Volume 5 Number 8
February 22, 2008


Panhandle residents whose homes and businesses were damaged by tornadoes that struck the region last Sunday are urged to be cautious when selecting repair contractors. In addition to verifying that contractors are licensed and asking for references, CFO Sink said consumers should ask for proof of workers’ compensation coverage and check the Department of Financial Services’ website to ensure compliance.

The department has also dispatched compliance investigators to the area to hand out brochures and provide information to property owners and monitor contractors responding to the area to ensure compliance.

CFO Sink said consumers must be proactive and protect themselves because property owners can be held liable if a worker is injured on their property and the contractor does not have workers’ compensation coverage. To verify that a company has workers’ compensation coverage or a state-approved exemption, log on to http://www.myfloridacfo.com/WCAPPS/Compliance_POC/wPages/query.asp.

In addition, consumers may access the Compliance Stop-Work Order Database, which lists employers who have been issued stop-work orders for failing to comply with the coverage requirements of Chapter 440, F.S. The database contains each employer’s name, the date the stop-work order was issued, the date the stop-work order was released and the type of non-compliance violation. To access the Compliance Stop-Work Order Database, click on http://www.MyFloridaCFO.com/WCAPPS/SWO/SWOquery.asp.

On Sunday, Feb. 17, a series of tornados swept through northern Escambia County, damaging or destroying more than 60 structures in the Molino area north of Pensacola. By Wednesday, Feb. 20, compliance investigators from the Pensacola office of the department’s Division of Workers' Compensation, Bureau of Compliance, were in the area. So far, they have distributed dozens of Insurance and Reconstruction Information for Property Owners fliers to residents who suffered damage to their homes and/or businesses, and provided crucial information to victims on insurance information, finding a licensed contractor, entering into repair or reconstruction contracts and canceling a contract, as well as key state agency contact information.

One stop-work order was issued to an electrical contractor who had two employees working without workers' compensation insurance.