Volume 4 Number 6
February 9, 2007

Dear Floridian:

The Department of Financial Services strives to help consumers make informed financial decisions by providing public education programs throughout the state.   

Last year, the Division of Consumer Services, Bureau of Consumer Outreach, conducted nearly 2,000 consumer education programs encompassing a variety of topics including hurricane preparedness, predatory lending, financial literacy and insurance fraud.

We offer free programs and presentations to civic organizations, schools, community groups, homeowners associations and others who want to learn how to protect their interests and avoid becoming a victim of financial or insurance fraud. Call us toll free at 1-800-342-2762 if you are interested in learning more about our consumer education programs.

Remember, being informed is the best defense.


Sincerely,

Alex Sink


 

STORM LINE REMAINS ACTIVATED

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink wants Central Florida tornado victims to know that insurance consumer specialists remain available to take phone calls on the Department of Financial Services’ storm hotline, 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676.)  

The department’s consumer specialists can assist with questions regarding steps to take to contact an insurance company, file an insurance claim or check to make sure a public adjuster is licensed.

 “We are committed to doing all we can to make sure these tornado victims get the help they need to rebuild their homes and their lives,” said CFO Sink.  She further urged storm victims to be sure to read and understand any contract they are contemplating signing with a public adjuster and to call the department if they have any concerns or questions.  CONTINUED


 

 

 

 

FIRST MEETING OF THE WINDSTORM MITIGATION STUDY COMMITTEE HELD

In effort to expand and improve hurricane mitigation efforts in Florida, the legislatively-created Windstorm Mitigation Study Committee held its first meeting on February 8 in Tallahassee.   

The committee was created as a result of House Bill 1A, passed recently by the Florida Legislature during Special Session.  The committee is comprised of eight members, with two appointments each from the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Senate President and Speaker of the House.  The committee is charged with analyzing short- and long-term solutions and programs that address the need to immediately and effectively mitigate homes in Florida.   

A final committee report, including legislative recommendations, is due to the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Insurance Commissioner, Senate President and Speaker of the House by March 6, 2007. Visit http://www.windstormmitigationstudycommittee.org/ where Floridians can learn more about the committee, its duties and upcoming meetings. Floridians interested in hurricane mitigation are encouraged to attend the meetings. 



 

CFO ALEX SINK
OFFICE OF CABINET AFFAIRS


 

CABINET AFFAIRS WELCOMES NEW AIDES

The Office of Cabinet Affairs is pleased to announce two new Cabinet Aides who have recently joined our team.   

Regina Keenan has accepted the position of Senior Cabinet Aide.  With several years experience in state government, Regina worked for the Department of Environmental Protection after graduating from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.   

As Senior Cabinet Aide, Regina will spearhead environmental Cabinet initiatives relating to public lands, land acquisition and land management.  

Amber Hughes has recently relocated to Tallahassee were she is Cabinet Aide for the Chief Financial Officer.  Following graduation from Florida State University, Amber was a Financial Advisor in Seattle before joining the Finance Team on Alex Sink's campaign.   

She is the Cabinet Aide responsible for issues regarding the Division of Bond Finance, Department of Revenue and the Office of Financial Regulation as well as supports the CFO in her role as chair of the board of the Healthy Kids Corporation. 

At the February 13, 2007, Cabinet meeting, CFO Sink will be sponsoring a Cabinet resolution recognizing the Florida Association of Black Owned Media, Inc. to thank them for continuing to uplift and educate the community and recognize the thirteen Black owned newspapers, radio and cable television entities serving the citizens of Florida.                                       

The resolution presentation will also be recognizing February as Black History Month in Florida and remind all citizens to participate and observe ceremonies recognizing Black History Month in their communities.



 

DFS  DETECTIVES AMONG SLECA OFFICER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

State Fire Marshal Detective John Esslinger received the second-highest number of votes at an annual awards ceremony held last week by the State Law Enforcement Chief Association (SLECA).  Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink also attended and spoke at the ceremony. 

Esslinger, a detective in the State Fire Marshal Office’s Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, was among 14 state law enforcement officers submitted for the award by the various state law enforcement agencies.  Esslinger also was a nominee for the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, which Attorney General Bill McCollum announced in January.   CONTINUED



 

BROWARD COUNTY WOMAN ARRESTED 2ND TIME FOR FRAUD

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today the arrest of a Broward County woman on charges that she stole $200,000 in insurance payments from her former boss, a chiropractor.  She was previously arrested in September on charges that she collected nearly $24,000 on fraudulent chiropractic treatment claims she filed on herself and her husband. 

Jamie Bruce, 30, of Fort Lauderdale, is now facing one count of first-degree grand theft and two counts of fraudulent use of personal identification.  If convicted on the charges, she could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison in addition to fines and restitution.  The arrests stem from an investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud.  The case agent was Detective Gary Schiaffo. 

“Our investigators have determined that this woman was systematically defrauding insurance companies, and insurance fraud forces premiums higher for the rest of us,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the department.   “Fraud will not be tolerated in our state.  We are committed to protecting Florida’s citizens from these crimes.” CONTINUED