Volume 2, No. 6 - August 2011

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

FMAP: Florida's Hidden Gold Mine

That's how some agents refer to the Florida Market Assistance Plan (FMAP).

FMAP is a free referral service designed to match consumers with agents and insurance companies writing new policies in Florida. The goal of this service is to assist consumers in obtaining property and casualty insurance coverage from authorized insurers in the private market.

FMAP helps agents and insurance companies identify potential clients via the following programs:

  • An online consumer referral program
  • Commercial referrals
  • Policy data reports

The online consumer referral program consists of an online database that matches people who are seeking property insurance with participating agents who may be able to write a policy outside of Citizens. Participating agents and insurers receive a nightly email notice from FMAP, alerting them to potential clients seeking coverage that matches their eligible policy criteria. Agents also can search the database at any time to identify potential customers.

The commercial referral program provides agent contact information to consumers seeking coverage for commercial residential or non-residential, marine or aircraft property insurance.

The policy data reports allow agents to review existing Citizens policies to identify policyholders with risks that may be eligible for placement with an authorized private insurer. In order to access these reports, agents must first complete a Policy Data Confidentiality Agreement.

There are two important restrictions of which agents interested in participating in FMAP should be aware: Participating agents are prohibited from using FMAP information to write a policy with Citizens; and cannot share FMAP information with anyone else, including other agents, for the purpose of writing a policy with Citizens.

To learn more about FMAP, register or access the confidentiality agreement, call 1.800.524.9023 or log on to www.FMAP.org.

The Division of Consumer Services Helps Agents and Adjusters, Too!

The Department of Financial Services' Division of Consumer Services (Consumer Services) is available to answer questions and assist consumers in all lines of insurance, including homeowner's, health, auto, life and warranties. Consumer Services handles an average of 20,000 calls a month and can help agents and adjusters better serve their customers.

An online Insurance Library, consumer guides, and many other resources are available to help consumers make informed decisions, and these resources are available for agents, adjusters, and agencies to provide to customers.

Consumer Services has helped recover more than $13.5 million in claim payments and premium refunds so far this year for Florida consumers. The following two cases are examples where Consumer Services assisted consumers in getting claim payments:

  • A policyholder in Hillsborough County had coverage under a group health plan through their employer. In December 2010, the consumer was prescribed a drug for his cancer treatment, and for months the consumer's wife went to pick up the prescription and only paid a $40 co-pay. In May 2011, his HMO plan renewed. When his wife went to pick up the prescription, she was shocked to be charged $2,500. The consumer contacted Consumer Services for assistance, who then communicated with the HMO and learned that in April 2010 the company had notified the employer of changes in their drug formulary that moved some drugs to a co-insurance basis. The employees had not been made aware of the change when their plan was renewed. After Consumer Services discussed the consumer's situation with the HMO, they implemented changes to be sure employers are clearly made aware of major changes such as this so they can properly advise their employees. The HMO is implementing changes on a national scale to help make sure a situation such as this does not occur again. They are also placing a cap on the amount an insured will have to pay out of pocket if they need a Tier 3 drug that is on a co-insurance benefit. The family only had to pay for the one month but has not had to pay it since.
  • A consumer in Pinellas County contacted Consumer Services after his 1990 Ford Aerostar was considered a total loss by his insurance company. He thought the company's offer of $1,730.24 was not a fair value for his vehicle and felt the retail value was closer to $4,109. Feeling he could get the vehicle repaired for less than $4,109, he thought the vehicle should not be considered a total loss but should be repaired. A Consumer Services specialist contacted the company while the consumer provided copies of several estimates including the NADA value of his vehicle. Once all of the documentation was supplied, the company agreed to adjust the retail value of his vehicle to $2,772. Since the repair estimate was $2,211.67, the company agreed to repair his vehicle for that cost.

To ask a question, request assistance, or file a complaint, please visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Consumers or call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO or 850-413-3089.

CFO Jeff Atwater Offers Workshops for Women's Small Business Month

In today's challenging economy, business owners need to do more with less while expecting greater outcomes from their company finances. CFO Jeff Atwater is focusing on these real issues with a series of free small business workshops every Friday in October, which is Women's Small Business Month.

Agents and adjusters will have the opportunity to learn alongside other local business owners how to improve an existing small business or launch one.  These "Financial Friday" workshops will be offered in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale and will address how to be a successful entrepreneur, how to avoid common money mistakes, and how to certify a small business for women and minority contracts.

CFO Atwater is sponsoring these workshops to have a positive impact on the financial success of Florida's small businesses, which are the backbone of our state's economy.

Haven't started your business yet? Not a female business owner? That's OK. Any small business owner or entrepreneur is encouraged to participate.

All workshops are from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Event dates and locations are:

Orlando - Friday, October 7, 2011
Orange County Schools District Office
445 West Amelia Street
Orlando, FL 32801
Ft. Lauderdale - Friday, October 14, 2011
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
Tampa - Friday, October 21, 2011
Marshal Student Center
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Avenue, MSC 4100
Tampa, FL 33620
Jacksonville - Friday, October 27, 2011
Ramada Conference Center - Mandarin
3130 Hartley Road
Jacksonville, FL 32257

For registration information, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Consumers.


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