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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

If you are in the Tampa area next Saturday, June 8, I would like to invite you to attend my office’s unclaimed property auction to be held at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.Unclaimed Property Treasure Map

Click on map to enlarge.

In addition to intangible, monetary property, abandoned safe deposit boxes are turned over to the Bureau of Unclaimed Property where my team works tirelessly to locate the owners or heirs of their contents. When the owners or heirs cannot be located, the items go to auction. Although the property itself is not available to be claimed after the auction, the proceeds are available for the owners or heirs to claim at any time at no cost.

This year there are more than 76,000 individual items to be sold, including jewelry, watches and rare coins, with a minimum reserve value in excess of $550,836. Featured items include a 1776 continental note, silver ingots, an 11-carat sapphire and diamond ring, silver flatware, South African krugerrands, and an 18-carat gold and diamond cuff bracelet. You can preview these items and many more on Friday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A catalog of the auction is available online.

Above all, my mission is to reunite Floridians with their unclaimed property so that every last dime is returned to its rightful owner. There is a one-in-four chance that you or someone you know has unclaimed property, and I encourage you to visit www.fltreasurehunt.org today to find your treasure.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

A Win for Florida’s Insurance Consumers

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott on Thursday released a joint statement regarding the order issued by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) for Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company (UPCIC) related to their target market conduct final examination report. UPCIC is ordered to pay an administrative fine of $1.26 million for using information regarding consumers’ credit history to deny claims long after the underwriting process should have been completed.

“I commend OIR for taking this action on behalf of Florida’s insurance consumers,” CFO Atwater said. “For far too long, this company unjustly denied claims and forced consumers into financially devastating situations. I am proud of the work of the Insurance Consumer Advocate, Robin Westcott, who went to battle for consumers on this issue and continues to fight for Floridians every day.”

“This is a win for the people of Florida,” ICA Westcott said. “This order will begin the process of giving Florida’s policyholders the confidence that when they purchase a homeowners insurance policy, they are truly protecting their home and family.”

Prepare Financially for Hurricane Season

With the 2013 Hurricane Season only one day away, CFO Atwater is urging Floridians to “Protect Your Home Base” and prepare financially for a storm this year. Now is the time for Floridians to prepare and protect their families, homes and businesses.

“As Floridians, we know all too well the impact a storm can have on our families, homes and businesses, both structurally and financially,” CFO Atwater said. “The importance of preparing for a hurricane cannot be stressed enough. The impact of a natural disaster can be financially devastating, and I urge you to protect your home base by preparing today.”

Residents should begin by reviewing Protect Your Homebasetheir insurance policies with a licensed insurance agent to ensure that they have adequate coverage in the event of a disaster. The top three reasons homeowners strike out when it comes to insurance claims are insufficient documentation, lack of adequate insurance coverage and failure to retain proof of damage. Take the necessary steps to protect your family, home and business now.

Look for the “Protect Your Home base” logo on the DFS Division of Consumer Services website, http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers/Storm/, which offers videos, brochures, resources and tips, along with a disaster preparedness section that includes a home inventory checklist. Should a tropical storm or hurricane take aim at our state, the division will activate a special consumer helpline, 800-22-STORM, to assist victims with insurance matters.

For additional information on hurricane preparedness, call 877-My-FL-CFO (877-693-5236).

News of Interest

Miami Herald: South Florida’s luxury home market sizzles

Gainesville Sun: Florida consumer confidence nears pre-recession level

Sun-Sentinel: Paramedics and emergency technicians among 'hot' growth jobs

Orlando Business Journal: JTA will go green with its first alternative fuel buses

Forbes: Hertz Relocates To Florida, Signals The Sunshine State Is Open For Business

Reuters: Home price rise sets seven-year record in March: S&P

Florida's Bottom Line Is Transparency

Florida's Bottom LineTechnology has revolutionized government accountability by enabling the public to have unprecedented and easy access to government data.

Florida has taken advantage of this opportunity by publishing state spending data online. Whether taxpayers are looking for information about past budgets, proposals for this year’s budget, or the state’s payroll, it all can be accessed via the Internet. Additionally, since 72 percent of the state’s budget is spent in the form of a contract, it is critical that taxpayers can inspect public contracts.

The Department of Financial Services began publishing the details of contracts online last year through the Florida Accountability Contract Tracking System (FACTS), and you can use this tool to take a critical look. Because of this commitment over the past two years to increasing accountability and transparency in government for Florida taxpayers, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) gave Florida an A-minus this year for overall transparency based on the DFS Transparency Florida website, which houses FACTS. This edition of Florida’s Bottom Line features information about ongoing efforts to continue making government in Florida more open and ethical.