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 Showcases Free Home Inspection to Promote My Safe Florida Home Program

8/16/2006

CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842
 
HIALEAH— Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, today promoted the My Safe Florida Home program by showcasing a free mitigation inspection at the home of Angelina Guixens, a senior living in Hialeah.  Gallagher kicked off the $250 million mitigation program yesterday at a Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee, and said he expects to serve as many as 50,000 Florida families through this program.
 
The Department of Financial Services, which is administering the program, has already received more than 19,000 applications for a free home inspection.
 
"By fortifying homes, we are making families and communities safer and reducing the level of catastrophic losses from hurricanes," Gallagher said.  "We are committed to making this program a success so the Legislature strongly considers funding this program for years to come."
 
"It is my top priority to protect the residents of Hialeah and I am proud to work with CFO Gallagher to strengthen the homes in our community and make them safer against hurricanes," said Julio Robaina, mayor of the City of Hialeah.  "CFO Gallagher should be applauded for taking proactive steps to make our community safer and help ease our insurance burden."
 
The program was approved this year by the Legislature to address the state's property insurance crisis following eight hurricanes that caused nearly $40 billion in insured losses in the past two years.   Gallagher said of the 50,000 homes he plans to serve through the program, his goal is to inspect 12,000 homes before the end of this hurricane season.
 
Ms. Guixens' was the first home inspected in the program in Miami-Dade County.  She will receive a report within 7 to 10 days detailing the areas of her home that could be strengthened to better protect her and her home against hurricanes.  The report will include an estimate of how much each of those improvements would cost, the expected insurance savings if the improvements were made, and a rating of the home's current ability to withstand a hurricane and the home's future ability with improvements.
 
Through the Department of Financial Services partnership with Miami-Dade County's Mitigation Program and Community Action Agency, low-income homeowners like Ms. Guixens will have the opportunity to make recommended improvements using the financial help provided through the county matching its funds with the My Safe Florida Home program. 
 
"The state of Florida is to be applauded for taking a leadership role in making thousands of Miami-Dade County homes safer in the event of future high wind storms," said Bill Moriarty, Director of the Weatherization Programs for the Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency.
 
"This new and innovative program allows us to greatly expand on our current efforts.  We are now better prepared to protect the more than 2.6 million residents of Miami-Dade County," said Frank Reddish, Local Mitigation Strategy Director for the Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management.
 
Reddish said that the Miami-Dade program has been putting free hurricane shutters on the homes of low-income elderly residents for several years.  Reddish says the program is currently targeting efforts to help low-income disabled citizens.  Reddish said that he works with Moriarty with the Community Action Agency to administer this program.  Not one of the homes we retrofitted was damaged by the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, Reddish said.
 
To apply for a free home inspection, Floridians must live in a single-family, site-built home with an insured value of $500,000 or less and have a valid homestead exemption.  Floridians can apply on-line at www.mysafefloridahome.com or by calling 1-800-342-2762 to get an application packet.  Homeowners who undergo the My Safe Florida Home inspection may also qualify for matching grants of up to $5,000 to fortify their homes. 
 
The department is partnering with city and county governments, as well as non-profit organizations, to expand the reach of the program and to strengthen a greater number of homes against catastrophic storms.