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Jeff Atwater puts his office’s resources behind flood recovery in Tampa

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Flood waters in Tampa are receding and the unusual burst of rain seen over the course of 10 days is over. But Tampa residents still face a multitude of concerns as they survey damage to their homes, cars and property.

The office of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is available to help residents navigate the insurance claims process.

“Rapidly rising flood waters can wreak havoc and quickly cause thousands of dollars in damage,” Atwater said. “My thoughts and prayers remain with the Tampa community as they continue to deal with the after effects of the recent flood waters. We stand ready and willing to answer any insurance questions residents may have.”

In a statement, Atwater recommended residents download a copy of the homeowner claims bill of rights. The document outlines what policy holders should expect from their insurance provider during the claims process.

Atwater’s department has an insurance consumer helpline for those who have questions about their policies or rights. Representatives can answer questions about what’s covered under home or auto policies and what may not be covered as well as locate contact information for a customer’s insurance provider. Representatives can also help mediate issues that could possibly arise while navigating the claims process.

The Tampa Bay area received record rainfall over the course of 10 days. With nearly 15 inches of rain over that period, Tampa experienced heavy flooding in parts of the city. The most rainfall occurred in Tarpon Springs, where residents saw more than 18 inches of rain over the 10-day period.

The insurance helpline is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The number to call is 1-877-693-5236. Other resources including an emergency preparedness tool kit is available on the department’s website.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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