Volume 5 Number 33 August 15, 2008
CONSUMER SERVICES HELPLINE
It is only the second week of August, and already we have
some tropical disturbances in the Western Caribbean that
could threaten Florida as early as next week. The closest
storm is currently moving westward, and you can monitor its
movement by visiting
www.floridadisaster.org. If the system remains intact
and continues along its current path, it could reach the
Keys or Gulf Coast next Monday or Tuesday.
As Floridians, we are all too familiar with natural disasters,
and these storms are a valuable reminder about the
importance of being prepared. From stocking food and other
supplies to updating your disaster plan to ensuring you are
financially prepared, please take some time this weekend to
make certain you are ready.
For additional information about creating or updating your
disaster plan, please visit
www.floridadisaster.org. For information about creating
or updating your financial plan, please click on the Tool
Kit to the right.
You can also contact our consumer services helpline Monday
through Friday at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO.
CFO SINK CREATES “FINANCIAL ACTION TEAM”
Broad coalition will identify funds
available from federal foreclosure assistance legislation
In an effort to increase the amount of aid to Floridians
facing economic crisis, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
announced she has created a “Financial Action Team” to
identify federal assistance available to our state.
Comprised of a broad array of financial and housing
stakeholders, CFO Sink’s Financial Action Team will analyze
the recently passed Housing and Economic Recovery Act of
2008 to maximize Florida’s share of the billions in
available federal dollars to help taxpayers weather a range
of economic challenges.
“We are facing an economic and housing crisis, and the
federal government has made billions of dollars in
assistance available to benefit homeowners,” said CFO Sink,
who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “As
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer representing a state with
one of the highest rates of foreclosure and numbers of lost
jobs, I want to make sure our taxpayers get their fair share
Rich Robleto, CFO Alex Sink and Rep. Loranne Ausley,
left to right.
REP. AUSLEY APPOINTED CHAIR OF HEALTHY
KIDS BOARD BY CFO SINK
Ausley is a statewide champion for children’s issues
Calling upon one of the state’s leading children’s
advocates, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today announced
she has appointed State Representative Loranne Ausley to
serve as the Chair of the Healthy Kids Board, effective
after her fourth legislative term.
During her first 20 months in office, CFO Sink personally
served as the Healthy Kids Board Chair, successfully
navigating the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation through its
first leadership change and identifying measures to
streamline the program and make it easier for Florida’s
families to purchase children’s health insurance.
“I’m proud today to appoint an accomplished public servant
with a passion for improving the lives of Florida’s
children,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of
Financial Services. “With Loranne leading the Healthy Kids
Board and helping improve the Healthy Kids program,
Florida’s families have a strong advocate at their side.”
|Program Director Tami Torres and
Deputy Chief Financial Officer Tammy Teston listen
as Cabinet resolution is presented at Tuesday's
CFO SINK HONORS MY SAFE
FLORIDA HOME WITH A CABINET RESOLUTION
The My Safe Florida Home
(MSFH) program was created in 2006 by the Florida
Legislature to assist Floridians in strengthening their
homes against hurricane damage through free wind inspections
and grants up to $5,000. Last year, the Legislature set a
goal for the MSFH program to perform 400,000 free wind inspections
for eligible homeowners.
As of August 1, 2008, more than 400,000 homeowners have
applied for a free wind inspection in order to learn what
they can do to harden their homes against storm damage and
how to save money on their wind insurance premiums.
To date, the MSFH program, including local government and
non-profits, has approved grants for approximately 38,889
homeowners and has paid 18,465 grants to homeowners totaling
more than $62.9 million. Sixty percent of homeowners
statewide who received a free wind inspection are eligible
for an average savings of $220 on their wind insurance.
CFO SINK WELCOMES NEW DEPUTY
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER BRIAN LONDON
Brian London has been appointed
Deputy Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Department of
Financial Services. Brian's responsibilities will include
oversight of the Divisions of Insurance Fraud, State Fire
Marshal, and Workers' Compensation.
An experienced law enforcement professional, Brian most
recently served as the Executive Director and Chief
Financial Officer of INTERPOL. With more than twenty-five
years in law enforcement and management roles, Brian has
also served with U.S. Customs Service (Homeland Security),
the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the U.S. Secret
Service, and the Central Intelligence Agency. He received a
Master’s degree in National Security Strategy from the
National Defense University and a Master’s in Human Resource
Management from Pepperdine University. He also holds a
Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Claremont
R. JAI HOWARD PROMOTED BY
R. Jai Howard has been promoted to serve
as Director of Appointments for the Office of Boards,
Commissions and Residual Markets in CFO Sink's office. In
that role, R. Jai will work to coordinate appointments
to various Boards and Commissions under the CFO's purview
and represent the CFO at meetings. R. Jai holds a Master of
Public Health degree from Florida A & M University and also
earned her B.S. in Biology from FAMU. She previously has
served as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff and as
Staff Director to the Financial Literacy Council, a role in
which she will continue.
Are you the chief
financial officer of your family? Are you always
looking out for the best deals, wise investments and
smart moves for your family's financial security?
As your family's fiscal
watch dog, keep an eye on
this column for money-smart ideas from the Chief
Financial Officer of Florida,
STAY HEALTHY TO SAVE MONEY
A healthy lifestyle can reduce the likelihood of getting
many common illnesses, reducing the need for medical care.
Eating right, staying physically active, and not smoking are
a few good examples.
A few more tips to help stay healthy:
To function at its best, your body needs a regular
supply of water.
Staying fit improves energy, immune function, sleep and
concentration, and contributes to weight loss.
Get enough rest:
Rest is equally as important as exercise for maintaining
a healthy body and mind.
Over two-thirds of doctor's office visits are for
Challenge your mind:
Good concentration and focus enable you to react faster,
make better choices and feel better about yourself.
Eat fresh food:
Cut down boxed, bagged, or canned and go for fresh foods
– especially vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Locally grown
can be beneficial, also.
SINK ORDERS EXTERNAL AUDIT OF ACCOUNTING
In a continuing effort to improve safeguards
over public funds, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
announced she has engaged Deloitte & Touche LLP, to review
procedures surrounding electronic payments and transfers
within the Division of Accounting and Auditing.
“Prudent financial management requires frequently updating
processes to make sure we have appropriate protections in
place,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of
Financial Services. “Just like Floridians have to be wary of
today’s more sophisticated criminals, state government needs
to stay one step ahead by tightening protocols to better
safeguard public funds.”
NEW RECEIVERSHIP DATABASE PROVIDES
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
announced the public release of its Global Receivership
Information Database (GRID).
Information from more than 1,200 receiverships, provided by
state insurance departments in all 50 states and the
District of Columbia, are housed within GRID. This includes
such information as receivership contact information,
relevant court orders and docket numbers, ongoing tasks,
distribution of assets, claims-liability details, business
activity and deposits.
“State regulators must step in when insurers are unable to
fulfill their promises to policyholders. Our main priority
is to provide the appropriate oversight and controls
necessary to ensure the fair and efficient distribution of
the insurer’s remaining assets,” said Florida Chief
Financial Officer Alex Sink, whose state was one of the
first jurisdictions to completely populate GRID with all of
the historical data on their past receiverships. “Future
improvements to the database will be released in spring
2009, providing annual balance sheet information of active
receiverships within GRID to offer even better transparency