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Sha'Ron James


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Hurricane Irma aftermath information to be available at Naples, Fort Myers centers

 

Date: September 17, 2017
Source: News-Press.com
Author:  Michael Braun

 

Insurance companies, as well as state, local and federal agencies, will be at locations in Naples and Fort Myers this week to answer questions about relief efforts, insurance, repairs and related concerns in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The comprehensive disaster recovery centers and insurance villages will be open in Naples from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday at New Hope Ministries Event Center, 7675 Davis Blvd., and in FortMyers from, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. onThursday atLee County Veterans Park Recreation Center, 55 Homestead Road South inLehigh Acres.

The centers are being sponsored byJimmy Patronis, Chief Financial Officer of Florida, in partnership with Senator Marco Rubio.

Local, state and federal partners will be in attendance to offer Floridians a wide array of relief assistance in one centralized location. Insurance expertswill be on hand to answer insurance-related questions and concerns.

Buckingham Airfield in Lehigh Acres is one of three large hubs statewide for Hurricane Irma recovery efforts.(Photo: Seth Soffian/The News-Press)

There will also be insurance companies with policies in the impacted areas on site to help file post-storm claims.

Alsoparticipating will be: FEMA, America Red Cross, Florida SBDC Network, U.S. Small Business Administration, Florida departments of Children and Families and Economic Opportunity, First Data Corporation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, CareerSource Florida, ElderSource, United Way of Florida, The Salvation Army.

The officer of State Rep. Heather Fitzhagen also offered tipsfor consumers currently navigating the insurance claims process:

  • Notify your insurance company first. Many insurance companies have reporting deadlines, so it is important to act quickly. Take steps to make temporary repairs that prevent further damage, but remain in contact with your insurance company regarding any outside vendors that are brought in to make repairs. If you need help locating contact information for your insurance company, click here to access the Office of Insurance Regulation’sdirectory. Helpline experts working the Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236 can also help Floridians locate their insurance company’s contact information.
  • While making temporary repairs, obtain the licensing or training credentials of all third-party vendors before signing any work agreements. Beware of fly-by-night repair companies and hire only licensed and reputable vendors. Use the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Contractor License lookup to make sure all contractors are properly licensed and bonded. Access DBPR’s licensee search here.
  • Fully review all documentation you are asked to sign and ask questions to make sure you understand the agreements you are signing. Ask specifically who is responsible for paying the vendor, you as the consumer, or your insurance company. For more information about how an assignment of benefitsfor repairs works, visit the DFS “AOB” web page.
  • If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, ask for identification to verify that the adjuster is licensed. Visit Patronis’ Hurricane Irma Insurance Resources website to verify the license of any Florida insurance agent or adjuster.
  • Understand how much a public insurance adjuster charges as well as what services are included before signing any contract.
  • If you suspect fraud or suspicious activity, report it immediately by calling 1-877-693-5236. Your concerns will be promptly referred to insurance fraud investigators.

The state Insurance Consumer Helpline (877-693-5236) is available from 8a.m. to 5p.m. to answer all insurance-related questions for Floridians and businesses and we would recommend policy holder’s visit the state Hurricane Irma Insurance Resources website to find more information: www.myfloridacfo.com/division/Consumers/HurricaneIrma.htm.

Connect with this reporter: MichaelBraunNP (Facebook) @MichaelBraunNP (Twitter)