My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Last week, I highlighted the importance of preparing for the upcoming hurricane season, and I’m glad to say that we received a lot of positive feedback from newsletter readers across Florida—many of whom shared questions, concerns, and comments related to insurance companies and insurance coverage.

One of the most common questions we received was ‘how do I know if I have the right coverage in place,’ and it’s a great question. Now—before storm season begins—is the right time to evaluate your coverage. Once a storm appears and is on its way, you will lose the opportunity to purchase or modify your coverage. The answer is that there’s no one-size-fits-all insurance policy out there, but there are specific tips to keep in mind as you review your current coverage.

Atlantic Hurricanes since October 25th, 2005

Homeowners need enough insurance coverage to cover: the structure of the home, its contents such as furniture, electronics and all other personal belongings, and the cost of living in the event that you must vacate your home while it’s being repaired. Potential liabilities must also be taken into consideration when shopping for an insurance policy.

In addition to these simple tips, it’s important to keep in mind that your mortgage lender may have additional insurance requirements based on the terms of your home loan.

If you need help understanding your insurance coverage, or are in the market for a policy, call your insurance agent to have a discussion on whether or not your coverage adequately meets your needs. These experts can walk you through personalized options to modify your coverage to best protect you.

If you have additional questions, we can help. We house a team of trained insurance experts who can help walk you through the insurance process. Give us a call at 877/ 693-5236 to speak with a member of our Consumer Helpline team.

Beyond the proper amount of coverage, many of you inquired as to whether or not your insurance company has the financial strength to withstand a major storm should one head Florida’s way this year. The answer is that Florida’s property insurance market is strong, competitive, and is fit to respond to catastrophe if necessary.

I’m confident in saying so because each year, the Office of Insurance Regulation tests Florida-based property insurance companies to see how well their finances fare following disaster. By simulating the path of storms like Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and others, the Office can model companies’ ability to respond to high quantities of high dollar claims—similar to the influx of claims that come in following a hurricane. The 2016 test is still underway, but in 2015, every Florida-based company ultimately passed this very rigorous test.

They call this exercise a “stress test” and it’s exactly that—it’s meant to stress companies’ finances to make sure companies can hold up to the stress of a storm. Tests like these help to inform consumers and to provide confidence in the insurance market.

To learn more about the stress test process or to see how your company fared, visit the Office of Insurance Regulation’s website today.

Hurricane season is around the corner, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so take the time to invest in your family’s hurricane prevention plans. You’ll be glad you did.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

A Guide to Today's Recent Financial Topics

Financial Markets 101: A guide to today's recent financial topicsFinancial Markets The term "financial markets" typically refers to the stock market. A stock market is a physical or virtual place where buyers and sellers from around the globe trade assets such as stocks, bonds, and commodities. Familiar examples include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ.

The Strong Dollar A strong dollar refers to a relative situation where one U.S. dollar is worth more than one dollar of a foreign currency, such as the Euro or Japanese Yen. Most countries have their own forms of currency, or money. In order to facilitate international trade, the value of each country’s currency is determined by the exchange rate, which is the price of one countries currency in terms of another (e.g., how many Euros you get for $1 USD). As countries’ currencies fluctuate so too do exchange rates. Therefore, a currency can "appreciate" (strong) or "depreciate" (weak) in value based on those changes.

Read more about recent financial topics in the latest edition of Florida's Bottom Line.

As a one-stop shop for the latest news and valuable insight on Florida's economic and financial health, Florida's Bottom Line is CFO Atwater's award-winning, in-depth quarterly economic newsletter.

The accompanying Florida's Bottom Line website will keep you updated with the latest statistics on Florida's economy. Special reports, infographics and past editions are archived on the website for easy access.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s housing market increases over the year
In April, there were over 24,000 homes sold in Florida, down 0.6 percent from this time last year. Additionally, the median sale price of homes is up 9.2 percent over the year, to a post-recession high of $213,000.
Source: Florida Realtors

Florida’s unemployment rate down in April
Florida’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in April, down 0.1 percentage point from March (4.9 percent) and down 0.7 percentage point from April of last year (5.5 percent). The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in April.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics