Consumer eViews
FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Volume 4, Number 22, June 1, 2007

Dear Floridian:

When it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms, we have learned first hand that it pays to be prepared. Today marks the first day of a long hurricane season, and I encourage you to take every precaution to ensure the safety of your family and your home.

As a helpful resource, you may visit my department's Web site at www.MyFloridaCFO.com and click on the Hurricane Season 2007 button to find information on how to file an insurance claim, find answers to your most-frequently-asked insurance questions and download disaster preparedness guides in both English and Spanish. You can also find links to other hurricane-related resources, including the Florida Division of Emergency Management, National Flood Insurance Program, Federal Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross, My Safe Florida Home program and more.

We have created a Hurricane Toolkit designed to help you make critical financial decisions during hurricane season. This toolkit contains hurricane preparedness tips, emergency contact information and lists the information you will need to have on hand in the event you need to make a claim. It can be downloaded from our website or you can call 1-800-342-2762 to have one mailed to you.

Another important opportunity you should take advantage of is the hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday beginning today through June 12, 2007. Over the next twelve days, sales tax will not be collected on items that help you prepare for a storm, including batteries, portable generators, flashlights, radios and more.

These tools have been developed to protect the safety of Floridians. We hope that these resources help you prepare for what experts predict to be a very active hurricane season.

Sincerely,

--Alex Sink


CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK IS THE GUEST ON FLORIDA FACE TO FACE

On Thursday, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink was a guest on Florida Face To Face. The discussion centered on the 2007 legislative session, along with other important topics such as property insurance reform, My Safe Florida Home, KidCare, and unclaimed property. The statewide television schedule for the CFO’s “Florida Face-to-Face” interview is below. 

Statewide Coverage for Florida Face To Face

City

Station

Date

Time

Cocoa

WBCC-Chan.68

Thurs., May 31
Sunday, June 3

7:30 p.m.
5:00 p.m.

Daytona Beach

WCEU-Chan. 15

Sunday, June 3

10:30 a.m.

Fort Myers

WGCU-Chan. 30

Sunday, June 3

10:30 a.m.

Gainesville

WUFT-Chan. 5

Wednesday, June 6

1:30 p.m.

Jacksonville

WJCT-Chan. 7

Tuesday, June 5

2:00 p.m.

Miami

WLRN-Chan. 17

Sunday, June 3**
Monday, June 4**

12:00 p.m.

1:00 a.m.

Orlando

WMFE-Chan. 24

Saturday, June 2**

12:30 a.m.

Panama City

WFSG-Chan. 56

Thursday, May 31
Sunday, June 3

6:30 p.m CT
10:30 a.m. CT

Panama City

WBIF-Chan. 51

Saturday, June 2

7:30 a.m.
CT

Pensacola

WSRE-Chan. 23

Sunday, June 3

12:00 p.m.
CT

Tallahassee

WFSU-Chan.11

Thursday, May 31
Sunday, June 3

7:30 p.m.

11:30 a.m.

Tampa

WEDU-Chan. 3

Sunday, June 3

11:30 a.m.

Tampa

WUSF-Chan. 16

Sunday, June 3

7:30 a.m.

West Palm

WXEL-Chan. 42

Saturday, June 2

7:30 a.m.

**Pre-empted


CFO SINK ON MEMORIAL DAY

On Memorial Day, we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms and our country. I urge all Floridians to take a moment to remember our fallen heroes as well as our brave military men and women currently serving overseas.


TASK FORCE ON CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CLAIMS HANDLING AND RESOLUTION TO MEET IN TALLAHASSEE MONDAY

In an ongoing effort to improve Citizens’ policyholder and applicant services, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is convening the second meeting of the legislatively-created Task Force on Citizens Property Insurance Claims Handling and Resolution. The meeting will be Monday, June 4, 2007, from 9:00 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. at the Senate Office Building Room 401 in Tallahassee.

The public is encouraged to attend and the Department of Financial Services will have consumer assistance on site to help Floridians with questions regarding Citizens claims and policies.

The Citizens task force was created by House Bill 1A during the 2007 special session of the Florida Legislature. The task force is composed of four full members, with one appointment each by the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House. In addition there are three ex-officio voting members: the Insurance Commissioner, Insurance Consumer Advocate and Executive Director of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation or their designees.

Specifically, the committee is directed to 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. The task force is additionally charged with evaluating Citizens’ procedures on claims handling, claims resolution and customer service, with a final report and recommendations due July 1, 2008.

The second meeting of the Task Force on Citizens Property Insurance Claims Handling and Resolution will be as follows:

DATE: Monday, June 4, 2007
TIME: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street, Room 401
Tallahassee, FL 32399

CFO Sink has also created a website dedicated to the task force, its duties, appointments, and upcoming meetings. Floridians who would like to learn more about the task force are encouraged to visit the website at http://www.taskforceoncitizensclaimshandling.org.


CFO SINK ANNOUNCES HURRICANE 2007 WEB PAGE IN AN EFFORT TO PREPARE FLORIDIANS FOR HURRICANE SEASON

Today is the first day of the 2007 hurricane season, and we have put together some tips to help you be prepared along with a list of the items that are tax exempt through June 12, 2007.

Be Prepared:

Develop an emergency communication plan.

  • In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the family contact. After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance.
  • Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

    Create a hurricane supply kit which includes:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water - enough to last 3-7 days
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Essential medicine
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes  
     
  • Make sure that you have wood/shutters pre-cut and ready to mount to your windows in the event of a storm.
  • Test your generator and make any necessary repairs.
  • Have an evacuation plan and make sure that your friends and family know the plan.
  • Make arrangements for pets.
     
  • If a hurricane approaches, STAY INFORMED!

    Tax Free Purchases:
  • Any portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less
  • Any portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or weather-band radio selling for $75 or less
  • Any tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less
  • Any item sold as, or generally advertised as, a ground anchor system or tie-down kit selling for $50 or less
  • Any gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less
  • Any package of AAA-cell, AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries, selling for $30 or less
  • Any cell phone battery selling for $60 or less and any cell phone charger selling for $40 or less
  • Any non-electric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less
  • Any portable generator used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage selling for $1,000 or less
  • Any storm shutter device selling for $200 or less
  • Any carbon monoxide detector selling for $75 or less
  • Any re-usable ice product selling for $10 or less
  • Any single product consisting of two or more of the items listed above selling for $75 or less.

This law does not apply to sales within an airport, within a public lodging establishment, or within a theme park or entertainment complex.


Consumer Services Helpline (800) 342-2762
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