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News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance
Commissioner Steven M. Goldman

For Immediate Release: June 5, 2006

For Further Information: Jaimee Gilmartin - (609) 292-5064

DOBI Urges Homeowners to Check Their Policies as Hurricane Season Begins

Prepare now in the event you have to file a claim later

TRENTON - The Department of Banking and Insurance is urging all New Jersey residents, particularly those who live on barrier islands, along coastal waterways or in areas previously flooded, to be prepared with the arrival of hurricane season which began on June 1. Forecasters predict this hurricane season, which lasts until November 30, could produce between four and six major hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

Homeowners should secure copies of their insurance policies and review them. Homeowners should also make certain that they have contact information for their insurers or agents.

If anyone should have difficulty with a claim resulting from a hurricane this season and wish to speak with a Department representative, they can call 1-800-446-SHOP (7467).

It is prudent to protect property before a hurricane strikes. Homeowners living in coastal zones may also wish to contact their agent or insurer and ask if they have a "loss mitigation plan." A loss mitigation plan is a way to protect your house and reduce your deductible. It is available to homeowners insurance policyholders in certain coastal areas.

It is also vital for homeowners to remember that standard homeowner policies do not cover property damage caused by flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program handles flood insurance coverage. Ask your agent or insurance carrier for more information on flood insurance coverage. It may be too late to secure coverage when a storm is on the way.

Policyholders with claims who choose to hire a public adjuster rather than using their insurer's adjuster should check with the Department to make sure the person is properly licensed.