Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis issued a public service announcement Saturday urging Floridians to prepare for post-storm insurance claims now rather than later.
In the PSA, Patronis advises residents to take photo and video evidence of the outside and inside of homes before the storm hits — that way, there will be concrete evidence to present to insurance providers in the case of destruction.
“Tropical Storm Ian, in the next few days, will more than likely become a hurricane. What I want you to do is take your smart phone, go walk outside your house, and shoot a video of what it looks like today. Then, go back inside your house and shoot that same video inside,” he said in the video.
“If you are affected by this storm, this will give you a cut and dry example of what your house looks like before and after the storm if you had damage. You’ll have that to take to your insurance company in order to have a cut and dry claims process. God bless, stay safe and visit PrepareFL.com for your own hurricane plan,” Patronis said.
But, some state officials are critical about how the current insurance market may hold up against the storm.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, slammed Gov. Ron DeSantis over the unstable property insurance market, saying that Florida homeowners could face a catastrophic property insurance crisis as Tropical Storm Ian grows.
Crist called on DeSantis to require Citizens Insurance to assume all policies for homeowners that have been dropped by their failed insurance company for the next 90 days in response to the upcoming storm.
“Ron DeSantis is the worst property insurance governor in Florida history,” Crist said. “Yet another hurricane is poised to hammer Florida and hundreds of thousands of homeowners have lost their insurance coverage because they can’t afford their premiums or carriers have canceled their policies with no warning.”
Tropical Storm Ian is continuing to gain momentum in the Caribbean, with forecasters predicting it to strike sometime late Wednesday near Tampa. Ian is expected to become a powerful Category 3 hurricane as it nears Cuba.
Heeding meteorologists, Gov. DeSantis declared a state of emergency across the entirety of the state on Saturday.
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations. We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm,” DeSantis said.