Volume 1 Number 40
October 4, 2004


It’s Fire Prevention Week. 

This time next year, when I look back 12 months, I hope to be able to say that no Floridian died as a result of fire.  I’d like to ask you to help me make that possible. 

First, make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home and in your office. Working smoke alarms were present in fewer than 5 percent of the 58,000 fire incidents reported to the State Fire Marshal’s Office in 2003, and 109 Floridians died in those fires. 

Sit down with your family, make an escape plan and practice it.  Do the same at the office.  Each year, fire claims the lives of Florida’s elderly more than any other age group.  The second group most often killed or injured in fires is children. 

Also, please visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/sfm for more fire safety tips and information. 

Our citizens are struggling to recover from the impact of four hurricanes that struck our state in a span of less than two months.  We can’t do anything to avoid a hurricane, but we can do a lot to protect ourselves from the risk of fire.   

The skyline for October is Daytona Beach, photo courtesy of the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.





Hurricane Jeanne recently claimed its seventh Florida victim, but not with wind or rain.  

In Port St. Lucie, a Waste Management worker was electrocuted when a downed power line set fire to his truck.  It was one more reminder of the grim hazards fire poses as Florida observes Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3-9. 

“Every year, fires claim the lives of many Floridians, and injure hundreds of others,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher. “But there are steps we can take to protect ourselves and reduce our risks of being injured by fire. One of the simplest but most important steps is to install a smoke alarm in your home or business—and make sure it works.” 

Statistics bear this out.  Working smoke alarms were present in fewer than 5 percent of the 58,000 fire incidents reported to the State Fire Marshal’s Office in 2003, and 109 Floridians died in those fires. CONTINUED


(as of September 28, 2004) 

ESTIMATED INSURED DAMAGES (Estimates based on data call through the Office of Insurance Regulation)

Hurricane Charley: $6.5 Billion
Hurricane Frances: $3 Billion
Hurricane Ivan: $1 to $3 Billion

Claims filed to date: More than 1 million (one in every five homes damaged). Expect as many as 2 million claims to be paid out. 

Hurricane Jeanne: $4 to $8 Billion (Industry estimates)


The Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (Cat Fund) provides reinsurance to insurance companies writing homeowners coverage in Florida.  It was created after Hurricane Andrew to ensure companies could quickly pay claims after a major hurricane and still have the ability to write coverage.  The Cat Fund also offsets rising homeowners’ premiums because insurance companies are purchasing reinsurance at significantly lower prices than what is available in the private market.  CONTINUED






American Superior Insurance Company, an insurer that writes homeowners insurance coverage for nearly 60,000 Floridians, voluntarily consented to be put into rehabilitation in response to losses sustained by the recent back-to-back hurricanes. The company’s premium volume in 2003 was $34 million, representing less than 1 percent of the total homeowners insurance market.

The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Rehabilitation and Liquidation, will serve as receiver for the company. As receiver, the department will take over the company’s operations and work to get claims resolved.

“Our number one priority will be to take care of policyholders with storm claims,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the department.

According to Gallagher, the department, as receiver, plans to hire more claims adjusters to handle the increased claims workload brought on by the recent storms.

Gallagher said the department has also established two toll-free numbers to assist policyholders. Policyholders who need to report a claim for the first time should call 1-800-270-8043. Policyholders with existing claims can call 1-866-928-4312. Policyholders can also report a claim by contacting their agent or following the claims reporting directions on the company’s website at www.americansuperior.com.

Under the receivership terms, no policyholders will be cancelled.






Q: Do insurance companies cover temporary housing if a house is unlivable?
A: Yes, additional living expenses are covered initially, generally at a rate of 10 to 20 percent of the value of the dwelling.

Q: With concerns about mold growing from moisture damage, do I have to wait for an adjuster to survey the damage before doing work?
A: Temporary repairs can be done and are encouraged to mitigate further damage and help protect the integrity of the house. Take before and after photos and keep all receipts if you want to reimbursed for repairs.

Q: Should I report my claim or wait?
A: Report your claim as quickly as possible.
Q: How do I know which policy to file my claim under (homeowners, flood, windstorm)?
A: File your claim with all three policies, the adjuster(s) will take care of determining which policy or policies cover your loss.

Q: Should I paint my insurance company name and policy number on my house?
A: If forced to evacuate, take your insurance company contact info with you. If your house is uninhabitable, then put your insurance company's name on a piece of wood and prop it up against the house. NEVER put the policy number or you could be left vulnerable to scam artists.