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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

For more than a decade, the insurance industry has argued that increasing property insurance rates have been due to the increasing cost of reinsurance, which is what insurers use to transfer portions of their risk to other parties. But recently, it is has been reported by reinsurance professionals and analytics firms that catastrophe reinsurance pricing has decreased by as much as 20 percent.

It only makes sense that if insurance companies raised their rates on Florida families because the reinsurance market drove their costs up, they should be able to lower the cost of insurance for Florida families now that reinsurance prices have fallen. So this week, I sent a letter to the Office of Insurance Regulation Commissioner Kevin McCarty asking for an explanation as to why rates have not come down.

Floridians deserve to know when they can begin seeing savings in their insurance bills.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida Has Reduced Its Outstanding Debt

At a meeting of the Florida Cabinet this week, the Division of Bond Finance reported that Florida has reduced its outstanding debt by another $1.6 billion during the 2012/13 fiscal year. Over the past three fiscal years, we have reduced our debt by $3.5 billion from $28.2 billion in 2010 to $24.6 billion in 2013.Florida Division of Bond Finance

We have proved yet again that an unwavering commitment to make tough decisions in tight financial times equates to a more prosperous Florida. These decisions have preserved our AAA credit rating, reduced our debt, and continued to cultivate an attractive, stable business environment. Additionally, we have refinanced our outstanding debt to lower interest rates, which serves as another example of how fiscal discipline helps keep money in the pockets of hardworking Floridians.

I commend the Director of the Division of Bond Finance Ben Watkins for his diligent efforts and commitment to our fellow Floridians.

News of Interest

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Florida CFO Atwater calls for property insurance rate cuts

Tampa Bay Times: Florida population grows 1 percent over past year

Panama City News Herald: State economic official predicts housing recovery in 2013

'Be Scam Smart' Workshop for Seniors

CFO Atwater is partnering with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to offer a Be Scam Smart Workshop for seniors as part of his Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) initiative. This workshop is the third of seven Be Scam Smart workshops held in Florida in August. Operation S.A.F.E. You may register now for the workshop in the Orange County/Orlando  area on Wednesday, August 14th, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Marks Street Senior Center, 99 E. Marks St., Orlando, FL 32803. Register Now

Operation S.A.F.E. helps protect seniors by educating them about scams such as fake lotteries and repair scams, and how these scams work. The initiative was launched in May with workshops in Cape Coral, Venice, Delray Beach, Clearwater, the Villages and Miami. Operation S.A.F.E. is part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative, which educates seniors on specific financial topics such as annuities, identity theft, reverse mortgages and long-term care insurance. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office participated in the August 1 workshop by discussing local scams affecting seniors such as the grandparent scam, telemarketing scams and contractor fraud.

To see a calendar of workshops, register for a workshop, or share a flyer with friends and family, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/SAFE or call the CFO’s Consumer Helpline at 877-MY-FL-CFO (877-693-5236).

Innovation Drives Florida's Economy

Florida has worked hard to create an environment for long-term growth and investment that allows businesses to better serve their communities and employ more of their neighbors. This culture of economic innovation has helped Florida Florida's Bottom Line: Innovative Florida be recognized as the “Most Innovative State in the Nation” by Fast Company magazine this year.

Beginning with this edition on biotechnology, Florida’s Bottom Line is presenting a three-part series on Innovative Florida, highlighting the people and industries that are driving our future as a diversified economy. We are now recognized as one of the most attractive areas worldwide for the biotechnology industry, with more than 200 biotechnology companies calling Florida home.

The quarterly edition of Florida's Bottom Line is complemented by its often-updated website, www.MyFloridaCFO.com/FloridasBottomLine. When new economic data is released, it can be found here. Florida's consumer confidence, retail index, employment statistics and various other resources will keep you up-to-date.