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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

Through reforms passed last legislative session, we were able to target the fraud in Florida’s auto insurance system that has caused rates to skyrocket for Florida drivers. I believe these reforms will go a long way in reducing this significant financial burden on Floridians. One of the provisions of the PIP legislation required the Office of Insurance Regulation to contract with an independent consultant to calculate the expected savings from the new law.

The independent analysis, released this week, projects that Florida drivers will see a 14 to 24.6 percent decrease as a result of of the reforms passed last session, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. This report reflects my firm belief that getting at the root of the fraud in our personal injury protection system will give Florida’s consumers the rate relief they deserve. Recent history has shown us that independent actuarial studies conducted on reforms relating to the workers’ compensation and medical malpractice systems significantly under-estimated the reductions actually realized.

I was pleased to see that the independent consultant, Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc., included input from Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott and used the important data provided by her office to help calculate their findings. I am eager to see these projected savings, if not more significant savings, passed on to Florida drivers. You deserve to see the full impact of these policy changes through lower auto insurance rates.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Tropical Storm Isaac May Reach Florida asFive-day forecast for TS Isaac Soon as Sunday

Tropical Storm Isaac is projected to reach Florida as soon as Sunday. Florida residents and business owners can prevent a natural disaster from becoming an insurance nightmare by being prepared, the key to getting back on your feet quickly. Knowing the details of your insurance policy is extremely important and may help prevent your claim from being denied.

Floridians should review their insurance policies in advance. Once a tropical storm warning has been issued it is too late to make changes to your policy. Talk to your insurance agent about the coverage provided in your home and auto policies to make sure it is adequate in the event of a disaster.

Visit my website to find out how to prepare your business and your family for a storm. http://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/consumers/storm/WhenAStormApproaches.htm.

Small Businesses and Florida's Economy

CFO Atwater is partnering with The Jim Moran Institute to host the 2012 Small Business Leadership Forum in Tampa on Sept. 6-7, 2012. Small Business Leadership ForumThe forum will provide access to resources and information to positively impact your small business bottom line. Explore the Forum website to find featured speakers, panel topics and how to connect via social media before the event. The forum is also an opportunity to hear directly from Florida’s small-business community to help Tallahassee improve our state’s business climate.

The panel "Small Businesses and Florida's Economy" will offer insight from the experts about economic events and issues that will help your business stay ahead in Florida’s marketplace. Review the major economic trends that will affect your bottom line with some of the top economists in our state: Dale A. Brill, PhD, President, Florida Chamber Foundation; Sean Snaith, PhD, Director, University of Central Florida, Institute for Economic Competitiveness; and John Tuccillo, PhD, Chief Economist, Florida Realtors. Small Business Leadership Seminar 2012

Dr. Dale A. Brill serves as President of the Florida Chamber Foundation, the research and policy development arm of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Working in partnership with state business leaders, the Foundation advances initiatives that envision a vibrant and sustainable economy in the Sunshine State.

John Tuccillo is Chief Economist for Florida Realtors, and was formerly Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors. He holds a doctoral degree in Economics from Cornell University.

Read about the forum, its agenda and registration at www.flsmallbusinessforum.com.

News of Interest

Sunshine State News: Study: No-Fault Insurance Reform Poised to Cut Costs up to 25 Percent

Sunshine State News: Two Health Insurance Executives Concealed Insolvency

Gulf Coast Business Review: Wednesday's Cup: VC money trickles to Florida

News 4 Jacksonville: Senior victims lose average of $104,500 to financial abuses

Wall Street Journal: Apple Now Biggest-Ever U.S. Company

Miami Herald: Fraud pollutes BP oil-spill compensation fund for Gulf Coast victims from Florida to Louisiana

Sun-Sentinel: Food truck owners expand into restaurants

Workshops to Keep Seniors On Guard

In March, CFO Jeff Atwater launched On Guard for Seniors to help educate Florida’s seniors about financial and insurance issues On Guard for Seniorsimpacting our state’s fastest-growing population. This initiative gives seniors up-to-date information about annuities, reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance and identity theft and explains key terms, outlines important questions to ask and provides educational videos of how some common insurance and financial products work.

As part of the On Guard for Seniors initiative, CFO Atwater will be holding free workshops across Florida, titled “The Golden Rules for Your Golden Years,” to help seniors and their caregivers better familiarize themselves with products, procedures and the scams that are directed at the senior demographic. Additional workshops will be held:

  • Friday, August 24, at 9 a.m.
    Sunshine Senior Center, 330 5th Street N., St. Petersburg, Fla. 33701
  • Tuesday, August 28, at 9 a.m.
    The Mae Volen Center, 1515 W. Palmetto Road, Boca Raton, Fla. 33486

For more information, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/OnGuard, or contact the Division of Consumer Services at (850) 413-3089 or toll-free at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (693-5236).

Florida's Bottom LineFlorida's Bottom Line

This issue of Florida’s Bottom Line focuses on Florida’s small business community and how to provide a stable economic environment so that we can continue to help businesses flourish and expand.

The companion website features business news updates and Florida By the Numbers, a collection of key statistics illustrating important changes in Florida’s economy over the past month. The latest data is shown on topics such as consumer confidence, unemployment rate, new foreclosure activity and Florida's leading, stock and retail index graphs. Updates are made as new stats become available.