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CFO Patronis: Insurance Assistance Available After Nate

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Following the impact of Hurricane Nate, Northwest Florida families are assessing their homes and property for damage and may be taking steps to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage before filing insurance claims. CFO Jimmy Patronis encourages Floridians to quickly notify their insurance companies of any damages and to be cautious of repair deals that sound too good to be true.
Here are the top tips for consumers navigating the insurance claims process:
• Notify your insurance company first. For help finding your insurance company’s contact information, visit the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Hurricane Insurance Resources webpage here.
• Take steps to make temporary repairs that prevent further damage, but remain in contact with your insurance company regarding any outside vendors brought in to make repairs. Keep all receipts for temporary repair costs.
o Obtain the licensing and training credentials of all temporary repair vendors before signing any work agreements. Beware of fly-by-night repair companies and hire only licensed, insured and reputable vendors.
o Use the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Contractor License Lookup to make sure all contractors are properly licensed and bonded. Access DBPR’s licensee search here.
o Search the DFS proof of coverage database here to ensure that all contracted vendors hold proper workers’ compensation policies.
• Carefully review all documentation you are asked to sign and ask questions to make sure you understand the agreements you are signing. Ask specifically who is responsible for paying the vendor, you as the consumer, or your insurance company.
o For more information about how an assignment of benefits (AOB) for repairs works, visit the DFS “AOB” or Office of Insurance Regulation’s “AOB Resources” webpages.
• If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, ask for identification to verify that the adjuster is licensed. Use DFS’ Hurricane Insurance Resources webpage to verify the license of any Florida insurance agent or adjuster.
          o Understand how much a public insurance adjuster charges, as well as what services are included before signing a contract.
• If a repair offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Report suspected fraud or suspicious activity by calling 1-877-MY-FL-CFO. Your concerns will be promptly referred to insurance fraud investigators.
CFO Patronis’ Insurance Consumer Helpline (1-877-MY-FL-CFO) is available Monday through Friday from 8:00am EST to 5:00pm EST to answer all insurance-related questions for Floridians and businesses.
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