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My Florida C F O
Weekly eNewsletter from Florida's Chief Financial Officer

Dear Fellow Floridian:

Since the day I took office last January, I’ve been fighting the crooks and cheats who have been gaming the Florida auto insurance system and advocating for reforms that will keep the fraud out. My Division of Insurance Fraud has been hard at work, making 469 arrests since January 2011. These arrests represent what has become a lucrative form of organized crime, stealing millions out of the pockets of Florida’s consumers. But with all the success we’ve had, one fact remains—I can’t arrest them fast enough. It has become abundantly clear that we must address this problem legislatively.

As we approach the final days of the 2012 Legislative Session, it is time for our legislative leaders to come together and agree on real solutions to our state’s ever-growing PIP fraud problem. Absent reforms, we will continue to see organized fraud rings and more Floridians who simply can’t afford their auto insurance premiums. That is why it is critical that these reforms be motivated by one simple mission: rate relief for Florida drivers. Consumers can’t take these increases much longer, and any solution on the table should be judged by that measure and that measure alone.

I have encouraged our legislative leaders to let the data drive the debate on PIP, not special interests groups or the many players who benefit from the current broken system. Along with Gov. Rick Scott, I am confident that this year Florida’s legislature will pass legislation that takes the burden of auto insurance fraud off of the backs of Floridians.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Hiring Florida’s Heroes: Our Veterans

On Florida National Guard Day last month, Gov. Rick Scott launched a new campaign, “Hiring Florida’s Heroes,” to help returning veterans find sustainable employment. The Florida National Guard estimates that approximately 17 percent of our state’sEmploy Florida Veterans veterans are seeking employment. I applaud Gov. Scott for his commitment to Florida’s talented veterans. The governor’s campaign helps connect interested employers with qualified veterans in need of employment. Employers interested in hiring veterans are encouraged to call the Employ Florida Marketplace hotline at (866) 352-2345 for more information. Employers can also visit www.employflorida.com/portals/veteran/ to post job listings and review resumés.

Last November, I had the privilege of participating in a roundtable discussion with national and state leaders on military and veterans’ issues. I remain committed to improving financial education for Florida’s more than 1.6 million veterans and 58,000 active-duty service members.

News of Interest

Washington Post: Economy grew at 3 percent pace in final quarter of last year, better than first estimate

Bloomberg: BP said to weigh $14 billion Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Accord

Miami Herald: Greece to vote on tough salary, pension cuts

Florida Times-Union: Navy remains committed to Mayport, U.S. Secretary Ray Mabus says

Sun-Sentinel: South Florida once again tops in nation for identity theft

Miami Herald: A small Miami furniture business finds a way to succeed

Gainesville Sun: Things are looking up in downtown Gainesville

Consumer Protections Against ID Theft

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater released the following statement regarding the passage of Senate Bill 1208 out of the Senate Rules Committee. House Bill 7111 passed out of the House State Affairs Committee on Friday. The bills would close a public records loophole that allows certain groups to obtain social security information from CFO Atwater’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property.

“It defies logic that Florida, the state with the highest levels of identity theft complaints in the nation, would continue to mandate that a state agency release social security numbers for any purpose. There are few roles more important to a public servant than that of protector. As Florida’s CFO, it is my responsibility to do everything possible to protect consumers’ personal information for their financial future.

“I applaud the members of the House State Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee for supporting the protection of the personal information of our fellow Floridians. Florida is the only state in the nation that currently releases social security numbers for unclaimed property. I look forward to seeing this bill become law.”

Florida's Economic Inside Track

Read the quarterly newsletter for the inside track on Florida's financial health. To provide up-to-date information on Florida’s economy, we have a companion website featuring the latest data and easy access to our published editions.