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My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, I am contacted every day by consumers who have become overwhelmed, frustrated and confused by the insurance claim-filing process. More than 300,000 Floridians in the midst of a stressful situation involving a damaged or lost home have called my office with questions about what to do, who to call, what to expect and when their maintenance and financial problems can finally be resolved.

Consumer Help OnlineIn an effort to simplify the claims-filing process and alleviate the stress it creates, I am working with the Florida Legislature to establish common sense safeguards. Senate Bill 708, which recently passed its final committee of the current legislative session, most significantly creates a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights that insurance companies will be required to give to every policyholder who files a claim. The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights is a one page document that is easy to understand and clearly outlines policyholders’ rights under Florida law. Most importantly, however, the bill of rights will provide simple instructions to make sure your insurance claim needs are met fairly, timely and in accordance with the law.

Furthermore, our legislation requires that an insurer’s underwriting process be completed in 90 days or less. Policyholders should not be denied their claim if the sole reason for denial is credit-related information that has been available for insurers to access in public records for months.

The bottom line is that homeowners already have enough to worry about when dealing with a lost or damaged home. They need a clear direction in which to proceed and the confidence that they can navigate the claims filing process without becoming overwhelmed or making a detrimental decision that only adds to their problems.

You have my assurances that I will work tirelessly to help pass this important piece of legislation. I am also calling on insurers to enthusiastically support this bill because they should want their customers to be as educated as possible and fully prepared to navigate the claims process.

If you have questions about your insurance claim, please contact our consumer helpline at 1-877-693-5236. As your Chief Financial Officer, I am committed to ensuring the financial rights and protections of every Floridian.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

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Palm Beach Post: Bill would help those making an insurance claim

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Tampa Bay Business Journal: Florida businesses plan equipment purchases, hiring

Sun-Sentinel: Downtown Fort Lauderdale listed among top 10 downtowns

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida foreclosures decrease
In February, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in Florida was 7 percent lower than the previous month and 24 percent lower than the same time last year - the seventh consecutive month with an annual decrease.

Source: RealtyTrac

Florida unemployment rate drops 0.2 percent in January; lowest rate since 2008
Florida’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in January 2014, down 0.2 percentage point over the month, and down 1.9 percentage points from 8 percent a year ago. The state’s January rate was the lowest since June 2008 when it was 6 percent. Furthermore, January 2014 was the 42nd consecutive month with positive annual job growth after the state lost jobs for over three years.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Florida's Bottom LineFlorida's Bottom Line

Explore the latest edition of Florida’s Bottom Line. Inside, you’ll find expert insight on Florida’s economy, finances, workforce and housing market in the year ahead.