Fla. CFO Sends Specialists in to Help Residents Suffering From Ivan’s Wrath

September 16, 2004

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher expressed his concern for Floridians who suffered the loss of loved ones or damage to their homes and property due to Hurricane Ivan.

Gallagher is sending insurance consumer specialists into affected panhandle communities to assist storm victims in contacting their insurance companies and filing claims. In addition, Gallagher today redeployed consumer specialists to assist Floridians still coping with the aftermath of Hurricanes Charley and Frances.

“We’re now dealing with a statewide recovery effort,” Gallagher said. “After immediate needs of food, water, ice and shelter are met, it’s my job to make sure Florida’s insurance consumers are treated fairly and are met by an adjuster as quickly as possible, so they can start on the road to recovery.”

Gallagher said the state’s hurricane hotline remains available at 1-800-22-STORM for insurance consumers and has already assisted more than 25,000 Floridians dealing with multiple hurricanes. Specialists are available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., including weekends.

For Floridians still recovering from Hurricanes Charley and Frances, Gallagher has redeployed the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Response Unit, additional staff and volunteers to areas across central and south Florida. The mobile unit is located at the Orange Blossom Business Center Mall, 4132 Okeechobee Rd., in Ft. Pierce.

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation will today co-locate at the Ft. Pierce location. Available on the mobile unit are satellite and cellular phones, computers and other information resources to allow staff to quickly assist storm victims with insurance questions, concerns or complaints. The unit will also help insurance agents and adjusters locate policyholders.

Consumer specialists are also located at the Harold Recreation Center, 23400 Harold Ave., in Port Charlotte and will staff nearly 20 FEMA disaster recovery sites statewide, with additional sites opening soon. A complete list of current DFS sites is available on the department’s Web site at www.fldfs.com.

The department is now airing radio and television PSAs directing storm victims to disaster recovery sites or the state’s hotline and offering warnings about insurance scams.

“Thousands of Floridians have suffered losses from Pensacola to West Palm Beach from these devastating storms, but we will recover,” Gallagher added. “Our hurricane hotline remains open at 1-800-22-STORM and consumer specialists are now mobilized in the affected communities.”

Residents looking for tips on the rebuilding process, including storm-resistant construction and materials, can visit the Web site of the Federal Alliance For Safe Homes at www.flash.org.

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