Volume 5 Number 21
May 23, 2008

Memorial Day is a day to remember our nation’s heroes and their contributions to our freedom and prosperity. In communities throughout our state, citizens will take time this weekend to reflect upon all veterans, living and deceased.

America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Merchant Marines deserve our full appreciation. As we show tribute to service members through parades, events and memorials, we remember their service and sacrifice.

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink signed a resolution this month recognizing Memorial Day 2008, and every day, as we pray for the families of the fallen and show respect for the more than 1.7 million veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States currently living in our state, and those that came before them.
 



 

 

 


 

FLORIDA AGENCIES ANNOUNCE $4 MILLION INSURANCE SETTLEMENT WITH AON CORP

Attorney General Bill McCollum, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty today announced that Florida has reached a settlement with Aon Corp., a large insurance broker that received undisclosed compensation in connection with the placement of insurance coverage on behalf of Florida policyholders.

As part of the agreement, Aon will pay $2.6 million to Florida to reimburse affected policyholders. Aon also will reimburse the three Florida agencies $1.4 million in fees and costs, which will be paid within 10 days of this agreement.

“Florida is committed to ensuring that insurance transactions are both transparent and fair,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “When we determine that an insurance broker is not clearly disclosing the amount and nature of all fees and commissions, we will take decisive action on behalf of Florida consumers.”  CONTINUED


CFO SINK VISITS HEALTHY KIDS CALL CENTER

CFO Sink, as chair of the Healthy Kids Corporation, visited Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) headquarters in Tallahassee. ACS serves as the Healthy Kids new third party administrator and is responsible for eligibility, renewals and call center operations.


 

TIGER BAY CLUB OF CENTRAL FLORIDA HOSTS CFO SINK

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink visited the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida in Orlando on May 20 as their guest speaker. She spoke about efforts to protect Florida taxpayers and the importance of commuter rail in Central Florida. 

The Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida is a non-partisan political club that fosters a better understanding of public issues. Members and guests meet over lunch and listen to an invited public figure. Afterwards, they spend time peppering the speaker with questions.


 


 

INVESTORS MANAGING $2.3 TRILLION , INCLUDING CFO SINK, CALL ON CONGRESS TO TACKLE GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
Group Says Lack of Clear Policy Undermines Long-Term Economic Competitiveness

More than 50 leading investors, including the nation’s largest public pension fund, CFO Sink and the world’s largest listed hedge fund, called on the U.S. Senate to enact strong federal legislation to curb the pollution causing global warming. In advance of the upcoming Senate debate on the Lieberman-Warner climate bill early next month, the group issued a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for a national climate policy to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60 to 90 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The request is similar to reductions that would be achieved under the Lieberman-Warner bill.

The group of investors, organized by Ceres and the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), announced the investor letter at a climate change conference today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. The 52 signers include institutional investors, asset managers, treasurers and controllers such as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), Deutsche Asset Management, F&C Asset Management, the Man Group (the world’s largest hedge fund), and treasurers and controllers for California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York City, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. (See full list below.) CONTINUED
 

 

BUREAU OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY RETURNS ITEMS VALUED AT $65,000

CFO Sink’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property returned the contents of a safe deposit box valued at over $65,000 to a Tampa resident this week. The contents of the box included an impressive coin collection with several Carson City Morgan Silver Dollars (dated between 1887-1897), platinum ingots and platinum coins from France.


Money-Smart
Idea of the Week

Idea: Use flexible spending accounts.
FSAs allow you to pay certain medical, dental and child care expenses using pre-tax dollars.

An FSA is one of a number of tax-advantaged financial accounts that can be set up through a plan of U.S. employers. An FSA allows an employee to set aside a portion of his or her earnings to pay for qualified expenses as established in the cafeteria plan, most commonly for medical expenses but often for dependent care or other expenses. Money deducted from an employee's pay into an FSA is not subject to payroll taxes, resulting in a substantial tax savings.

The most common FSA, the medical expense FSA (also medical FSA or health FSA), is similar to a health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement account (HRA). However, while HSAs and HRAs are almost exclusively used as components of a consumer-driven health care plan, medical FSAs are commonly offered with more traditional health plans as well. An FSA may be utilized by paper claims or an FSA debit card also known as a Flexcard.

To find out if an FSA is right for you, contact your Human Resources department for more information.


LEON COUNTY MAN TO SERVE 30-YEARS FOR ARSON CONVICTION

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today announced a Leon County man was convicted on charges of first degree Arson and of violating an Order of Protection and sentenced to 30-years in prison.

Kevin J. Walsh, 25, of Tallahassee, was arrested August 23, 2006 for setting a fire in the early morning hours that heavily damaged an apartment building on North Pointe Boulevard in Tallahassee. At the time of the fire, more than 20 residents were living at the apartment building. Walsh, convicted Thursday, admitted to officials he set the fire because he was angry at a resident in the building. Walsh was sentenced as a Prison Release Re-offender and will not be eligible for early release.

The investigation was conducted jointly by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Tallahassee Fire Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Shelly Thomas from the Second Judicial Circuit.

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is the law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious or unknown origin. Anyone with information about any suspicious fire is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NOARSON) or (850) 413-3900. Information also may be mailed to Arson Control, P.O. Box 1654, Winter Park, Fl 32790.

 

CFO SINK ADDRESSES PROFESSIONALS - FINANCIAL EXECUTIVES INTERNATIONAL - IN JACKSONVILLE

 

Standing before a crowd of public and private sector chief financial officers in Jacksonville, CFO Alex Sink discussed the similarities of being Florida’s CFO with top financial executives.  Sink also provided the group with an update on Florida’s finances and budget, the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and the need for businesses to continue to support local communities who are finding it challenging to work within the constraints of tight budgets in both state and local governments.


 

CFO SINK GETS “DOWN TO BUSINESS” WITH ANDY JOHNSON AND AM 1460

 

CFO Alex Sink joined radio talk-show host Andy Johnson on AM1460 for 30 minutes of the Jacksonville-based "Down To Business" a two-hour program focusing on business, political and community issues. Johnson and callers to the show asked the CFO about protecting the St. Johns River, Florida’s economic development, environmental concerns and how to save money and harden homes through the state’s My Safe Florida Home program.


CFO TOURS NEW CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE GROUP CLAIMS PROCESSING CENTER
 

CFO Alex Sink toured Citizens Property Insurance Group's new claims processing center in Jacksonville this week including Citizens Mobile Emergency Response Vehicle (MERV), currently being readied for hurricane season which begins June 1.  Citizens Property Insurance Group is the state-run insurer of last resort and is Florida's largest insurance company.

 

“The MERV is a wonderful tool that allows Citizens to be more responsive to their customers, and I am glad to know that with hurricane season approaching, Citizens is more prepared than ever to meet customers’ needs in timely fashion,” said CFO Sink.

 

The MERV is dispatched to Florida communities to help homeowners begin the process of recovery as soon as public safety officials declare a disaster area safe.  Citizens, in many cases, was the first insurance company on the scene in Florida's recent wildfires helping their customers file claims quickly and begin to get their homes and their lives back on track.

 

 "Citizens new facility has allowed them to consolidate all of their claims and underwriting associates into one location," Sink said.  After meeting with Citizens President Scott Wallace and his management team, I know that Floridians will appreciate the already promising gains in efficiency, operations and customer service that Citizens can now offer.”