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CFO Gallagher Activates Storm Line, Posts Information on DFS Web Site


CONTACT: Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE- Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher will keep the Department of Financial Services' storm line, 1-800-22-STORM, operating throughout the weekend to assist Floridians in the event of damage from either Tropical Storm Bonnie or Hurricane Charley. Information is also now available on the DFS web site, , on storm preparation and the claims reporting contact numbers for the state's 20 largest homeowners insurance companies.

The National Weather Service/National Hurricane Center reported this morning that Tropical Storm Bonnie is expected to make landfall within hours somewhere between Panama City and Apalachicola. Hurricane Charley appears to be headed for a landing in the Tampa Bay area late Friday afternoon.

"Floridians should be closely watching weather reports and should now be rushing to finalize preparations," Gallagher said. "Residents are urged to heed any evacuation orders and take extra precautions if traveling since heavy rainfall is anticipated."

The toll-free storm line will remain activated Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. E.S.T.

Gallagher said it is time for property owners who haven't already to cover windows with shutters, siding or plywood, move vehicles into a garage or carport when possible, and move grills and patio furniture inside. Homeowners should also write down the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of their insurance company and make sure they have access to it if they are forced to evacuate.

In the event of storm damage, Gallagher said homeowners should make emergency repairs to protect their home from further damage, document the damage and repairs in writing and with receipts and photos. Damage should be reported immediately to the insurance company.

In the event of severe damage, adjusters may contact policyholders to help with the filing of insurance claims. Gallagher said homeowners should keep in mind that public adjusters do not work for any insurance company and charge an independent fee to help file and collect on a claim. They will also require that you sign a contract. Company adjusters represent the company in determining the amount of property damage and what is covered by your policy. Adjusters must be licensed by the state and should be able to present a copy of their license.