Consumer eViews
FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER TOM GALLAGHER'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Volume 2, Number 46, November 11, 2005 

For one year and eleven months, we have published eViews on Monday of each week. In honor of Veterans' Day, we are putting out this issue early.

Every year we honor our war veterans, and many of our official ceremonies take place at the Tomb of the Unknowns

We love and honor every veteran who bravely fought for this country and earned us the unrivaled freedoms and opportunities we now enjoy.  But these unknowns inspire us in a different way.  They gave everything they had for a country that doesn’t even know their name.  

Let us take time to pray for all of our service men and women, those who have served in the past and those who are serving now, many in places far from their homes and families.  But let’s also take time to reflect on the service of the unknowns, as I believe they offer an important lesson today, especially as we struggle to recover from another devastating hurricane. 

Like the unknown service personnel, we may find ourselves far from home, in strange new territory.   But we all have a part in this recovery.  It may be as simple as offering a smile or a cup of water to a downhearted stranger who may never know your name, but every act of goodwill will bring us all closer to recovery, just as every military person plays a part in helping to keep our country free. 

Today, let’s remember our veterans not only for their honorable service but also for teaching us that we all have an important part to play as citizens of this great country. 

    -- Tom Gallagher


ISENHOUR  FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING EDUCATION FUNDS

Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, announced that a jury has found James Kirk Isenhour, chairman and director of the Silver Archer Foundation, guilty of grand theft in the first degree for illegally using scholarship monies intended to educate children.  Isenhour now faces up to 30 years in prison.  A sentencing date has not yet been set.

“These scholarships are intended to provide parents with education options for their children,” said Gallagher, whose office conducted the investigation that led to the charges. “It is unconscionable that anyone would steal money from children and deprive them of better educational opportunities.”

Isenhour, 57, was charged last year with grand theft in the first degree based on evidence that he, through Silver Archer Foundation, unlawfully used Corporate Tax Credit (CTC) donations through willful misrepresentation and theft of state resources.   CTC contributions are required by law to be used as scholarships for children whose families have limited financial means.

Ocala State Attorney Brad King agreed to prosecute the case following an investigation by the Department of Financial Service’s Office of Fiscal Integrity in cooperation with the Ocala State Attorney’s Office.   The department found that no scholarship payments were made to parents of eligible students, and all contribution proceeds were diverted by Isenhour and used for personal or non-CTC scholarship purposes. 

Silver Archer Foundation is no longer registered as a state Scholarship Funding Organization. 
 


COMMITTEE TO SIMPLIFY HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICIES FOR FLORIDIANS TO MEET NOVEMBER 22

The Standard Personal Lines Advisory Committee will hold its next meeting Tuesday, November 22, at the Capitol in Tallahassee.  The committee will meet in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

State lawmakers called for the committee in response to Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher’s concern that many victims of the 2004 hurricanes were not adequately protected because they either did not understand the complex language in their insurance policies or had not updated their policy limits to keep pace with increasing property values.  The committee is tasked with developing proposals to simplify howmeowners policies and forwarding the recommendations to legislative leaders in January.

 


FLORIDA MARKET ASSISTANCE PLAN (FMAP)
ONLINE REFERRAL PROGRAM

Florida Market Assistance Plan is a free service designed to match consumers who cannot find property insurance with Florida licensed agents and insurers who are writing new business in Florida.

FMAP was created by the Florida legislature in 1985 as a service organization designed to assist consumers in obtaining property and casualty insurance coverage from authorized insurers in the private market.

The Florida Market Assistance Plan (FMAP) provides a variety of programs for consumers, agents and insurance companies. These include:

  • FMAP Online Consumer Referral Program
  • FMAP Online Agent Referral Program
  • Citizens Property Insurance Policy Data Reports

FMAP's online services utilize a computer database that stores information on consumers seeking insurance coverage for their property located in Florida. The FMAP application matches those seeking insurance coverage with participating licensed Florida agents that may be able to write the requested insurance policy. The matching agent(s) or insurer(s) then call the interested party seeking coverage to determine eligibility and provide an offer where applicable.

Contact FMAP directly at 1-800-524-9023, find them online at www.fmap.org or send an email to help@fmap.org


HURRICANE WILMA TURNS SOUTH FLORIDA AROUND

The Department of Financial Services set up consumer mobile units Plantation, Hialeah and Naples to help victims of Hurricane Wilma.  Staffed with consumer specialists, the mobile units were equipped with cellular phones, computers and other information resources to allow staff to help victims contact their insurance companies, file claims, get answers to questions they may have about their policies, and verify licensure of adjusters.  Several insurance companies also set up around the mobile assistance units, leading to the locations being referred to as “insurance villages.”

The specialists helped affected Floridians understand what steps they should take to rebuild and get emergency funding from their insurance companies for food, water, or shelter where hazardous conditions existed.   


 


Consumer Services HelpLine
(800) 342-2762