Dear Fellow Floridian:
As Florida’s State Fire Marshal, I have the privilege each year of
honoring Florida’s remarkable fire service heroes at the fire service
awards. This week, we recognized 10 fire-and-rescue service
professionals for their unyielding dedication to serving and protecting
their fellow Floridians.
men and women are the true role models of our state. Notwithstanding the
risk they take with each call to help someone in need, they rush to the
aid of their neighbors, friends and communities. It is truly humbling to
recognize the courageous work that is done by our fire service and
rescue professionals every single day.
Each of the 10 individuals we honored this week represents the
thousands of firefighters and emergency responders across our state who
commit to put the safety of others above their own. I commend every
single firefighter and emergency responder for what they do on a daily
basis to protect the lives of Floridians they may never know.
We also paid tribute to those firefighters who received their "last
call” at the ringing of the bell ceremony this week. But to simply honor
those who paid the ultimate sacrifice is not enough. We must strive to
live our lives as they did: with honor, commitment to our fellow man,
and love for helping those in need. Only then can we truly honor their
memory and the selfless dedication of our fallen fire service
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
SB 464 by Senator Flores and HB 263 by Representative
Unclaimed Property Electronic Claims Process: authorizes the
Department of Financial Services to adopt rules that allow an apparent owner of
unclaimed property to submit a claim to the department electronically.
- SB 464—passed favorably by Senate Banking
and Insurance Committee; now in Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability
- HB 263—now in House Government Operations
SB 422 by Senator Benacquisto and HB 301 by Representative Mayfield
The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act: requires that an individual or
group insurance policy or contract or a health maintenance contract that
provides coverage for cancer treatment medications provide coverage for orally
administered cancer treatment medications on a basis no less favorable than that
required by the policy or contract for intravenously administered or injected
cancer treatment medications. The legislation also prohibits insurers, health
maintenance organizations, and certain other entities from engaging in specified
actions to avoid compliance with this act.
- SB 422—passed favorably by Senate
Appropriations Committee as a Committee Substitute; placed on Special Order
Calendar for March 27; if received
- HB 301—passed favorably by House Insurance &
Banking Committee; now in Appropriations Committee
SB 860 by Senator Galvano and HB 553 by Representative Hager
Workers' Comp Regulatory Reform: revises the duties of state agencies
covered by the state risk management program with respect to funding costs for
employees entitled to workers’ compensation benefits; revises immunity from
liability standards for employers and employees using a help supply services
company; revises and deletes penalties for noncompliance relating to duty of
employer upon receipt of notice of injury or death; and deletes a requirement
that a provision that is mutually agreed upon in any collective bargaining
agreement be filed with the Department of Financial Services.
- SB 860—referred to Senate Banking and
Insurance Committee, Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee,
Judiciary Committee, and Appropriations Committee
- HB 553—passed favorably by House Government
Operation Appropriations Subcommittee as a Committee Substitute; next to
Regulatory Affairs Committee
Insurance Consumer Forums Being Held
Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Smith Westcott, in
partnership with the Division of Consumer Services, is hosting a series
of forums to meet face-to-face with Florida policyholders to assess the
homeowners insurance claim handling process.
The Insurance Consumer Advocate’s office and the Division of Consumer
Services work with consumers daily to find solutions to insurance claim issues,
which are often reported through Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s
toll-free Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236). Forums will be used to push
for improvements to the insurance claim handling process.
For more information please visit
, call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236)or visit
Forums scheduled in March and April:
TAMPA 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, Inc.
W. Kennedy Blvd. (Auditorium) Tampa, FL 33609
JACKSONVILLE 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Northeast Florida Association of Realtors
7801 Deercreek Club Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Pensacola Association of Realtors
107 W. Main Street Pensacola, FL 32502
CFO’s Top Dimwitted Fraud Criminals
This week Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the second
installment of Florida’s top dimwitted fraud criminals arrested by the
Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF). Although
committing fraud is not a laughing matter, these cases serve as a reminder to
dishonest Floridians that if you try to cheat the system for your own personal
gain, you will be caught and justice will be served.
OOn March 12, 2012, the Director of the Division of Insurance Fraud was
dining with a DIF captain at a restaurant in Broward County. While they were
dining, an individual who identified himself as a public adjuster named “Denny,”
who later was identified as Dennis Enrique Flores, began a conversation with the
director and captain. Not knowing their employment, he revealed that he worked
with his clients to fraudulently file homeowner insurance policy claims for
existing damage. He further stated that his fee was twenty percent of the claim
Flores asked that the director call him the following day to help him gain
access to more clients. While Flores tried to locate his business card in his
vehicle, the director and captain were able to capture his license plate number.
On April 5, 2012, as part of a joint interagency sting operation, Flores was
contacted by an undercover DIF detective posing as the sister of the director
and invited him to meet at an undercover house located in Cooper City. The
undercover DIF detective stated that help was needed to offset the cost of the
recently purchased home.
On April 26, 2012, Flores met with an undercover Broward Sheriff’s Office
detective and the DIF detective to inspect the home. He advised that together
they would represent the damage as occurring within the coverage period of the
policy and instructed the detectives how to fraudulently state the facts of loss
and make the damage physically appear to be recent.
Flores was arrested at that time and transported to Broward County Jail. He
currently is awaiting trial, and the Broward State Attorney’s Office will be
prosecuting the charges in this case.
Anyone with information of suspected insurance fraud is asked to call
1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department
of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $275,000 to more than 40
citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program. The program rewards
individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and
conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.
Florida's Bottom Line on Financial Health
latest issue of Florida's Bottom Line, a quarterly publication about
Florida's financial health, to get expert commentary on 2012 and a look
at the year ahead.
In between issues visit the companion
website to Florida's Bottom Line to stay updated as new statistics
emerge. The website features news and data on jobs and the economy, as
well as useful resources for small businesses. Also take a look at our
infographic on Florida's Economy 2012 - a visual display of the
financial stats for the past year.