In the wake of Hurricane Ian’s devastation of southwest Florida, state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is warning residents affected by the storm to beware of scammers.
At a press conference on Thursday, Patronis called that the “most important” thing he wanted people to know about his briefing.
“The predators that are going to come up, they’re going to initially try to sign up construction management contracts, public adjusters — they’re going to come in like a bunch of locusts, and they’re gonna try to hit the neighborhoods, and people are vulnerable right now,” said Patronis, a Republican.
“They’re going to look for solutions, and their solution is not going to be knockin’ on the door every time,” he added.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it is.”
In the news: Tom Brady Chips In To Help Florida Hurricane Ian Victims, Calls On NFL Family To Join In
Patronis made the announcement after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis explained that the state was setting up “insurance villages” where people could go file their claims. Those had been established in all the affected counties.
Additionally, said DeSantis, insurers’ cancellations in the last 10 days before Ian hit would not be validated, and carriers will not be allowed to cancel customers for a “couple of months” following the storm.
Patronis said about 20 to 25 carriers would be available to help customers, and the first thing they would do is write checks so victims could find a place to live.
He added that one of the first phone calls Ian victims need to make is to their insurance agent, their insurance company, or his office, which can be reached at 877-MyFLCFO.
“If one of the first three phone calls you make in your house in order to get an insurance claim solved is to one of those three, there’s almost zero chance you can be taken advantage of,” he said.
In the news: Hurricane Ian Regains Strength Eyeing Georgia, Carolinas After Path Of Destruction In Florida
“We’re going to be here bringing the carriers back, and they will write checks on-site. But when you start complicating the claim because you let predators get involved in the claim, you’re gonna drag it out,” Patronis added.
“The best solution is between you, your carrier, and us.”