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Gallagher: Time to Prepare for Potential Storm

9/12/2003

CONTACTO: Tami Torres o Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – With Hurricane Isabel spinning in the Atlantic and heading toward likely landfall somewhere along the southeastern United States, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher is warning homeowners that it is critical now to prepare for a potential strike.

"Being prepared can save lives, property and a lot of heartache," Gallagher said. "With Isabel fast approaching, I'm urging Floridians to take action to protect themselves, their homes and their businesses."

To track the storm and to get tips on how to prepare for a storm, visit the Department of Financial Services' website at www.fldfs.com and click on "Storm Watch."

Gallagher said Floridians concerned about their homeowners' coverage or who are in the process of buying a home should call their agent immediately. Many insurance companies will not write or update policies if the storm is within a certain boundary. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state's property insurer of last resort, will continue to write and update policies until a storm warning or watch is in effect.

Homeowners who need flood coverage, however, may have waited too late to get coverage for this potential storm. Flood insurance, provided through the National Flood Insurance Program, takes 30 days to activate.

Preparations that are critical now include:


· Inventory household items, including receipts, purchase dates and serial numbers. Tome fotografías o grabe en video sus bienes. Holding up a daily newspaper for the photo or video can help provide verification. Guarde copias de esta información y de sus pólizas de seguro en un lugar seguro y guarde los originales en una caja de seguridad.

· Write down the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurance company, which may differ from your agent's contact information. Guarde esta información en un lugar seguro y asegúrese de tener acceso a ella si se ve obligado a evacuar su hogar.

· Buy materials you may need to secure your property and minimize your losses. If a storm warning is issued, cover your windows with shutters, siding or plywood. Move vehicles, grills and patio furniture inside.

For further information, call the department's toll-free Consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2762.