CFO Alex Sink's Consumer eViews Newsletter

                 Volume 5  Number 33  August 15, 2008

Fellow Floridians:

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.weather.gov or 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 disasHomeowners Toolkitters, 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.


Admiral Collins discusses the military involvement.

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 of help.” 
CONTINUED


Executive Director 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.” CONTINUED

Program Director Tami Torres and Deputy Chief Financial Officer Tammy Teston listen as Cabinet resolution is presented at Tuesday's meeting.

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. CONTINUED

 
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 McKenna College.


R. JAI HOWARD PROMOTED BY CFO SINK

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.


My Family CFO
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, Alex Sink.

IDEA: 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:

  • Stay hydrated: To function at its best, your body needs a regular supply of water.
  • Exercise: 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.
  • Relax: Over two-thirds of doctor's office visits are for stress-related illness.
  • 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 & AUDITING

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 TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY

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 for consumers.”  CONTINUED