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CFO Jeff Atwater Kicks Off the 2016 Hurricane Season at the ‘Wall of Wind’

6/2/2016

MIAMI, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, joined by Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and Citizens Property Insurance Corporation President and CEO Barry Gilway, kicked off the start of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season with a media event hosted at Florida International University’s “Wall of Wind.” Following a panel discussion with reporters that outlined the ways in which Florida leaders have prepared for the next big storm and encourage Floridians to personally prepare, FIU scientists performed an interactive high-speed wind demonstration. The Wall of Wind is Florida’s largest and most powerful hurricane research facility, capable of simulating a Category 5 hurricane, the largest on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
 
CFO Atwater stressed that Floridians should prepare an emergency financial preparation toolkit as part of their family’s hurricane preparedness plans. This financial toolkit should include copies of insurance policy numbers, agent and adjuster contact information, as well as a property inventory and financial account details.
 
Damage to one’s home or property following a hurricane can be stressful, but the insurance claims process is easier when preparatory steps are taken ahead of time. The Department of Financial Services, led by CFO Atwater, has provided a no-cost, downloadable toolkit that is available to all consumers.
 
“For ten years, Florida has remained storm free but our lucky streak will one day end, and we must all take personal precautions now in anticipation that 2016 may be the year that a storm hits our shores,” said CFO Atwater. “By printing and preparing insurance and financial information now, post-storm recovery and repair claims become easier to complete.”
 
Newly-appointed Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier stressed the readiness of Florida’s property insurance market, and highlighted the results of the financial “stress test” performed on Florida-based property insurance companies each year. These tests are meant to model the pathway, destructive power and claims-paying costs of previous hurricanes to anticipate how well companies’ finances would fare following high volumes of post-storm claims. In 2015, each company that was tested passed this rigorous test.
 
“Florida’s property insurance market is more stable and competitive than it has been in more than a decade,” said Commissioner Altmaier. “The Office of Insurance Regulation continually monitors insurance companies throughout the year to assess their financial position, review regulatory filings and catastrophe reinsurance programs. These efforts help to protect Florida’s consumers in the event of a disaster.”

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation stressed its own hurricane readiness as one of the state’s largest property insurance companies, and reminded Floridians of the importance of immediately notifying the appropriate insurance company when damage occurs.
 
“Not only are we in the best financial shape ever, Citizens has never been better prepared to respond to a storm. We have more than 3,500 adjusters at our disposal and can set up multiple emergency claims centers if needed to service our policyholders. The bottom line is Citizens is Ready. Call us first,” said Citizens President Gilway.
 
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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 spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).
 
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. For more information about the Office, please visit www.floir.com or follow us on Twitter @FLOIR_comm and Facebook.