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CFO Jeff Atwater: Complete Storm Preparations Today

8/31/2016

Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413-2842
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As Tropical Depression Nine strengthens and continues on its path toward Florida’s coast, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater encourages Floridians to prepare for its arrival. Residents should stock up on storm supplies such as bottled water and batteries and gather all important insurance and financial documents. With current concerns about the spread of the Zika virus, Floridians are also encouraged to have mosquito repellent on hand due to the increased likelihood of standing water as a result of the storm.
 
“This storm is expected to strengthen throughout the day and Floridians should take notice and take steps to prepare,” said CFO Atwater. “Whether you’re new to Florida or a lifetime resident, we have tools available to help make sure all Florida families are ready.”

Experts anticipate that the storm will strengthen into a named tropical storm (Tropical Storm Hermine) before landfall on Thursday. In advance of the storm’s arrival, Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in 42 of Florida’s 67 counties. The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch from the Anclote River near Tampa to Indian Pass in the Panhandle. A wider-ranging area from Walton County to the Anclote River is currently under a tropical storm warning.
 
CFO Atwater encourages residents to review their homeowners’, renters’, or property insurance policy to ensure an understanding of the available coverage. Consumers can consult the Department’s Emergency Financial Preparedness Guide for more information and consumers with questions regarding their insurance policies can call the Department’s Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236.
Additionally, CFO Atwater recommends the following preparatory steps:
 
• As the storm moves closer, protect your property. Buy the materials you need to secure your property and minimize your losses. Cover your windows with shutters, siding, or plywood. Move vehicles into a garage or carport when possible. Grills and/or patio furniture should be moved inside as well.

• Inventory your household items, including receipts, purchase dates, and serial numbers. Photograph or videotape your possessions. Keep copies of this information and your insurance policies in a safe place and keep the originals in a safe deposit box.
• Write down the name, address, and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurance company, which may differ from your agent's contact information. Keep this information in a safe place and make sure you have access to it if you are forced to evacuate your home.
 
In the event of storm-related damage, photograph damaged areas and notify your insurance company immediately. Document all repair-related conversations and keep track of all paperwork.
Hurricane season ends November 30. For additional hurricane preparation tips, visit the Department of Financial Services' website at MyFloridaCFO.com/Consumers/Storm.

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Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal 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).