Profile Lynn Dale, Vice President DALE LOOKS INTO THE EYE OF THE STORM Florida Homeowners Ravaged by Record Hurricanes Find an Advocate in HazardFinder’s Detailed Online Disaster Disclosure Reports Besieged by a record four hurricanes in Florida during the summer of 2004, LynnGreiner Dale is no stranger to sharing in the overwhelming sense of communal loss andsuffering of her neighbors. In fact, when it comes to natural disasters and theiraftermath, Dale, a long-time public advocate for enforcing hazard disclosure laws, isdoing something now to help damage-weary Florida homeowners with the recentformation of HazardFinder.com.As a Vice President of HazardFinder, Inc., Dale is an environmental and consumeractivist who also brings over years of professional public-disclosure managementexperience--now applying it to the direct-to-consumer hazard disclosure clearinghouseknown on the Internet as HazardFinder.com. The timing couldnt be better for Floridaresidents; homeowners are looking to repair badly damaged homes, rebuild entirely orpurchase new homes altogether, and facing ever-escalating, record prices for newhousing, household insurance and mortgage financing."Until you personally experience it [hurricanes and other disasters], you dont reallyunderstand the necessity for [public disclosure]," says Dale, who spent the previous fouryears in the public disclosure business and has launched an integrated digitalmapping/database system based on a wide variety of government agency reports onnatural and man-made hazard conditions."With the growth of the Internet, it has exposed people to so many things and we seeHazardFinder as being a direct-to-consumer research and report database tool for them--which is also moderately priced," adds Dale, who estimates that a typicalHazardFinder.com report will cost no more than $25 per order. "It is well worth theinvestment to let us gather all of the information for a consumer rather than worryingwhether your life savings and health are in jeopardy" because of natural or man-madehazards that were not disclosed by a housing developer, real estate agent or previoushomeowner at the time of sale.Not unlike other disaster-prone states, Floridians in both hurricane-ravaged coastal andin-land areas of the Sunshine State, including Dales hometown of Orlando, theextensive storm damage to homes only served to exacerbate other long-termenvironmental hazards. Besides the typical hazards like flooding and emergingsinkholes, the saturated ground soil in many Florida communities has renewed concerns
Page 2 of 3Lynn Dale profileHazardFinder Inc., Vice Presidentabout soil toxins coming to the surface, mold and mildew, and contaminated well-water--common concerns in most any other state of the union."Public disclosure is only [enforced] when it is done on a case-law basis, and that usuallyhappens after someone has already been diagnosed with some kind of cancer or otherdisease," says Dale, who has mounted various consumer-based lobbying efforts in thestate capital, Tallahassee, in favor of stricter enforcement of public-disclosure laws. "Itreally has been an educational thing for homeowners who are not aware of previouslyexisting environmental and man-made hazards coming to the surface because of thesehorrendous storms and floods."These hazards, even before a natural calamity strikes, often go undetected by new homebuyers. Dale says these "hidden dangers" can range from an undermining of the soil,known as "muck" migrating from landfill and swamp lands, to contamination fromradon gases, and industrial waste seepage and agricultural-related runoff from variousfertilizers and pesticides. Along with those hazards, a plethora of government agenciesalso issue monitor reports on such hazards as leaking underwater storage tanks; well-head and well-water contamination; sinkholes; specially-designated wetland preserves;protected wildlife habitats; and flood zones--all of which is compiled and digitally-mapped by HazardFinder.com."It really is buyer-beware in this state because public disclosure laws are not enforced,even after all of this hurricane damage weve been hit with," says Dale, whose Orlandohome was spared significant damage. "If you have children like I do [two sons], youwant to make sure youre not moving next to a school built near a waste site or a formerrefuse dump. When people come down with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or cancer,these people dont always know how they came down with this, but it could be due tothe environmental effects of pollution and dumping. Even something considered minor,like mold and mildew, can be dangerous to a child with asthma or allergies--these arehidden hazards we need to know about."With one in every five homes in the central Florida region suffering significant damageor destroyed altogether, the unseen ripple effect in the public-disclosure arena has alsocome from the insurance companies reporting of shared information on filed claims,when it comes to household policies with varying levels of attached hazard coverage.In some cases, the information being reported and shared privately between insurancecompanies, Dale says, has led some of her neighbors and friends--who suffered worsehousehold losses--to experience a tripling or quadrupling of what they paid for theirhousehold policies prior to the 2004 hurricane season."People in Florida have had to take out second mortgages or other equity loans on theirhomes because the deductible [on homeowner policies] are typically based on 2 to 5percent of the value of their homes," Dale notes. "So people had to come up with $15,000deductibles, and then possibly do that two to three times again if you filed claims fromthe other hurricanes that came through."
Page 3 of 3Lynn Dale profileHazardFinder Inc., Vice PresidentSimilar to how the credit reporting agencies keep tabs on consumer loans and creditcard accounts, Dale says consumers should also be wary of the kind of insurance claimsinformation being shared and disclosed to other "third-party" companies.HazardFinder.com can also allow consumers to view what information insurancecompanies are sharing when it comes to wide variety of claims and hazard data arisingfrom claims and disaster reporting in neighborhoods and surrounding localcommunities."The public is definitely asking more questions, relating to correct and fair claims andhazard reporting," says Dale, who previously served as Director of Operations forAccent on Childrens Arrangements, a company that provides childcare staffing for out-of-town conventions, business meetings and other events. "Thats because the insurancecompanies, loan companies and mortgage brokers are also asking more questions beforeunderwriting mortgages--after all, theyre in business to minimize their risks andmaximize their profits."Minimizing risks for current and prospective homeowners is Dales sole mandate andHazardFinder.coms ultimate mission. Understanding the rights of consumers is alsosomething Dale learned intimately in dealing with customers and business people onthe retail level when the Pittsburgh, Pa. native worked 15 years in stints as a conventionand hotel services representative for the New Orleans Hilton Hotel Riverside, TrumpsCastle Hotel/Casino (in Atlantic City, N.J.) and Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino (AtlanticCity)."As a consumer and homeowner, buying your house is usually the single biggest ticketpurchase decision you make in life and one that you have to live with in terms of yourfuture comfort, safety and well-being," says Dale, adding "So when you order your[HazardFinder.com] report for what essentially equals the cost of a tank of gas, youredoing your due diligence in knowing what youre getting or not getting--thats whenyou can find peace-of-mind and a clear conscious."About HazardFinderHazardFinder is leading provider of the most accurate and comprehensive real propertyhazard reports for residential buyers, sellers and even renters. HazardFinder is pioneeringthe Florida real estate hazard report industry by creating a process by which anyconcerned individual can obtain important information about their current or futureresidence. # # #