Agents should routinely verify the licensure of the companies for which they're selling. If you suspect an entity is not authorized or licensed to transact insurance in Florida, from Florida or with residents of Florida, please notify our office. Report suspected unlicensed activity. Call 877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).
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It goes without saying that June 1 has a special meaning to Floridians: the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Last fall, Florida's 10-year hurricane-free streak was broken as Hurricane Hermine made landfall near the coast of St. Marks. About one month later, Hurricane Matthew made landfall over Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane, later embarking on a three-day journey up Florida's east coast and into Georgia and the Carolinas, causing damage that exceeded $729 million generated by 112,000 insurance claims. In total, Floridians last year filed nearly 130,000 insurance claims totaling roughly $800 million in losses. The question now is: If a storm were to reach Florida's shores next week, would you be prepared?
Last year's hurricane season affected a large majority of our state, leaving many of us with wind-damaged property, flooded homes and one big headache. As some of us learned, sandbags and boarded windows will only get you so far. In some ways, our destiny will be defined by Mother Nature, regardless of what may lay in her path. Experts are predicting that the United States should prepare for another active season with an estimated 11-14 named storms and four to seven hurricanes, with two to three of those storms growing to category 3 or higher. But remember, it only takes one.
With the start of the 2017 Hurricane Season quickly approaching, it is up to you to make sure your emergency preparedness efforts reach beyond bottled water and batteries and include being financially prepared for a hurricane event. I encourage all Floridians to start putting together an insurance and financial packet that you can easily take with you should you need to leave your home in a hurry. Be sure to include documentation associated with property and health insurance policies as well as financial account information and contact information for banks and insurance companies. Having these documents put together ahead of time allows you to have ready access to all of the information necessary to file an insurance claim during an emergency evacuation.
If you need a hand getting your insurance-related preparation underway -- no problem. We've created a simple, easy-to-use financial preparedness toolkit to assist with this process. Our toolkit provides a single place to jot down and keep track of all of your insurance information. In the event that a storm directly affects you and your family, this toolkit can help you keep a list of adjuster contacts, emergency service contacts such as the Red Cross, FEMA and the Department's consumer helpline, as well as a log of any calls you've made to insurance companies or agents about claims you may have to file.
Our toolkit can be downloaded in ENGLISH, SPANISH and CREOLE and serves as an essential tool to supplement your preparation efforts. To learn more, please visit our website for additional tips and tools at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/Consumers/Storm/.
Take a minute and dust off your preparation materials and ensure you and your family will be financially prepared for this year's hurricane season.
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida