Dear Fellow Floridian:
As another year comes to a close, I am once again very proud of the successes my team at the Department of Financial Services has made possible. With their help, we have made great strides to protect Floridians from fraud as well as the damaging impacts of fire and arson. We have also helped Florida consumers make smart financial decisions and helped return millions in unclaimed property to its rightful owners, among many other accomplishments.
Our dedicated fraud investigators work tirelessly day in and day out to keep your hard earned money where it belongs; in your pocket. While their work never ends, 2013 brought significant success in the fight against fraudsters. Fraud related arrests totaled more than 1,600 this year.
While serving as your state fire marshal, my respect for the service and commitment of our state’s firefighters has only increased each day. Whether working to investigate and prosecute arson-related crimes, train prospective students or educate the community about fire prevention, our team remains steadfast in their commitment to protect Florida’s citizens and their property against the damaging impacts of fire and arson. This year, our team responded to more than 3,200 fires and arrested nearly 300 people for committing arson.
Our consumer services helpline has professionals ready to help any and all Floridians with their insurance-related needs. Whether you need an explanation of a current policy, have questions about the upcoming changes to the health insurance industry or need an advocate to help settle an insurance dispute, our team is ready and willing to assist. This year, our helpline assisted with nearly 20,000 requests and helped recover nearly $27 million for Floridians.
In addition to the millions recovered through our consumer services helpline, our department has also helped return more than $212 million to Floridians in 2013 through our unclaimed property program. When our team is able to reunite families with loved ones’ treasured heirlooms, inheritance funds, or even a little cash one simply forgot existed, it is very rewarding for our entire team. While the unclaimed property or money remains yours to reclaim at anytime, the unclaimed property fund works to support our public school system year-round. I am proud our team is not only able to return what’s rightfully yours, but is also working to protect the education of our next generation while doing so.
Our team has worked hard to serve the people of Florida, and I assure you that 2014 won’t be any different. I’m as committed as I have ever been to lowering the state’s debt, putting more fraudsters behind bars and further promoting fiscal accountability and transparency around the state.
For more information on the programs I’ve mentioned today, please go to our department’s website at www.myfloridacfo.com.
Happy New Year,
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
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