FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Volume 4, Number 21, May 25, 2007
Once again, hurricane
season is upon us and the experts predict an active season. Though we can't
control the weather, we can help control the impact it can have on our
Now is the time to prepare our homes, stock up on supplies, and make plans
with our families for the possibility of a stormy season.
ahead greatly increases the ability to withstand and recover physically from
the effects of a hurricane. Being prepared financially is an important part
of being ready for a hurricane.
We have a
Hurricane Toolkit to guide you through
the steps of financial preparedness. It can be downloaded from our website or you can call 1-800-342-2762
to have one sent to you.
So you can better understand your insurance
coverage, our consumer
will help you review the pertinent details of your policy.
learn about Florida's program for strengthening your home against the
devastation of future storms.
priority is your family's safety, and we offer these special tools to help
you prepare for the hurricane season.
CFO SINK: NEW
URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE TRAINING FACILITY WILL MAKE
FLORIDA BETTER PREPARED FOR DISASTER
Emergency Management Director Fugate Joins in
Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal
Alex Sink said a new Urban Search and Rescue (US&R)
training facility, one of the first of its kind in the
nation to simulate a post-blast environment with smoke
and heat, represents the state’s continuing commitment
to be better prepared for potential disasters.
“After the attacks on Sept. 11, we learned that if we
were to be prepared for the unimaginable, that we had to
do even more,” said CFO Sink during a dedication
ceremony on May 25. “This facility represents that
commitment to do more to be prepared.”
Located on the campus of the Florida State Fire College
in Ocala, the facility provides various training
scenarios including collapsed floors and ceilings,
crushed vehicles, concrete, wire, and other hazards to
train responders how to search through rubble for
victims. The facility, built with federal homeland
security and state domestic security funds, cost $1.2
million. Florida’s Emergency Management Director Craig
Fugate also attended and spoke at today’s ceremony.
“In Florida, we have learned the value of training and
preparing for all hazards," said Director Fugate. "This
vital facility will help prepare our first responders so
they can better meet the needs of our 18 million
The State Fire Marshal’s Office, Bureau of Fire
Standards and Training, also has a mobile training unit
with multiple entry points designed to represent street
manholes and hatch entries for railroad tank cars,
trucks, ships, non-pressurized above- or below-ground
tanks, and more. The mobile unit, which cost $250,000,
also offers more than two dozen internal arrangements to
simulate different scenarios, and thermal imaging allows
trainers to view the student’s progress in darkness or
To date, more than $45 million in Homeland Security
funds have been funneled through the State Fire
Marshal’s Office to provide more than 182,000 hours of
disaster training and provide equipment for fire
departments and emergency responders throughout the
state, including nine Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces
in Florida (seven state task forces and two FEMA task
forces) and 53 Light Technical Rescue Teams. The task
forces have been used to respond to hurricanes and
tornadoes both in Florida and in neighboring states.
for more information on the new training facility and
the Florida State Fire College, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com and
click on State Fire Marshal’s Office, Bureau of Fire
Standards and Training.
CITIZENS TASK FORCE ON CLAIMS
HANDLING AND RESOLUTION MEETS IN JACKSONVILLE
The Task Force on Citizens Property Insurance Claims
Handling and Resolution that was created by House Bill 1A during the 2007
special session of the Florida Legislature held its first meeting in
Jacksonville, Florida, on Monday, May 21, 2007.
The task force members elected Bob Milligan, Florida’s Insurance Consumer
Advocate, as Chairman and Senator Mike Fasano of District 11 was appointed
At this first meeting, the task force members heard testimony from Citizens
Property Insurance Corporation regarding the Legislature’s original intent
and purpose for Citizens and how that mission has changed since 2004.
Today, Citizens is the largest insurer in the state of Florida and has over
1.3 million policyholders. As a result, Citizens must develop a business
plan and establish an infrastructure which is responsive to its
In addition, Citizens provided the task force members with an overview of
its Claims Operations. The task force members toured Citizens’ CAT Claims
Center and one of its six mobile emergency response vehicles.
As directed by the Legislature, the task force will develop recommendations
for Citizens to complete claims remaining from the 2004 and 2005 hurricane
seasons. This committee report is due to the Governor, Chief Financial
Officer, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House by July 1, 2007.
SEARCH FOR UNCLAIMED PROPERTY!
Did you know that the State of Florida holds more than $1 BILLION in
unclaimed property accounts? What type of property is held?
Dormant accounts from banks, credit unions,
insurance and utility companies
Coins & Currency
Securities and trust holdings
Other miscellaneous items
Unclaimed money is deposited into the state school
fund, where it is used to help public education. But no matter how long it
has been, Floridians have the right to claim their property at any time at
“The chances are good we are holding your cash or the cash of someone you
know,” said CFO Sink. “We do our best to find and notify owners, but
encourage Floridians to regularly check our website,
www.fltreasurehunt.org, for their names.”
Is the Bureau of Unclaimed Property holding property
that belongs to you?
Click on this link -
Search for Unclaimed Property - to find
ANNOUNCES HURRICANE BIZ SEMINAR, AIMED AT PREPARING FLORIDIANS FOR 2007
The Department of
Financial Services (DFS) in conjunction with The American Red Cross, the
Gulf County Chamber of Commerce, and the Gulf County Emergency Management,
announce they will hold a Hurricane Biz Seminar in Port St. Joe on Thursday,
May 24, 2007. The intent of the seminar is to highlight the importance of
having an effective hurricane plan by testing the ability of businesses to
initiate disaster response and recovery activities, in the event a hurricane
hits their county.
At the event DFS will have
subject matter experts on hand to answer residents’ hurricane insurance
question as well as provide information on how Floridians can best prepare
themselves, their families and their businesses for the 2007 hurricane
The simulation will test
the effectiveness of businesses hurricane plans, while also stressing the
importance of establishing: special needs shelters, employee location and
staffing, points of distribution, warehouse activates, and staffing
emergency aid stations.
The Hurricane Biz
Seminar will be held:
Date: Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Eastern
Location: 1000 Cecil G. Costin Sr. Blvd
Emergency Management Facility
Port St. Joe, FL.
Consumer Services Helpline (800) 342-2762