main menu page title feature menus content footer
My Florida C F O

CFO's Initiatives

Stay Connected

Follow the
Department of
Financial Services

Sign up for the CFO's
weekly newsletter!

Press Release

News   RSS RSS   Press Office   Archive

Gallagher Deploys Mobile Response Unit to Panhandle


CONTACT: Tami Torres (850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE—Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who today toured panhandle counties affected by Hurricane Ivan, has mobilized the Department of Financial Services' Mobile Response Unit to assist storm victims in filing insurance claims and quickly resolving insurance problems.

"Though storm victims are still focusing on the immediate needs of food, water and shelter, we stand ready to help with the rebuilding process," said Gallagher. "It's my job to make sure insurance claims are paid quickly, that adjusters meet with homeowners in a timely manner and that no one takes advantage of Floridians coping with Ivan's aftermath."

The department's Mobile Response Unit will be arriving in Pensacola today, and consumer specialists will begin canvassing damaged areas. It will center operations at the University Mall, 7171 North Davis Hwy., in Pensacola. Available on the mobile unit are satellite and cellular phones, computers and other information resources to allow staff to assist victims immediately, in their communities. The unit will also help insurance agents and adjusters locate policyholders.

"As I have seen with Floridians who went through both Hurricane Charley and Frances, the people of this state are incredibly resilient," Gallagher said. "We will recover and rebuild."

Gallagher reminded Floridians that the state's hurricane hotline remains available at 1-800-22-STORM, where consumer specialists have helped more than 30,000 individuals and families since Hurricane Charley made landfall last month.

Gallagher reminded Floridians who are returning to their homes that the recent heavy rains may continue to pose flood hazards. In such conditions, road surfaces can become obscured, causing drivers to unknowingly steer into a deep body of water, such as a canal or pond. Electricity from downed street lights or power lines can be conducted through standing water, causing a potentially deadly shock. Gallagher further advised affected Floridians to take the following actions immediately following the storm:

Make emergency repairs to protect from further damage, document the damage and repairs in writing, and with receipts and photos.
Maintain copies of your household inventory and other documentation, including photos. This will assist the adjuster in assessing the value of the destroyed property.
Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses. Hire licensed and reputable service people.
If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, verify that they are licensed by calling the department's toll-free storm hotline at 1-800-22-STORM.
Be sure you understand how much a public insurance adjuster is charging and what services are included before signing any contract.

Consumers who are approached by an unlicensed agent or adjuster or have been the victim of an insurance fraud scam can also file a complaint online on the department's web page or by calling the storm hotline.

Consumers can also continue to call the disaster hotline at 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) and find additional resources on the department's website at Informational flyers are also being distributed to storms victims, copies of which are also available on the above website.