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**PHOTO AND B-ROLL RELEASE** CFO Jimmy Patronis Transcript on Severe Weather Event

1/9/2024
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842
 

**PHOTO AND B-ROLL RELEASE**
CFO Jimmy Patronis Transcript on Severe Weather Event

To watch b-roll, click picture above or here

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Today, CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis traveled to Panama City to survey damage from the severe weather event and help coordinate response efforts. The CFO participated in a press conference with Bay County officials where they discussed post-storm damage. The following is a transcript of his remarks.  

 BEGIN TRANSCRIPT:

Good afternoon. My name is Jimmy Patronis. I am the state of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and the state’s Fire Marshal and I’m also a native of Bay County.

Thank y’all all for being here.

Special thanks to Sheriff Tommy Ford, County Manager Bob Majka, County Commissioner Tommy Hamm and the rest of the County Commission for all being here today.

I want to thank Governor DeSantis. Immediately once the storm had basically crossed through the first impact, the Governor issued an emergency declaration. This will speed up payment processing resources. That was for 49 counties in the state of Florida and affected areas of Bay and Jackson county also will be most appreciative.

But this will also help the recovery effort.

This was a big wind event.

We saw damage first hand this morning when we drove over on I-10. 18 wheelers turned over due to the wind gusts.

As this storm is still affecting parts of the state, we just encourage everyone to please listen to the warnings of your local elected officials.

I had calls today with Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie and also the Insurance Commissioner Mike Yaworsky and also with numerous insurance carriers making sure loud and clear that this is their time to shine. This is their time to lean forward as we are going to see insurance claims that are a side effect of this storm. Carriers are going to be very proactive reaching out so if you get any phone calls, emails, texts messages from your carriers when it comes to the claims process.

Matter of fact, I even encourage people, if you’ve got any damage, go ahead and call your carrier, your insurance agent, or you can call my office at  1-877-MY-FL-CFO in order to try and start and expediate an insurance claims process.

We’re going to see both home and auto damage from this. We had some hail also from the storm, so we’re anticipating there will be some damage from that.

But people have paid their premiums and we want to make sure that the claims are handled in a swift manner and get them processed as soon as possible.

Again, the phone number is  1-877-MY-FL-CFO. That’s our state’s consumer services helpline.

And look, any questions – your safest place is to call us or call your insurance agent or call your carrier.

You’ll see from times like this that there could be contractors that come in from out of market. Please err on the side of caution. Don’t sign anything. Only work with contactors that maybe you have a personal relationship or you can get a good reference from locally.

Sometimes when we have out of state contractors, they are coming into the market to try to provide disaster assistance, sometimes you may not necessarily get what you thought you were going to get.  So, at least if you take that precaution, don’t take the bait. Get some local references so you don’t stand a chance at getting hurt. Please don’t fall for some of these tactics.

The best place to not be a victim of fraud is just to not fall for it in the first place.

Here in the next several days we will have our DFAST teams. That’s our Department of Insurance Fraud Investigative units that will be combing through the area to help support Sheriff Ford and his folks and make sure that were doing everything possible to make sure the bad actors aren’t taking advantage of this process.

The storm event is still moving through the state.

I am very appreciative of Governor DeSantis and Kevin Guthrie.

Leaning forward with this, we’ve already had dialogue with members of  Congress to see if we do need to have a disaster declaration from FEMA if we hit those thresholds.

We’re going to see more and more damage as far as the I-4 corridor. Please just keep those warnings.

Power is out. FP&L is working around the clock. I’ve heard that there is several thousand of those without power.

Please make time, space and be respectful of our lineman, our law enforcement, first responders and the job that they’re doing.

Some of you may decide, if you’re out of power, to go ahead and operate a generator. Please understand that a generator is never allowed to operate inside your house or inside your garage. Those are going to be carbon monoxide threat to you and your family. If your operating a generator, please do it outside in a well-ventilated area. And you want to make sure that you don’t run it for hours on end. Run it for a couple hours and let it cool. Make sure you don’t overuse. You don’t want to create a fire hazard or any type of challenge risk.

But again, I’ve got full faith in FP&L and the co-ops in the area that they’re working around the clock. Also, the areas that were affected by Duke Energy to get the power restored.

But again, please respect our law enforcement officers.

Look, this is my hometown but I know that we’re pretty good at recovery. As long as Bob Majka is still here, the recovery that we have here in Bay County is in good hands. Sherriff Ford has not caught a break since he’s been Sheriff of our county.  So I appreciate all of his men and women and how they work around the clock.

I am very fortunate that we’ve got good leadership in Tallahassee. Griff Griffitts today at the opening state of Florida legislative session. We’ve been in multiple dialogues with Senator Jay Trumbull and Griff Griffitts. Representative Griffitts is here to join us and please come up and be supportive of what we do in Tallahassee.

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Thank y’all all for being here.

It’s important to know when it comes to the insurance claims process – whatever photos you may have prior to the storm – it’s always nice to have a photo inventory. When you think about it as you start an insurance claim, your adjuster will come out from the carrier and they are going to want to assess what damage was caused by the storm so whatever photographic evidence you have of what your home looked like previous storm is going to help for a real cut and dry claims process. So you can definitely see what the storm caused and what pre-existed or did not have any damage from the storm.  That will help speed up the claims process.

Not everybody has this photographic video of their home. But hopefully, if you do, that is something you need to be prepared to share with your adjuster in order to help show what type of damage was caused directly by the storm.    

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS). 

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