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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

Embarking on the New Year gives us pause to reflect on the progress Florida made in 2012. Since last January, payroll employment has grown by tens of thousands of private sector jobs. And as the overall economy has steadied, Florida’s housing market also has improved; home prices in most areas have experienced consistent year-over-year appreciation while sales have grown. The country is taking notice of this progress. Not only did the number of visitors to Florida climb in 2012, but so did the number of people moving here from other states.Florida's Bottom Line New Year's 2013 Edition

After having stumbled in the wake of the recession, the U.S. Census Bureau affirmed that Florida has again become a top destination for Americans. Florida also is setting itself apart on a national scale by continuing to excel at education compared with other states and the country as a whole. While many challenges must be overcome, this past year has been a hopeful indication for the future.

The first edition of Florida’s Bottom Line for 2013 focuses on understanding the impact of the economic trends of 2012 and what those trends mean for you in the coming year. This edition boasts articles and commentary from housing market, jobs and finance experts as well as a new online database of small business resources. For additional resources visit www.myfloridacfo.com/floridasbottomline.

I hope that 2013 will be a prosperous year for you and your family.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Small business lending jumps $302M at Florida banks

Orlando Sentinel: Orlando expects to remain No. 1 in travel destination

Jacksonville Business Journal: Florida leads U.S. in education reform, group says

Tampa Bay Times: Population growth likely to push Florida past New York

Tampa Bay Times: Executive pipeline from Jacksonville to Tampa revs up

Star News Online: Florida university to take over operations of undersea lab Aquarius

Search New Unclaimed Property Accounts Worth More than $25 Million

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Wednesday announced 61,271 new unclaimed property accounts, worth more than $25 million, are being received as part of a settlement with AIG related to unclaimed life insurance benefits. This represents only the first of what is expected to be additional remittances to be made by the insurer.

“These new accounts represent dollars loved ones set aside to secure financial stability for their families. Holding companies accountable means these dollars will now be returned to their rightful owners across the state,” CFO Atwater said.

The practice addressed in the settlement agreement, signed on Oct. 22, 2012, involves life insurance companies determining an insured has died by comparing policyholder records to the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF). Many companies have used this method to stop annuity payments, but have not used the same method to issue life insurance payments. When an insured or beneficiary cannot be located, the insurance company is responsible for reporting and remitting the monetary value of the policy to the insured’s state department of unclaimed property. State unclaimed property programs provide a central means by which the owners, or their heirs, can find out about and claim the funds.

The agreement with AIG is the fifth agreement that Florida has settled that requires large national insurers to appropriately use the DMF to locate life and annuity beneficiaries, and promptly remit payment to the unclaimed property division of each state for beneficiaries that cannot be located. To date, the five settlements have resulted in 73,859 new accounts worth more than $51.25 million being remitted back to the state Bureau of Unclaimed Property for Floridians to claim.

During Jeff Atwater’s tenure as CFO, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property has seen record returns, reuniting owners, heirs and businesses with more than one-fifth ($426.78 million) of all money returned since the beginning of the 51-year old program, due largely to aggressive efforts to contact owners. There is no statute of limitations on unclaimed property, and citizens have the right to claim their property, or the proceeds derived from their abandoned property, any time at no cost.

Consumers can access more information about the settlement agreements by accessing the Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services’ webpage at: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/consumers/. To search for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or (850) 413-5555.