FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Volume 5, Number 6, February 8,
On Monday, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink will be the
Master of Ceremonies of the Governor’s day luncheon at the 104th
Florida State Fair.
The luncheon is a tradition for elected officials and community
leaders alike who come together to celebrate the great state of
Florida and the agricultural industry, upon which our state thrives.
Speakers will include U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, Commissioner of
Agriculture and Consumer Services Charles Bronson, and Governor
Charlie Crist, who will give the keynote speech at the ceremony.
CFO Sink is also bringing several members of the Department of
Financial Services with her to help Floridians wishing to learn
about her department’s services. Floridians will be able to visit
with representatives from the:
Unclaimed Property— Do you have lost treasure?
My Safe Florida
Home program— Apply for your free wind inspection today!www.myfsafefloridahome.com;
Services— Find answers to your financial or insurance-related
Insurance Fraud— Learn about the crime of insurance fraud;
Marshal’s Office— Learn about how we investigate arson;
Division of Workers' Compensation - Find out how worker's
compensation helps you!
The Florida State
Fair is held in Tampa at the Florida State Fairgrounds and will
continue through February 18th. To learn more, visit
We encourage Floridians from all over the state to come out and
enjoy the state’s best agriculture, industry, entertainment and
CFO SINK’S PROPOSAL TO REDUCE RISK OF
ASSESSMENTS HEARD IN HOUSE INSURANCE COMMITTEE FRIDAY
CFO’s proposal could save Floridians and businesses between $3.3-
$6.5 billion in assessments.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink’s proposal to reduce the
risk of billions in assessments—taxes—on Floridians and businesses
was heard in the House Insurance Committee Friday. CFO Sink’s
proposal would reduce Floridians’ risk in the Florida Hurricane
Catastrophe Fund (Cat Fund), a state-run reinsurance program that
assesses Floridians’ homes, autos and business insurance policies to
make up insured losses from hurricane damage.
Florida’s Cat Fund provides low-cost reinsurance to private
insurance companies writing residential policies in Florida. In an
effort to reduce insurance premiums by a statewide average of 24
percent, the Cat Fund was expanded in 2007 to include an optional
$12 billion coverage level, for a total exposure of $28 billion.
One year later, Floridians have not received the rate relief
lawmakers expected, but consumers and businesses have taken on
substantially more risk for future assessments from the Cat Fund. At
the same time, private reinsurance rates have fallen substantially
and the private reinsurance market has the capacity to take much of
the insurance risk off the backs of Floridians.
“I hear all the time from Floridians who are wondering why they have
to pay these assessments on their insurance polices,” said CFO Sink,
who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “I will continue
to work with the Legislature this session to reduce the cost of
insurance for Floridians and businesses.”
Specifically, CFO Sink’s proposal would reduce exposure in the
optional $12 billion coverage level of the Cat Fund by $3 billion.
This risk reduction would result in a potential savings range of
$112- $217 million in assessments each year for 30 years, or $3.3-
$6.5 billion overall.
CFO Sink will continue working on her legislation with lawmakers and
will urge legislative leaders to implement the proposal as early as
possible during the upcoming special session. If signed into law in
the early stages of the Legislative session, CFO Sink’s proposal
will be able to reduce the risk of assessments for the 2008
UNCLAIMED PROPERTY PHONE BANKS
FIND TREASURE FOR CALLERS!
CFO Alex Sink’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property held two phone bank
telethons last week at WWSB-7 in Sarasota and WZVN-7 in Ft. Myers.
During the the Ft. Myers telethon, 614 claims were made for $108,000
in seven hours, and in Sarasota 99 claims were made for
$41,726 in two hours.
The phone banks prompted thousands of other citizens in the
viewing areas, who could not get their calls answered during the
telethons, to search the Department’s unclaimed property website and
file claims from visiting the site.
The Bureau holds about 6.5 million accounts valued at more than
$1.7 billion. Unclaimed property can be claimed for free at any time
by the rightful owners or heirs by logging on to
or by calling the Bureau at 1-88-VALUABLE.
CFO SINK VISITS WITH FBLA
On Tuesday, CFO Alex Sink spoke to 23 high school and college
members of Future Business Leaders of America who were in
Tallahassee visiting with community leaders and elected officials.
CFO Sink discussed her role as CFO and talked with the group about
the benefits of serving the community through the business
FIRST MEETING OF MSFH ADVISORY COUNCIL HELD MONDAY
On Monday, CFO Alex Sink welcomed members of the
My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) Advisory Council to their first meeting
in Tallahassee. The Council, authorized by Section 215.5586, Florida
Statutes, was created to provide advice and assistance to the
Department of Financial Services (DFS) regarding the administration
of the MSFH program. CFO Sink will use the council’s findings
to further improve the services provided to Floridians through the
For more information on the MSFH program or the council please visit
On the MSFH Advisory Council Web site, Floridians can link to
information on the council, its agenda and upcoming meetings.
My Safe Florida Home submitted its annual report
to the Legislature this past week, detailing the progress of the
program from its inception. You may review the report on the Web
www.MySafeFloridaHome.com or click on the annual report
icon to the left.
WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK
Hazardous Weather Awareness Week
takes place from February 2-9, 2008. This year’s theme is “8 Days in ’08”
and recognizes the one year anniversary of the Groundhog Day tornadoes that
struck Sumter, Lake, and Volusia counties during the night of February 2,
2007. Hazardous Weather Awareness Week is an opportunity for Floridians to
learn about the various weather hazards that frequently impact the state and
how families and businesses can prepare for these natural events.
Each day focuses on a
specific weather event. Monday’s focus is on lightning. Lightning is among
the top weather-related killers in the United States, striking the ground
about 25 million times each year and causing more injury and death than
The 2008 Florida
Hazardous Weather Awareness Week is a perfect time to note that our state,
out of all 50 states, is the lightning capital of the country. Florida is
bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the
west. As a result, daytime heating often generates boundaries that move
inland from our coasts during the day. When these boundaries collide,
thunderstorms are the result.
As the #1
thunderstorms threat in Florida, lightning results in an average of 10
fatalities and 40 injuries each year. Unfortunately, 10 people in Florida
died form lightning strikes on 2007.
Nearly half of all
lightning deaths occur in open areas. Many people are struck when they go
under a tree to keep dry during a storm. Outdoor water activities such as
swimming, boating and fishing are equally as dangerous during lightning
storms. Did you know that a lightning strike to the ground or water can
travel more than 30 feet in all directions and has been known to strike as
much as 10 miles away from a thunderstorm? Therefore, when thunderstorms are
approaching, avoid outdoor activities as if your life depends on it –
because it does!
The National Weather
Service and Florida Division of Emergency Management promote the “30-30
Rule” in seeking shelter during thunderstorms. The 30-30 Rule states: “When
you see lightning, count the time it takes until you hear thunder. If this
time is less than 30 seconds, go immediately to a safer place. Wait 30
minutes ore more after hearing the last clap of thunder before leaving your
shelter.” This rule works best when a thunderstorm is approaching an area.
Be alert to changes in sky conditions. A darkening cloud is often the first
sign that lightning may strike. As soon as you see lightning or hear
thunder, it is best to seek shelter in a substantial building and do not be
tempted to watch lightning from open windows or doors.
For more information
on lightning hazards and what you can do to protect yourself, go to
www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov and also
Consumer Services Helpline