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Rep. Stevenson to host free workshop on hurricane-related insurance


Date: June 19, 2017
Source: The St. Augustine Record
Author:  Jake Martin


With the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season underway, and last year’s Hurricane Matthew still a fresh memory, Rep. Cyndi Stevenson will be hosting a free workshop on storm-related insurance this week.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the St. Johns County Administration Building, 500 San Sebastian View, with a presentation on some general issues. The talk will include tips for financially preparing for a disaster, questions to ask your insurance agent or company before a disaster, ways to ensure adequate coverage for your assets and a review of the resources available.

Residents are also encouraged to bring copies of their current insurance policies in order to review them one-on-one with staff from the Florida Department of Financial Services.

“After the immediate threat to life has passed, the most important step in disaster preparedness will be the decisions you made regarding your insurance and your ability to access funds to assist in your recovery,” Stevenson had said in a written release.

She told The Record on Thursday she heard from many people in the aftermath of the storm who had canceled their policies just before they needed them or who had policies they misunderstood. Others were simply disappointed to learn what was and wasn’t covered, due to any number of technicalities, after the fact.

Stevenson said while an emphasis is put on physically preparing for major storms, and justifiably so, there’s been a tendency to “blow past the paperwork.” She said having a generator, making sure you have extra batteries for your flashlights, keeping your eight gallons of emergency water and listening to evacuation orders was all important.

“But if you get hit,” she continued. “This is one of the most important steps you will have taken in terms of protecting your financial well-being and getting your house back to normal. We still have people who aren’t back in their homes.”

She said her workshop is meant for residents and business owners alike and that the goal is to have staff provide unbiased information and review policies one-on-one so people can better understand their deductibles and what is and is not covered.

“This is a resource available from the state to help them make decisions about their coverage,” Stevenson said, adding she was impressed with the knowledge of state staff who responded locally after Matthew.

She said others may just want to come hear the talk and then go over their policies directly with their insurance agents.

Stevenson said all things considered, the county was fortunate that the damage from Matthew, as bad as it was in the places it occurred, was mostly flood and not wind damage.

“If that had come on shore, we would have had a lot of wind and water damage,” she said. “We would have been looking at a much bigger event.”

But even without a direct hit, there was no shortage in confusion and frustration following the storm. For instance, many realized their homeowner’s insurance policies did not cover damage from storm surges. Others took thousands of dollars of damage, but not enough to get on the other side of their deductibles.

The hurricane season started June 1 and will last through Nov. 30.

For more information on the workshop, call 823-2300.