The Fourth of
July holiday is upon us, and many of us will gather with family and friends
I wish you all a wonderful holiday and urge
you to celebrate safely.
Amidst the celebration, let us remember the reason for the holiday. We are celebrating the birth of our independence and the great democracy we have created.
Let’s pray for our troops who are bravely fighting to maintain our independence and to provide the same opportunities to others around the world, and let us honor all of those who serve and have served to keep this country free, as well as the families and loved ones who support our troops.
Sir Winston Churchill said, “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.”
These words express what makes our country free, but it is the people who live these words that make our country great.
MEDIATION PROGRAM UPDATE|
More than 95 percent of the 2.7 million hurricane claims filed as a result of the last two years’ storms have been settled, according to Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, in an update on the progress of the Department of Financial Services’ hurricane mediation program.
"Florida has come a long way in recovering from two unbelievable hurricane seasons,” said Gallagher, who oversees the department.
Gallagher initiated the free mediation program following the 2004 storms to provide a dispute-resolution process for homeowners who need help resolving hurricane claims to avoid more costly options, such as going to court. Court-certified mediators provided through the Collins Center for Public Policy are facilitating the hearings.
Over the last two years, more than 17,000 Floridians have requested a mediation hearing. Of those, 15,154 cases have been closed, resulting in settlements, partial settlements and pre-settlements in a majority of the cases, with the settlement rate at 91 percent. Another 1,298 cases are scheduled for mediation, and 616 are in the process of being scheduled.
Gallagher initiated a similar mediation program as insurance commissioner during the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and he said the current mediation program is working as he expected.
For help with a hurricane claim or to request a mediation hearing, call 1-800-22-STORM.
ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS|
The following 15 students in five regions were the top picks in an essay contest aimed at encouraging financial education among middle and high school students.
“Cash in on Your Money Smarts,” asked students, ages 14 to 18, to
submit at least a 750-word essay answering the question: "If you had $100,000 to invest,
what would you invest in and why?"
The essay contest was a great way to encourage Florida’s young people to show off their financial knowledge and writing skills, and reward them for it. Learning these valuable skills now will pave the way for a lifetime of financial success. CONTINUED
FLOOD INSURANCE REFORM
AUCTIONS THIS SUMMER|
The Department of Financial Services
Bureau of Unclaimed Property will be conducting two public auctions during
the summer of 2006. An auction on July 15 will be held in Jacksonville,
and another one on August 26 will be held in Tampa.
Currently, the Chief Financial Officer holds unclaimed property accounts
valued at more than $1 billion, mostly from dormant accounts in financial
institutions, insurance and utility companies, securities and trust
GOVERNOR BUSH SIGNS SERIES OF
BILLS TO BENEFIT FLORIDA VETERANS AND ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY TROOPS|
Governor Jeb Bush recently signed into law a series of bills that will provide additional benefits to Florida’s veterans and active duty military troops. Since 1999, Governor Bush and the Florida Legislature have worked diligently to establish Florida as a military and veteran-friendly state. In 2005, an interim study conducted by the U.S. House Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranked Florida highest overall in providing benefits to veterans.
“On behalf of all Floridians, I thank our soldiers and veterans for their extraordinary dedication and service to our country,” said Governor Bush. “Their selfless dedication to our country commands not only our respect and admiration, but also our willingness to provide them and their families with assistance to improve their quality of life.” CONTINUED