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Statement from Tom Gallagher Re: Storm Victims Facing Double Deductibles from Hurricanes Charley and Frances

9/10/2004

CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842

"There is growing concern among storm victims facing the potential of being hit with two deductibles from the recent back-to-back storms. I am deeply troubled that a second deductible will increase the financial burden for many who are trying to rebuild.

Currently, state regulators' hands are tied because a Florida law passed in 1996 permits insurance companies to charge a two to five percent deductible, depending on the value of a policyholder's home. We need to look for options from the Florida Legislature that will help relieve this financial burden and speed up the process of rebuilding.

I believe it is fundamentally unfair for consumers to pay multiple deductibles during a hurricane season. I also believe that consumers deserve to have a choice in the amount of deductible they will pay, whether it is $500, two percent or higher. State law should not prevent consumers from choosing a deductible that best fits their financial circumstances.

Governor Bush is already considering the need for a special session to address these issues and potentially others. I echo his concerns and join with the governor in pursuing solutions that will balance both the availability of insurance coverage with the need for affordability for Florida citizens.

In the interim, I am encouraging consumers who sustained additional damage from Frances to call the Department of Financial Services at 1-800-22-STORM so we can work with consumers facing the additional financial burden of two deductibles."