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Gallagher to Tornado Victims: State’s Storm Hotline Ready to Assist

12/26/2006

CONTACT:  FLDFS Press Office
(850) 413-2842    
   
TALLAHASSEE- Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, is urging residents whose homes or businesses were damaged Monday by tornados that struck several Central Florida counties to call the Department of Financial Services' storm hotline at 1-800-22-STORM if they need help filing an insurance claim or checking the licensure of an adjuster.
 
A powerful storm spawned tornados that damaged numerous homes and businesses in several counties including Columbia, Lake, Pasco and Volusia. 
 
"Our consumer specialists are available to help answer questions about insurance adjusters or what steps to take before an adjuster arrives," Gallagher said.  "I would especially urge residents to be particularly wary if any adjuster or contractor who demands cash and to read and understand contracts before signing."
 
Gallagher recommends that property owners take the following actions if they suffered damage:
 
· Make emergency repairs to protect from further damage, document the damage and repairs in writing, and with receipts and photos.
· Immediately report property damage to your insurance agent and company.
· Gather copies of your household inventory and other documentation, including photos.  This will assist the adjuster in assessing the value of the destroyed property.
· If you must leave your home because of the damage, let your agent or insurance company know your temporary forwarding address and phone number.
· 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 storm hotline.
· Be sure you understand how much a public insurance adjuster is charging and what services are included before signing any contract.