Volume 4 Number 17
April 27, 2007

Dear Floridian,

I am pleased to announce that the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program has been reorganized and expanded this week to provide free wind inspections statewide.  The goal of the MSFH program is to encourage Floridians to harden their homes against storms by providing resources as well as financial incentives to eligible homeowners. 

The MSFH program’s first priority is to begin serving the more than 50,000 homeowners on a waiting list from the pilot phase of the program.  These homeowners on the waiting list do not need to re-apply, will be contacted by a wind inspection firm during the next 60 days and should expect to be served by the end of the summer.   

New applicants can apply over the MSFH program’s website at www.mysafefloridahome.com or over the program’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-513-MSFH (6734), but should not expect to receive a free wind inspection before August 2007, as first priority goes to the more than 50,000 pilot phase applicants.   

Even if you are not interested in participating in the MSFH program, please visit our website to find out more about the importance of home mitigation and to get tips and information on how to protect your home.  Working together, we can make our beautiful state a safer place to live.     

Sincerely,

Alex Sink


 

AFTER REORGANIZATION, MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME PROGRAM RESUMES FREE WIND INSPECTIONS STATEWIDE
Program expands statewide and is reorganized to better serve Florida homeowners.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced that the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program has been streamlined to provide better service and has been expanded to offer free wind inspections to eligible Floridians statewide. The popular program aimed at hardening the homes of Floridians has begun serving the more than 50,000 homeowners on the pilot program’s waiting list for wind inspections and is now accepting new applications.

“I am pleased to announce that we have retooled the My Safe Florida Home program and expanded it statewide for Florida’s homeowners,” said CFO Sink. “Through the newly-designed program, we will work to increase awareness about the importance of mitigation and educate Floridians on how they can better protect their families during a storm.” CONTINUED

 

CFO SINK ON KIDCARE LEGISLATION

With the House and Senate debating dueling proposals on KidCare (HB 7189, SB 930), Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as the Chair of the Healthy Kids Board, went on the House Floor to promote her principles for KidCare reform.

After discussing the legislation with several House members, CFO Sink offered the following statement:

“As Chief Financial Officer and Chair of the Healthy Kids Board, I applaud the House and Senate for their hard work in trying to improve our state’s KidCare program. Over the past few years, KidCare has turned into a spaghetti factory of sorts, with bureaucracy playing too large a role over the needs of families. We must work together this session to put families back in the center of KidCare once more.”

“In addition to streamlining the application process and making it easier for families to participate, I am encouraged by the House’s language that maintains high-level accountability over the program. KidCare is supported with the people’s tax dollars, and we have a fiscal duty to uphold the highest levels of oversight.”


 


 

CONSUMER ALERT
FLORIDIANS SHOULD CEASE TRANSACTIONS
WITH NATIONAL FOUNDATION OF AMERICA
 

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is urging consumers and agents to avoid any annuity transactions with Tennessee-based National Foundation of American (NFOA), which is operating in Florida without authority, and immediately contact the Department of Financial Services’ consumer helpline.   

“We advise Florida consumers to never conduct insurance or financial business with any entity not authorized to do business in this state, and we have made it easy for them to check on any agent or company through our website,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the department.  “We stand ready to assist consumers with any questions or concerns they may have.” CONTINUED


 

STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE WORKING QUICKLY TO DETERMINE CAUSE OF FATAL SATSUMA HOME FIRE

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as the State Fire Marshal, said the Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI), is working with local, state and federal agencies to determine the cause of a mobile home fire that took the lives of two adults and two children this morning.  An adult and a child were also injured. 

“This department is working quickly to find out what caused this tragedy,” said CFO Sink.  “But this clearly points out that it can be a matter of life or death to have working smoke detectors and an escape plan.” CONTINUED



Det. Amy and Tommy Barron

DETECTIVE AMY, FIRE MARSHAL K-9, HELPS WIN 20-YEAR SENTENCE AGAINST PANAMA CITY MAN WHO KILLED DOG IN FIRE

Detective Amy, a Labrador, advances the arson investigation with some “Lab” tests of her own 

A man who set fire to his home during an argument with his girlfriend was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison after being convicted in Bay County Circuit Court on charges of arson and felony cruelty to animals.  The jury returned the guilty verdict after 13 minutes of deliberation, based largely on evidence produced by one hard-nosed witness – a black Labrador Retriever named Amy that serves as a detective with the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations. 

Timothy Reese, 43, set fire to his home at 6901 Sunset Ave., around 1 a.m. on September 19, 2005.  Bay County Fire Department requested the assistance of Amy, the Lab, and her partner Detective Tommy Barron, and they discovered samples and burn patterns that proved Reese set the fire.  The girlfriend escaped from a bedroom window with bruises and scratches, but her dog, also a Labrador Retriever, was not able to escape.  

“Arson is always a violent crime-- there is always the risk that someone can be hurt or killed,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as State Fire Marshal.  “I congratulate our K-9 team and everyone who helped bring this criminal to justice.” CONTINUED


 

CFO SINK ON EXPANSION OF INSPECTOR GENERAL INVESTIGATION INTO OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION

Six days after directing her Inspector General to investigate whether state computers were used for political purposes in the Office of Insurance Regulation, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink directed her Inspector General to ask Governor Charlie Crist’s Chief Inspector General, as well as the Inspectors General for Attorney General Bill McCollum and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, to conduct a joint investigation.

In addition, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink offered the following statement:

“As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, I am committed to protecting the people’s tax dollars and our state’s resources. I am concerned about the allegation that state computers were used for political purposes in the Office of Insurance Regulation.”

“At this time, I feel it is necessary for the Governor and Cabinet to work together to expand the investigation. I am grateful for their cooperation and willingness to go forward so that we can get to the bottom of this situation for the people of Florida.”