- Updating you on what's going on
On July 11, Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis launched Florida’s Firefighter Grant Assistance Program with a check delivered to the Monticello Volunteer Fire Department. The first of its kind, the grant program will benefit volunteer fire departments across Florida by making funding available to purchase costly fire safety equipment. During its initial year, nine fire departments will receive a total of $150,000. Recognizing its life-saving importance, the Florida Legislature increased second-year funding to $1 million.
CFO Patronis said, “Florida’s firefighters lay their lives on the line every day to protect our friends and family, and I’m proud to lead a program that will help them purchase better protective gear. As this new program grows, we’ll keep working until every fire department across Florida has the resources they need to keep themselves and our citizens safe.”
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced that assistance provided by insurance experts working Florida’s Insurance Consumer Helpline led to the recovery of more than $16.6 million during the first half of 2017. Helpline experts answered more than 141,000 calls from Floridians and aided in the recovery of funds that included insurance claim payments and premium refunds that consumers sought the Department of Financial Services’ help collecting.
The Insurance Consumer Helpline is a free service offered to all Floridians that assists callers with financial and insurance-related matters including disaster preparation and insurance fraud, as well as questions and complaints regarding auto, home, health, life, and small business insurance.
“The claims-filing process can be a stressful affair, especially during times of serious illness or after a disastrous event,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis. “I applaud the efforts of our experts who work tirelessly to provide Floridians with the tools and resources they need to easily navigate through their insurance-related issues.”
Recent examples of how consumers were helped by helpline experts include:
Floridians can contact the Insurance Consumer Helpline toll-free by calling 1-877-693-5236.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced that the Florida Division of Unclaimed Property returned an astonishing $313 million during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the highest annual return figure in the program’s 56-year history. More than 513,000 individual claims were paid throughout the 2016-2017 fiscal year, a double-digit increase over the previous fiscal year. One in five Floridians has an unclaimed account in their name, and all are encouraged to regularly search for accounts on the Division’s website.
In response to Governor Rick Scott’s legislative budget proposal for an additional $30 million for state law enforcement pay raises, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued the following statement:
“Today, Governor Rick Scott moved forward with a proposal that will ensure Florida remains one of the safest places to work, get an education and raise a family,” said CFO Patronis. “By increasing our state’s ability to recruit and retain top law enforcement talent, Florida can continue to raise the bar when identifying the trends and combatting the ever-evolving crimes that harm consumers.”
“This proposal sends a clear message to Florida's state law enforcement community, including our Department of Financial Services' 258 hard-working officers, that our leaders stand in full support of the sacrifices they have made to serve our great state.”
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation has recognized July as Military Consumer Protection Month, designed to highlight consumer protection resources available to active duty and reserve servicemembers. Florida is home to more than 1.5 million veterans, and nearly 100,000 active duty and reserve members.
Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear said, “We are grateful for the sacrifices of our military servicemembers and their families. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is a valuable resource for Florida’s military families, and we are committed to protecting Floridians from financial crime and providing resources to assist them in smart financial decision making.”
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation announced a final order against King Food Mart of Jax, Inc., operating as King Food Mart, for violations of Chapter 560, Florida Statutes. The order imposes a fine of more than $50,000, and King Food Mart’s check cashing license has been revoked.
We highly recommend licensees routinely check their MyProfile accounts for messages from the Department. We send an email notification when a message has been sent to remind you to check your MyProfile account, but on rare occasions you may not receive that email. For this reason, we suggest you add our domains dfs.state.fl.us and MyFloridaCFO.com to your email software's Trusted or Safe Senders List to ensure you are able to receive email notifications from us. Licensees who have a valid email address on file with the Department, as required by law, are sent important email notifications when something affecting their application, license, continuing education, or appointment(s) occurs. Additionally, we will keep you informed with warnings regarding new schemes and scams being marketed to licensees. You can update your contact information through your MyProfile account. We want to keep you informed in a timely manner of pertinent information. You are still required to abide by the Florida Insurance Code regardless of whether you read the information we provide or attempt to provide.