Volume 4 Number 3
January 19, 2007

Dear Floridian:

The state Legislature has been in Special Session all week, in an attempt to address the hurricane insurance crisis facing our state. As the state’s chief financial officer, it is my goal to ensure we are providing Floridians meaningful relief in a fiscally responsible way. I want to assure you that I share your concerns about skyrocketing insurance costs and the lack of a truly competitive market. I am hopeful that the Legislature will come to an agreement early next week that will provide the rate reductions Floridians desperately need.

As chief financial officer, I am also eager to work with the Legislature to expand the My Safe Florida Home program, which helps Floridians harden their homes against hurricane damage. Our best long-term strategy to reduce the cost of hurricane insurance is to reduce the amount of potential damage and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our families.

Sincerely,

Alex Sink


 Florida Department of Financial Services logo


CFO ALEX SINK
OFFICE OF CABINET AFFAIRS

 

CFO SINK ATTENDS FIRST CABINET MEETING

At the January 18, 2007, Cabinet meeting, CFO Alex Sink supported the appointment of two new agency heads and the reaffirmation of the Director of the State Board of Administration. 

CFO Sink made the motion to approve the appointment of Mike Sole as the new Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which was unanimously approved by the Governor and Cabinet.  As Secretary of DEP, Mike oversees Florida’s environmental regulatory and law enforcement programs, the acquisition, conservation and management of public lands, including Florida’s award-winning state parks, and the development and regulation of Florida’s water resources through the State’s five water management districts. CONTINUED



CFO SINK LAUNCHES NATIONWIDE SEARCH FOR
NEW DIVISION DIRECTOR OF INSURANCE FRAUD


In an effort to combat the mounting rate of insurance fraud, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink Wednesday launched a nationwide search for a highly-experienced and talented law enforcement official to lead the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF).

According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, Floridians pay an additional $1,400 in insurance costs each year due to fraud. Auto insurance fraud alone is estimated to cost Floridians $250 annually.

“We’re looking for a highly-motivated law enforcement official to lead our nationally-recognized team of insurance fraud detectives,” said CFO Sink. “We’re going to strengthen our efforts to crack down on this growing crime in our state.” CONTINUED
 


 

CFO SINK ON PBS FLORIDA FACE TO FACE

Earlier this week CFO Alex Sink had the opportunity to sit down with Beth Switzer of the Florida Face to Face TV program.  To be shown in the next few days on Florida's PBS stations, the thirty-minute conversation covers a variety of topics from the progress of this week’s Special Session, the potential solutions to Florida’s insurance crisis, the role of the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate as well as the importance of our Division of Insurance Fraud. 

Please see the schedule below of when this program will be aired around the state.  If you are interested in staying informed on the challenges we face as Floridians, please tune in.  

Florida Face to Face is a weekly half-hour interview program hosted by Beth Switzer that introduces Floridians to their top policy-makers and examines the issues facing the state. The program can be seen on public television stations statewide. CONTINUED


 

CFO SINK ON PROGRESS OF SPECIAL SESSION AND POTENTIAL CITIZENS REFORMS

As the House of Representatives and Senate moved into the conference position Thursday during the Special Session on hurricane insurance, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink offered the following statement:

“I’m very pleased with the amount of progress the Legislature has made during this week’s special session. We are moving closer to providing Floridians meaningful relief in a fiscally responsible way.

“As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, I am concerned about the impact of the high insurance rates on people and the overall economy of our state. At the same time, we must guard the long-term fiscal health of our state. I want to make certain that we are making decisions that are in the best interests of tax payers in the future, as well as immediately. CONTINUED
 

 

CFO SINK COMMENDS LEGISLATION IMPROVING
THE MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME PROGRAM

 Working with the Legislature to make a number of improvements to the state’s newly created mitigation fund, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink Wednesday commended legislation moving through the House of Representatives that will expand protections and access to the services available through the My Safe Florida Home program.   
Sponsored by State Representatives Trey Traviesa (R-Brandon) and Franklin Sands (D-Weston), the House legislation (5A) includes new requirements for wind inspectors to pass a Level 2 background check which includes fingerprinting, removes obstacles for low-income homeowners without insurance to participate in the program and creates a study committee to further explore additional ways to help Floridians strengthen their homes against hurricanes.  

“I share the Legislature’s goal of ensuring the proper protections are in place and serving a greater number of Floridians through the My Safe Florida Home program,” said CFO Sink.  “This program provides valuable information, and we are finding that many homes are better fortified than are currently recorded by insurance companies.  Many homeowners are eligible to receive discounts from their insurance companies without even making a single improvement.” CONTINUED




 

DFS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER HONORED BY ATTORNEY GENERAL

Two of the department's law enforcement officers, nominated by their respective agencies, were recognized on Wednesday by Attorney General Bill McCollum for outstanding work in 2006. CFO Alex Sink attended the ceremony and joined McCollum in greeting dozens of law enforcement officers who were on hand to support their nominees.

Lieutenant Michael Byrne, nominated by the Division of Insurance Fraud, and Detective John Esslinger, nominated by the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, were among 13 nominees for the Office of Attorney General's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.
 

From left: Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations Chief Bruce Ashley, Deputy Chief Financial Officer and former Division of Insurance Fraud Director Eric Miller, CFO Alex Sink, and Division of State Fire Marshal Director Les M. Hallman congratulate Attorney General Officer of the Year nominees Detective John Esslinger, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, and Lt. Michael Byrne, Division of Insurance Fraud. CONTINUED