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Florida Officials: Businesses Should Prepare for Insurance Claims

MOBILE, Ala.- Florida's chief financial officer urged Gulf Coast business and property owners Tuesday to think now about any future claims they may have against oil giant BP.

CFO Alex Sink said business owners should begin rigorous documentation now, before oil arrives on Florida's shores.

State Attorney General Bill McCollum has already discussed possible state-sponsored litigation against BP, the "responsible party" in the Gulf spill. He said that a state suit is almost certain.

John Naybor owns three marinas in Pensacola, Fla. He spoke to Sink on Tuesday at the Escambia County emergency operations center.

With one marina completely destroyed and more than $1 million in uninsured losses from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Naybor said his business is just turning around.

"We're all just recovering from Ivan," Naybor said. "We're running on empty as it is. This spill could take us all the way down."

Naybor is director of the Northwest Florida Marine Industries Association. The statewide group, he said, is encouraging members to start document losses now.

Sink's office suggested specific steps to be taken now:

- Make a detailed inventory of property and contents before any spill impacts.

- Make a detailed list of assets and include records in support.

- Ask canceling customers if their decision is oil-spill related. Track responses.

- Calculate estimated losses for a six-week period, using sales receipts to document.

- Consider historic and future trends.

- Make sure all records are safeguarded.

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