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CFO Jeff Atwater Extends Insurance Helpline Hours to Assist Panhandle Storm Victims

5/2/2014

Contact: Chris Cate
(850) 413- 2842
 
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is urging Florida panhandle residents whose homes and property were damaged by recent storms to call the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for insurance assistance.
 
“The days and weeks following a devastating storm are a stressful time for anyone, but our dedicated team of insurance professionals are ready to help answer questions and offer guidance to everyone who needs it,” said CFO Atwater. “We will do whatever we can to help our fellow Floridians get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”
 
To aid in the recovery efforts, the department’s insurance consumer helpline, open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, will be available for extended hours through the weekend from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, with trained insurance specialists ready to assist with storm-related calls. The department’s Pensacola office located at 610 East Burgess Road will also be open this weekend from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and department representatives will be available on-site to provide additional insurance assistance.
 
While it appears at this point that the majority of the damage is flood-related, it is important to ensure that consumers who have suffered property damage that is covered under their traditional homeowner’s insurance policy receive the guidance and assistance that they need to recover from this event. 
 
CFO Atwater offers the following tips for those who will need to file an insurance claim:
 
  • Make emergency repairs to protect from further damage, and document the damage and repairs in writing, with receipts and photos to provide to your insurance company.
  • Gather copies of your household inventory and other documentation, including photos.  This will assist your insurance company adjuster in assessing the value of the destroyed property.
  • If you must leave your home because of the damage, give your temporary forwarding address and phone number to your insurance agent or insurance company.
  • Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses and hire licensed and reputable service people.
  • If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, ask for identification and verify that the adjuster is licensed by calling the Insurance Helpline. Understand how much a public insurance adjuster is charging and what services are included before signing any contract.
 
Additional information is available regarding disaster-related insurance topics on the CFO’s Disaster Response page at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Consumers/Storm, where consumers can find tips on how to better protect their homes and families from disasters.
 
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 Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government; reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses and providing transparency and accountability in state spending.