Volume 4 Number 6
February 9, 2007
The Department of Financial Services
strives to help consumers make informed financial decisions by providing
public education programs throughout the state.
Last year, the Division of Consumer
Services, Bureau of Consumer Outreach, conducted nearly 2,000 consumer
education programs encompassing a variety of topics including hurricane
preparedness, predatory lending, financial literacy and insurance fraud.
We offer free programs and presentations
to civic organizations, schools, community groups, homeowners associations
and others who want to learn how to protect their interests and avoid
becoming a victim of financial or insurance fraud. Call us toll free at
1-800-342-2762 if you are interested in learning more about our consumer
Remember, being informed is the best
LINE REMAINS ACTIVATED
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
wants Central Florida tornado victims to know that insurance consumer
specialists remain available to take phone calls on the Department of
Financial Services’ storm hotline, 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676.)
The department’s consumer specialists
can assist with questions regarding steps to take to contact an
insurance company, file an insurance claim or check to make sure a
public adjuster is licensed.
“We are committed to doing all we can
to make sure these tornado victims get the help they need to rebuild
their homes and their lives,” said CFO Sink. She further urged storm
victims to be sure to read and understand any contract they are
contemplating signing with a public adjuster and to call the department
if they have any concerns or questions.
FIRST MEETING OF THE WINDSTORM
MITIGATION STUDY COMMITTEE HELD
In effort to expand and improve
hurricane mitigation efforts in Florida, the legislatively-created Windstorm
Mitigation Study Committee held its first meeting on February 8 in
The committee was created as a result of
House Bill 1A, passed recently by the Florida Legislature during Special
Session. The committee is comprised of eight members, with two
appointments each from the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Senate
President and Speaker of the House. The committee is charged with
analyzing short- and long-term solutions and programs that address the need
to immediately and effectively mitigate homes in Florida.
A final committee report, including
legislative recommendations, is due to the Governor, Chief Financial
Officer, Insurance Commissioner, Senate President and Speaker of the House
by March 6, 2007. Visit
http://www.windstormmitigationstudycommittee.org/ where Floridians can
learn more about the committee, its duties and upcoming meetings. Floridians interested in hurricane
mitigation are encouraged to attend the meetings.
CFO ALEX SINK
OFFICE OF CABINET AFFAIRS
CABINET AFFAIRS WELCOMES NEW AIDES
The Office of Cabinet
Affairs is pleased to announce two new Cabinet Aides who have recently
joined our team.
Regina Keenan has accepted
the position of Senior Cabinet Aide. With several years experience in state
government, Regina worked for the Department of Environmental Protection
after graduating from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.
As Senior Cabinet Aide,
Regina will spearhead environmental Cabinet initiatives relating to public
lands, land acquisition and land management.
Amber Hughes has recently
relocated to Tallahassee were she is Cabinet Aide for the Chief Financial
Officer. Following graduation from Florida State University, Amber was a
Financial Advisor in Seattle before joining the Finance Team on Alex Sink's
She is the Cabinet Aide
responsible for issues regarding the Division of Bond Finance, Department of
Revenue and the Office of Financial Regulation as well as supports the CFO
in her role as chair of the board of the Healthy Kids Corporation.
At the February 13, 2007, Cabinet meeting, CFO Sink
will be sponsoring a Cabinet resolution recognizing the Florida Association
of Black Owned Media, Inc. to thank them for continuing to uplift and
educate the community and recognize the thirteen Black owned newspapers,
radio and cable television entities serving the citizens of Florida.
The resolution presentation will also be recognizing
February as Black History Month in Florida and remind all citizens to
participate and observe ceremonies recognizing Black History Month in their
AMONG SLECA OFFICER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
State Fire Marshal Detective John Esslinger received
the second-highest number of votes at an annual awards ceremony held last
week by the State Law Enforcement Chief Association (SLECA). Florida’s
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink also attended and
spoke at the ceremony.
Esslinger, a detective in the State Fire Marshal
Office’s Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, was among 14 state law
enforcement officers submitted for the award by the various state law
enforcement agencies. Esslinger also was a nominee for the Attorney
General’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, which Attorney General Bill
McCollum announced in January.
WOMAN ARRESTED 2ND TIME FOR FRAUD
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex
Sink announced today the arrest of a Broward County woman on charges that
she stole $200,000 in insurance payments from her former boss, a
chiropractor. She was previously arrested in September on charges that she
collected nearly $24,000 on fraudulent chiropractic treatment claims she
filed on herself and her husband.
Jamie Bruce, 30, of Fort
Lauderdale, is now facing one count of first-degree grand theft and two
counts of fraudulent use of personal identification. If convicted on the
charges, she could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison in addition to
fines and restitution. The arrests stem from an investigation by the
Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud. The case
agent was Detective Gary Schiaffo.
“Our investigators have determined that this woman was systematically
defrauding insurance companies, and insurance fraud forces premiums higher
for the rest of us,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the department. “Fraud
will not be tolerated in our state. We are committed to protecting
Florida’s citizens from these crimes.” CONTINUED