FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Volume 4, Number 2, January 12, 2007
The Florida Legislature will convene a special session
next week to address complex issues that are affecting the affordability
and availability of property insurance in Florida. We all are rooting
for our legislators to come up with a plan to ease the financial pain of
skyrocketing rates and cancellations, but as citizens we all have a
critical role in making sure that whatever the Legislature enacts will
This week, the department’s Division of Insurance Fraud has arrested
dozens of individuals who allegedly took advantage of the 2004 and 2005
hurricanes to scam their insurance companies. One man filed a claim for
damaged furniture, but the furniture was safely taken to his ex-wife’s
home as part of a settlement.
These stories would be laughable if they didn’t lead to real financial
pain for the rest of us policyholders left to pick up the tab through
higher premiums. There is no legitimate reason to commit insurance
fraud. If you suspect insurance fraud, please call our Fraud Fighters
hotline at 1-800-378-0445. We offer a reward of up $25,000 for
information directly leading to an arrest and conviction.
That’s how seriously we take insurance fraud, and that’s how seriously
all Floridians should take it.
SINK ANNOUNCES NEW
Alex Sink, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, announced the
appointments of Dan Sumner as Interim General Counsel and Kathy
Baughman McLeod as Deputy Chief of Staff.
“I’m pleased to announce the appointments of Mr. Sumner and Ms.
Baughman McLeod, two highly talented professionals, to my
administration,” said Sink. “Their leadership experience and
commitment to accountability will be an asset to the Department of
Financial Services and the people of Florida.”
Dan Sumner, Interim General Counsel— Bringing three decades
of legal expertise and public service, Mr. Sumner has accepted the
position of Interim General Counsel, serving as the chief legal
advisor to CFO Sink. Mr. Sumner will supervise the Divisions of
Legal Services, Risk Management, and Rehabilitation and Liquidation;
and as Interim General Counsel will represent the Chief Financial
Officer in litigation in federal and state courts and administrative
tribunals. Mr. Sumner previously served as the Assistant Director of
the Division of Workers’ Compensation, and held numerous legal and
insurance roles under the former Department of Insurance prior to
Cabinet reorganization. In addition to his other duties, Mr. Sumner
is currently serving on a voluntary basis as the interim executive
director of the recently reactivated PCJUA.
Kathy Baughman McLeod, Deputy Chief of Staff—With a dozen
years experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors
surrounding Florida government, Ms. Baughman McLeod has accepted the
position of Deputy Chief of Staff. In her new role, Ms. Baughman
McLeod will lead the development, implementation, management and
enforcement of policies governing the areas of Cabinet Affairs,
Legislative Affairs and Communications. In addition to her private
sector experience, Ms. Baughman McLeod has held prior positions at
the Florida Department of Community Affairs, the Trust for Public
Land, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Like
CFO Sink, Ms. Baughman McLeod is a member of Leadership Florida.
CFO SINK ANNOUNCES NEARLY $700,000 IN
HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDS AWARDED TO STATE BOMB TEAM, LABORATORY
Alex Sink, the chief financial officer of Florida and state fire marshal,
announced that the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Explosive Ordinance
Device (EOD) Unit and Forensic Laboratory have been awarded nearly $700,000
in homeland security funds to buy equipment to protect Florida communities.
“We can never let our guard down when it comes to being prepared for a
potential disaster, whether natural or manmade,” Sink said. “We are
committed to doing all we can to make sure we are trained, equipped and
ready, and I thank the Department of Homeland Security for supporting us in
The EOD unit, or bomb team, is part of the Bureau of Fire and Arson
Investigations, and its members are trained to safely handle, transport,
dispose of and investigate explosive or incendiary incidents. The members
also educate hundreds of state, local and civilian personnel every year. The
bomb team is currently ranked number 12 in the nation for the number of
calls responded to for all bomb teams and number two in the nation for state
government bomb teams. The grant money will be used to buy a robot, bomb
suits and other equipment for the bomb team as well as equipment for the
division’s Bureau of Forensic Fire and Explosives Analysis, which operates
the state laboratory that supports fire and arson investigations.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office has helped local fire departments get more
than $32 million in homeland security funds for equipment and training. The
funds have helped local agencies establish, train and equip 50 technical
rescue teams, seven urban search and rescue teams and to better equip and
train 28 existing regional hazardous materials teams.
Homeland security funds also paid for the placement of a permanent urban
search and rescue training center at the Florida State Fire College that is
the only “post-blast” collapse simulator providing fire and smoke conditions
in the United States.
ANNOUNCES FREE COURSES SCHEDULED FOR CONTRACTORS INTERESTED IN MY SAFE
FLORIDA HOME PROGRAM
Alex Sink, Florida’s chief financial officer, announced that free courses will be offered to licensed contractors who
are interested in participating in the My Safe Florida Home program.
The four-hour course will teach contractors the techniques and standards
for effective wind-resistant retrofit improvements.
“Our mission is to
strengthen homes in Florida against the devastating effects of storm
damage,” said Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.
“Contractors who participate in this program will play a key role in
better protecting families and properties from catastrophic losses.”
Prior to participating
in the program, a contractor must have a valid contractor’s license and
complete a four-hour course on techniques and standards for effective
wind-resistant retrofit improvements. The Department of Financial
Services has been working with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
(FLASH) to offer these courses around the state, and upcoming contractor
trainings have been scheduled in the following areas:
• January 23 in
Tallahassee – Kelly Training Center, 2555 Shumard Oak Blvd.
• January 25 in Orlando
– Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Blvd.
• February 5 in St.
Petersburg – All Children’s Hospital, 701 4th Street South.
• February 6 in Naples
– Comfort Inn and Suites, 3860 Tollgate Blvd.
• February 7 in
Hollywood – Hillcrest Golf and Country Club, 4600 Hillcrest Drive.
trainings will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at 12 p.m. For additional
details, log on to www.flash.org.
Homeowners who have
undergone free home inspections through the My Safe Florida Home program
and live in high-risk areas will be able to apply for matching grants of
up to $5,000. The grant funds must be used to implement improvements
specified in the inspection reports, and homeowners will be required to
use a participating contractor. The list of participating contractors,
organized by county and type of work performed, will be available
Sink urges all
homeowners interested in making home-hardening improvements to verify
that the contractors they are doing business with are licensed. For more
tips on how to choose a contractor log on to
and click on “5 Tips for Choosing a Contractor.”
THE FLORIDA CABINET MEETS
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
will be onboard for her first Cabinet meeting on
Thursday, January 22. She
is one of three state-wide elected officials comprising the
Florida Cabinet with Attorney General Bill McCollum and Commissioner Charles
The governor is the
popularly elected chief executive of Florida, but the three members of the
Cabinet are elected by the people and serve as a collective decision- and rule-making body for the state along with the governor. Each Cabinet
member serves a four-year term with a two-term limit and is wholly
responsible for the administration of at least one state department. CFO
Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services. The Governor is
responsible for the administration of most other state agencies.
with Governor Charlie Crist, the Cabinet acts as the board of directors for
the following agencies:
State Board of Executive Clemency
State Board of
Division of Bond
Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission
Electrical Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting
The Board of Trustees Internal Improvement Trust Fund
Cabinet Day serves as
Florida’s town meeting with the public’s business transacted in an open
forum. These meetings afford the general public an opportunity to watch
their state government in action.
Cabinet meetings are publicly noticed and usually occur
every other week on Tuesdays in the Cabinet meeting room of the Capitol
building. Each Cabinet member has aides on staff for Cabinet duties,
important for conducting Cabinet business. Cabinet aides weigh public
opinion, communicate with other members' aides, and engage in investigating
and researching issues. Before the Cabinet meets, the aides thoroughly
brief Cabinet members on the issues. Cabinet aides' meetings usually
occur on Wednesdays prior to Cabinet meetings so that proponents and
opponents of issues will have a public forum in which to express concerns.
The next Cabinet meeting will
be held on January 18, 2007.
*Chief Financial Officer Sink serves with Governor Crist and Attorney
General McCollum as the State Board of Administration.
TAMPA MAN FACES
FELONY CHARGES FOR SELLING BOGUS PIP INSURANCE CARDS
Unlicensed agent sold fake
cards for $100 each
Alex Sink, Florida’s chief financial officer,
announced the arrest of a Tampa man accused of posing as an insurance
agent and selling bogus personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance
Andre Coachman, 37, worked at Coat Used
Auto Sales, located at 4170 East Hillsborough Ave., and was arrested Tuesday
by detectives with the Department of Financial Services’ Division of
Insurance Fraud. Coachman is charged with providing false/fraudulent proof
of insurance and transacting insurance without a license, third-degree
felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. He
was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail with bond set at $5,000.
Sink is urging anyone who suspects they may have bought a bogus insurance
card from Coachman or from anyone else to call the Division of Insurance
Fraud’s Tampa office at 813-972-8602 or, outside of Tampa, 1-800-378-0445.
“This individual put Floridians at
risk of not having insurance coverage in the event they were injured in an
accident,” said Sink, who as Florida’s CFO oversees the department.
investigating Coachman after seeing fliers advertising the $100 insurance
cards on telephone poles. Working undercover, they visited Coachman and
bought one of the cards, then verified that Coachman was not licensed to
sell insurance in Florida and did not have an appointment to sell insurance
for Twin Cities Fire Insurance Company.
drivers are required by law to carry at least $10,000 in PIP and $10,000 in
property damage liability coverage.
The Department of Financial
Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates various forms of fraud
in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers'
compensation insurance. Anyone with information about this or any other
suspected insurance fraud is asked to call the department's Fraud Fighters
Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.
Consumer Services HelpLine (800) 342-2762