My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

This week, our state was impacted by Tropical Storm Colin. I’m pleased to see many of you were prepared as it could have been a much more severe storm. I urge you to take a moment to check in with family, friends and neighbors to see if any of them were affected, and to extend a helping hand.

As I shared with you briefly last week, non-weather related water loss insurance claims, such as a broken pipe, leaking appliance or sewage backup, are on the rise in South Florida. The number of claims have risen so dramatically in the tri-county area — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach — that insurance rates are rising. When these water losses occur, we’re finding that consumers quickly turn to professionals who help remove the water from their home, mitigate further damage to the property, and handle the resulting insurance claim. What’s more, we’re learning that in some cases, more than a month passes before the insurance company is notified that damage has happened.

However, insurers are concerned that the involvement of third party vendors such as contractors, water remediators, public adjusters, and attorneys have led to an increase in the number of non-catastrophic water loss claims and an increase in the expenses associated with these claims. While there are varying opinions as to why we’re seeing this growing problem, all can agree on one thing: it needs to be addressed before it gets further out of hand.

Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha'Ron JamesThat’s why your Insurance Consumer Advocate, Sha’Ron James, is bringing stakeholders on all sides of this important issue together for a public forum designed to gather input and create a base for building a balanced solution to this problem. I’ve appointed Ms. James to represent all policyholders when insurance decisions are made. Her role is to offer guidance and a voice to the people of Florida, and she’s inviting you to make your voices heard on this matter.

ICA ForumThe forum will be held Tuesday, June 14, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Florida Atlantic University’s Stadium Recruiting Room in Boca Raton. During this all day event, regulators, insurance companies, construction professionals and other stakeholders will present their findings, concerns, and hopefully, solutions. There will also be time for consumers to address this group of experts. It’s only through this collective feedback that we can gain a true understanding of what’s happening and what can be done about it.

To find the agenda and other related materials, please visit the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s website at:

To RSVP or to share your story, email the Advocate’s Office at or give the Office a call at 850-413-5923.

In order to effect positive change, we need to hear from the people we’ve been elected or appointed to represent. For me, that’s 20 million people — readers like you.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida's Bottom Line - Financial Markets and FloridaFinancial Markets and Florida

As a one-stop shop for the latest news and valuable insight on Florida's economic and financial health, Florida's Bottom Line is CFO Atwater's award-winning, in-depth quarterly economic newsletter.

The latest edition of Florida’s Bottom Line highlights the factors that have impacted U.S. financial markets and what it means for Florida’s economy. Inside you will find keen insight from financial experts here in Florida as well as details about a new tool that tracks the strength of Florida’s businesses in the stock market.

By shining a light on what has occurred in financial markets, we hope to provide information about the state of Florida’s economy so Floridians can feel confident about their financial footing and businesses can continue to grow, creating more jobs in our communities and strengthening the state’s economy. Please read about these recent developments and how Florida’s economy continues to be a beacon of opportunity and prosperity.

The accompanying Florida's Bottom Line website will keep you updated with the latest statistics on Florida's economy. Special reports, infographics and past editions are archived on the website for easy access.

Florida Economic Briefs

National unemployment rate down in May
In May, the unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent, down 0.3 percentage points from the previous month and down 0.8 percentage points from last year (5.5 percent). Florida’s unemployment rate for May will be released on June 17.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Florida ranked sixth among U.S. states for its fiscal health
In a recent study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Florida was ranked the sixth most financially healthy state in the United States. Florida was ranked highest among the nation’s largest states, followed by Texas, which ranked 16th overall. State rankings were based on a number of indicators from their respective 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports.
Source: Mercatus Center at George Mason University