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My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

I am very pleased to share with you that all of the legislation our office prioritized this year has been passed by both chambers of the Florida Legislature and will be sent to Governor Scott to be signed into law. Collectively, these bills help ensure consumer rights and protections, reduce regulatory burdens and fight fraud.

One of the most significant ways these bills benefit Floridians is through the creation of a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights. This much-needed bill of rights will notify Florida homeowners of their rights and responsibilities when filing an insurance claim and give them the confidence that they will be treated fairly during a stressful situation involving their home.

The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights will be provided to any policyholder who files a claim and will reference current Florida law in order to provide policyholders with information about their rights in the claims process. The bill of rights will also inform policyholders about what they should expect and provide advice on the steps they should take in the claims process.

Additional bills passed during this year’s legislative session, which concludes today, include a bill to more appropriately penalize employers lacking workers' compensation coverage while helping them get back to work faster once they have obtained coverage and come into compliance with Florida law. Other bills will improve administrative processes and consumer services within the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services, provide more efficiency for investigations led by the Division of Public Assistance Fraud and improve the Treasury’s ability to administer the Security for Deposits Program.

I am very appreciative of the efforts of all of our bill sponsors as well as Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford whose leadership made the passage of these bills possible.

Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Sting of unlicensed contractors nets 26

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Florida business owners upbeat

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Sports tourism having an impact on Southwest Florida's bottom line

Reuters: New report calls U.S. a 'rising star' of global manufacturing

Reuters: Strong durable goods orders buoy growth outlook

Associated Press: Home contracts rise for first time in nine months

Florida Trend: New home construction in Florida indicates growing economy

Florida Small Business: Florida offers a great climate for women entrepreneurs

Florida Trend: Florida's crime rate drops to a 43-year low

Consumer Help OnlineCFO Atwater: We Stand Ready to Help Floridians Through Post-Storm Cleanup

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Wednesday issued the following statement regarding the devastating storms that impacted the Florida Panhandle:

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with everyone who has been and continues to be impacted by the recent storms in the Southeastern United States. I urge everyone to follow news updates closely, and heed all safety warnings issued by local and state authorities.

"As the cleanup process begins in Florida, our Consumer Helpline stands ready and able to assist Floridians as they navigate the post-storm insurance claims process. By calling 1-877-693-5236, our dedicated team of insurance professionals is equipped to answer any and all of your insurance-related questions. During this stressful time, allow us to work on your behalf to ensure you are treated fairly by your insurer and that your claim is handled in a timely manner.

"I also encourage consumers to remain alert for potential scams that can arise following a devastating storm. When hiring a contractor, make sure he or she is appropriately licensed and carries adequate insurance coverage. Keep logs of all telephone conversations and make copies of all documents you sign.

"While the recovery process will take time, we are available to all who are in need, and I’m committed to doing everything necessary to ensure that our residents are aware of their rights and are being taken care of throughout the recovery process."

Florida's Bottom LineFlorida's Bottom Line on Sports

The Spring edition of Florida’s Bottom Line features information about innovations in Florida’s sports industry and highlights how Florida is successfully competing with the rest of the nation. The latest edition includes essays by John F. Webb, president of the Florida Sports Foundation; Joie Chitwood III, president of the Daytona International Speedway; and Daryl Holt, vice president of digital game developer EA-Tiburon.

Click here to read the newest edition of Florida’s Bottom Line.