My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

In honor of National Entrepreneurship Month, I applaud every small business owner and entrepreneur for their innovation and dedication in creating products and services that improve the lives of Floridians. These hard-working individuals have created 2.3 million businesses that together employ more than 3 million people in our state. Your Money Matters Aside from the raw number of private sector jobs, the other contributions entrepreneurs provide to our state’s economic landscape and communities are immeasurable. I strive to provide all the business owners — and those looking to start a new business — with financial- and insurance-related resources that may help them strengthen and grow their operation.

My office’s Your Money Matters website features a Small Business Section that’s dedicated to providing information on valuable financial and business topics. As we progress through National Entrepreneurship Month, I encourage business owners to review the videos and resources available, which include:

  • Small Business Owners’ Insurance Guide
  • Information Registering and Certifying Your Small Business
  • Business Disaster Preparedness Interactive Video.

Florida's Bottom Line Summer 2016Additionally, Florida’s Bottom Line, our quarterly magazine, provides helpful resources and information on Florida's economic health, which can aid business owners in making informed financial decisions.

I am grateful to each small business owner who took the first step in creating their own business, and am dedicated to supporting an environment that allows Florida’s entrepreneurs to continue to prosper and grow.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


Unclaimed Property Check Worth More than $1 Million Delivered by CFO Atwater

CFO Jeff Atwater hand-delivered an unclaimed property check worth more than $1 million to executives at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. This unclaimed property check represents life insurance benefits left to the hospital that were never paid.CFO delivering unclaimed property check to Holy Cross Hospital

The benefactor, a former Holy Cross employee named Eileen Fleese, had not advised the hospital that she had named them as the beneficiary on her life insurance policy, so Holy Cross staff did not know to claim the benefits after she passed away in 2009.

Previously, practices within the life insurance industry to ignore knowledge of a policyholder’s death to avoid having to pay policy benefits meant that the hospital was never notified, even though paperwork indicated that it was to receive Ms. Fleese’s policy benefits upon her passing. A new Florida law, championed by CFO Atwater during the 2016 Legislative Session, has since ended this bad business practice.

Are we holding life insurance benefits — or other unclaimed property — that may belong to you? To find out, check your name on our website at www.FLtreasurehunt.org.

Currently, the Department holds unclaimed property from dormant accounts in financial institutions, insurance and utility companies, securities and trust holdings, valued at more than $1.5 billion. In addition to insurance proceeds, money and securities, unclaimed property includes tangible property such as watches, jewelry, coins, currency, stamps, historical items and other articles from abandoned safe deposit boxes. There is no statute of limitations on claims and citizens have the right to claim their property any time at no cost.

Florida's Bottom Line: Florida's Economy

Florida's EcomonyLearn 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.

Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart Workshops

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Operation S.A.F.E.Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors
  • How to Fight Identity Theft

From seniors who attended Be Scam Smart workshops:

“Savored every moment of this workshop. The information was needed and vital for seniors’ and consumers’ financial survival.” - West Palm Beach

“Presentations were great & well timed. Excellent information we all need to know.” - Pensacola

“Every senior in the city and state should attend the Be Scam Smart Workshop.” - Jacksonville

“Thank you for alerting us to the scam we as seniors are exposed to.” - Brandon


Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshop:

  • Tuesday, November 15 - Ormond Beach
    10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
    City of Ormond Beach Commission Chambers
    22 S. Beach Street, Ormond Beach, FL 32174
    Register | Directions | Flyer

  • Wednesday, November 16 - Palm Coast
    11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Palm Coast Community Center
    305 Palm Coast Parkway NE, Palm Coast, FL 32137
    Register | Directions | Flyer

Florida Economic Briefs

U.S. real GDP increased 2.9 percent
U.S. real GDP increased 2.9 percent in the third quarter according to initial estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is a 1.5 percentage point increase from the second quarter growth rate of 1.4 percent. Real gross domestic product is the value of goods and services produced by the nation’s economy.
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Florida’s consumer confidence down in October
Consumer confidence fell in October ahead of the election. Of the five components that make up the index, three decreased and two increased.
Source: Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Florida