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

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. CFO Atwater greets fire service personnelThese 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 professionals.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Legislative Agenda

SB 464 by Senator Flores and HB 263 by Representative Mayfield

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 Committee
  • HB 263—now in House Government Operations Subcommittee

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

News of Interest

Florida Current: Atwater warns against 'ripping off rate cap' for Citizens, says law is working

Florida Current: Atwater digs into state contracts, wants greater review

Florida Current: State colleges pump $26.6 billion into Florida economy, study says

Tampa Bay Times: Florida unemployment drops to 7.8 percent in January

Sun-Sentinel: NSU Announces 2013 Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductees

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.Insurance Consumer Forums

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 www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Consumers , call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236)or visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/ICA.

Forums scheduled in March and April:

MARCH 26 TAMPA 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, Inc.
W. Kennedy Blvd. (Auditorium) Tampa, FL 33609

MARCH 27 JACKSONVILLE 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Northeast Florida Association of Realtors
7801 Deercreek Club Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256

APRIL 23Pensacola 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. Division of Insurance Fraud Badge

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 payment.

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

Florida Economy 2012

Read the 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.