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Statement from Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on the Signing of HB 1277 Fighting Workers’ Compensation Fraud

4/9/2012

Contact: Alexis Lambert
850-413-2842
              
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today released the following statement regarding Governor Rick Scott’s signing of HB 1277 that aims to curb workers’ compensation fraud. 

HB 1277, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Davis (R-Jacksonville) and SB 1586 sponsored by Sen. John Thrasher (R-Jacksonville), was based on recommendations from a work group convened in August 2011 by CFO Atwater to review the practices of certain bad actors in the check cashing services industry that aid in workers’ compensation premium fraud.  The work group released its report in November. 

“I commend Gov. Scott for signing this important legislation to fight workers’ compensation fraud. As a result of bringing all stakeholders to the table last fall, we were able to recommend policy solutions to the Legislature that protect the responsible players in the marketplace while ensuring those who are diverting more than a billion dollars from Florida’s economy are caught and held accountable.

“Rep. Davis, the bill’s champion in the Florida House, was the first to recognize that this complex workers’ comp fraud scheme was putting pressure on insurance rates and crippling the business community, and I commend him for his passion and leadership on this issue,” CFO Atwater said. 

“Workers’ compensation fraud can be debilitating for many hardworking and law-abiding small businesses. As a member of the contracting industry, I have seen firsthand how pervasive this fraud has become. It’s time to get our economy back on track, and a big part of that is rehabilitating my industry. Fraud that strangles economic recovery must be stamped out, and I am proud to partner with CFO Atwater in this fight,” Rep. Daniel Davis said.

“Sen. Thrasher fought hard to ensure this measure was passed in the Florida Senate so that consumers and the business community were protected from this new form of insurance fraud,” CFO Atwater continued. 

“Together with Rep. Davis, we passed HB 1277 to help protect small businesses from workers’ compensation fraud and ultimately save taxpayer money. By making our regulatory system more efficient and risk-based, this bill will help law enforcement more readily detect—and prevent—workers’ compensation fraud. We greatly appreciate CFO Atwater’s leadership on this important issue during the legislative session,” Sen. Thrasher said.

“I am eager to begin using these new fraud-fighting tools to tackle this complex and insidious type of fraud and to eliminate an inexcusable cost-driver on honest small businesses throughout the state,” CFO Atwater said.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away capital, and ensuring transparency and accountability in spending.