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My Florida C F O
Weekly eNewsletter from Florida's Chief Financial Officer

Dear Fellow Floridian:

The road to auto insurance reform has been a long and challenging one. With the signing of the 2012 auto insurance reform bill today, Florida will release the chokehold that fraud has on Florida’s insurance consumers. For far too long Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) system has been broken. This legislation aims to fix it by targeting staged accident fraud, strengthening billing practices so appropriate services are provided to those who need care, tightening requirements for clinic ownership and providing rate relief for Florida’s consumers.

I commend Gov. Scott for signing this important piece of legislation and for his tireless work to ensure that we pass significant reforms to protect our fellow Floridians. Rep. Jim Boyd and Sen. Joe Negron were the bold and courageous legislative leaders who fought for these reforms and were the driving force behind the success of this legislation on behalf of Florida’s consumers. I congratulate these leaders and the entire Florida Legislature for recognizing that consumers no longer can afford inaction on PIP. I’m eager to start seeing the positive impacts of this bill in the form of future rate relief for Florida’s consumers.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

University of Florida’s Innovation Hub

Recently, I participated in the University of Florida’s innovation summit where I was first introduced to the Innovation Hub, an incubator of ideas and growth for start-upCFO Atwater and Director Muir companies. On Monday, I was able to see the inner workings of the hub as I toured the facility with Director Jane Muir and met with some of Florida’s home-grown entrepreneurs. It was fascinating to see how the innovative business minds of this generation are gaining the resources necessary to run their businesses and become successful for the benefit of our state’s economy. According to the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), companies that graduate from a business incubator, such as the Innovation Hub at UF, strengthen and help the long-term prosperity of local economies by creating jobs and introducing new industries to the state. Listening to the feedback of Florida’s entrepreneurs is essential to shaping public policy and thus positively impacting our economy. I am eager to see what the businesses at the UF Innovation Hub come up with next, and what we can do statewide to create a more business-friendly environment.


News of Interest

Sunshine State News: Jeff Atwater: Insurance investigators help land federal fugitive

Chief Executive: Florida ranks as second-best state for business

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Miami passes JFK in international flights

South Florida Business Journal: CTS Engines opens new engine service center

Miami Herald: Pending South Florida home sales increase 13 percent in March

Jacksonville Business Journal: St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce unveils app

Wall Street Journal: The big doubt over Facebook

Appreciate a Florida Teacher!

Starting Monday, May 7, we celebrate Florida Teacher Appreciation Week. FloridaTeacher Appreciation Week educators are not only doing more with less in their districts and classrooms, they are going the extra mile to help students learn about the world around them. During Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to say thank you to all teachers as well as school and district staff who are working to prepare students for their careers and financial futures. During this week, I invite you to go to my Facebook page and share a story on my wall about your favorite educator who made a difference in your life.



A Roadmap for your Financial Future

The latest issue of Florida’s Bottom Line focuses on how Florida can attract much-needed investors to support Florida’s entrepreneurs who can effectively grow health care, technology and manufacturing in our state's burgeoning economy. Our companion website provides the most up-to-date financial and economic statistics for Florida, serving as a roadmap for your financial future.

Visit Florida's Bottom Line website at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/floridasbottomline/.

Fraud Division First Quarter Sets RecordsDivision of Insurance Fraud Badge

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater commended the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) for a record-setting first quarter in 2012. For three consecutive months, the division has recorded over 100 arrests each month, the first time in the division’s history. Additionally, in March the division recorded the highest number of arrests for one month in almost two decades.

“We are committed to solving these costly crimes and untangling large organized-crime networks,” CFO Atwater said. “It is important that we get at the root of the fraud by going after the ringleaders and enablers who orchestrate the scams that cost Floridians over a billion dollars each year. I am proud of the division and all of our law enforcement partners who helped make this possible.”

Under CFO Atwater’s leadership, the division has made nearly 1,400 arrests and recovered more than $150 million in court-ordered restitution.

In addition to these arrests, the division’s investigations have led to the shutting down of more than 50 medical clinics due to intensive personal injury protection (PIP) fraud investigations. PIP fraud constitutes the highest number of referrals to the division, and is a high priority for CFO Atwater.

CFO Atwater, along with Gov. Rick Scott, worked tirelessly with legislative leaders this session to pass reforms to the state’s PIP system. Reforms championed by CFO Atwater passed this session target staged-accident fraud, strengthen billing practices so appropriate services are provided to those who need care, tighten requirements for clinic ownership and provide rate relief for Florida’s consumers.