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Insurance roadshow stops in Jacksonville to help with Irma questions


Date: September 20, 2017
Source: Florida Times-Union
Author:  Steve Patterson


Sept. 20--After seeing his home underwater for three days, David Johnson was still thinking through how to recover the losses.

He was pretty sure his business partner insured the house near Jacksonville's Cedar River, but he didn't know with whom. He couldn't get details until the partner was released from the Clay County Jail, which didn't seem imminent.

So Johnson, 34, hunted for the insurer Tuesday at Florida's "insurance village," a traveling hub for information and post-hurricane insurance services that spent the day in Jacksonville.

About 30 companies and a dozen nonprofits and government agencies set up tables, tents and RVs outside the Prime Osborn Convention Center downtown.

They helped people fill out claims, answered questions about policies and generally tried to smooth over customer problems.

While some people handle everything about their insurance online, others still want a direct conversation, said Debbie Rowe, a territory sales manager for American Integrity Insurance.

And that's fine, Rowe said. Claims can be confusing and complicated for people who don't deal with them all the time, so she said being able to ask questions directly or check in person on how a claim is being handled helps ease a lot of concerns.

Donna Diley wanted some guidance before filing a claim about her roof damage.

The 59-year-old Jacksonville woman said up-front the roof didn't look that bad, so she wanted to understand what her State Farm policy did and didn't cover. She was encouraged to get a contractor's estimate on repairs, so she could understand how much she'd pay out-of-pocket for the deductible before deciding whether to file a claim.

People who thought their insurance company had done something crooked could walk across the cluster of tables and complain at the table used by Florida's Department of Financial Services, which regulates insurers.

State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio have co-hosted the insurance sessions, which were held in St. Augustine Monday and continue Wednesday in Naples.

The biggest problem Tuesday might have been that the post-disaster roadshow didn't have many customers on hand, with insurance workers easily outnumbering ordinary consumers.

A bigger waiting list quickly developed inside the convention center, where Federal Emergency Management Agency staff were handling applications for disaster help.

Steve Patterson: (904) 359-4263


(c)2017 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Visit The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.) at www.jacksonville.com

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