My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

As you prepare your family for the start of hurricane season this week, I hope you know that your communities are also working to ensure that they’ll be ready when the time comes.

Non-Hurricane HelplineIn fact, many cities, counties and neighborhood associations across Florida offer local resources to help you check items off your hurricane season to-do lists. Some will even host events to provide supplies and introduce you to the emergency responders available to provide post-storm assistance.

One such event is happening this weekend here in Florida’s capital city. The City of Tallahassee and Leon County partner to host an annual "Build Your Bucket" event that brings together government officials, charity organizations and other community response groups to provide area residents with relevant preparedness information. Attendees will also receive a complimentary preparedness bucket and a few supplies to help get their families in gear.

Check your local news station and newspaper for information about similar events that may be happening in your area.

We’ll be there to hand out our insurance toolkits and to remind Floridians that insurance experts are only one call away. We know that getting back on your feet following a storm can be a stressful state of affairs, but I hope that having free and ready access to insurance expertise can help the recovery process run more efficiently for Floridians.

By calling Florida’s insurance helpline, you can speak directly with insurance experts who can help you file a claim, better understand your policy, and settle setbacks that can arise during the claims-filing process.

I strongly encourage you to keep the toll-free number (1-877-693-5236) on your emergency contact list and inside your family’s hurricane kit.

We’re available year-round and we stay busy! In fact, during the first three months of 2017, we answered more than 70,000 calls and helped Floridians recover more than $8 million. These funds include claims payments that may have previously been denied or underpaid and premium refunds that consumers asked for help collecting.

Give us a call the next time you need help, and if you’d like a copy of our hurricane preparedness resources, visit our website here: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers/Storm/.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida



Florida's Bottom Line: Sunshine is Good for You and Good for Government

Susan Omoto guest-authored a column in our latest edition of Florida's Bottom Line that focuses on “sunshine” in the form of citizen access to public records. Here is an excerpt:

Susan Omoto, member of the Orlando Sentinel Editorial BoardFlorida is famous for its sunshine. Now, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is helping the state earn a new reputation for spreading “sunshine” in the form of citizen access to public records.

The Orlando Sentinel reports 1,200 exemptions to the state’s Open Records Law have been put on the books in the past four years, with another 56 proposed this year. But amid the darkness of constraint, there is a ray of sunshine: The Department of Financial Services’ website.

As stated on the Department’s Transparency Florida website, "…transparency ensures accountability, and Floridians have a right to see how every penny of the money they send to their government is spent." By accessing the website, Floridians can scrutinize state budgets, payments and contracts and hold government accountable for how every dollar is spent. Amen.

Read more from Susan Omoto in the Spring edition of Florida's Bottom Line. A one-stop shop for the latest news and valuable insight on Florida's economy and financial health, Florida's Bottom Line is CFO Atwater's award-winning quarterly economic magazine and website.

Florida’s Bottom Line website reports the latest Florida financial news, with detailed charts showing the trends of Florida's economy and jobs over the past eight years, updated when new stats are released.

Operation S.A.F.E.Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart Workshops in Miami on June 13 and 14

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.

Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior – Are you at risk?
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors – Is this too good to be true?
  • How to Fight Identity Theft – Protect, Prevent, Police

Feedback from seniors who attended a Be Scam Smart workshop:

“Really learned a lot of valuable information.” - Jacksonville
“This was a very valuable topic of interest in our present world.” - Arcadia
“I live alone and learned a lot of helpful information that I can share with other seniors.” - Zephyrhills
“As a result of this presentation I will be more aware of what is going on around me.” - Pensacola
“The info was very good and eyes opened more than ever.” - Ormond Beach


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

Tuesday, June 13th – Miami
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Bethany Seventh Day Adventist Church Fellowship Hall
2500 NW 50th Street, Miami, FL 33142
Register | Directions | Flyer

Wednesday, June 14th – Miami
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Ro-Mont South Condominium Homeowner’s Association
20314 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33179
Register | Directions | Flyer

Please let us know if you would like to request a workshop in your area.

Florida Economic Briefs

New Housing Construction Increases in Florida
Florida saw an increase in the number of permits for construction of new housing in April. A total of 10,962 permits were issued, putting Florida in second place behind Texas. This represents an increase from March, when 9,590 permits were issued, putting Florida in third place behind Texas and California.
Source: Census Bureau

Florida Consumer Sentiment Drops in May
Floridians showed a decreasing level of confidence in the economy in May. The overall Consumer Sentiment index dropped by 2.4 points to 93.3. While 4 of the 5 components that make up the index decreased, Floridians showed higher expectations for U.S. economic conditions over the next 5 years, with that measure increasing by 0.9 points.
Source: University of Florida Bureau of Economic & Business Research