FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Volume 5, Number 29, July 18,
This week, CFO Alex Sink's Bureau of
Unclaimed Property helped more than 15,900 Floridians find their lost
assets, after a national Dateline NBC special aired last Monday night.
CFO Sink and the Unclaimed Property Bureau were featured on the national
program returning a Purple Heart to the widow and family of a war-wounded
Vietnam veteran. Check out the story below for more on the Dateline
Since the program aired, more than
120,000 Floridians have visited the Unclaimed Property Bureau's Web site,
searching for lost treasure.
CFO Sink’s Bureau is one of the
nation’s best in returning unclaimed property. Since January 2007, the
Bureau has already returned more than $322 million to the rightful owners
(or heirs) of 496,374 accounts.
We encourage you to visit our Web site and search
for yourself, your family and your friends. With more than 7.8 million
accounts, the chances are good we are holding the lost treasure of someone
CFO ALEX SINK SPEAKS TO FLORIDIANS ABOUT FINANCIAL ISSUES ON FLORIDA
CFO Alex Sink commented on a variety of financial issues-- including
national economic concerns and the success of the My Safe Florida Home
program-- in a recent interview with Margie Menzel of Florida Public Radio.
The interview was carried on public radio stations throughout the state and
member stations that air the Capital Report program.
Listen to the interview here.
Are you the chief
financial officer of your family? Are you always
looking out for the best deals, wise investments and
smart moves for your family's financial security?
As your family's fiscal watch dog, keep an eye on
this column for money-smart ideas from the Chief
Financial Officer of Florida,
Idea: Teach children money skills early
Schools and parents share a role
in helping children become financially literate.
Schools can teach about inflation, borrowing for a
home or car or investing in stocks, bonds and mutual funds.
Parents have a more specific role -- the ability to teach
real-life money-management skills.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure
your children learn financial stability and security at an
- Manage a cash allowance.
Kids learn how to make spending decisions with a fixed
amount to spend per week.
- Manage a checking
account and an ATM or debit card. Start young with an
account and know how to balance it.
- Learn to save. Saving is
a good reason not to spend, especially with a goal in
mind. Consider matching all or part of what is put
- Discover the magic of
compounding. Small amounts saved when young can grow
into a much larger amount of money.
- Discuss debt - how to
get out of it or not get into it in the first place.
- Compare prices. Start
with unit prices at the grocery store and move on to
CFO SINK RETURNS PURPLE HEART ON DATELINE NBC
CFO Alex Sink was featured on
Dateline NBC this past Monday night when Tiki Barber and
Tamron Hall led a
team of on-air detectives as they helped find missing
unclaimed property owners.
Dateline NBC assisted CFO Sink’s Bureau
of Unclaimed Property track down the heir of an
invaluable medal of service-- a Purple Heart-- which had been turned over to the
State of Florida.
Since the story aired Monday evening, more than 120,000
citizens have logged onto the Bureau's Web site, about 10
times the normal traffic for a four-day period.
Be Rich!" and visit
www.FLTreasureHunt.org to see if we're holding missing
treasure for you.
THREE OF CFO SINK'S LAWYERS HONORED IN FLORIDA
TREND'S "LEGAL ELITE"
Three of CFO Alex Sink's lawyers in the Department of
Financial Services were honored in the July 2008 issue of
Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite. Daniel Yates
Sumner, Benjamin Frank Diamond and William Walker Tharpe,
Jr. were chosen by their peers to be in the Florida Legal
The honorees were chosen after all in-state members of the
Florida Bar were asked to name attorneys whom they hold in highest
regard, best up-and-coming attorneys in Florida and three top
Daniel Yates Sumner, CFO Sink's General Counsel, has served
Department of Financial Services since 1979. Sumner is a native of Jacksonville
and attended the University of Florida for his bachelors’
degree as well as his Juris Doctor. In addition to being a
member of the Florida Bar, Sumner is also a member of the
U.S. Supreme Court Bar and argued the Barnett Bank v. Nelson
case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ben Diamond is a native of Tampa and has served as Special
Counsel to CFO Sink since February 2007. He
received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his Juris Doctor
from University of Florida College of Law, where he served
as Editor-in Chief of the Florida Law Review.
William Walker Tharpe, Jr., a managing attorney, has been with the Department of Financial
Services since 1982. Tallahassee is Tharpe’s hometown, and
he received his bachelors’ degree from the University of
South Florida and his Juris Doctor from Cumberland School of
Law. A member of the Florida Bar Association, Tharpe has
been successfully managing teams of lawyers for more than
CFO Alex Sink would like to recognize these employees and
thank all lawyers who commit themselves to public service for their
dedication to the people of Florida.
CFO ALEX SINK ADDRESSES BAIL
AGENTS IN PALM BEACH
On Monday, July 14, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
addressed the Professional Bail Agents of the United States
(PBUS) at their summer conference luncheon at the Breakers
in Palm Beach. CFO Sink spoke to the general members of the
PBUS about the role of the CFO, issues in the national and state
bail bond industry, the state of the economy and the need
for a national catastrophe fund. CFO Sink also applauded the PBUS on its National Board Agency Certification Program, and
its role in furthering individual and industry education and
CFO Sink commented, "What makes our country so great is when we all get engaged
– individually, through associations like PBUS, through our
businesses or similar like-minded affiliations – we can solve our
nations’ problems and emerge stronger than ever."
PBUS is a national association
of the bail bond industry, with 14,000 agents nationwide.
Two Florida bail bond associations are Bail Agents
Independent League of Florida and Florida Surety Agents
Association. The Department of Financial Services currently
licenses and regulates 2,109 licensed bail bond agents.
CFO ALEX SINK SPEAKS AT THE GRADUATION OF THE FLORIDA
CENTER FOR FINANCIAL TRAINING
CFO Sink spoke to South Florida bankers at
the South Florida Center for Financial Training graduation
in Coral Gables Tuesday, July 15. In her remarks, CFO Sink
gave a financial services industry forecast and spoke about
the current state of Florida’s economy.
CFO Sink suggested reinvention to deal with the current
problems facing the financial industry. The CFO reminded
bankers that while the industry is currently experiencing
challenges, those challenges are a part of the industry’s
“Many of you in this room today know that as long-time
bankers, our industry has been all about reinvention,” said CFO Sink.
(FEI), who sponsors the program, has a membership that
includes high ranking chief financial officers, controllers
and other financial executives.
CFO ALEX SINK SPEAKS AT REP.
CFO Alex Sink addressed attendees at an Economic Empowerment Fair hosted by
the office of Representative Ronald Brise on Wednesday, July 16. The event
was held on the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College and highlighted the need
for more small and minority-owned businesses to do business with the
State of Florida. The event was open to the public and allowed participants
to consult with representatives from various state agencies and departments
about departmental purchasing processes.
CFO Sink spoke about the importance of working with minority vendors to
strengthen our local communities and encourage the growth of small
businesses. CFO Sink added that working with minority vendors is one of the
goals she is focused on at the Department of Financial Services.
“Working with minority-owned and small businesses is crucial because they
are the backbone of our economy,” said CFO Sink.
CFO Sink described increased possibilities for small businesses
because of access to more affordable technology and the ability to do
business in a virtual world. Sink informed attendees that one of the most
important things to do is to become certified as a minority business
enterprise, which will allow participation in various state sponsored
activities including the Mentor Protégé Partnership and the Match Maker
Workshops. For additional information, visit the Department of
Management Services' Web site at
WHAT TO DO IF A HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY DENIES YOUR
Major illness or a stay in the hospital following an
accident can be stressful. It's not a time you want to be
worried about your insurance coverage. However, for some
insurance consumers, this is when they are hit with a denial
- notification their insurance company won't pay all or part
of a claim.
To help understand your options when a claim is denied, the
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
suggests these steps:
Read and Understand Your Policy
Your individual health insurance policy is a legal contract
with an insurance company. It is imperative to read your
policy thoroughly to understand your rights and
responsibilities. Your policy will also detail the medical
conditions and benefits for which the insurance company will
and will not pay. If any part of the policy is unclear to
you, seek additional clarification from your insurance agent
If you have further questions, contact your state insurance
department. Link to their Web site by clicking on “NAIC
States & Jurisdictions” at www.naic.org.
What to Do if a Claim is Denied During Treatment
Make a list of questions and immediately contact your
insurance company. You will find contact information on the
back of your insurance card.
Keep notes of all conversations you have with company
representatives. Include in your notes the name of the
person with whom you speak, as well as the date and time of
the conversation. Ask for the person's phone extension so
you can contact them directly the next time you call. Listen
carefully and make note of the answers given to you by that
Stay calm and be positive. It will make the process go more
smoothly and could result in a more beneficial outcome on
Keep in mind that a simple error might have caused your
claim to be denied. The hospital or the billing staff at
your doctor’s office might have entered an incorrect code
when your claim was filed with the insurance carrier. Or
your claim might have inadvertently been sent to the wrong
insurance company. This type of error can usually be cleared
up quickly with a single phone call.
If, after your initial conversation with the company, they
are still refuse to pay a claim, be persistent. While most
insurers pay claims presented to them in a timely manner and
in accordance with the wording in their policies, a few
carriers might initially delay or deny the payment of a
claim. If this occurs, be sure to obtain the claim denial in
writing. You might need to make several calls to the company
before it pays the claim.
What to Do if an Insurance Carrier Continues to Deny Your
Contact your insurance department for assistance appealing
your claim. Generally, you must first submit a letter to the
insurance company requesting that your claim be
reconsidered, giving specific reasons why you believe your
claim should be paid. When composing your letter, be as
detailed as possible explaining why your procedure or
medication is necessary and should be paid for under your
insurance policy. Request all evidence (medical records,
x-rays, lab results, etc.) available in support of your
claim and send it to the insurance company with your appeal
letter. Be sure to keep a copy of everything you send to the
insurance company for your records. In response to your
letter, your insurance company will indicate the next steps
in the process, as well as the time frame for any additional
follow-up or appeals. They may also request additional
information from you and/or your medical providers.
Make sure you check with your the Florida Department of
financial Services about laws regarding health insurance
claims. Call 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236) in Florida or
850-413-3130 from out of state.
For more information about health, home, life and auto
insurance options, and tips for choosing the coverage that
is right for you and your family, go to
Consumer Services Helpline