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Volume 5, No. 10 - October 2016

News You Can Use

- Updating you on what's going on

Multi-Agency Sting Leads to 11 Arrests in Manatee County

The Department of Financial Services’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS) announced 11 arrests following a multi-agency undercover workers’ compensation and unlicensed contracting sting in Manatee County. The individuals arrested were found to have advertised their ability to perform jobs such as plumbing and electrical work without the proper licensing or training, and without having workers’ compensation coverage to protect their employees in the event of an accident or injury.

“When contractors knowingly neglect the law, a major liability risk is created for property owners,” said CFO Jeff Atwater. “Not only are homeowners liable for any injuries that occur to uncovered workers on their property, but sub-par work performed by unlicensed and untrained contractors also creates a direct hazard for the property. This is a practice we, along with our local and state law enforcement partners, are working diligently to stop.”

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CFO Jeff Atwater Named Florida’s 2016 Consumer Champion by the Florida Association for Insurance Reform

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater was named Florida’s 2016 Consumer Champion during an annual awards ceremony hosted by the Florida Association for Insurance Reform. The annual FAIR awards recognize insurance and policy leaders whose work has made a meaningful difference in the lives of Floridians. During the 2015 legislative session, CFO Atwater championed several consumer-oriented insurance bills, including significant policy changes in life insurance and health insurance.

“I believe that Floridians need strong representation when insurance issues are discussed, and it’s my privilege to go to bat for the people I’ve been elected to represent,” said CFO Atwater. “I am honored to receive this award, and I thank the FAIR team for the work that they do on behalf of Florida’s more than 20 million residents.”

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CONSUMER ALERT: FEMA Extends Filing Deadline from 60 Days to 90 Days for NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Associated with Hurricane Hermine

After productive discussions between Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on ways to assist Floridians impacted by the widespread flooding caused by Hurricane Hermine, an extension of 30 days has been granted for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders to file claims. Typically, NFIP policyholders have 60 days to file a “Proof of Loss” claim with their insurance company following the date of loss. This extension gives Florida NFIP policyholders a total of 90 days to make a claim for flooding damages sustained as a result of Hurricane Hermine.

For more information, read the FEMA bulletin at: http://nfipiservice.com/Stakeholder/pdf/bulletin/w-16084.pdf

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CFO Atwater and Commissioner Altmaier Tour Hurricane Matthew’s Path of Damage in Northeast Florida

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier were joined by multiple members of Florida’s Legislature, local leaders, and insurance company executives on a tour of Hurricane Matthew’s damage in St. John’s County. Following the tour, participants met to discuss the insurance industry’s claims-handling response. As of Wednesday morning, more than 39,302 insurance claims have been filed statewide, totaling an estimated $218 million in losses.

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CHOICES is Available to Help Consumers Shop for and Compare Prices of Medicare Supplement Policies

With the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period beginning this weekend, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) wants to remind consumers aged 65 or older about a free online resource called the CHOICES system. This system helps consumers search for available Medicare Supplement (also known as Medigap) policies and provides the price of each for comparison purposes. The Office recently revised the rate information in this system to reflect the current pricing of these products by health insurance companies in the Medicare Supplement market.

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Encore Bank Becomes Florida State-Chartered Institution

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is pleased to announce that Encore Bank converted to a Florida state-chartered financial institution effective October 5, 2016. The bank is located in Naples, with branches in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Port Charlotte and Sun City Center. Encore Bank holds more than $383 million in assets.

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Office Issues Final Order Approving a 14.5% Increase to Workers' Compensation Insurance Rates in Florida

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) has issued a Final Order granting approval to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for an overall combined statewide average rate increase of 14.5%. This rate increase applies to both new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies effective in Florida as of December 1, 2016.

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