Volume 5 Number 32 August 8, 2008
CONSUMER SERVICES HELPLINE
It is back-to-school time, and millions of parents are
helping their children get ready for another rigorous
academic year. No doubt, you are buying pencils, erasers,
books, and countless other supplies to help your children
Don’t forget to add health insurance to your list! In order
to do well at school, children need to be healthy, and that
means access to preventative health care. At Florida KidCare,
you can purchase affordable health insurance for your
Did you know:
Florida KidCare is a public-private partnership that
helps families purchase affordable health insurance for
than 1.4 million children currently have insurance
through Florida KidCare;
of the services covered by Florida KidCare are doctor
visits, check-ups and shots, hospital visits, surgery,
prescriptions, emergencies, vision and hearing, dental
visits, mental health and more;
Families pay based on their income level, with many
working families paying $20 a month or less;
You can apply online at
“We have a simple message: KidCare is open for business and
is providing quality health insurance at an affordable
price,” said CFO Sink, who chairs the Healthy Kids Board.
“With Florida KidCare, many working families are ensuring
their children have access to preventative health care.”
CFO SINK RECEIVES CHAMPION FOR BUSINESS
This week, Florida Chief Financial Officer
Alex Sink became the first Cabinet member in history to
receive a Champion for Business Award from the Associated
Industries of Florida (AIF). While receiving the award, CFO
Sink addressed the organization during a luncheon last
Tuesday in Tallahassee.
Instituted in 2003, Champion for Business awards are given
to dedicated leaders who support initiatives that help
jumpstart the economy and encourage growth of Florida’s
business. A Champion for Business is a strong elected
official who promotes policies to grow Florida’s economy,
increase competition and encourage prosperity for all
CFO SINK HONORS WINNERS OF SUSTAINABLE FLORIDA AWARDS
At Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Chief Financial Officer Alex
Sink honored the winners of the Sustainable Florida Awards.
Sustainable Florida awards are given to Floridians,
businesses and governments who have made a commitment to a
Sustainable Florida and have demonstrated exemplary
Sustainable Florida award winners promote the goals of a
healthy environment, a prosperous economy, a satisfying
quality of life, broad public participation, and vibrant,
This year, the Council for Sustainable Florida honored the
platinum and yellow gold brooch with 393 diamonds
and 93 sparkling rubies sold for $16,000
FLORIDA’S UNCLAIMED PROPERTY AUCTION
RAISES RECORD FUNDS FOR
FLORIDA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Auction draws hundreds and raises more than $925,000 for
Bidders from around the nation descended on
Tampa Bay last Saturday to find lost treasure at Florida
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink’s annual Unclaimed
Property Auction. Coordinated by CFO Sink’s Department of
Financial Services, Bureau of Unclaimed Property (Bureau),
the auction shattered previous auction records by raising
$925,550 for Florida’s public schools — a $108,000 increase
over last year.
“I am thankful to the Floridians who bid on the wonderful
items up for auction and the members of our Bureau who
worked so hard to make this event a success,” said CFO Sink,
who oversees the Bureau. “Not only did we raise a
record-breaking $925,550 for Florida school children, we
also raised awareness about our mission of reuniting
Floridians with their unclaimed property.”
The Bureau’s first priority is to reunite Floridians with
their lost property. Every year, the Bureau receives
millions in assets and abandoned contents of safe deposit
boxes, and has had tremendous success in finding owners.
During Sink’s tenure as CFO, more than $322 million has been
returned to the rightful owners (or heirs) of 496,374
The Bureau spends up to two years searching for the rightful
owners or heirs after receiving items in safe deposit boxes
that have been abandoned at least three years. When owners
or heirs cannot be found, the items are auctioned. While the
proceeds from the auctioned items are transferred to the
State School Trust Fund, the money is held in the original
owners' name and can be claimed for free at any time.
Are you the chief
financial officer of your family? Are you always
looking out for the best deals, wise investments and
smart moves for your family's financial security?
As your family's fiscal
watch dog, keep an eye on
this column for money-smart ideas from the Chief
Financial Officer of Florida,
It is wise to establish and maintain
an emergency fund.
Emergency funds are highly-liquid savings accounts you can
tap to help pay for unplanned events— like job loss, home
repairs or other unexpected expenses.
We purchase insurance to protect us during many of life’s
emergencies, but it won’t cover everything. Many insurance
policies require significant deductibles or co-pays before
the insurance coverage kicks in.
Studies have shown that you are more likely to accumulate
debt if you don’t establish an emergency savings account.
Some people have a tendency to use high-interest credit
cards or payday loans to cover emergencies.
It may seem difficult to include an emergency fund as a part
of your budget, but the truth is you can’t afford not to
have one. A good rule of thumb is to save enough to cover
three months worth of expenses. Review your financial
situation and start saving today.
MONEY IN YOUR POCKET - DON'T MISS OUT ON
YOUR STIMULUS PAYMENT
Have you received your stimulus payment? More than 400,000
eligible Florida seniors and veterans have not filed for
their stimulus checks. That’s more than $120 million that
eligible Floridians are leaving on the table. The good news
– it’s not too late!
If you want your stimulus payment, you need to file a tax
return first. This is especially important for retirees and
disabled veterans who don't normally need to file taxes. The
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began sending out letters
earlier this summer reminding eligible taxpayers who have
not filed and extending the deadline to file until October
“Many of Florida’s retirees, disabled
citizens and veterans are entitled to an economic stimulus
payment, but only if they request it by October 15, 2008,”
said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.
STATE FIRE COLLEGE HOLDS
FIRST ANNUAL FIRE RESCUE CADET ACADEMY
Forty-six cadets and 10 advisors descended on
the Florida State Fire College in Ocala for the first annual
Fire Rescue Cadet Academy.
A section of the Florida Fire Chiefs Association, the cadet
program was established to help train Florida’s future
“It has been a pleasure having the cadets on our campus,”
said Dave Casey, Bureau Chief of the Florida State Fire
College. “We hope we have helped instill in them the motto
of the program: Preparing Tomorrow’s Firefighters Today. We
look forward to bringing back and growing the program next
INSURANCE FRAUD: WHAT IS
IT AND HOW DO I REPORT IT?
Each year, insurance fraud costs companies and consumers
alike tens of billions of dollars. In order to better
identify and reduce incidents of insurance fraud — and, most
important, protect consumers — the National Association of
Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers the following tips for
identifying and responding to insurance fraud.
What Is Insurance Fraud?
Insurance fraud occurs when an insurance company, agent,
adjuster or consumer commits a deliberate deception in order
to obtain an illegitimate gain. It can occur during the
process of buying, using, selling or underwriting insurance.
What Types of Insurance Fraud Are There?
Fake insurance companies defraud consumers by collecting
premiums for bogus policies with no intention of paying
claims. These “companies” might offer policies at costs that
are significantly lower than competitors’ prices or they
might be difficult to reach by phone — if there is a listed
phone number at all. Consumers should check in advance that
they are dealing with a legitimate, licensed insurer before
signing an application for a policy. Your state insurance
department can provide licensing information for a company
or agent. For a link to your state insurance department Web
site, go to