FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY
Volume 4, Number 40, October 5, 2007
Today, after months of negotiations, the Florida
Legislature passed legislation reforming Florida's 30-year-old Motor Vehicle
As many of you may be aware, I have been vocal in my support of the idea
behind the No-Fault Law - the protection of Floridians and their assets,
which is the centerpiece of my role as your Chief Financial Officer.
The passage of today's legislation is a win for Florida's consumers and
businesses. The reform bill will help protect Florida drivers, institute
cost controls and allow us to better combat insurance fraud.
While today brought good news for Floridians, drivers should still take
heed. The new law does not go into effect until January 1, 2008 and until
that time consumers must contact their insurance agents to ensure they have
adequate insurance coverage to protect themselves and their assets.
I encourage Florida drivers with questions about their automobile insurance
to contact the Department of Financial Services consumer helpline at
1-800-342-2762 or visit our No-Fault Web site at
CFO SINK KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT FDLE
SPECIAL AGENT GRADUATION
CFO Sink was the keynote speaker at the 28th
Special Agent Training Class graduation ceremonies held today at the FDLE
Headquarters in Tallahassee. A total of 19 dedicated men and women
completed a rigorous nine-week training regiment that culminated with
Friday’s graduation ceremony, which included each graduate taking an Oath of
Office before being recognized as the newest FDLE Special Agents.
As a member of the Florida Cabinet, one of CFO Sink’s
responsibilities is to oversee the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,
which just recently celebrated its 40th year of service to the
state of Florida. FDLE is recognized nationally for its progressive efforts
and programs that include the country’s first Missing Children Information
Clearinghouse as well as the nation’s first statewide Amber Alert Plan.
During her comments to the new agents, CFO Sink thanked
each recruit for answering the call to protect our citizens and making
Florida a safer place. “Public safety is the building block for everything
else that matters to our citizens – jobs, schools, and neighborhoods --
these dedicated law enforcement agents will continue FDLE’s legacy of
greatness,” said CFO Sink.
CFO SINK URGES FLORIDIANS TO
FOCUS ON SAFETY DURING FIRE PREVENTION WEEK, OCTOBER
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who serves
as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, is urging
Floridians to take steps to protect themselves and
their families from fire and to learn more about
fire safety during Fire Prevention Week, which
begins Sunday, October 7, and continues through
The Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire
Prevention, will host a variety of activities
throughout the week to draw attention to Fire
Prevention Week, which the Governor and Cabinet
designated Tuesday following a resolution presented by
CFO Sink. A schedule of activities and the
resolution are available at
part of the week’s activities, the annual Fallen
Firefighter Memorial Service will be held on Friday,
October 12, at the Florida State Fire College in
Ocala to commemorate 137 firefighters who have died
over the years
in the line of duty in Florida. CONTINUED
In presenting the Fire Prevention Week resolution,
CFO Sink commended the fire and rescue services for
having no line-of-duty firefighter deaths reported
last year. But she lamented the deaths of 183
Floridians and injuries to more than 1,600,
including 832 firefighters, in fire-related
incidents – the majority occurring in homes. CFO
Sink said she is concerned that of the more than
24,700 Florida structures involved in fires last
year, fewer than 40 percent had smoke detectors, and
just over half of those were working.
“Few Floridians would think about going without
insurance, yet too many do not make sure they have
the protection of a smoke alarm,” said
CFO Sink .
“The cost of a smoke alarm is minimal, but the loss
of a life is immeasurable.”
She said beyond having working smoke alarms,
practicing a fire escape plan is important to make
sure your family knows what to do in the event of a
The leading cause of home fires in Florida last year
was cooking, followed by arson, appliances and
heaters, open flames from items such as candles, and
smoking. While most fires occur in the kitchen, more
lethal fires occurred in the bedroom. Fires in
Florida last year caused more than $380 million in
damage to Florida homes and property.
CFO Sink suggests Floridians follow these fire
• Install smoke detectors on every floor and in
hallways leading to bedrooms.
• Change smoke alarm batteries semi-annually, easily
remembered if done when changing the clocks for
daylight savings time in the spring and fall months.
Test alarms regularly.
• Plan escape routes from every room and floor to an
outdoor meeting place. Be sure everyone in the
family knows and practices them. If necessary,
install and learn to use slides or a rope ladder.
• Be sure children know their address.
• Make sure your house numbers can be easily seen
from the street.
• Make sure your babysitter knows the family's fire
safety rules, escape routes and meeting place.
• If you smoke, do not smoke in bed and never walk
away from a lighted cigarette.
• Do not smoke if you are taking medication that
makes you drowsy.
• Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from
furniture and curtains.
• Turn off space heaters before you leave the house
or go to bed.
• Store paints, fuels and all ignitable liquids in a
cool, locked metal cabinet. Greasy rags should be
stored in a self-closing metal container. DO NOT
store chemicals together that are not compatible
such as pool chemicals, oils, gasoline and cleaning
products. If you're not sure, call your local fire
• Do not use frayed electrical cords and do not
overload outlets or extension cords.
• Keep ovens, broiling pans and kitchen exhaust fans
• Never leave a stove unattended while it is on.
• If a fuse or circuit breaker should blow or keeps
tripping, find out why and correct the problem.
Always use the correct size fuse. Call an
• If a fire occurs, don't panic -- do your best to
• Follow your escape plan.
• Leave the building and don't go back in for any
• If smoke is present, drop to the floor and crawl
to the nearest exit.
• Never use water to put out an electrical fire.
This can cause a serious shock hazard.
• Feel the door before you exit through it. If the
door is hot, leave by another exit.
In addition to providing public education on fire
safety, the Bureau of Fire Prevention annually
inspects more than 16,000 public and private
buildings including public schools, university
facilities and adult living facilities and enforces
regulations regarding the handling of explosives
materials, boiler safety and fire system
installation contractors to ensure public safety.
For more tips and information on fire safety, click
GOVERNOR AND CABINET RECOGNIZE OCTOBER AS DISABILITY
EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS WEEK
Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet adopted a resolution in support
of providing employment opportunities to Floridians with disabilities. The
resolution, introduced by Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, recognizes
October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and October 1
through 15 as Disability History and Awareness Weeks in Florida.
During Tuesday's cabinet meeting, Jane Johnson, director of the Agency for
Persons with Disabilities (APD), spoke to the Governor and Cabinet about the
importance of employment in the lives of people with disabilities. She was
joined by Bill Palmer, director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
(VR); Sharon Griffin, executive director of the Able Trust; and Renee
Llewellyn, who has a developmental disability.
Johnson stressed that people with disabilities make very dependable
employees---a fact underscored by Llewellyn's remarks. Llewellyn has been
employed at the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office for over 15
In 2006, APD assisted more than 4,500 Floridians with disabilities in
maintaining gainful employment, while VR assisted 11,089 Floridians
with disabilities to achieve their employment goals and helped 1,767
injured workers to return to their jobs. The Able Trust has enabled more
than 2,000 people with disabilities to enter Florida's workforce
through its grant programs.
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work
in their communities. For more information about the Agency for Persons with
Disabilities, visit apd.myflorida.com
or call toll-free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).
CFO SINK SPEAKS AT FSU REAL ESTATE CONFERENCE FRIDAY
Florida Chief Financial Officer provided the keynote address at Florida
State University’s Real Estate Trends Networking Conference today at 12 noon
in the University Center Club. CFO Sink will challenge the Wall Street
Journal’s recent article “Is Florida Over?” and address our state’s economic
challenges and opportunities.
More than 500 Floridians attended the conference, which began Thursday
evening featuring former Congressman Joe Scarborough and Host of MSNBC’s
SAFE FLORIDA HOME PROGRAM TO SIGN UP HOMEOWNERS AT ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
HOME SHOW FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
On behalf of Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, representatives
from the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program will be on hand at the St.
Petersburg Times Home Show October 5 - 7, 2007, signing up homeowners
and discussing the financial and safety incentives of hardening homes
against hurricane damage. Homeowners are encouraged to bring their
insurance policies to get the maximum benefit from their inspection
As CFO, Sink oversees the state’s MSFH program, which helps Floridians
identify how they can strengthen their homes and reduce the overall
potential for hurricane damage in our state. The MSFH program offers
eligible homeowners a free wind inspection by trained and qualified
hurricane mitigation inspectors. Homeowners who have received these
inspections and meet additional criteria set by the Legislature may also
have the opportunity to apply for matching grants of up to $5,000 to
make recommended improvements. CONTINUED
Representatives from the MSFH program will be at the St. Petersburg
Times Home Show as follows:
Friday, October 5, 2007
TIME: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
LOCATION: Tropicana Field
One Tropicana Drive - booth 472
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Saturday, October 6, 2007
TIME: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
LOCATION: Tropicana Field
One Tropicana Drive - booth 472
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Sunday, October 7, 2007
TIME: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
LOCATION: Tropicana Field
One Tropicana Drive – booth 472
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
The MSFH program resumed offering wind inspections and expanded
statewide this year after conducting a pilot program during the previous
year. Since April 2007 the MSFH program has performed over 98,000 free
wind inspections. More than 11,731 homeowners have been approved for
matching grants and are working with the MSFH program to harden their
homes. Statewide, the program has issued a grand total of more than
1,377 grants to homeowners for more than $4.4 million.
Recently, CFO Sink reported that many homeowners who have received a
free wind inspection from the MSFH program are eligible for discounts on
their wind insurance premiums without making a single improvement to
their home. To date, 73 percent of participating homeowners are eligible
for an average discount of 18.5 percent, or $181 on their wind insurance
premiums. This reflects a potential savings statewide of around $13
million and is based on the current structure of the home during the
free MSFH wind inspection.
CFO SINK VISITS TAMPA
On Monday, October 1, 2007, CFO Sink addressed about 40 members of the
Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation about the insurance discounts
available through the My Safe Florida Home program.
After speaking in Tampa, she headed to the Florida AFL-CIO convention in St.
Petersburg where she spoke with 250 delegates on property taxes and
affordable health care.
Before heading back to Tallahassee, the CFO stopped by the opening of the
North Star Bank in Tampa. The bank, located at Rivergate Tower in downtown
Tampa, used to house the Bank of America offices
TASK FORCE ON CITIZENS PROPERTY
INSURANCE CLAIMS HANDLING AND RESOLUTION MET IN TALLAHASSEE FRIDAY
The Task Force on Citizens Property Insurance Claims Handling and Resolution
held a meeting on Friday, October 5, 2007, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
At the meeting, Citizens provided a report on the status of 2004/2005
hurricane claim closures and the progress of its training programs. The task
force also reviewed draft legislation regarding the regulation of public
adjusters and property insurance loss appraisers. The draft legislation is
based on recommendations that the task force received from the Florida
Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, policyholders and the insurance
The public was encouraged to attend and to provide testimony on these
On July 1, 2007, the task force delivered its first report to the Governor,
President of the Florida Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The report established milestones for the closure of 2004/2005 hurricane
claims and the training of independent adjusters and insurance agents.
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.
CFO Sink has 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 meeting are encouraged to visit
http://www.taskforceoncitizensclaimshandling.org. Live streaming of the
task force meeting was available through the task force Web site.
MEETING OF THE FINANCIAL LITERACY COUNCIL WILL BE
WEDNESDAY IN ORLANDO
The Financial Literacy Council will
meet on Wednesday, October 10, 2007 at 10:00 a.m.
The meeting is being hosted by Junior Achievement of
Central Florida and sponsored by the Financial
Planning Association of Florida. Please see below
for the meeting location.
Should you have any questions regarding this
meeting, please feel free to contact R. Jai Howard,
Staff Director for the Financial Literacy Council,
at (850) 413-2836 or RJai.Howard@MyFloridaCFO.com.
Junior Achievement of Central Florida
2121 Camden Road
Orlando, FL 32803
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND
MOTOR VEHICLES OFFERS TWO IMPORTANT SERVICES FOR FLORIDIANS
can now go online and enter two emergency contacts on
their Florida driver licenses electronically and the information can be
retrieved by law enforcement in an emergency. This vital service was
instituted after a teenage girl was killed in a car accident and it took
over 5 hours to locate her mother.
the contacts are entered, and in the event of an accident, the police or
highway patrol officer can run the driver license number through the system
and access the emergency information immediately.
The Department of Highway
Safety Web site for this service is:
This service will allow you to provide emergency
contact information to law enforcement in the event of an emergency. This
information may save crucial time if ever it becomes necessary to contact
family members, or other loved ones. This service is only available to
individuals holding a current Florida Driver License or Florida
Your personal information in Florida motor vehicle and driver records is
blocked in accordance with the
Effective October 1,
2006, children ages 5 and older can now get State of Florida Identification
Cards. The identification cards are available to children who are either
U.S. citizens or lawfully in this country. Parents or legal guardians can
bring the child to a driver license office or a tax collector office that
does driver license transactions. Two forms of identification will be
required. Two common forms include a certified copy a birth certificate and
a social security card. The fee for the identification card is $3.
SENATOR ATWATER TO
DELIVER $5,000 CHECK FROM THE MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME
PROGRAM TO BOCA RATON RESIDENT MONDAY
CFO Sink urging more Floridians to sign up at
On behalf of Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex
Sink and the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program,
Senator Jeffrey Atwater (R-North Palm Beach) will
personally deliver a matching grant reimbursement
for $5,000 to a Boca Raton homeowner who hardened
her home through the state’s MSFH program. At the
event, Sen. Atwater will discuss the financial and
safety incentives available through the MSFH program
and encourage more homeowners in South Florida to
sign up for the program’s free wind inspections.
As CFO, Sink oversees the state’s MSFH program,
which helps Floridians identify how they can
strengthen their homes and reduce the overall
potential for hurricane damage in our state. The
MSFH program offers eligible homeowners a free wind
inspection by trained and qualified hurricane
mitigation inspectors. Homeowners who have received
these inspections and meet additional criteria set
by the Legislature may also have the opportunity to
apply for matching grants of up to $5,000 to make
recommended improvements. CONTINUED
The My Safe Florida Home check presentation will
DATE: Monday, October 8, 2007
TIME: 2:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce
150 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441-3506
The MSFH program resumed offering wind inspections
and expanded statewide this year after conducting a
pilot program during the previous year. Since April
2007 the MSFH program has performed over 98,000 free
wind inspections. More than 11,731 homeowners have
been approved for matching grants and are working
with the MSFH program to harden their homes.
Statewide, the program has issued a grand total of
more than 1,377 grants to homeowners for more than
To date, the program has reimbursed 268 homeowners
in Broward County for a total of $896,312.86. In
Palm Beach County, the program has reimbursed 218
homeowners for a total cost of $661,438.56.
Currently there are 2,836 homeowners in Broward
County hardening their homes through the MSFH
program. In Palm Beach County, 1,986 homeowners are
hardening their homes through the MSFH program.
These homeowners are being reimbursed for half the
cost, up to $5,000, on a variety of home
improvements, including hurricane shutters,
reinforced garage doors and bracing gable ends.
MSFH also partners with the Volunteer Florida
Foundation (VFF) to provide mitigation, at no cost,
to the homes of lower-income Floridians (those
earning 80 percent or less than the Area Median
Income.) To date, VFF has completed work on 892
homes in Florida, 60 of those homes are located in
Broward County and 50 are located in Palm Beach
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