CFO Alex Sink photo

Volume 4 Number 7
February 16, 2007

Dear Floridian:

This week I was delighted to announce that an amazing public servant, General Bob Milligan, has accepted the position of Insurance Consumer Advocate.  General Milligan is a retired three-star General who served in the United States Marine Corps for almost 40 years.  He also served for eight years as the Comptroller of our state.

General Milligan and I share the same vision for the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s office: for Floridians to have a stronger voice when it comes to insurance matters in this state.  Together, we will work to increase the effectiveness of the Insurance Consumer Advocate as a representative of the people.

Floridians deserve a strong consumer advocate who will go head-to-head with the insurance companies seeking unfair rate increases.  But we see the insurance consumer advocate as much, much more.  We need a consumer advocate who will be proactive in finding insurance solutions in other areas, such as expanding access and affordability of health insurance in Florida.  A strong insurance consumer advocate would also be able to call attention to insurance companies operating in bad faith, using deceptive sales practices or misleading consumers.

Please remember: if you have any questions on insurance or finance issues, you may call our consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2762.  Trained consumer specialists are available to help you with your concerns. 

Sincerely,

Alex Sink


 


 

 

 

CFO ALEX SINK ANNOUNCES GENERAL MILLIGAN
AS INSURANCE CONSUMER ADVOCATE

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced General and former Comptroller Bob Milligan as Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate. General Milligan will formally assume his new role in time for the Legislative Session, starting March 6, 2007.

“I’m so honored that General Milligan has agreed to return to public service as Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate,” said CFO Sink. “He will be a strong advocate for the people and is a role model of integrity, honesty and accountability in government.”

“I’m looking forward to working on behalf of Floridians as their Insurance Consumer Advocate,” said General Milligan. “Together, the CFO and I want Floridians to have a stronger voice when it comes to insurance matters in this state.”

General Bob Milligan, Insurance Consumer Advocate—General Milligan was elected Florida's Comptroller from 1994 until 2002. General Milligan served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 35 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant general (3 stars). While a member of the Florida Cabinet, General Milligan helped create the current position of Chief Financial Officer. Throughout his service, he was known for doing what was right and putting people ahead of politics. CONTINUED



Alex Sink
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

STATES DISCUSS REGIONAL CATASTROPHE FUND

This Thursday, I traveled to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Multi-State Catastrophe Fund meeting in Atlanta. The meeting was called by insurance commissioners from various states to discuss the critically important issue of a regional catastrophe fund that could serve as a financial “backstop” for states confronting large-scale catastrophes.

Representatives of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and other coastal states discussed and reflected upon their states’ experience dealing with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Other states, such as Nebraska and Rhode Island discussed the catastrophes affecting their residents. There were informative presentations the cost and scope of regional catastrophes (hurricanes, earthquakes), mitigation science and the benefits of mitigation, the history of NAIC’s advocacy for a national catastrophe program, the NAIC interstate insurance compact, and the structure and governance of a multi-state catastrophe fund compact.

While there, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty and I spoke with regulators, insurance companies, reinsurance companies and other stakeholders about how we could bring the coastal states together to help stabilize our insurance markets. It was invaluable to speak directly with elected insurance commissioners from other states about our need to find long-term solutions to the current crisis in the property insurance market.

It will be difficult, but not impossible, for us to develop this initiative with other states. In the coming months, I look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of a regional catastrophe fund.
 



Alex Sink
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

CFO WEIGHS IN ON AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE

CFO Alex Sink delivered Friday the following letter to Commissioner Kevin McCarty regarding the recent hearing on education and occupation as rating variables in automobile insurance policies:

February 16, 2007

Mr. Kevin McCarty
Insurance Commissioner
Office of Insurance Regulation
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL  32399 

Dear Commissioner McCarty: 

Thank you for holding a hearing last week to evaluate how education and occupation are currently being used as rating factors in automobile insurance policies.  I share your concern that these factors have the potential to unfairly discriminate against minority or low income residents of our state and respectfully request your careful consideration of testimony presented by Mr. Stephen Alexander of the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s Office.   

In particular, I respectfully request your attention to the following recommendations:  CONTINUED


 

 

 

 

SECOND MEETING OF THE WINDSTORM MITIGATION STUDY COMMITTEE HELD

The second meeting of the legislatively-created Windstorm Mitigation Study Committee was held on Thursday, February 15, 2007, 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 following Floridians have been appointed to the committee:

• Garrett Walton, Chair (Governor)
• Bill Coffey, Services Director of Home Services, Home Depot (Governor)
• Mr. James Ayotte, Florida Manufactured Housing Association (Chief Financial Officer)
• Mr. Ed Dees, former Business Manager for Ironworkers, Local #397 (Chief Financial Officer)
• Mr. Michael Aranda, EH Building Group II, LLC (Senate President)
• Mr. Stephen C. Burgess, Office of Public Counsel (Senate President)
• Deirdre Finn, Meridian Strategies, LLC (Speaker of the House)
• The Honorable Trey Traviesa, Florida House of Representatives (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. Floridians can learn more about the committee, its duties and upcoming meetings at http://www.WindstormMitigationStudyCommittee.org. Floridians interested in hurricane mitigation are encouraged to attend the meetings.



 

CFO SINK RESTRICTS PUBLIC ADJUSTERS FROM COLLECTING FEES ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY DECLARED A TOTAL LOSS

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has issued an emergency rule prohibiting public insurance adjusters from collecting fees on contracts with policyholders whose homes were destroyed earlier this month by tornadoes if there is no dispute with the insurance company that the home is a total loss.  The emergency rule, issued last Friday to cover policyholders in Lake, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties affected by the Feb. 2 tornadoes, also gives homeowners 14 days to rescind a public adjuster contract without penalty.

Public adjusters are not affiliated with any insurance company and are hired by the consumer for a fee, which is usually a percentage of the claim payment. The emergency rule can be viewed at http://www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Agents/Emer-Rules/Emerg_Rule_Torn-Pub-Adj_02_07.pdf.  To find out more about public adjusters or get help with filing an insurance claim, call the Department of Financial Services at 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) or log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com

“Public adjusters provide a service when consumers feel they cannot negotiate with their insurance company on their own,” CFO Sink said.  “We simply want to make sure that no one takes advantage of the financial and emotional turmoil these victims are facing.” CONTINUED



 

CFO ALEX SINK
OFFICE OF CABINET AFFAIRS

 

NEW LEADERS:  THE FLORIDA CABINET

In November, 2006, Florida voters changed the face of leadership in Tallahassee when they elected a new Governor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Agriculture Commissioner. Florida Crossroads takes a more personal look at the new and familiar faces in part one of our series, New Leaders: The Florida Cabinet.
 

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Saturdays, 1:30 p.m.
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Sundays, 10:00 a.m.
Pensacola WSRE-23

Sundays, 12:00 p.m.

Tallahassee WFSU-11 Thursdays, 8:00 p.m.
Sundays, 11:00 a.m.
Tampa WEDU-3 Sundays, 1:30 p.m.
Tampa WUSF-16 Sundays, 7:00 a.m.
West Palm WXEL-42

Sundays, 7:00 a.m.