Volume 1 Number 45
November 8, 2004


Letter from a Reader:
Just a note to say thanks for the Skyline backgrounds in the Newsletters!!!  My spirit is lifted every month to see different parts of our great state. With a recent move to Tallahassee from

As part of our statewide public education campaign to promote financial literacy among Floridians of all ages and income levels, Your Money, Your Life, we’re rolling out a new essay contest aimed at encouraging money management skills in high school students. The contest, “Cash in on Your Money Smarts,” offers Florida students a chance at more than $7,500 in prizes statewide, with a top individual award of $750 for one student in each of five geographic regions.

We are joining parents and teachers across Florida in encouraging the development of sound money smarts among our state’s young people. This is a chance for our teens to be rewarded for their knowledge of smart financial decisions.

The essay contest is open to teens 14-18 years old. Students must submit a 750-word essay on the topic of good financial decision-making skills to the Florida Department of Financial Services by February 11, 2005. Essays may be submitted electronically or by mail, in English or Spanish. Three essays will be selected for each of five geographic regions in Florida, and cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place for a total of $7,500 in prizes.

For complete contest details, students, teachers and parents should log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com and click “Cash in on Your Money Smarts.”

The skyline for November is beautiful Lakeland in Polk County.

Pensacola, it was especially nice to see the Pensacola skyline on the August edition.  It does make me wonder with our recent storms how much things may have changed.  I know in Pensacola, several buildings are gone and most of the beautiful oaks are now without leaves.  Anyway, thanks again for making us aware of FLORIDA, the best state around.  Here is a little thought that I wrote and wanted to share with you.  
Barbara Carter

FLORIDA SURVIVOR 2004  (The BEST State Around!!!)
Charley hooked us with his left, then Frances hooked a right.
Then Ivan came from underneath, but we withstood the fight.
So Ivan took another puff and turned around again,
But he was tired, all blown out, and left without much wind.
Next was Jeanne and she was mean, to take a swinging punch
And come ashore along the path that Frances took before.
But FLORIDA did not move when the hurricanes came to town.
We are still here and will rebuild to wear the victor's crown, 
F. L. O. R. I. D. A., the BEST state around!!!!!

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced that he has established a legal task force to investigate whether any of the activities outlined in New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s civil suit are taking place among insurance brokerages and companies in Florida, including bid-rigging, kickbacks and improper fees. Spitzer’s suit alleges civil and criminal misconduct involving insurance brokers steering business to insurance companies for a commission.

“If brokers and insurance companies are manipulating the law for personal gain and driving up insurance costs for consumers, then we need to seek restitution where appropriate and take swift action to prevent further abuses,” said Gallagher, who oversees the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Don Dowdell, the department’s Deputy General Counsel, will chair the task force, and work with a team of lawyers and investigative staff to scrutinize insurance broker and company sales practices. Gallagher has also asked Steve Burgess, Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, to serve on the task force.

Gallagher is also directing the task force to determine if legislative action is needed to require transparency in insurance company transactions and agreements to prevent abusive practices and protect the insurance-buying public.



Some Central Florida customers were left with no coverage for recent hurricanes.

A property insurance agent who served customers in Hardee, Polk and DeSoto counties is facing several felony charges stemming from allegations that he stole insurance premiums from homeowners and never secured property insurance coverage. Victims realized something was wrong when their hurricane claims were denied.

“It is appalling to think about the risk this individual knew his customers were facing, customers who trusted him to take care of them,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “We are doing all we can to secure help for these victims, from urging insurance companies to honor these policies to directing victims to apply for compensation from a state victim assistance fund.” CONTINUED





Florida Healthy Kids is expanding its successful Project Pathfinder re-enrollment campaign to make sure eligible children continue their KidCare health benefits. Healthy Kids volunteers are canvassing targeted neighborhoods across Florida to make face-to-face contact with the parents of participating children who have not yet re-enrolled in the program.

"Now we're focused on reaching out to parents who have not had the chance to re-enroll," explained Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, chairman of the board of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation. "Ensuring Florida's children have access to health insurance is one of the best investments we can make. In fourteen years of the Florida Healthy Kids program, the accomplishments have been remarkable."  CONTINUED





An unlicensed, uninsured contractor was arrested after state insurance fraud investigators made a surprise inspection at a St. Lucie County subdivision.

Vicente Parra Martinez, 34, owner and sole officer of P.M.V. Enterprises, Inc. located at 3611 N.E. 16th Avenue in Pompano Beach, is charged with workers’ compensation fraud and contracting without a license. He was arrested by investigators with the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, and booked into the St. Lucie County Jail.

“Contractors who work without workers’ compensation insurance put property owners at risk of being held liable if a worker is injured on the job,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “And, contractors who are not licensed may not be qualified to do the work. These are serious charges, and they reflect the serious risk this contractor created for Floridians who already are struggling to recover from the hurricanes.”  CONTINUED






Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher rolled out an essay contest aimed at encouraging financial literacy among middle and high school students. The contest, “Cash in on Your Money Smarts,” offers students a chance at more than $7,500 in prizes statewide, with a top individual award of $750 for one student in each of five geographic regions.

The essay contest is part of Gallagher’s statewide public education initiative, Your Money, Your Life, which is designed to help Floridians in need of information on how to stretch limited budgets, avoid debt and build assets, including savings and home ownership.  Gallagher started the program earlier this year in response to a recent survey reporting that many Floridians put themselves at financial risk by waiting too late to save and by running up debt.  The program includes a comprehensive educational website available at www.yourmoneyyourlife.org. CONTINUED