Volume 3 Number 28
July 10, 2006

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Upcoming Auctions


An autographed photo of Babe Ruth and a signed letter from Theodore Roosevelt dated November 1, 1918, are among thousands of dollars’ worth of abandoned items to be sold this Saturday at a public auction in Jacksonville. 

This may sound like a case of finders-keepers, but it’s actually a win-win situation.   That’s because the proceeds benefit Florida’s public school students.  

Since 1961, the unclaimed property program, part of the Department of Financial Services, has transferred
more than $1.5 billion to the school trust fund.

The auction begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday and will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, located at 9300 Baymeadows Rd., Jacksonville.  A preview will be held Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

To find out more about the auction or to find out if the department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property is holding property for you, log on to www.FLtreasurehunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE. 

Treasure hunters have a chance to find a rare item, even collect a piece of history, and provide school children more opportunities to learn about history.  Happy hunting!

CFO Gallagher and Cecilia Patella of Hernando County Emergency Management

Gallagher Visits Hernando County Hurricane Expo at Weeki Wachee Springs

On Saturday, June 10, Weeki Wachee Springs, a small historic water park in the City of Weeki Wachee, hosted the Third Annual Hernando County Hurricane Expo: Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared. 

CFO Tom Gallagher joined over 8,000 guests from neighboring counties who visited the park for information, services and products available to them for disaster preparation.  Over 40 vendors for home retrofit products and personal disaster preparedness were available to attendees.  The Expo also offered special activities for children as well as door prizes and other free items from vendors.

This was the largest attendance of any Hurricane Expo in the area.  The Expo performances and presentations were scheduled around the park’s regular show times, including the world famous Underwater Mermaid Theater.

The Expo was organized by Hernando County Emergency Management and their planning committee, which included representatives from DFS.  Sponsors of the Expo included Weeki Wachee Springs, WFLA Channel 8 and Hernando Today/Tampa Tribune, American Hurricane Specialists and Coastal Hurricane Shutters. CONTINUED




Gallagher Says Policies are Still in Force

Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, announced that a judge has ordered Florida Select Insurance Company into rehabilitation. Under the order, the company’s 70,000 homeowners policies are not cancelled at this time and the company may continue to write new and renewal business while the department reviews its financial situation.

Leon County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Bateman ordered Florida Select Insurance Company into rehabilitation as a result of the expiration of its reinsurance on June 30, 2006. Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies.

“Our first priority is to the policy holders, and making sure they have coverage during the hurricane season,” said Gallagher, who oversees the department. “This action will protect homeowners while conserving the company’s assets, with the goal of helping it regain enough financial strength to actively compete for business.” CONTINUED




New study shows four out of five Floridians are buckling up-

Governor Jeb Bush announced that a record number of Floridians are using safety belts. The Preusser Research Group recently reported that 80.7 percent of drivers and their front seat passengers are using safety belts on Florida highways. Overall, safety belt usage rates in Florida have climbed more than 20 percent since 2000.

“A vast majority of Floridians are using safety belts,” said Governor Bush. “Wearing a safety belt saves lives. It is the single most effective way to prevent injuries and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes."

The official rate of 80.7 percent was determined by observing safety belt usage at various intersections throughout Florida from June 2 to 9, 2006. The sample of intersections was selected based on the established criteria of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This official survey took place after the Memorial Day statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign as required by NHTSA. CONTINUED






Following a recent increase in scam e-mails, the Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers to be on the lookout for bogus e-mails claiming to be from the tax agency.

The IRS saw an increase in complaints in recent weeks about these e-mails, which are designed to trick the recipients into disclosing personal and financial information that could be used to steal the recipients’ identity and financial assets.

“The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails asking for personal information,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “Don’t be taken in by these criminals.”

The IRS has seen a recent increase in these scams. Since November, 99 different scams have been identified, with 20 of those coming in June – the most since 40 were identified in March during the height of the filing season. CONTINUED