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Gallagher Launches Program to Aid Hurricane Victims Hit by Multiple Hurricane Deductibles


CONTACT:  Tami Torres/Robert Lotane
(850) 413-2842  
ORLANDO – The program to reimburse Floridians who were subject to multiple insurance deductibles because their homes were damaged by more than one hurricane in 2004 was launched today by Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher.  The Multiple Deductible Reimbursement Program was created in response to financial hardships suffered by Floridians when catastrophic hurricanes crisscrossed the state last August and September. 
"Because of the financial devastation these people have suffered they may not be able to rebuild or repair their homes.  The consequences of such a scenario could be financially devastating to the economy of this state," said Gallagher, who pushed for legislation to require one hurricane deductible for the season starting in 2005 which was passed by state lawmakers.  "The program to provide these storm victims financial relief is now up and running and applications to eligible individuals will soon arrive in thousands of mailboxes across the state.  I encourage those who are eligible to submit their applications as soon as possible so that we can get them the financial assistance they need to start rebuilding."
Gallagher's comments were made at a press conference today in Orlando, where many storm victims were hit by more than one hurricane and are potentially eligible for reimbursement for multiple deductible losses.  He also previewed the program application so eligible Floridians have a better idea of what to expect and how to complete the application.   The program will be administered by the Florida Department of Financial Services, which Gallagher oversees.  Joining Gallagher at the press conference were House Majority Leader Andy Gardiner from Orlando and Representative Dennis Ross from Polk County, chairman of the House Insurance Committee.
The enabling legislation for the program, sponsored by Miami Senator Rudy Garcia and Representative Ross, was passed during a special legislative session in mid-December and appropriated $150 million for relief.  The new law requires that financial assistance be paid first to Floridians who paid two or more full deductibles, followed by those who paid part of a second or third deductible. Floridians eligible for the program include homeowners, renters, manufactured homeowners, condominium unit homeowners and condominium associations, who paid one full deductible for hurricane losses and also incurred deductible losses from a second, third or even a fourth hurricane. 
Maximum reimbursements under the program are $10,000 per qualifying event up to a maximum of $20,000.  Condominium associations can recover a maximum of $3,000 per unit that did not have insurance for assessments.   Any policyholder who paid more than one full deductible also may be eligible for relief. 
All reimbursements are subject to the limits of funding appropriated by the Florida Legislature.
According to Gallagher, policyholders will receive an application from their insurance company by mail along with information needed to complete the application. He advised that if the application packet does not arrive by January 27, 2005, then the policyholder should call the Department of Financial Services at 1-800-22 STORM for guidance.
All applications must be completed, signed and filed with the department by March 1, 2005.