get detailed inspection reports, complete with additional 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, the Legislature requires that homeowners meet the following requirements: 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.