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Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis Wants to ‘Right Size’ Insurance Consumer Services

Florida’s chief financial officer is asking the state legislature for more money to increase the size of the division that helps Floridians with insurance issues.

CFO Jimmy Patronis announced Wednesday that he was asking for $5.5 million in the latest Florida budget, during an event in Orlando with the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The money would be used for opening two regional offices to provide more face-to-face assistance, strengthening the complaint and mediation program, improving helpline services and raising pay for insurance specialists and mediation managers in the division.

The Division of Consumer Services helps residents with different types of insurance, from property insurance to health insurance, and tries to resolve issues and complaints through mediation before lawsuits are filed, Patronis said.

“It’s not just storm claims, it’s health insurance claims, it’s car insurance claims, it’s life insurance claims,” Patronis said. “It’s helping people navigate which is sometimes an intimidating process of getting a claim solved.”

In the last year, according to Patronis, the division received more than 70,000 calls to the insurance helpline, opened nearly 17,000 service requests and processed over 27,000 mediation requests.

“And with 1,200 people moving to Florida daily, DFS (Department of Financial Services) must be right-sized to assist consumers with their insurance issues quickly and effectively,” he said.

But in recent decades, the state has reduced the size of the agency by closing regional offices around the state. Patronis said the hurricanes of the past few years have taught him the importance of having a physical presence was important in communities that need help.

“One thing I have learned over the last several years dealing with Irma, Ian, Michael, Sally, Idalia, these storms take a lot of personal attention and the more personal attention, the more boots on the ground, that we put in front of the policyholders, the smoother the claims handling process goes,” Patronis said.

Patronis said he has been working to bring back consumer services help in different regions of the state, including in Orlando.

If you need help or information, regarding insurance, you can call the state’s toll-free insurance helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO, or visit the division’s website.

Source: Click Orlando