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Gallagher Announces New Option for Condominium Communities to Resolve Hurricane Claims

12/1/2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     
Tami Torres or Bob Lotane
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE – Tom Gallagher, Florida's Chief Financial Officer, today announced a new mediation program to help condominium associations resolve disputes with their insurance companies over their hurricane claims.  Gallagher said the mediation program, set up for homeowners after the 2004 storms, has successfully helped more than 11,000 storm victims reach satisfactory settlements on their hurricane claims. 
 
"Many condominium communities in our state have not yet started to rebuild because they are struggling with their insurance companies to get their claims paid," said Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. "My goal is to offer them a no-cost alternative to resolving their claims and help them successfully recover from catastrophic losses."
 
 The mediation program offers a dispute resolution process for condominium associations and other commercial residential properties to resolve hurricane claims prior to pursuing other options such as going to court.  The mediations are free of charge and using the program does not preclude an association's right to take the dispute to court or to invoke the policy appraisal clause.
 
When the department receives a request for mediation the insurance company is informed it has 21 days to settle the claim, or it will have to appear at mediation with the policyholder or its legal representative.  Mediation meetings will be facilitated by Supreme Court-certified mediators provided through the Collins Center for Public Policy.
 
Storm victims can learn more about mediation services by calling the hurricane hotline at 1-800-22-STORM.  Visit our website at www.fldfs.com and click on the Condo Mediation button on the right for more information.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Gallagher also serves as the State Fire Marshal.