Volume 1 Number 28
July 12, 2004


Sgt. Robert Shotts (Dept. of Corrections, a regular volunteer), Selina Strong (1st Habitat recipient in Lake Wales, returning service to the program), Detective Kevin Shireman, Det. Patrick Saunders, Lt. Brandon Ball, Adm. Sec. Lucy Milligan, Det. Fred Clark, Det. Rebecca Garrett, and Det. Gene Walker.

Working with the same great enthusiasm used for investigating fires, the State Fire Marshal’s Bartow office recently got involved in a worthwhile, heartwarming event.  They gave willingly of their energy and time to help build a Habitat for Humanity house in Sebring for a deserving family.

A lieutenant, five detectives, and an office manager pitched in to dig the footers so the house’s concrete foundation could be poured. The first Habitat homeowner in Lake Wales, Selina Strong, worked with the group, giving back to the program that has given so much to her family. As you can tell by the pictures, this group of dedicated volunteers gave with their hearts.


More than 500 people in the Department of Financial Services volunteer their time in the community.

Through our mentoring program, a student is matched with a volunteer who visits the school on a regular basis. The student gets the help and wisdom of the adult mentor.   In return, the Department gives an hour per week of paid administrative leave to each mentor or volunteer in other programs.

Another great program is the Meals on Wheels program, which serves the elderly and house bound in our communities, and our co-workers help by delivering meals. An important benefit, beyond the nourishing meal, is the positive human interaction each recipient looks forward to each time. 

By building a home, mentoring a child, caring for the elderly or helping the environment, volunteering strengthens the community and benefits those in need. And in return, volunteers gain satisfaction through caring and giving. These are important contributions, both economically and socially.

I have had the life-changing opportunity to mentor and serve my community.  I know volunteering has made a difference  -- in my life and, hopefully, in someone else's life.  I applaud those at the Department who volunteer and hope we all find time to give back to our communities.

                  My best,          


The view above is St. Petersburg viewed through the South Yacht Basin from Demens Landing Park.                          


Eric Miller has been appointed Director of the Division of Insurance Fraud.




Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced that a veteran law enforcement officer with more than 22 years of municipal and state experience has been tapped to take over as director of Florida’s Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF). 

Eric Miller, who currently serves as chief of the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, will assume duties as DIF director on August 1.  Miller was asked to take on the role when Bob Neumann asked to step down to assistant director, a change that will allow him to move back to South Florida.  As CFO, Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, which includes the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Division of Insurance Fraud.

“Eric’s expertise will ensure the division maintains its status as the premier agency of its kind in the nation,” Gallagher said.  “I feel honored that two of the state’s most experienced law enforcement officers are leading the division.”  CONTINUED



Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announces the return of nearly $100 million to owners

The Department of Financial Services continues to return record amounts of unclaimed property to the rightful owners, according to Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher.  Gallagher today announced that during the last fiscal year, the department returned nearly $100 million in unclaimed property funds, surpassing the previous year’s record of $78 million.

Gallagher urged Floridians to search the state’s online database of unclaimed property at www.FLtreasurehunt.org  to find out if the department is holding cash or property belonging to them.  Floridians may also call 1-88-VALUABLE.
“Floridians could be a mouse click or a phone call away from lost treasure,” Gallagher said. CONTINUED


Department of Financial Services
Tom Gallagher, Chief Financial Officer
Office of Insurance Regulation
Kevin McCarty, Director



Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher is warning title insurance agents to earn their business the old-fashioned way, or risk losing their right to do business in Florida altogether.

The Department of Financial Services, which regulates title insurance agents, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates real estate agents, have both noted an increase in recent months in the number of complaints regarding title insurance agencies paying financial “kickbacks” to real estate agencies or mortgage brokers in exchange for referrals.

“An agent who accepts a kickback has an incentive to be less than fully open about all of a consumer’s options,” said Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “It is blatantly unfair for consumers to get the short end of the stick when they are making one of the largest purchases in their lives.” CONTINUED


Bureau Helps Prepare Consumers in Case of Natural Disaster

When it comes to hurricane season, even
lifelong Floridians can be blasé. After all, they hear the same warnings every year: Take inventory of your household items. Keep copies of your policy. Buy lots of bottled water and nonperishable foods. And so on and so forth.


That’s just the type of attitude that Laurie Cain, Consumer Outreach Chief, Consumer Services, and her staff try to eliminate each and every hurricane season through community outreach programs, expos and other events.                 An aerial view of a hurricane.

“Our big concern…is that everyone takes a hurricane warning seriously,” Cain says. CONTINUEDl

Joy Merrill, Insurance Specialist III, and Patricia Commander, Regional Director, both of Consumer Outreach (West Palm Beach) at the 2004 South Florida Fair.




The Florida Department of Financial Services has suspended the insurance license of Jennifer L. Faloon, of the John Beck Insurance agency in Jacksonville, for aiding and abetting an unlicensed person in the sale of insurance and for selling an insurance customer a non-insurance product without the customer’s informed consent.

“Insurance agents who sell coverage without a license or sell coverage from an unlicensed insurance company jeopardize their customers’ insurance,” said Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the department.  “We will hold these agents accountable for their actions, to protect Florida’s consumers.”