FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Volume 5, Number 24, June 13,
On Sunday Floridians across the state will pay homage to
fatherhood by recognizing Father's Day. As we prepare for
the weekend, we also learn of the passing of someone who had
great admiration for his father as described in his
bestselling book, Big Russ and Me.
Tim Russert, one of the preeminent political journalists in
our nation’s history, and author of Big Russ and Me
and Wisdom of Our Fathers, passed away today at age
In a recent interview about his father Tim offered this
advice on how he aims to be the best father he can be.
“It is just being there. It's not the organized vacations
that really, truly matter. My son is now in college.
Whenever he flies home from college, I go to the airport and
pick him up. He could easily take a taxi. But I want to go
there. I want to wait for the luggage with him. I want to
ride in the car with him because you can talk to him or you
can hear him talking on the cell phone. You learn something.
And it's invaluable that you have that conversation, that
you have that kind of--that relationship, that bonding, if
As we honor the special bonds of fatherhood we also honor
father figures such as grandfathers, stepfathers, or big
brothers. If you are interested in becoming a mentor in
Florida, visit a Big Brothers, Big Sisters in your area
CFO SINK SPEAKS AT PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S FORUM
On Tuesday, CFO Alex Sink spoke at a Professional Women’s Forum hosted by
the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. Recognizing the contributions of
chamber members, CFO Sink encouraged engagement in both work and community.
Over three-hundred men and women were on hand to hear the CFO.
Before she left she challenged the audience, "So one of my challenges to you
— the business and professional women — is to get engaged in helping your
local elected officials set these very tough priorities and make the very
hard decisions they've got to make."
CFO SINK ADDRESSES SMALL
COUNTY COALITION IN TALLAHASSEE
CFO Sink spoke to the representatives
of the 38 small counties in Florida and addressed pertinent issues such as
the Local Government Investment Pool, the My Safe Florida Home program, and
the duties of the State Fire Marshal.
The Small County Coalition in Florida is a statewide
alliance of 38 county commissions, with a primary mission to help Florida’s
small and rural counties address legislative issues from a small
county/rural perspective and work effectively with state agencies’
The Small County Coalition supports a state rural policy that protects the
character of our small and rural areas; promotes economic development; and
maintains and promotes the viability of existing small county economies such
as agriculture and eco-tourism.
Idea of the Week
Idea: Driving less may save
on car insurance
Car owners who change their driving habits due to soaring
gas prices may be able to save a few dollars on their auto
Major car insurers say that drivers who log less than
about 7,500 miles a year may be eligible for low mileage
programs that reduce premiums by an average of about 10 to
12 percent. Car owners who drive more than that but
less than they used to -- perhaps because they have started
using public transportation or biking to work -- may also
save on premiums, according to a study by the Consumer
Federation of America. The group released a study recently
showing that consumers could save 5 to 15 percent by cutting
their mileage enough to drop into a different ratings
Most insurance companies have ratings scales based on
mileage, and drivers pay more based on how many miles they
drive. Depending on ratings factors allowed by state
regulators, the savings can be even greater than the 5 to 15
RECESSION, RECOVERY, OR BUSINESS
AS USUAL FLORIDA ECONOMIC SUMMIT
Recession, Recovery, or Business as Usual was the 2008 theme of the
Florida Economic Update sponsored by Florida’s Business Journals on
June 6, 2008, in Orlando. CFO Alex Sink kicked off the event with
anecdotes detailing Florida’s history of real estate booms and busts
dating back to the 1800s.
Speaking to an audience of more than 450 business leaders from
across the state, the CFO told those assembled, “I’ve never heard a
more apropos description of Florida’s business cycles than
‘Recession, Recovery, or Business as Usual,’ but, I’d like to add
one other descriptor that I believe is a hallmark of our great state
CFO Sink also shared an excerpt about the real estate boom and bust
of the 1920s in Florida from Only Yesterday, a book by
Frederick Lewis Allen that reads much like a story you could see in
any major Florida newspaper today. She went on to recount Florida’s
real estate booms and busts of the 20th Century, illustrating how
every time Florida has reinvented its economy and become stronger.
The CFO challenged the group to leverage the bright spots in
Florida’s economy today, the growing international exports and
trade, by marketing the state’s excess real estate to international
buyers who would still find Florida property a bargain.
“Reinvention by its very definition isn’t easy, but Floridians know
how to make it happen and I’d rather embark on this journey with the
people of Florida than any other,” said Sink.
POLK COUNTY HURRICANE EXPO ENCOURAGES READINESS BEFORE THE
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink was the
headline speaker at this year’s annual Polk County Hurricane
Expo on Saturday, June 7, at the Orange Dome in Winter
Haven. Representatives from the American Red Cross, Rebuild
Polk After Disaster and the Division of Forestry also spoke
about issues of interest in the event of a storm.
CFO Sink spoke about the importance of being prepared before
a hurricane forms, and discussed the My Safe Florida Home
program, which offers free wind inspections by qualified
inspectors to eligible homeowners. The program helps
Floridians identify how they can strengthen their homes to
reduce hurricane damage exposure in our state. Visit
www.MySafeFloridaHome.com for more information on this
In the aftermath of a storm, the Department of Financial
Services provides help to Floridians in a variety of
situations, helping with insurance issues through
the consumer helpline, keeping residents informed after a
storm and carrying out first responder duties as State Fire
Marshal. After the speech, CFO Sink toured the Expo display
booths, greeting local officials and residents and answering
questions from consumers.
CFO SINK MEETS WITH GADSDEN
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink visited with municipal and
community leaders in Gadsden County on Wednesday, June 4.
During a morning roundtable discussion with county municipal
leaders, CFO Sink spoke about her roles and responsibilities
as the state’s chief financial officer and her efforts to
protect Florida taxpayers. She also stressed the importance
of economic development in Florida’s rural areas and
discussed the value in taking advantage of new technologies
Before a larger crowd of Gadsden County officials and
community leaders, CFO Sink delivered the keynote address
during a luncheon at the Gadsden Arts Center where she
discussed the importance of residents and businesses to stay
engaged and continue their support of the local communities
who are finding it challenging to work with budget
constraints. Representatives from the Department’s Division
of Consumer Services set up a display at the luncheon and
were on hand to provide information and answer questions
about the various services provided by DFS.
TASK FORCE ISSUES FINAL REPORT ON CITIZENS CLAIMS
The Task Force on Citizens Property Insurance Claims
Handling and Resolution, which was created by House Bill 1A, Section 38,
during the 2007 Legislative Special Session A, issued its third and final
report on June 11, 2008. However, the Task Force will release a supplemental
report, sometime before its statutory authority expires this November, after
working with Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) to
understand why so many consumers asked to have their claim for damages from
the 2004-2005 hurricanes re-opened in 2007. The Task Force will also examine
the results of these requests.
This new study is in direct response to questions raised by
the Governor and the Chief Financial Officer regarding the need for the
Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund to issue bonds to raise $625 million to
pay claims from the 2004-2005 hurricanes that were just filed or re-opened
in 2007. Citizens is not the only insurer that received and paid these
new and re-opened claims that were filed. Most insurers who wrote coverage
in the areas hit by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 have also been impacted by the
Since May 21, 2007, the Task Force has reviewed and
monitored Citizens closure of its 2004/2005 hurricane claims; the
implementation of procedures to handle future catastrophic events (CAT
claims); the implementation of programs relating to the training of
insurance agents, consumer services, administration of policies, and claims
operations; and the establishment of its Office of the Internal Auditor.
The Task Force reported that it is confident that Citizens’ policyholders
will not experience the same type of delays in the claims handling process
as those affected by the 2004/2005 hurricane seasons as long as the policies
and procedures presented to the Task Force are implemented, tested and
adjusted to meet intended goals. The Task Force is relying on the
statutorily required operational audits of the Office of the Auditor General
and the Office of Insurance Regulation to ensure that the policies and
procedures are being followed in order to ensure that Florida’s consumers
are adequately protected.
In addition, the Task Force proposed legislation regarding Public Adjusters,
which was adopted by the Legislature during the 2008 Legislative Session.
Upon becoming law, Senate Bill 2012 will ensure that Public Adjusters are
properly trained and that Florida consumers are protected from unfair
solicitation practices and excessive fees.
For additional information about the Task Force, please visit the website at
Consumer Services Helpline