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Florida CFO Jeff Atwater Advises Floridians to Prepare for the Arrival of Tropical Storm Erika

8/27/2015


Contact: Ashley Carr
850-413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is advising residents along the coasts of Florida to prepare for the possible impact of Tropical Storm Erika.

“Now is the time for Floridians to ensure their financial documents are secure and that they know their family’s evacuation plan,” said CFO Atwater. “Whether you're new to Florida or a lifetime resident, we have tools available to help your family prepare for the next hurricane on the horizon. As Floridians, we've come to realize that the threat of a storm is not an 'if' but a 'when.’”

Consumers are encouraged to review their homeowners’, renters’, or property insurance policy to ensure they understand their coverage. Review the Department’s Homeowners’ Insurance Toolkit for assistance understanding coverage. It is important to note that many insurance companies cease binding new or additional homeowners’, renters’ or property insurance coverage if the National Weather Service issues a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning for any part of Florida. If this occurs, insurance coverage cannot be purchased until 72 hours after the last watch or warning has been issued. Please remain aware of scam artists offering to sell or increase insurance coverage as a storm approaches or during a storm. 

Take time to organize your financial and insurance information using the Department’s Emergency Financial Preparedness Toolkit. Keep several copies in easily accessible and safe places and, in the face of a disaster, keep a copy of this toolkit on you at all times.

Property owners should take the following actions in the event of severe weather damage:
 
• Make emergency repairs to protect from further damage, and document the damage and repairs in writing, 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 an 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. To verify a contractor’s license, visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website at https://www.myfloridalicense.com/
• If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, verify that they are licensed by calling the Department's Consumer Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236), available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. 
• Be sure you understand how much a public insurance adjuster is charging and what services are included before signing any contract.

More information regarding disaster-related insurance topics is available on the Department’s Disaster Response page at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Consumers/Storm
 
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).