Volume 5 Number 11
March 14, 2008

This week, CFO Sink launched a statewide public awareness campaign highlighting www.MySafeFloridaHome.com—a Web site where Floridians can apply online for free wind inspections and learn how to strengthen their homes against hurricanes and windstorm damage.

Click here to watch the commercials

The My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program has provided more than 172,000 free wind inspections to Floridians. Homeowners receive a wind inspection report, which suggests ways homeowners can harden their homes against storm damage and informs homeowners if they are currently eligible to save money on their wind insurance premiums.

Through the program, more than 70 percent of homeowners receiving free wind inspections have learned they are already eligible for an average savings of $224—without making a single improvement. Some Floridians may also be eligible to apply for matching tax-free grants of up to $5,000 to make improvements to their homes. To date, the MSFH program has given 4,402 homeowners grants totaling more than $14.3 million, with an additional 15,000 homeowners currently working with the program to make improvements on their homes.

Visit www.MySafeFloridaHome.com today and sign up for your free wind inspection - it is worth the four minutes it takes to apply!


 

CFO SINK ADDRESSES FLORIDA BANKERS ASSOCIATION IN TALLAHASSEE

CFO Alex Sink addressed the Florida Bankers Association this week during their Capitol Days about reducing the risk of insurance assessments, the rising impact of mortgage foreclosures and the My Safe Florida Home Program.

Addressing the group, Sink commented on the increased rates of mortgage fraud and mortgage foreclosure in Florida.  She encouraged Florida's bankers to work with Floridians facing foreclosure to prevent them from losing their homes.  She also encouraged the group to work with Florida's lawmakers and the governor's mortgage foreclosure task force to develop solutions to help homeowners.”

CFO Sink and Senator Posey with Florida Bankers Association

Finally, Sink encouraged the group to apply for a free wind mitigation inspection from the My Safe Florida Home Program, which is helping Floridians qualify for an average savings of $225 per year on homeowners insurance.  She asked the companies to tell their employees about the program and its efforts to help harden Florida homes against hurricanes.

 

Sink also encouraged the bankers to have a wind mitigation inspection from the My Safe Florida Home Program that is helping Floridians qualify for an average savings of $225 per year on homeowners insurance, and to tell their employees about the program and its matching grants component to help harden Florida homes against hurricanes.

Women's Hall of Fame

Women's Hall of Fame
The Tallahassee Boys Choir moved the audience with their performance in honor of
Justice Barbara Pariente, Dr. Pallavi Patel, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen..

THREE WOMEN LEADERS INDUCTED INTO FLORIDA WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME

CFO Sink participated in the induction of three outstanding public servants into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame Tuesday. Justice Barbara Pariente, Dr. Pallavi Patel, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen were recognized for breaking down barriers and blazing new paths to better the people of our state through their work in the legal, political and medical communities.  As a woman, mother, and public servant, CFO Sink thanked the women for being a progressive force for change in our state, and for opening the doors to future generations of young woman who seek to follow in their footsteps.

Women's Hall of Fame inductees with CFO Sink


CFO Sink views the Wall of Wind site

FIU’s Wall of Wind and International Hurricane Research Center conducts ground breaking research in the areas of hurricane mitigation and recovery.

CFO SINK OBSERVES IMPACT OF CATEGORY THREE HURRICANES AT FIU'S WALL OF WIND

CFO Alex Sink toured Florida International University’s Wall of Wind (FIU) at the International Hurricane Research Center in Miami on March 7, 2008.  At the Wall of Wind, CFO Sink observed the impact of Category Three hurricane winds on a structure built to meet the current hurricane code.

Joined by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, director of the International Hurricane Research Center, CFO Sink also learned about new products available to help Florida’s homeowners’ harden their homes to better survive damage.

The Wall of Wind site


CFO Sink addresses NAWBO in Lakeland

CFO SINK ADDRESSES WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS IN LAKELAND

This week, the National Association of Women Business Owners, Lakeland Chapter, honored the nominees for their Women of Distinction awards, with CFO Sink as featured speaker.

Emphasizing the multi-tasking skills that women have in the management of their businesses, CFO Sink noted that women are more likely to emphasize relationship building as well as fact gathering and will consult with experts, employees and fellow business owners when an issue needs a solution. Her point was made that women put their problem solving skills to work to allow success at work, at home and in the community.

Lakeland NAWBO honorees with CFO Sink


CFO Sink speaking to Chamber of Commerce
CFO SINK DISCUSSES FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE WITH REGIONAL CHAMBER MEMBERS
CFO Sink speaking to Chamber of Commerce
This week CFO Sink spoke with members of the Central Florida, Southwest Florida, and Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce about legislative issues and her first year in office.

Highlighting her role as a fiscal watchdog, she addressed her proposal to reduce the risk of insurance assessments, efforts to improve the My Safe Florida Home program, and her role on the governor's Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force.


 

My Safe Florida Home

MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME INSPECTION PROGRAM USES HUMOR TO SPOTLIGHT MONEY-SAVING BENEFITS

The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS)  launched a statewide public awareness campaign highlighting www.MySafeFloridaHome.com—a Web site where Floridians can apply online for free wind inspections and learn how to strengthen their homes against hurricanes and windstorm damage.

The commercials asking, “How fast can you save money?” compare the ease of applying for a free wind inspection, which can lead to discounts on homeowners wind insurance, to other satirical things people might do to save money. Floridians in every part of the state will be exposed to the humorous promotional campaign on either TV or radio through May, including commercials in Spanish and Haitian-Creole.

My Safe Florida Home TV commercial

Click graphic to play via QuickTime. (Download free)

My Safe Florida Home TV commercial

The My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program, re-launched by Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in April 2007, has provided more than 172,000 free wind inspections to Floridians. Homeowners receive a wind inspection report, which suggests ways homeowners can harden their homes against storm damage and informs homeowners if they are currently eligible to save money on their wind insurance premiums. CONTINUED


Money-Smart
Idea of the Week

Every week, look here for a “Money-Smart” idea from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

Idea: In honor of Woman’s History Month, CFO Sink is stressing the importance of financial planning and saving for women. Financial planning among women is essential for the following reasons: women typically make less than men, generally spend a shorter amount of time in the workplace causing them to be eligible for less financial benefits, and tend to live longer than men.

Each pay day; pay yourself first.
·Put a portion of your money into a Deferred Compensation Plan, 401K, establish an account with a Financial Planner or at the least put money into a personal savings account with your bank or credit union ($25 - $50.00).  Do it through direct deposit.  That way you don’t see the money and it does not have to pass through your hands.

Begin your investment or savings program early.
There is no age limit.  Begin as soon as you start to work.  You won’t believe how fast it can grow and you will have those emergency funds when you need them.

Be in control of your life and your future.
The best way to do that is by being financially independent.  Remember to keep the message alive and pass it on to other female members of the family.

For more financial savings tips click here http://www.myfloridamoney.com/FLSaves.htm




Division of Fraud badge

 

CFO SINK ANNOUNCES PALM BEACH COUNTY
PIP FRAUD ARREST


Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the arrest of a Palm Beach County man on Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud charges. This week’s arrest concludes the arrest of four South Florida residents on charges they perpetrated a PIP fraud scheme.

Werbs Prevot, 25, of Lake Worth, is accused of participating in a staged traffic accident and subsequently submitting bodily injury claims to Republic Western Insurance (REPWEST) Company. To date, REPWEST has paid $32,511.33 in expenses related to Prevot’s claim. Prevot, arrested Monday, is charged with one count of insurance fraud, a third degree felony and could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

“Personal Injury Protection is in place to help protect and safeguard Florida drivers, CFO Sink said. “My department’s fraud investigators are dedicated to finding and prosecuting people like Prevot who seek to abuse this system.”

The charges stem from investigations by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), a sworn statewide law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of insurance fraud. The DIF made more than 800 insurance fraud-related arrests in the last fiscal year.

Insurance fraud in Florida has been estimated to cost Floridians as much as $1,400 a year per family. The DIF investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance. Depending on the estimated loss amount, the department will pay up to $25,000 for information directly leading to an arrest and conviction. 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 or log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com/fraud. Complaints can be tracked online.


Division of State Fire Marshal badge

CFO SINK: BARTOW MAN ARRESTED FOR ARSON; FIRE DAMAGES TOTAL OVER $22-MILLION
Local Firefighters spent four days on site extinguishing flair-ups

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the arrest of a Polk County man on charges he set fire to a metal warehouse, causing over $22-million in damages and keeping 309 employees out of work for about 3 months.

Efrain “Frankie” Castro, 23, was arrested in Lakes Wales Thursday, on charges of first degree arson. The arrest follows a seven month investigation by The State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire and Arson, into allegations Castro set fire to Flanders Precision Aire Factory located at 1051 Palmetto Ave. The fire is believed to have originated by the ignition of stock boxes located on the side of the building. At the time of the fire, 153 employees were working.

“Arson is an extremely dangerous and costly event,” CFO Sink said. “We are lucky nobody was injured in this enormous fire and will see to it this individual is held accountable for his reckless actions.”

Though a dollar amount on damages from the fire is not final, it is estimated to have cause over $22-million in damages.

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is a law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local fire and law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious origin. Anyone with information about this case or any incident of fire is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NOARSON).


Salty, NOAA Flood Safety Awareness Bird

Monday: Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS)

Tuesday: Turn Around Don't Drown (T

Wednesday: Floods, Droughts and other Related Phenomena

Thursday: Flood Insurance

Friday: Flood Safety

 

NATIONAL FLOOD SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK IS THE TIME TO REVIEW YOUR FLOOD INSURANCE POLICY

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is pleased to support The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA)-sponsored 2008 National Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 17-21.

Floods threaten homes from coast to coast - and they can happen anytime, anywhere and without warning. The damage from a flood is not covered under a standard homeowners policy. Before snowmelt and spring rains bring the potential for flooding, the NAIC suggests all homeowners and renters review their flood insurance needs.

What is a flood?

A flood is an excess of water (or mud) on land that is normally dry. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines flood to be a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area, or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder’s property) from:

Overflow of inland or tidal waters; Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; Mudflow; or Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining, caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels.

What is Flood Insurance?

Flood insurance is a special policy that is federally backed by the NFIP and available for homeowners, renters and businesses.

The standard flood insurance policy pays for direct physical damage to your insured property up to the replacement cost or actual cash value (ACV) of actual damages or the policy limit of liability, whichever is less. CONTINUED