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CFO Atwater Highlights Consumer Protection Week

3/2/2015

Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413- 2842
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As part of National Consumer Protection Week, observed March 1-7, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, along with Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Commissioner Kevin McCarty and Florida Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Drew Breakspear, reaffirm their commitment to advocating for Floridians. This year’s theme, Your Information Destination: Know Your Rights, provides an opportunity to remind all Floridians of the tools available through each office to help protect themselves and make more informed decisions.
 
“Protecting the rights and interests of Floridians is our shared goal,” said CFO Atwater. “My office provides access to insurance specialists to help consumers ‘verify before they buy,’ works to help ensure that state dollars are spent transparently and in the most efficient way possible, and the Division of Insurance Fraud is making strides to curb the fraud that is driving up insurance costs in our state.”
 
Through consumer-focused and regulatory programs, the agencies protect the public by ensuring that Florida’s insurance and financial companies, along with their accompanying professionals in our state, follow Florida law and impose regulatory discipline when necessary. Through collaborative efforts, Floridians can expect competitive and stable markets, access resources when making financial and insurance decisions, and know where to report scam artists and incidents of fraud.
 
“Florida’s insurance consumers are benefiting from a marketplace that is growing stronger and more competitive,” said OIR Commissioner Kevin M. McCarty. “This is especially true in the homeowners insurance market where, coupled with declining rates, consumers have more options and choices for coverage than ever before.”
 
“Protecting Floridians is an essential part of what we do at the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. We are committed to smart, efficient and effective regulation of the financial services arena and that means ensuring that the industry is safe for consumers and businesses,” said OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear. “The OFR continues to be on the front lines fighting financial fraud and our website is a valuable resource for consumers who are exploring financial literacy.”
 
Together, CFO Atwater, Commissioner Breakspear and Commissioner McCarty offer these simple, yet effective consumer tips to safeguard against financial crime:
 
• Do your homework: Fully research any financial or insurance products before buying;
• Seek a second or third opinion: Inquire with several professionals to find one who listens and understands your individual goals;
• Conduct a license check: Verify a license of the company or individual you plan to conduct business with;
• Get everything in writing: Request written information that outlines all contractual agreements;
• Read before you sign: Read and ask questions to make sure you fully understand the documents you are signing; and
• File a complaint: If you suspect questionable business practices, say something by filing a complaint immediately.
 
To learn more about the Department of Financial Services or to reach an Insurance Consumer Specialist, please visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com or call 1-877-693-5236. To report suspected insurance fraud in Florida, please call the Fraud Tip Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. To learn more about the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, please visit the Office’s Consumer Resources webpage. To learn more about the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, please visit the Office’s Consumer Knowledge Center.
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).