Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis has been on the ground in the Panhandle affected counties since the day following Hurricane Michael’s landfall. He has been in constant communication with emergency management, local, state, and federal officials to assist with anything they may need. CFO Patronis is focused now on stopping post-storm fraud and urges Floridians to call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO to report anything suspicious.
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “Two weeks ago, Hurricane Michael ripped through the Panhandle as the most powerful storm to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew. The devastation is real, and we are doing everything possible to help these communities recover.”
URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAMS
- CFO Jimmy Patronis’ Division of State Fire Marshal oversees activation of Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue Teams. At peak, there were 2,420 personnel deployed from all over Florida and 12 different states.
- Overall secondary searches are 100 percent complete
- CFO Patronis met with Task Force 1, Task Force 3, Task Force 4, and Task Force 5.
- Combined Urban Search and Rescue efforts exceeded Hurricane Irma response by 30 percent.
- Constant boots on the ground in all affected counties
- CFO Patronis’ Disaster Fraud Action Strike Teams are on the ground, raising awareness about post-storm fraud and searching for anyone trying to prey on residents.
- CFO Patronis’ teams are already investigating reports of potential fraud in Bay, Gulf, Washington, and Leon counties. Unlicensed activity can put homeowners and contractors at risk and opens the door to fraud. Consumers should always verify that contractors have the appropriate licenses, including workers’ compensation coverage, before they hire a company to assist in repairs after a storm.
- CFO Patronis hosted an insurance village in Marianna on Monday, October 22 until Tuesday, October 23. There were 17 insurance companies on hand to assist residents.
- CFO Patronis hosted an insurance village in Tallahassee on Thursday, October 18. There were 18 insurance companies on hand to assist residents.
- CFO Patronis hosted an insurance village in Bay County on Tuesday, October 16 until Friday, October 19, serving nearly 1,000 people. There were more than 44 insurance companies and FEMA on hand to assist residents with any insurance or financial assistance questions. T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon were also present at the insurance village.
- Insurance consumer experts were on the ground in Liberty and Gadsden counties on Saturday, October 20 to assist residents with the insurance claims process.
- There are teams from CFO Patronis’ office and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier’s Office in Bay County, Wakulla County, Franklin County, Gulf County, Washington County, Jackson County, Liberty County, Calhoun County, Holmes County, and Taylor County.
- Before the storm hit, CFO Patronis hosted a conference call with major insurance carriers in the Panhandle, putting them on notice so that they would be ready to serve Florida families after Hurricane Michael.
- There are 97,909 insurance claims associated with Hurricane Michael – this number will grow.
Estimated $1,247,374,237 in insured losses.
- As of October 24, there were 3,061 Citizens Property Insurance Corporation claims.
- Florida currently has 92,462 licensed and appointed adjusters.
- There are also 3,302 emergency adjusters available to respond to Hurricane Michael claims (in addition to the 92,462).
- CFO Jimmy Patronis urged banks and credit unions to waive fees, which could include late fees for lending products including credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and lines of credit, and Not Sufficient Funds (NSF).
- CFO Patronis encouraged banks and credit unions to also waive fees for customers using non-network ATMs or money transfer services.
- CFO Patronis also encouraged banks and credit unions to offer other provisions for Hurricane Michael victims that can speed recovery or limit undue financial hardship for as at least 90 days.
- CFO Jimmy Patronis sent a LETTER and spoke with FCC Chairman Pai on Friday, October 19, urging the FCC to recommend best practices to pre-position equipment so companies are prepared to come in and make repairs quickly after a hurricane passes.
- CFO Patronis urged the FCC to also put into place standards for carriers to open their roaming agreements after a disaster is declared would help expedite response efforts and make it easier for residents to call for help
- Met with Verizon Wireless officials and asked them to have representatives stationed at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center. Verizon currently has maintained a consistent presence.
- Met with Bay County Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt.
- Met with Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford, Gadsden County Sheriff Morris A. Young, Jackson County Sheriff Louis “Lou” Roberts, Liberty County Sheriff Eddie Joe White, and Calhoun County Sheriff Glenn Kimbrel.
- CFO Patronis and his staff spoke with Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith, Gulf County Sheriff Mike Harrison, Holmes County Sheriff John Tate, Taylor County Sheriff Wayne Padgett, Wakulla County Sheriff Jared Miller, and Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews.
- Met with Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson and city commissioners.
- Met with Governor Rick Scott and Attorney Pam Bondi on recovery efforts.
- Met with Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier at the emergency insurance village in Bay County.
- Met Gulf County local and emergency management officials and the surveyed the area
- Met with Stan Connally, Gulf Power president and CEO, on power restoration efforts.
- Met with a T-Mobile representative to discuss restoring wireless service in the Hurricane Michael impacted areas.
- Met with AT&T Communications, LLC CEO John Donovan to discuss Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.
- Met with Wells Fargo Lead Region Bank President Scott Coble to discuss operations in the impacted counties.
- Spoke with Comcast on restoration updates and internet availability options.