Dear Fellow Floridian:
Florida is currently home to more than 1.6 million veterans and
58,000 active duty military personnel. There is no greater commitment
than the one these men and women have chosen to make. Thank you for
your steadfast dedication to preserve and protect our nation’s
principles and freedoms.
I am honored to have many veterans, active duty and reserve
personnel working at the Department of Financial Services.
This weekend, I will be featuring some of their stories on my
social media pages at
www.twitter.com/jeffatwater. These stories will just be a few
examples of the many stories from veterans across our state. If you
are a veteran or are currently serving, please feel free to share
your story on my Facebook wall at
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I like to see a man proud of the place
in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will
be proud of him.” The American veteran embodies this quote.
We are proud and grateful to the men and women who have defended
America’s founding principles of freedom and liberty. They have
served our nation with dignity and bravery, always standing ready to
defend our flag wherever it waves. This Veterans Day we honor our
courageous veterans, and we are proud to call them patriots.
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
Consumer Roundtable in Tampa
On Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott and I met with local
insurance consumers in Tampa to discuss issues surrounding auto
insurance fraud, specifically, Personal Injury Protection fraud
that has become a statewide epidemic.
This meeting in Tampa is the fourth stop in a series of
roundtables that we are organizing in the hardest hit areas of
our state. The valuable feedback we receive will help our
leaders in Tallahassee take bold action during the 2012
Legislative Session. I am thankful that these consumers took the
time out of their busy day to meet with us and I’m ready to go
to bat for them this session to decrease their auto insurance
Tips to Avoid Flood Vehicle Fraud
Florida consumers looking to buy a used vehicle along the Eastern coast should have a
professional thoroughly examine the vehicle for possible
Hurricane Irene caused flooding from Maine to North Carolina, and we all saw
the pictures of flooded homes, streets and cars. The National Insurance Crime
Bureau (NICB) reported that during last August alone, 11,789 flood
vehicle-related claims were processed. This compares with 994 processed in
August of 2010. New Jersey generated the most claims - 4,121 - followed by New York
(2,809) and North Carolina (2,585).
While it is legal to sell a previously flooded vehicle when disclosure is
made, unfortunately some dealers may not be honest and most buyers don’t know
what to look for. A flood-damaged vehicle can eventually require costly repairs
and potentially pose life-threatening risks.
If the car is priced well below retail, that could be an indicator the car
has been flooded or damaged. The NICB recommends that consumers follow these
tips to avoid getting ripped off by flood vehicle fraud:
- Select a reputable car dealer.
- Inspect the vehicle for water stains, mildew, sand or silt under the
carpets, floor mats, headliner cloth and behind the dashboard.
- Check for recently shampooed carpet.
- Inspect the interior upholstery and door panels for fading.
- Check for rust on screws in the console or areas where water normally
- Check for mud or grit in the spare tire compartment, alternator crevices,
behind wiring harnesses, around the small recesses of starter motors, power
steering pumps and relays.
- Check inside the seatbelt retractors by pulling the seatbelt all the way out
and inspect for moisture, mildew or grime.
- Check door speakers as they will often be damaged due to flooding.
- Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle prior to purchasing it.
- Ask about the vehicle's history. Ask whether it was in any accidents or
- Inspect the title and ownership papers for any potential salvage fraud.
- Conduct a title search of the vehicle at
- Look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Pull back rubber boots around
electrical and mechanical connections and look for these indicators: ferrous
materials will show signs of rust; copper will show a green patina.
- Aluminum and alloys will have a white powder coating and pitting.
- Trust your instincts. If you don’t like the answers or the deal sounds too
good to be true, walk away!
If you suspect flood vehicle fraud, call the NICB Hotline at 1-800-TEL-NICB
(1-800-835-6422). You may also text your information to TIP411, keyword “FRAUD”
and remain anonymous if you so desire.