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CFO Alex Sink Announces General Milligan as Insurance Consumer Advocate

2/14/2007

CONTACT: Tara Klimek or Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842 
 
TALLAHASSEE, FL— Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink Wednesday announced General and former Comptroller Bob Milligan as Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate.  General Milligan will formally assume his new role in time for the Legislative Session, starting March 6, 2007. 
 
"I'm so honored that General Milligan has agreed to return to public service as Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate," said CFO Sink.  "He will be a strong advocate for the people and is a role model of integrity, honesty and accountability in government."
 
"I'm looking forward to working on behalf of Floridians as their Insurance Consumer Advocate," said General Milligan.  "Together, the CFO and I want Floridians to have a stronger voice when it comes to insurance matters in this state."
 
General Bob Milligan, Insurance Consumer Advocate—General Milligan was elected Florida's Comptroller from 1994 until 2002.  General Milligan served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 35 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant general (3 stars).  While a member of the Florida Cabinet, General Milligan helped create the current position of Chief Financial Officer.  Throughout his service, he was known for doing what was right and putting people ahead of politics.
 
CFO Sink has a three-pronged vision for a stronger Insurance Consumer Advocate: proactive, investigative, and challenger of unfair rate increases.  She will work with Legislative leadership to enhance the current powers of the Insurance Consumer Advocate.
 
•Proactive- The Insurance Consumer Advocate will be proactive in finding insurance solutions in other areas.  An example of a potential area needing attention is the access and affordability of health insurance.  While property insurance has understandably been forefront on Floridians' minds, Florida has a real health insurance crisis as well.  More than 3 million Floridians lack health insurance and our state ranks among the bottom when it comes to insuring our children.  A stronger insurance consumer advocate will be empowered to bring solutions and ideas from other states or work with Congress to create federal solutions. 
 
•Investigates Bad Practices- The Department of Financial Services runs a statewide consumer helpline that receives approximately 500,000 financial and insurance-related inquiries annually.  A stronger Insurance Consumer Advocate will examine the real-time concerns and complaints we receive from Floridians everyday.  We can identify negative trends and bad business practices, and a stronger insurance consumer advocate will have the authority to call attention to insurance companies operating in bad faith, using unfair trade practices, or deceptive or misleading sales tactics. 
 
•Challenging Unfair Rates- Floridians deserve a strong consumer advocate who will go head-to-head with the insurance companies seeking unfair and unjustified rate increases.  In order to be effective in challenging unsound rate hikes, the Insurance Consumer Advocate needs to have clear legal authority, including subpoena powers and discovery rights.  The Insurance Consumer Advocate also should have access to all the same information as the Office of Insurance Regulation. 
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.