CFO Alex Sink's Consumer eViews Newsletter

                 Volume 5  Number 34  August 22, 2008

 

 

Tropical Storm Fay has proved to be a wake-up call for Floridians. As we enter the most active portion of the 2008 hurricane season, Fay continues to drop an unprecedented amount of rain over Florida’s 67 counties. This history-making storm, starting nearly a week ago in the Florida Keys, has slowly crisscrossed our state, making landfall three times so far and has no sign of letting up in the near future.

In the wake of Tropical Storm Fay, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee, as well as numerous communities across the state, have put Florida citizens’ safety above all else. As emergency responders and local officials put their well-laid emergency plans into action, CFO and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink supports their efforts, urging fellow Floridians to follow their warnings and stay out of danger.

With the 2008 storm season far from being over, CFO Sink is especially interested in making sure that you, your family, home, and business are all prepared for the remainder of the season. The next storm may be more serious. Record rainfall and resulting flooding from Fay has served as a lesson to many Floridians without flood insurance. Remember, homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage – contact the National Flood Insurance Program for more information on how to obtain flood insurance coverage. Visit http://www.floodsmart.gov/.

As the storm season progresses, State Fire Marshal Sink would also like to warn residents of the dangers of using a generator indoors or in any enclosed area such as a garage, carport or sunroom. Thousands of residents have lost power due to Tropical Storm Fay, and fire safety is a potential issue as residents use candles and lanterns in their homes.

For more information on preparedness tips, emergency contact information, or for guidance in filing insurance claims, the department’s useful Homeowners’ Financial Toolkit is available online in .pdf format. Our consumer helpline is also open to provide tropical storm or hurricane assistance at 1-800-22-STORM, or 1-800-227-8676. For a problem with a claim, you may file a request for assistance online or look up licensing information on insurance agents and adjusters at www.MyFloridaCFO.com.


 

CFO SINK HIGHLIGHTS FLORIDA'S ACHIEVEMENTS AT 63RD ANNUAL WORKERS' COMPENSATION EDUCATIONAL CONFERENCE

Speaking Monday on the opening day of the 63rd Annual Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference in Orlando, CFO Alex Sink highlighted the state’s successes and shared credit with the hundreds of physicians, attorneys, insurers, and other interested stakeholders in attendance for working together to make Florida’s system one of the best in the nation.

Through legislative reforms, proactive regulation and aggressive outreach, she said Florida has slashed premiums in half in the past five years, reduced workers’ compensation lost-time injury rates by more than 25 percent and taken actions resulting in more than 43,000 additional employees getting coverage during the last four years.

CFO Sink also said she said she was pleased that Florida became one of the first states in the nation to implement a process for carriers to electronically report proof of coverage, medical, and claims data – and that Florida was the first to implement Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), in all three areas.

Just last week, Florida held an Electronic Data Interchange training class in Tampa with 275 participants. She said the implementation of a complete electronic reporting system increases the efficiency and accuracy of data submissions.

“Another benefit is the amount of paper saved through EDI every year – it would stack up taller than the state capitol. So we are saving time, money and trees!”

“Making the workers’ compensation system work well requires all hands on deck, that’s why the Division of Workers’ Compensation’s mission statement focuses on a self-executing system,” she said.

The conference continued through Wednesday and included presentations from representatives of several bureaus within the Division of Workers’ Compensation.


 

Assisting the State Fire Marshal at the Emergency Operations Center as part of the Florida Fire Chiefs - State Emergency Response Plan are, left to right, Andrea Jones, Operations Chief, Tallahassee Fire Department; Todd Smith, Lieutenant, Jacksonville Fire/Rescue; CFO/SFM Alex Sink and Wayne Watts, Captain, Jacksonville Fire/Rescue.

Fraud badgeState Fire Marshal badge

THE STATE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER FACES FAY

CFO and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink along with various Department of Financial Services staff, joined the Governor and many other emergency responders at Florida’s State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee throughout the week to deal with Tropical Storm Fay.

The Division of Emergency Management manages the SEOC as the communications and command center for coordinating state emergency and disaster response with federal and local agencies. This state-of-the-art technological center provides access to real-time meteorological radar and a universal database for situation and response reporting.

The emergency center is staffed around the clock and maintains statewide communications with county emergency officials.

Through calls with Florida fire chiefs around the state, the CFO thanked them for thei
r dedication and vigilance in responding to the needs of their local communities as Tropical Storm Fay moved across the state. The State Fire Marshal provides technical assistance to local governments as they implement emergency plans and procedures.

Each state agency designates an Emergency Coordinating Officer (ECO) as the liaison for operations
with the SEOC. Tory Desotell is the DFS ECO, who reports to the SEOC when a Level 1 alert is designated by the Division of Emergency Management. CFO Sink, as State Fire Marshal, is responsible for DFS sworn law enforcement officers to provide the essential function of first responder search and rescue as needed. After a storm our Consumer Services and Agents & Agency Services staff coordinate insurance help on claims and adjusting.


 

 

 

MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME PROGRAM  HELPS HOMEOWNERS THROUGH COMMUNITY PARTNERS

To date, the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program has helped more than 17,000 homeowners strengthen their homes in time for Tropical Storm Fay.  Grants have been approved for an additional 21,000 homeowners who are actively working to make improvements. Local community partners have been instrumental in working with the MSFH program to help homeowners strengthen their homes. The following letter is testimony to the help that the Town of Jupiter (TOJ) provided with MSFH funding.
 


Town Of Jupiter
Neighborhood Services
210 Military Trail
Jupiter, F'L 33458

August 20, 2008

Hello Julie,

THANK YOU so very much for helping me with my home improvements through My Safe Florida Home Program. Tropical Storm Fay came and went. For the first time in years I have felt safe in my home during a storm.

I applied for MSFH in December 2006. After so much time had passed since I received their inspection report I thought it was a done deal. What a pleasure it was dealing with you and the Town of Jupiter! You were able to answer all my questions, assist me in filling out the grant paperwork and keep the process rolling. I got my needed quotes and Bennett's Aluminum Products came out and installed all my windows, doors and accordion shutters just before the first storm of the season. Thank you... thank you.... thank you. Words can not describe the comfort it brought myself and my 11 year old son knowing we would be safe inside our own home. No more leaky windows, leaky doors or the fear our doors would blow off during a storm.

Monday morning I put all my patio furniture into the shed, had my son pick up all his toys from the yard, closed my accordion shutters and went to work knowing I was prepared for whatever Tropical Storm Fay would bring.

Thank you again for assisting me though this process I hope the TOJ through MSFH program can assists others who feel unsafe inside their homes during a storm.

Thanks once more for everything!

Helene Joy Benner
Jupiter, Florida
 

My Family CFO
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, Alex Sink.

 

IDEA: SAVE MONEY ON AUTO INSURANCE
  • Safety devices such as anti-lock brakes, side air bags, automatic seat belts and daytime running lights can help save money on premiums.
  • Install anti-theft devices on your car, so that your car can be located if stolen. Notify your insurance provider if you have installed these devices.
  • Maintain a good driving record because the number of accidents, DUI citations, claims and tickets you incur will directly affect your premium.
  • Contact your insurance provider and inquire about eligible discounts such as multi-car discount, good grades (for students under 25 years of age) and mature driver (for consumers between 50 and 65 years of age) among others