main menu bread crumb page title feature menus content footer
My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Florida's Bottom Line - Outlook on 2015As your Chief Financial Officer, it is my responsibility to keep my finger on the pulse of Florida’s economy. During the past year, we’ve seen profound growth in many areas and we are well-positioned to take advantage of these gains and continue to grow in 2015.

Each quarter, my office produces an economic magazine, called Florida’s Bottom Line, which focuses on providing you with the latest news and insightful analysis on Florida's economic and financial health. This New Year’s edition highlights opportunities that lie ahead of us in the coming year, as well as highlights from 2014.

It includes economic forecasts and expert analysis on Florida from leading economists, and insightful outlooks on key industries from the industry leaders themselves.

In addition to releasing the new edition, the new year brought about an updated website. The restructured and revamped website boasts expanded economic information in a more readily-accessibly format. It provides the latest available information on a variety of key economic indicators including, job growth and Florida’ unemployment rate, foreclosure activity and consumer purchasing patterns.

To view the latest edition of Florida's Bottom Line, click here.

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Sunshine State News: Jeff Atwater Plans to Fight for 'Consumer Friendly' Insurance Policies

Orlando Sentinel: Fraud no longer growing in PIP auto-insurance fraud in Florida, report says

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Florida regaining economic steam

Tampa Bay Partnership: Florida Earns Silver Shovel Award for Job Creation and Economic Development

Florida Today: Florida is popular again with retirees and workers

Independent Florida Alligator: UF survey: Economy doesn’t stress Florida

Sun Sentinel: Job cuts fell more than 30 percent in Florida

CFO Atwater Announces Two Miami Insurance Fraud Arrests

Insurance Fraud BadgeChief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater recently announced two arrests made by the Division of Insurance Fraud in separate cases. Johanna Gonzalez, 32, a licensed insurance agent, was arrested for forging an insurance document and in an unrelated case, Beatriz Martinez, 44, a licensed public adjuster, was arrested for grand theft after failing to return insurance funds owed to consumers. Both are residents of Miami-Dade County.

While working as a licensed insurance agent, Johanna Gonzalez forged a certificate of insurance as a favor for a company she had previously worked with. Gonzalez altered the renewal dates for the company’s policy. The company was undergoing a city inspection that required a current liability insurance policy.

Beatriz Martinez, a Miami public adjuster, allegedly defrauded two Miami area victims by failing to return insurance payments that were owed to them. Contracts were arranged by the company she operated, Capital Adjusters, Inc., to repair the homes of two individuals. Insurance payments worth a combined total of nearly $24,000 were issued to Martinez. As part of the agreement, she was to take a 20 percent fee for her services and return the remaining funds to the consumers. In neither case did she return any of the remaining funds to the consumers, both of which were forced to pay out of pocket for their home repairs.

Johanna Gonzalez was charged with uttering a forged instrument and faces up to five years in person, if convicted. Beatriz Martinez was charged with grand theft and faces up to 15 years in prison. In addition to facing jail time, the Department’s Division of Agent & Agency Services conducted an investigation and has revoked the insurance license of Beatriz Martinez. Johanna Gonzalez is not currently authorized to sell or transact insurance and faces license suspension.

Anyone with information about suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded nearly $350,000 to nearly 60 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program. The program rewards individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida unemployment rate down
Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in November, down 0.2 percentage points from October (6.0%) and down 0.7 percentage points from November 2013 (6.5%). The U.S. unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points over the month to 5.6 percent in December, 1.1 percentage points lower than the same time last year (6.7%). Florida’s unemployment rate will be updated with December figures on January 23rd.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Fewer homes underwater in Florida during third quarter
The share of homes with negative equity in Florida decreased to 23.8 percent in the third quarter, down 0.5 percentage points from the previous quarter (24.3%). Negative equity means that a borrower owes more on a home than it is worth. These properties may be referred to as underwater or upside down. Nationally, Florida ranked second behind Nevada for the percentage of mortgaged homes underwater.
Source: Core Logic

Fostering Financial Prosperity

This special issue of Florida’s Bottom Line offers an overview of the Department of Financial Services’ transparent, fiscally-sound and consumer-oriented accomplishments since 2011.

Fostering Financial Prosperity