My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Florida’s 10-year no-hurricane streak came to an end late Thursday night as Hurricane Hermine slammed into Florida’s coast and continued on a path that ultimately impacted most of our great state.

Consumer Tips following Hurricane HermineLet me first say how proud I am to be a Florida resident. In the last week, I have seen neighbors helping neighbors, and I’ve watched as people have stepped up to the plate to help their fellow Floridians. During stressful times such as these, nothing is more encouraging to me than to see the best come out of people during the worst of times. I hope that many of you have seen the same in your neighborhoods and communities.

Now that power has been restored across the vast majority of the state, many of you are now able to focus on the filing of insurance claims to cover damage to your home or business. I encourage you to contact your insurance company, if you haven't already, to file your claims. I have seen many insurance companies on the ground in impacted cities surveying damage and adjusting claims.

I also encourage you to make temporary repairs, if safe to do so, in order to prevent further damage until permanent repairs can be made. Keep all of your receipts because these costs may be reimbursable as part of your claim. If you decide to bring in a third-party to help with temporary repairs, make sure to verify their license before entering into a work agreement. Read all paperwork that the company asks you to sign, and ask questions until you understand what you’re signing. I know that time is tight and you have other pressing needs at hand, like the health and comfort of your family, but these work agreements are important and you don’t want to have payment problems down the road.

If you have questions about how to file a claim, if you need help finding contact information for your insurance company, or if you’re not sure if your losses will be covered under your insurance policy, give my Consumer Insurance Helpline a call. You’ll get direct access to insurance experts who can help with all of these things or other related questions.

The number is 1 (877) 693-5236, and the line is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, and we hope to hear from you if you have any insurance-related questions, concerns, or needs. You can also call this number to report any suspicious or suspected fraudulent activity, and we’ll refer the information to insurance fraud investigators for follow up.

We’ve already heard of one scam in Taylor County where scammers are knocking on doors or calling consumers by telephone, claiming to be from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These scammers are offering to help consumers file a FEMA insurance claim for a fee of $150. There is no such fee to file a claim, and reports of this scam should be communicated to us immediately. It’s important to note that all government officials and insurance company representatives carry official identification — identification that you should ask for before providing any personal information. If someone calls you on the phone claiming to be from the government, ask for a call-back number so that you can call them back to verify the legitimacy of the entity. If the caller refuses to provide a number or tries to talk you out of it, hang up immediately.

Hurricane Hermine was strong, but the state of Florida and its people are stronger. Full recovery efforts will take time, but we will get there. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask — ask your neighbors, ask your community leaders, give us a call, too. We’re here for you.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida



Florida's Bottom Line: Florida's Economy

Florida's Bottom Line on Florida's EconomyLearn about Florida's general economy, the job market, and the housing market in an in-depth column in the most recent edition of Florida's Bottom Line. Here is an excerpt:

Florida’s economy has continued growing over the first half of 2016 with the fusion of widespread economic growth across multiple industries, decreasing unemployment rates, and a bustling housing market spurring strong economic momentum that will likely carry into the second half of the year.

Read more details about Florida's economy in Florida's Bottom Line, CFO Atwater's award-winning quarterly economic magazine, focused on providing you with the latest news and insightful analysis on Florida's financial and economic health.

Florida Economic Briefs

National Unemployment rate unchanged in August
In August, the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, unchanged from the previous month and down 0.2 percentage points from last year (5.1 percent). Florida’s unemployment rate for August will be released on September 16.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Florida expected to outpace the nation in economic growth
Florida’s leading index is expected to increase by 1.7 percent over the next 6 months, 0.2 percentage points higher than the national prediction of 1.5 percent. Leading indexes predict the six-month growth rate of the state’s coincident index, which is a summary of current economic conditions.
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia