Volume 3 Number 12
March 20, 2006

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Pro-consumer measure will empower homeowners

Thanks to changes to Florida law pushed by Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, homeowners now have another resource they can rely on to prepare for future hurricanes. Insurance companies in Florida will now be required to include a simple checklist on the front of all homeowners policies delivered in Florida.  The checklist will make it easier for policyholders to discuss their coverage with their insurance agent and will clearly show if they have enough coverage to rebuild after a catastrophe.

Gallagher along with Governor Bush and the other members of the Financial Services Commission approved the final checklist for use.   All insurance companies will have to have their agents include a completed checklist on the front of every homeowners, mobile homeowners, or condominium insurance policy.

 “This checklist is another important step toward continuing to create a culture of preparedness in Florida,” said Gallagher.  “By arming Floridians with the tools and information they need to prepare their finances, their homes, and their families, we can help reduce the toll future storms may take on our state.”

The consumer checklist is just one of the pro-consumer reforms that Gallagher successfully fought for in the wake of the 2004 hurricane season. Gallagher has renewed his calls for more pro-consumer measures in the wake of the 2005 hurricane season, and is working with the Florida Legislature to enact comprehensive reforms to Florida’s insurance market.

One provision of the new checklist requires insurance companies to list not only the percentage of a hurricane deductible but also list the actual dollar amount in large type.  Gallagher successfully pushed a law limiting hurricane deductibles to one per season, after some victims of multiple hurricanes discovered they were responsible for up to three deductibles.  Also, the dollar amount of all coverage must be listed in large type, including the coverage limits for the main dwelling, all detached structures, personal property and contents. The checklist must detail the amount of living expenses that will be paid if the policyholder has to leave the home and the amount of time the expense money will be paid.

The checklist also contains a list of perils that could damage a residence and each item must be accompanied by a yes or no on whether it is covered.  Any additional property or liability coverage must also be listed along with the dollar amount of the coverage.  Floridians with insurance questions or concerns can call Gallagher’s consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2762 or go to www.MyFloridaCFO.com.  The checklist can be found at http://www.floir.com/pcfr/Documents/OIR-B1-1670.xls.