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Gallagher Announces Town Hall Meeting for Victims Still Recovering from the 2005 Hurricanes

2/1/2006

CONTACT:
Tami Torres or Bob Lotane
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE – Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, today announced he will be hosting a town hall meeting to assist Floridians still recovering from last year's hurricanes.  The meeting is scheduled for this Saturday, February 4th, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  It will be held in the Hialeah City Hall, 501 Palm Avenue, in Hialeah. 
 
"Hurricane victims who are still having trouble settling their insurance claims are urged to attend this meeting," said Gallagher.  "My office is hearing from too many people who are still having difficulty recovering from last year's storms.  I want to direct all available resources to getting storm victims lives back to normal."
 
Gallagher will be accompanied by a team of consumer specialists who will be able to work with policyholders individually to open a consumer complaint file or to update an open case.  The consumer specialists will be contacting insurers directly in an effort to speed the claims settlement process. Consumers are urged to bring their insurance papers if they will be requesting assistance.  For more information, call the Department of Financial Services' storm hotline at 1-800-22-STORM or log on to www.fldfs.com.
 
Following the 2004 storms, Gallagher hosted a series of six hurricane recovery town hall meetings around the state.  Those meetings, in addition to a special claims settlement rule advocated by Gallagher, were instrumental in getting outstanding claims settled. 
 
Last year Gallagher pushed for many consumer protections which were approved by state lawmakers.  These included no longer allowing insurers to charge more than one hurricane deductible to Floridians hit by multiple storms.  Also, Floridians must now be provided with clear disclosure on the actual cost of a hurricane deductible in their insurance policies. 
 
New measures passed into law also end the practice of paying the lower actual cash value for repairs and contents and requires that the full replacement cost be paid up front.  Also, insurers are now prohibited from non-renewing homeowners' policies on Floridians whose homes have not been completely repaired and the amount of time insurers have to begin processing storm claims has been expedited.  
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.