FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER TOM GALLAGHER'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Volume 3, Number 34, August 21, 2006
The response to the My
Safe Florida Home Program has been incredible! We have received nearly
130,000 calls and 70,000 applications for free home inspections through the
website from Floridians around the state.
Our goal is to serve as
many as 12,000 Floridians over the next twelve weeks.
Free home inspections are
now starting in Broward, Miami-Dade and Lee counties. We will then phase into
additional counties in the coming weeks, as additional inspectors are
screened, tested and trained.
If you have submitted an
application from a county other than
Miami-Dade or Lee, and
have submitted the necessary documentation
to be approved, we will send you a letter informing you that you have been
approved and that you will be contacted once qualified inspectors are in
Our open enrollment period
for accepting applications will continue through November 15, 2006.
To help you get started,
we have set up an easy way for you to apply for your free home inspection
on-line. Please click on the “Apply
for a Free Home Inspection” button at the top of the
see if you are eligible and, if so, get the application process underway.
We encourage homeowners to check out the information available throughout
the website, including tips for strengthening critical parts of your home and
topics ranging from protecting homes from water damage to selecting a
We look forward to serving Floridians and to better
protect families against hurricanes!
-- Tom Gallagher
GALLAGHER KICKS OFF $250
MILLION PROGRAM TO HELP FORTIFY FLORIDA AGAINST HURRICANES
Goal is 12,000 homes in 12 weeks; 50,000 over the next year
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, kicked off
the My Safe Florida Home program, a $250 million mitigation program to help
Floridians strengthen their homes against hurricanes and to reduce property
losses in Florida. Gallagher said eligible Floridians can
now apply for a free home inspection and professional recommendations on how to
improve their homes’ ability to withstand a hurricane. Gallagher said that
as many as 50,000 Florida households will be served over the next year
through this program.
It has been a priority for the Department of Financial Services to get the
My Safe Florida Home program up and running as quickly as possible. Since
the new law went into effect on July 1, the Department of Financial Services
remained committed to their goal to serve as many Floridians as possible
this hurricane season, by having My Safe Florida Home open for business less
than 60 days of its creation. In fact, the Department of Financial Services
has already helped more than 23,000 Floridians find out more about how they
can make their homes safer against hurricanes.
“I applaud the Florida Legislature for providing a tremendous financial
commitment to make older homes more resistant to damage caused by
hurricanes,” said Governor Jeb Bush. “With more than three months remaining
in the 2006 Hurricane Season, I thank CFO Gallagher and the Department of
Financial Services for working to quickly implement this critical program.
Fortifying Florida through mitigation efforts will ensure our economy
remains strong in the face of future hurricanes.”
“Before this hurricane season ends, my goal is to have 12,000 free home
inspections completed and grants awarded to help Floridians strengthen their
homes and better protect their families from hurricanes,” said Gallagher,
who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “Fortifying homes in
Florida is a common-sense solution for the insurance crisis in our state.
Governor Bush and I are committed to building on the success of this program
and making sure every Floridian benefits by making our homes and communities
To be eligible to apply for a free home inspection, Floridians must live in
a single-family, site-built home with an insured value of $500,000 or less
and have a valid homestead exemption. Documents verifying this information
must be submitted with a completed application. Floridians can apply on-line
at www.mysafefloridahome.com or by calling 1-800-342-2762 to get an
Gallagher said that once an inspection has been done, the homeowner will
receive a report within 7 to 10 days that outlines up to seven areas that
could be improved to better protect the home against hurricanes, an estimate
of how much each of those improvements would cost, the expected savings the
homeowner would receive if the improvements were made, and a rating of the
home’s current ability to withstand hurricanes and its future ability with
The department has worked with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)
to screen and train 130 inspectors to begin work within the next two weeks.
An additional 400 inspectors are expected to complete the screening and
training required within the next 30 days.
Gallagher said that applying and obtaining a free home inspection is just
the first step of the program. Homeowners who undergo the My Safe Florida
Home inspection may also qualify for matching grants of up to $5,000 to
fortify their homes. As directed by the new law to reduce hurricane exposure
and property losses in Florida, grants will be prioritized and awarded to
homeowners who live in high-risk, hurricane-vulnerable areas of the state.
Gallagher said the department will also start screening and qualifying
contractors to perform retrofit improvements this week. Gallagher also said
that a registry of participating contractors by county and by the type of
work they perform will soon be available on-line at
www.mysafefloridahome.com or by calling the department.
“We want to help as many Floridians strengthen their homes, while making
sure that they get the best quality of work to protect their home,”
The department is partnering with city and county governments, as well as
non-profit organizations, to expand the reach of the program and to
strengthen a greater number of homes against catastrophic storms. Gallagher
said these partnerships will enable the My Safe Florida Home program to
leverage resources and maximize reach by linking with local mitigation
assistance programs already in place.
GALLAGHER SHOWCASES FREE HOME INSPECTIONS TO PROMOTE MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer,
initiated the My Safe Florida Home program by
showcasing the free mitigation inspection process at
homes in Miami and St. Petersburg.
Department of Financial Services, which is administering the program, has
already received more than 70,000 applications for a free home inspection.
“By fortifying homes, we are making families and communities safer and
reducing the level of catastrophic losses from hurricanes,” Gallagher said.
“We are committed to making this program a success so the Legislature
strongly considers funding this program for years to come.”
“It is my top priority to protect the residents of Hialeah and I am proud to
work with CFO Gallagher to strengthen the homes in our community and make
them safer against hurricanes,” said Julio Robaina, mayor of the City of
Hialeah. “CFO Gallagher should be applauded for taking proactive steps to
make our community safer and help ease our insurance burden.”
the experience Florida has had in past hurricane seasons, it is imperative
that strengthening the homes in our communities is a high priority,” said
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. “I applaud the state of Florida for
adopting and implementing this program and look forward to working with them
in the effort to better protect our residents. I am thankful that St.
Petersburg was chosen as a pilot city to begin this process.”
The program was approved this year by the Legislature to address the state’s
property insurance crisis following eight hurricanes that caused nearly $40
billion in insured losses in the past two years. Gallagher said of the
50,000 homes he plans to serve through the program, his goal is to inspect
12,000 homes before the end of this hurricane season.
On Wednesday, Angelina Guixens’ Hialeah home was the first to be inspected
in the program in Miami-Dade County. Then on Thursday, the home of Johnnie
Mae Wynn, a senior living in St. Petersburg, got the first inspection in
Pinellas County. Both seniors, they will receive a report within 7 to10
days detailing the areas of her home that could be strengthened to better
protect her and her home against hurricanes. The report will include an
estimate of how much each of those improvements would cost, the expected
insurance savings if the improvements were made, and a rating of the home’s
current ability to withstand a hurricane and the home’s future ability with
The Miami program is being conducted through the Department of Financial
Services’ partnership with Miami-Dade County’s Mitigation Program and
Community Action Agency, low-income homeowners like Ms. Guixens will have
the opportunity to make recommended improvements using the financial help
provided through the county matching its funds with the My Safe Florida Home
“The state of Florida is to be applauded for taking a leadership role in
making thousands of Miami-Dade County homes safer in the event of future
high wind storms,” said Bill Moriarty, Director of the Weatherization
Programs for the Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency.
“This new and innovative program allows us to greatly expand on our current
efforts. We are now better prepared to protect the more than 2.6 million
residents of Miami-Dade County,” said Frank Reddish, Local Mitigation
Strategy Director for the Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management.
Reddish said that the Miami-Dade program has been putting free hurricane
shutters on the homes of low-income elderly residents for several years.
Reddish says the program is currently targeting efforts to help low-income
disabled citizens. Reddish said that he works with Moriarty with the
Community Action Agency to administer this program. Not one of the homes we
retrofitted was damaged by the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, Reddish said.
Pinellas County program will be conducted in partnership with the City of
To apply for a free home
inspection, Floridians must live in a single-family,
site-built home with an insured value of $500,000 or
less and have a valid homestead exemption.
Floridians can apply on-line at
or by calling 1-800-342-2762 to get an application
packet. Homeowners who undergo the My Safe Florida
Home inspection may also qualify for matching grants
of up to $5,000 to fortify their homes.
“St. Petersburg is pleased to partner with the state of Florida to provide
additional assistance to our residents in helping to protect their homes
from hurricane and wind damage,” said Tom de Yampert, Manager Housing &
Community Development. “This program will expand our ability to offer
hurricane hardening assistance to citizens in time for the 2007 hurricane
The department is partnering with city and county
governments, as well as non-profit organizations, to
expand the reach of the program and to strengthen a
greater number of homes against catastrophic storms.
FLORIDA EXPOS TO TEACH FLORIDIANS TO FORTIFY THEIR
HOMES AGAINST HURRICANES
Floridians can learn first hand ways to make their homes
more hurricane-resistant during a series of Fortify
Florida expos designed to be a one-stop shop for
hurricane improvement efforts.
The first of three Fortify Florida expos is set for 10
a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 in St. Petersburg.
Themed “Tampa Bay Prepares,” the first Fortify Florida
expo will feature hurricane-proofing home improvement
demonstrations and products, and specific steps
homeowners can take to earn insurance premium discounts
for taking these hurricane-resistance measures.
The Fortify Florida expos are being held in conjunction
with the My Safe Florida Home program, a program
administered by the Florida Department of Financial
Services to protect Floridians and assist them in making
their homes safer against hurricanes.
“The My Safe Florida Home Program is open for business
and accepting applications for free home inspections,”
said Tom Gallagher, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.
“Our mission is to help Floridians identify how they can
strengthen their homes and better protect themselves and
their families against hurricanes. We have the financial
capacity to serve as many as 50,000 Floridians over the
next year, and with the Legislature’s continued funding,
we look forward to providing free inspections and
matching grants to all Floridians.”
In addition to learning how they can apply for My Safe
Florida Home, residents who attend the Fortify Florida:
Tampa Bay Prepares! Expo can participate in home
improvement how-to clinics, visit displays of building
materials to strengthen homes and talk to insurance
company representatives about how they can take
advantage of premium discounts for hurricane hardening
their home. Local contractors, home improvement stores,
banks, mortgage companies and credit counseling services
are also invited to participate. For more information,
please contact Audrey Sumrall Brown at (850) 413-2429.
Future Fortify Florida expos are scheduled for the
Pensacola Civic Center on Saturday, Sept. 30 and the
Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University on
Saturday, Oct. 14.
To get more information on these events and to learn the
steps you can take to make your home more
hurricane-resistant, visit the My Safe Florida Home
GOVERNOR BUSH HERALDS
FLORIDA’S STRONG JOB STATISTICS
Florida leads the nation’s
ten most populous states in job creation
Bush today touted Florida’s most recent employment numbers, highlighting the
state’s continued success as a national leader in job creation. According to
statistics released today by the Agency for Workforce Innovation, Florida
added 259,800 jobs (seasonally adjusted) from July 2005 to July 2006.
Florida’s unemployment rate is 3.3 percent, and its job growth rate is more
than twice the national average.
report is great news as
Florida continues to see the positive results of our low-tax, pro-business
climate,” said Governor Bush. “Together, Floridians have created a
self-sustaining cycle of economic success. This latest report shows Florida
consistently has more job opportunities, a clear indicator that our economic
policies are reaping results.”
According to statistics released today:
From July 2005 to July 2006, Florida added 259,800 new jobs, seasonally
Florida’s July 2006 unemployment rate was 3.3 percent, 1.5 percentage
points below the national rate of 4.8 percent.
continues to be a national model for the number of new jobs created with
an annual job growth rate that is more than twice the national average.
Governor Bush has made diversifying Florida's economy a top priority,
placing particular emphasis on fostering the development of emerging
technologies. New measures passed by the Florida Legislature to enhance
Florida’s innovation economy include: $50 million for a World Class Scholars
Program and a Centers of Excellence program to build and enhance our
innovation infrastructure, $45 million to expand Florida’s Quick Action
Closing Fund, $43 million to secure Florida’s position as a leader in the
Space and Aeronautics industry, and $200 million to create the Florida
Innovation Incentive Fund to bring large scale research projects, private
sector business or prestigious institutions to our state.
For more information on Florida’s economic development efforts, please
visit www.myflorida.com <http://www.myflorida.com>.
FDLE EMAIL FRAUD ALERT
E-mails to financial
institution customers that fraudulently claim to be from the FDIC attempt to
obtain highly sensitive personal information, including bank account
information. These e-mails falsely indicate that consumers can enroll in an
"FDIC protection system" to insure bank accounts against certain types of
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous
notifications from consumers of an e-mail that has the appearance of being
sent from the FDIC. The "From" line of the e-mail displays the name "Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation" and the subject includes the phrase
"IMPORTANT: Notification of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation."
The e-mail states that the FDIC received an application. It says, in
"…from your bank to ensure your Checking or Savings account against
Fraud, phishing or Identity Theft. If u agree with the following, PLEASE
ENROLL in the FDIC protection system."
The e-mail is fraudulent and was not sent by the FDIC. It is an attempt
to obtain personal financial information from consumers. The e-mail requests
that recipients click on a hyperlink that is provided, which directs the
recipient to a "spoofed" Web page. The Web page appears to belong to the
FDIC and requests information, such as: name, phone number, Social Security
number, mother's maiden name, driver's license/issuing state, date of birth,
e-mail address, postal address, credit/debit/ATM card number, card
expiration date, card verification number, personal identification number
(PIN), bank name, bank routing number, and bank account number.
Financial institutions and consumers should NOT access the link provided
within the body of the e-mail and should NOT, under any circumstances,
provide any personal financial information through this media.
The FDIC is attempting to identify the source of the e-mails and disrupt
the transmission. Until this is achieved, consumers are asked to report any
similar attempts to obtain this information to the FDIC by sending
Information about counterfeit items, cyber-fraud incidents and other
fraudulent activity may be forwarded to the FDIC's Cyber-Fraud and Financial
Crimes Section, 550 17th Street, N.W., Room F-4004, Washington, D.C. 20429,
or transmitted electronically to
Information related to federal deposit insurance or consumer issues should
be submitted to the FDIC using an online form that can be accessed at
For your reference, FDIC Special Alerts may be accessed from the FDIC's
www.fdic.gov/news/news/SpecialAlert/2006/index.html. To learn how to
automatically receive FDIC Special Alerts through e-mail, please visit
Consumer Services HelpLine (800) 342-2762