My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Florida has faced a historic hurricane season, with multiple storms causing catastrophic damage and unprecedented flooding across vast parts of our state. Much work has been done already to get Floridians back on their feet, but many additional steps must still be taken to achieve full recovery. Federal Emergency Management Agency

Many Florida families are currently in the process of navigating the federal flood claims process, and I’ve so far been encouraged by the collaboration between state officials and the federal government. However, I’ve recently been made aware of a process change that could delay future progress.

The federal government is soon planning to transition the third-party vendor it uses to manage the 600,000 policies that are part of the National Flood Insurance Program. While the change may bring efficiencies and smoother processes, making such a shift during the heart of hurricane season also stands to delay the processing of pending claims.

Right now, Florida’s focus is to help families return to normal life, and to make sure we’re able to continue in that fashion, I’ve penned a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long to learn more about his plans for this transition.

I have asked that his team develop a plan to guarantee pending claims are processed as planned, with no delays. I’ve asked the plan be made available to the public to confirm that policyholders can be confident while navigating the claims process. And, if this cannot be accomplished right now, I’ve asked Administrator Long to consider delaying this process change until after the end of hurricane season.

Officials in Washington are currently discussing their plans and making possible revisions to their implementation timeline. I look forward to engaging in future discussions, and I plan to continue raising my voice to make sure that Florida’s recovery process does not get derailed.

To read a copy of the letter I sent to Washington, click here. I will keep you apprised as the issue moves forward.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Patronis
Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


News of Interest

WCJB ABC 20: Fallen Firefighters honored in Marion County
All gave some and some gave all. And those firefighters who gave their lives in the last year were honored at the Florida State Fire College in Marion County today. Some family members of the fallen firefighters had the chance to explain why today is a day they will always remember. More than 300 people, including local, state and out of town firefighters gathered in the courtyard of the Florida State Fire College to honor the lives of their fallen brothers and sisters.


The Florida Channel: Face to Face with CFO Jimmy Patronis
CFO Patronis discussed his first months on the job, Hurricane Irma, Assignment of Benefits, and much more on Florida Face to Face with Beth Switzer.

Florida Keys News: Don’t be an Irma victim a second time
Hurricane season isn’t over and therefore neither is consumer scam season, which has gone into hyper mode following Irma’s destructive sweep through Florida. Homeowners are particularly vulnerable to fast-talking, document-waving con artists who promise to help with repairs, insurance claims and Federal Emergency Management Agency payments. "Hurricanes bring out a lot of good in people and also the worst in those few bad actors preying on homeowners whose most prized asset has been damaged," said Jon Moore, spokesman for Florida’s Department of Financial Services.

Ocala Star Banner: Remembering fallen firefighters
More than 300 people, including local, state and out-of-town firefighters, gathered Friday in the courtyard of the Florida State Fire College to honor and remember those of their comrades who gave their lives. The roughly one-hour service began at 9:50 a.m. with State Fire College Bureau Chief Mike Tucker welcoming those in attendance and telling the audience that we "embrace" the people who died and "will remember them." Of the 193 people named on a program, nine - Joseph T. DeMarini, James F. Dorminy, James Russell, Sidney Houpt, Robert Knight, Sam Frazer, Norman Hastings, Joel D. Wooldridge and Vern Gransden - were singled out for special mention.

Tampa Bay Times: Study: Florida has fourth-most competitive tax code
Florida's tax code is the fourth most competitive in the country, according to a study released Tuesday by nonprofit group Tax Foundation. "The index ranks states based on their tax structure, not their tax burden," the study said. "States with complex tax codes that distort business decisions do poorly, while states with transparent, neutral, fair tax codes score well." The Sunshine State had the most competitive individual income tax structure and the second-most competitive unemployment insurance tax structure.

WJCT News: Florida Gas Prices Drop After Storm Spike
Gasoline prices in Florida have fallen seven cents during the past week and 25 cents over the past month, after hurricanes Harvey and Irma drove up costs at the pump. The downward trend is expected to continue in the coming weeks, barring more tropical weather in the Gulf of Mexico. The auto club AAA said the average price per gallon of gas in Florida is $2.47 a gallon, down from $2.72 a month ago. In Jacksonville the average price for a gallon of regular was $2.43, according to gasbuddy.com.

Elizabeth Boyd Promoted to Deputy Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis on Monday announced that the Department of Financial Services’ long-time Legislative Affairs Director Elizabeth Boyd has been promoted to Deputy Chief Financial Officer. In this new role, Elizabeth will oversee the Department’s legislative affairs, research and planning, cabinet and communications offices, as well as the Division of Consumer Services and Division of Unclaimed Property.

CFO Patronis said, "For six years, Elizabeth has advanced the Department’s legislative priorities and secured great success on initiatives important to enhancing the lives of all Floridians. Her expansive knowledge on insurance, finance and regulatory matters, as well as a broad understanding of the legislative process, makes her well-suited to lead our Department in this capacity."

Elizabeth joined the Department of Financial Services in September 2011 as Deputy Legislative Affairs Director. As deputy director, she aided in the development of the Department’s legislative agenda and advocated for the Department’s initiatives in front of the Florida Legislature and other stakeholders. In this capacity, she assisted in the successful passing of legislation that included the creation of a homeowner claims bill of rights and the implementation of sweeping transparency reforms to Florida’s state contracting laws.

Elizabeth’s legislative accomplishments led to her promotion to Legislative Affairs Director in December 2014, where she’s since served as the Chief Financial Officer’s principal legislative advisor and lead lobbyist. As director, Elizabeth has been instrumental in securing several legislative victories, including a ban on a medical billing practice known as "balance billing" in which health care providers bill patients for out-of-pockets costs not covered by health insurance and securing the end of a pervasive insurance business practice that derailed the proper payment of life insurance policies to beneficiaries.

Prior to joining the Department, Elizabeth held legislative roles with the Department of Management Services, within the Executive Office of Governor Jeb Bush, and for the Florida Lottery. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida State University.

The Department’s current Deputy Legislative Affairs Director, BG Murphy, has been promoted to Legislative Affairs Director. Murphy joined the Department in February 2015, following his service as legislative assistant to Representative Halsey Beshears. In 2014, Murphy led the successful campaign of Representative Brad Drake. Murphy has also worked in management and corporate relations in the private sector. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University.

Both promotions became effective Monday, October 16. To learn more about the Department of Financial Services, visit www.myfloridacfo.com.

CFO Patronis honors Fallen FirefightersCFO Patronis Honors Fallen Firefighters During Annual Ceremony in Ocala

On Friday, CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis honored Florida firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty during the annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Ceremony at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala. CFO Patronis was joined by family members of the fallen and fire service personnel from across Florida to memorialize Joseph T. DeMarinis with the Clermont Fire Department and James F. Dorminy with the Reedy Creek Fire Department. Seven historical line of duty deaths were also recognized as part of Friday’s ceremony.

CFO Patronis said, "Firefighters are deserving of our unending gratitude for laying their lives on the line each time they report to work. Today, we honored those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to others and lost their lives far too soon. By adding their names to Florida’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial, they will forever be remembered as the heroes that they are."

Joseph T. DeMarinis passed away on July 14, 2016. Firefighter DeMarinis joined the Clermont Fire Department in August 2014. DeMarinis was also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who served two tours in Iraq. He is survived by his parents, and his wife Brandi, and their five children, ages 1 to 17.

James F. Dorminy, a 23-year veteran of the fire service passed away on May 18, 2017. He is survived by his wife Lesly and their four children.

In addition to Firefighter DeMarinis and Lieutenant Dorminy, the following individuals were also added to Florida’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial, representing historical line of duty deaths: James Russell with the Miami Fire Department who passed away on January 11, 1925, Sidney Houpt with the Miami Fire Department who passed away on March 7, 1926, Robert Knight with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department who passed away on December 27, 1940, Sam Frazer with the Miami Fire Department who passed away on February 15, 1953, Norman Hasting with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department who passed away on November 28, 1961, Joel D. Wooldridge with the Miami Fire Department who passed away on December 4, 1974 and Vern Gransden with the Miami Fire Department who passed away on October 29, 1977.

In total, 193 names are represented on Florida’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial.

Recent Posts to Facebook from the Department of Financial Services @FLDFS

Women's Small Business MonthSTART - Save Today and Retire Tomorrow Fire Prevention WeekFlorida Keys Community Insurance Forum

Operation S.A.F.E.Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart Workshop in Altamonte Springs on November 1

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis 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 Patronis’ 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 workshop:

Thursday, November 1 - Altamonte Springs 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
One Senior Place, Auditorium
715 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
Register | Directions | Flyer

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

Florida Economic Brief

Florida’s business tax climate ranks well
For the second year in a row, Florida has ranked as the 4th best state in the nation for its business tax climate. It ranked especially well for its personal income tax and corporate income tax laws.
Source: Tax Foundation