News You Can Use
CFO Patronis Statement on Passage of Insurance Bill from Senate Floor
Tallahassee (02/17/2022) - Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis issued the following statement on the Senate's passage of Senate Bill 1058, sponsored by Senator Hutson. Senate Bill 1058 transfers Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund coverage for private market insurers who take on certain policies. The bill moves next to the House Floor.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "As CFO, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to combat rising insurance rates on Florida families. It is critical Floridians have access to affordable property insurance that they can count on in the horrible circumstance where their home is severely damaged or destroyed. I want to thank Senator Hutson for moving this important legislation forward and thank you to Representative Stevenson for her hard work on the House companion."
CFO Jimmy Patronis to FCC: Block Spam Calls for Free
Tallahassee (02/17/2022) - CFO Patronis issued a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it to require all cellphone carriers to provide free, comprehensive spam blocking services to all customers. In 2020, nearly 4 billion robocalls were received by consumers per month, which led to consumers losing $436 million to fraud via phone. Additionally, CFO Patronis supports Senate Bill 1292 and House Bill 749, which will require salespersons making telephone calls to provide their full legal name, license number, and their telephone number. This legislation will help to protect consumers as would increased efforts by the cellphone carriers to block spam calls for free.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Statement on Passage of Financial Literacy Bill in House Subcommittee
Tallahassee (02/16/2022) - CFO Patronis issued the following statement on the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee's favorable hearing of House Bill 1115, sponsored by Representative Busatta Cabrera. This proposal will require Florida high school students to earn at least one-half credit of instruction in financial literacy or money management and will teach students about banking practices, money management, credit scores, managing debt, loan applications, insurance policies and local tax assessments.
CFO Patronis Statement on "Home Hardening" Inclusion in Tax Package
Tallahassee (02/15/2022) - CFO issued the following statement upon the release of the Florida House of Representative's tax package from the Ways & Means Committee. The House's tax package included the CFO's "Home Hardening" initiative, which provides tax relief to homeowners to "harden" their homes from storms by installing certain materials, including impact-resistant windows, impact-resistant doors, and impact-resistant garage doors.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Statement on Passage of Financial Literacy Bill in Senate Rules Committee
Tallahassee (02/15/2022) - CFO Patronis issued the following statement on the Senate Rules Committee's favorable hearing of Senate Bill 1054, sponsored by Senator Hutson. This proposal will require Florida high school students earn at least one-half credit of instruction in financial literacy or money management and will teach students about banking practices, money management, credit scores, managing debt, loan applications, insurance policies and local tax assessments.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Statement on Passage of Fraud Prevention Bill from House Subcommittee
Tallahassee (02/15/2022) - CFO Patronis issued the following statement on the House State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee's favorable hearing of House Bill 749, sponsored by Representative Clemons. This proposal increases penalties on unlicensed public adjusters who break the law; will combat fraudulent telemarketing calls by requiring licensed warranty agencies to identity their full business name an license number immediately; will force big corporations to allow Floridians to easily cancel subscriptions without forcing consumers to hop through a bunch of hoops; and will empower Florida policyholders by ensuring digital insurance applications will communicate with the digital driver's license. The bill moves next to the House Commerce Committee.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Returns More Than $30 Million in Unclaimed Property in January
Miami (02/03/2022) - CFO Patronis announced that more than $30 million in unclaimed property was returned to Floridians during the month of January 2022. The Division of Unclaimed Property has returned more than $231 million to Floridians this fiscal year and since CFO Patronis took office in 2017, more than $1.5 billion has been returned to Floridians in unclaimed property.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces Arrest of Miami Chiropractor in $20,000 Insurance Fraud Scheme
Miami (02/02/2022) - CFO Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Dr. Peter Ian Reiter, owner of Dade Medical Center Inc., for allegedly submitting fraudulent medical bills to Progressive Insurance and Responsive Insurance for medical treatment services that were never provided to patients.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces Six Arrests in $70,000 West Palm Beach Insurance Fraud Scheme
West Palm Beach (02/01/2022) - CFO Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Darneshia Hodge, Michelle O'Brien, Martine Charles, Chastity Barry, Cocynthia Hodge and Glennesha Scantlebury for allegedly developing a fraudulent insurance claim scheme involving multiple Aflac insurance claim reimbursement payments totaling more than $71,000.
OFR Issues Decentralized Finance Advisory
Tallahassee (01/25/2022) - The Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) issued an investor advisory to raise awareness about decentralized finance (DeFi), a relatively new blockchain-based group of financial services gaining popularity.
OFR Commissioner Russell C. Weigel, III said, "DeFi-based companies offer lending, banking, and investing options that are decentralized and not dependent on traditional financial markets. This evolution of financial services is not necessarily a bad thing and may be a good thing, but before getting involved with a company or product in the DeFi market, take reasonable steps to understand the risks of this emerging blockchain-based technology and market. The Office of Financial Regulation is committed to allowing innovation to grow and thrive while protecting Floridians from bad actors, but the best practice is to educate yourself before risking your money."
Read the full advisory here to learn what Floridians should consider before using DeFi-based services. The advisory also explains what DeFi is, the technology behind it, how DeFi lending works, potential risks for investors, and how consumers can avoid becoming a victim to a scam.
**CONSUMER ALERT** CFO Jimmy Patronis: Smishing?! Floridians Must Beware of This Latest Scam Tactic
Tallahassee (01/24/2022) - CFO Jimmy Patronis is warning consumers of a scam called "Smishing", which is a relatively new form of cyber fraud that's threatening millions of consumers and small businesses around the world. Smishing is a form of "phishing" using SMS or text messages instead of email messages to lure in consumers to click on fraudulent links. According to the FBI, phishing and smishing scams cost victims more than $54 million in 2020.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces 2022 "Born Free" Legislative Priorities
Tallahassee (01/11/2022) - CFO Jimmy Patronis is highlighting his 2022 "Born Free" legislative priorities. The CFO's top priorities include securing $10 million in funding for Florida's Urban Search & Rescue (US&R - Pronounced 'YOU-SAR') Task Forces, providing tax relief so Floridians can protect their homes and lower their insurance premiums, and continued efforts aimed at protecting consumers.