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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

This week, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty released an analysis of Florida’s property insurance rates, which is both informative for consumers and instructive for insurance companies. Consumers will learn that some insurance providers are beginning to pass their savings from lower reinsurance costs on to their customers in the form of lower rates. The key takeaway, however, is found in the Commissioner’s message to the insurance industry.

The Commissioner made it clear that, barring a catastrophic event, he has every expectation that the lower reinsurance costs insurers are paying will be reflected in lower rates for consumers in future rate filings. I share the Commissioner's expectations. If insurers raised rates in the past to compensate for higher reinsurance costs, they should reduce rates accordingly when their costs go down.

The Commissioner’s analysis was completed at my request because I have become increasingly concerned about how insurers are utilizing the significant savings they are receiving from lower reinsurance costs. I am not suggesting insurers should put themselves at any greater risk or not acquire the appropriate level of reinsurance. Our goal should be to ensure companies are sound and that Floridians are getting the rate relief they deserve.

To read Commissioner McCarty’s analysis, click here.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Tampa Bay Times: Florida insurance commissioner says rates are falling

Tampa Bay Times: Florida continues as a leader in private sector job creation

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Florida business owners expect gains in 2014

Miami Herald: Fed: US economic growth healthy over holidays

Naples Daily News: Record rainfall may help Florida's oyster industry

2014 Series of Be Scam Smart Workshops for Seniors to Kick Off

CFO Atwater announced Tuesday the 2014 Series of Be Scam Smart Workshops for Seniors will kick off in Santa Rosa County with Representative Doug Broxson. Operation SafeThe workshops, which are being held statewide as part of the CFO’s Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) initiative, provide information to seniors, their families and caregivers to help inform, empower, and protect them from financial scams and fraud.

“These workshops are a great opportunity for seniors to learn how to protect themselves from frauds and scams,” said CFO Atwater. “We want to empower seniors, their families and caregivers to fight frauds and scams by knowing what to look for and how to fight back.”

The workshops will be held Tuesday, January 28, at 10 a.m. at the Santa Rosa County Auditorium, at 4530 Spikes Way in Milton and on Wednesday, January 29, at 10 a.m. at Warriors Hall, at 201 Stillwell Boulevard in Crestview, Florida.

The Be Scam Smart Workshops will teach seniors what to look for if a scam is suspected, as well as how the scams work and what steps to take if scammed. Operation S.A.F.E. is part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative, which arms seniors with the necessary information to avoid becoming victims of these crimes that can have far-reaching impacts on lives.

"While we want to believe the best in people, we do have some bad actors that prey on the elderly, but Operation S.A.F.E. can provide our seniors with information they need to stay protected. I would encourage our seniors, as well as their families and caregivers to attend this important event,” stated Representative Doug Broxson.

The Operation S.A.F.E. workshops are being provided by the Department of Financial Services, which CFO Atwater oversees, along with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Milton Police Department, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the Crestview Police Department.

To see a calendar of workshops, register for a workshop, or share a flyer with friends and family, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/SAFE or call the CFO’s Consumer Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).

Florida Economic Briefs

Venture capital in Florida jumps

Venture capitalists invested $421 million in 37 Florida companies in 2013, double 2012’s performance and the best since 2004. Florida finished 10th in the nation for total amount invested. Over the year, software investments led the pack, with $194 million going into the industry, followed by $107 million going into life sciences. In the fourth quarter of 2014, $132 million was invested in Florida companies, which is a 222 percent increase over the same period last year and a 27 percent increase over the Q3 2013.

Source: 2014 PWC/MoneyTree Venture Capital Report

2013 Small Business ReportInside Florida's Bottom Line, you’ll find the 2013 Small Business Survey. By providing a favorable business climate where Florida’s economy can flourish and expand, our state helps small businesses create jobs in our communities, bolster our economic growth and prosperity, and strengthen our financial position. Florida's Bottom Line will help equip you with the resources to understand and be a part of this mission.