Gov. Scott & CFO Patronis: Consumers Must be Protected Following Hurricane Michael
Today, Governor Rick Scott directed Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to take every action authorized pursuant to Executive Order 18-276 to provide additional protections to support recovery efforts in the areas of the state impacted by Hurricane Michael. Governor Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis have made it clear that the expectation for Florida’s insurance companies is to expeditiously respond to policyholders’ needs and to treat families fairly. The quick response of insurance companies is critical to the recovery of Florida families following Hurricane Michael.
Governor Scott said, “Hurricane Michael absolutely devastated Florida’s northern Gulf Coast and Panhandle and the recovery of every family impacted by this storm is our top priority. Today, with the help of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, we are mobilizing even more resources and staff to provide additional protections for consumers. Our state will never tolerate anyone taking advantage of the families recovering from this storm.
“The Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) have been working with my team throughout the preparation and response to Michael and CFO Patronis and his team are quickly responding to the needs of Florida families. While families recover, we will fight to prevent fraud and quickly assess claims so families can get the service they deserve.”
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Entire communities have been wiped off the map. I can’t say this enough: the damage is catastrophic. As our neighbors and communities assess the damage and start recovering, the last thing they need to worry about is if their insurance coverage will be dropped for non-payment. Our focus is saving lives, restoring power and repairing communications system. I’m calling on insurance companies to keep that at the front of their minds and not take advantage of this disaster.”
Commissioner Altmaier said, “My office will continue working to ensure every possible step that can be taken to assist those impacted by Hurricane Michael will be executed as soon as possible. Governor Scott, CFO Patronis and countless other leaders, first responders and crews have continued to provide 24-hour support to Floridians — a remarkable effort that will surely continue throughout the recovery of this tragic event.”
Governor Scott also directed his staff to work closely with OIR, DFS and the entire insurance industry prior to landfall to ensure Florida’s policyholders are the top priority. This includes pre-staging assets to quickly assess claims and ensuring each insurance company has the resources they need to expedite the claims process.
Governor Scott directed Commissioner Altmaier to take the following action to provide additional protections for Florida policyholders in the impacted area:
- Provide an additional 90 days to policyholders to supply required information to their insurance company. Many Floridians were displaced during this dangerous storm, and providing additional time to submit information to insurance companies gives them needed flexibility.
- Require all non-renewals or cancellations issued to policyholders in the days leading up to Hurricane Michael be rescinded for 90 days. This gives policyholders 90 days to either renew their insurance policy, or find a new policy; and
- Freeze any and all efforts to increase rates on policyholders for 90 days. Due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Michael, Floridians should be focused on getting back to their normal lives without their insurance premiums being increased.
CFO Patronis’s toll-free Insurance Consumer Helpline (1-877-693-5236) can answer business and consumer-oriented insurance-related questions. CFO Patronis has launched a Hurricane Michael Insurance Resources webpage to provide comprehensive insurance information. Access the webpage at https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/Consumers/HurricaneMichael.htm.