My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

This Sunday, the unofficial end of the summer season arrives: the end of Daylight Saving Time.

While you’re taking time to turn your clocks back, I strongly encourage you to change the batteries in the smoke detectors around your home. Smoke detectors are proven to save lives, but they can only do so if they are working when you need them. Change your clock back this weekend.

By alerting you to a fire inside your home, smoke detectors can allow you and your family to get to safety faster. In turn, they also protect the firefighters who will rush to your side when disaster strikes. During the first ten months of this year, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that more than 1,700 home fire fatalities happened in the United States — a staggering figure to every American.

This week, I attended an event honoring firefighters, police officers, EMTs and paramedics in Pensacola. It was great to see a community show up in support of the heroes who selflessly serve their fellow Floridians. After speaking with the families of many of these dedicated first responders, I realized the anxiety with which they wait each day for their loved one to return home from work. These brave men and women willingly risk their lives every day and we should take steps — like ensuring that our fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working — to help them stay safe. There’s no group that deserves our effort more than those who guard us from harm.

If you need some help or have an elderly loved one who can’t accomplish this task alone, remember that local fire departments across our state can assist. This small chore can one day mean the difference between life and death. It’s so easy to do, yet so easy to forget. Use the time change, twice a year, to remind you to change your detector batteries.

Let’s get it done!

Sincerely,

Jimmy Patronis
Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


News of Interest

Panama City News Herald: Patronis helps state weather the storms
Jimmy Patronis has been a traveling man since he began his job as the state’s chief financial officer on July 1. In fact, at the rate he’s going, his on-the-job mileage by November will match the earth’s circumference. Since starting the job, Patronis has driven to all corners of the state, urging people to get their insurance information in order before hurricanes Irma and Nate and helping them avoid contractor fraud after them.

Insurance Journal: Florida Reports More Than $9 Million Recovered for Insurance Consumers in Q3
Assistance provided to Floridians by from Florida’s insurance consumer helpline led to the recovery of nearly $9.3 million in the third quarter of 2017, according to a statement from Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. Recoveries included insurance claim payments and premium refunds that consumers sought the Department of Financial Services’ help collecting.

First Coast News ABC: FIRESTARTER: A local neighborhood deals with a serial arsonist
At least 25 separate arsons that happened over the past two and a half years in a Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood have sparked a federal investigation and ignited fear among families living in Birdville. "They have basically seen their neighborhood burn down," said Kristie Calhoun, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and certified fire investigator. Now, the ATF and state fire investigators are searching for a person(s) who may be responsible for setting the fires; a possible serial arsonist.

Palm Beach Post: Stunned by an ambulance bill? Watch this meeting
If you’ve ever been surprised by a bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars for ambulance service, you can follow the fourth and final meeting Tuesday of a group that aims to help state legislators decide what to do about it in coming months. The Florida Channel will be streaming live the 9 a.m. Oct. 31 meeting in Tallahassee of the Emergency Medical Transportation Working Group, hosted by Florida insurance consumer advocate Sha’Ron James.

Florida Politics: Contractors consider compromise in assignment of benefits battle
Corporate America has long looked to alternative dispute resolution - ADR, including mediation and arbitration - to avoid costly litigation. Might that be a solution to Florida’s assignment of benefits (AOB) debate? The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee is considering it. Sha’Ron James, Florida’s public advocate for the insurance industry, suggested ADR during recent hearings. Assignment of benefits "allows a third party to be paid for services performed for an insured homeowner who would normally be reimbursed by the insurance company directly after making a claim," as James’ website defines it.

News4JAX: FEMA extends disaster application deadline
The deadline to apply for federal assistance in the 48 Florida counties declared a disaster area after Hurricane Irma has been extended by two weeks - to Nov. 24. The extension agreed upon by the state and Federal Emergency Management Agency is for survivors living in disaster-designated individual assistance counties, including Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns and Union.

Florida Today: No. 1 destination to move to? Florida
When it comes to places to move to and live, Florida is in and Vermont is out. And Texas is popular with, well, Texans. That's according to a just-released study by the mortgage company Lending Tree that reviewed purchase mortgage loan requests for primary residents in all 50 states in the last year - from October 2016 to October 2017.

CFO Patronis and Representative McGhee to Co-Host Miami Insurance Forum

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis on Wednesday announced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) will host a community insurance forum in Miami on Saturday, November 4 in partnership with Representative Kionne L. McGhee. DFS insurance specialists will join teams from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to assist Miami area residents with insurance concerns and complaints. Miami Community Insurance Forum

At the event, consumers can speak one-on-one with insurance specialists to gain assistance with the filing of Hurricane Irma insurance claims, help with pending claims, or general insurance advice. Consumers can also file a complaint regarding an existing claim and report suspected insurance fraud.

WHAT: Community Insurance Forum

WHERE: The Bethel Church - Richmond Heights, 14440 Lincoln Boulevard, Miami, Fla. 33176

WHEN: Saturday, November 4 from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

All area residents are welcome to attend this free event. Participants are encouraged to bring copies of their insurance policies.

Floridians can gain year-round insurance assistance by calling Florida’s free Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO. Information is also available online at www.myfloridacfo.com.

Operation S.A.F.E.Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart Workshops

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Patronis’ On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior – Are you at risk?
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors – Is this too good to be true?
  • How to Fight Identity Theft – Protect, Prevent, Police

Feedback from seniors who attended a Be Scam Smart workshop:

“Really learned a lot of valuable information.” - Jacksonville
“This was a very valuable topic of interest in our present world.” - Arcadia
“I live alone and learned a lot of helpful information that I can share with other seniors.” - Zephyrhills
“As a result of this presentation I will be more aware of what is going on around me.” - Pensacola
"The info was very good and eyes opened more than ever." - Ormond Beach


Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshops:

Tuesday, November 14th - Palm Coast
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
African American Cultural Society, Inc.
4422 N. US Highway 1, Palm Coast, FL 32164
Register | Directions | Flyer

Wednesday, November 15th - Flagler Beach
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
George Wickline Senior Center
800 S. Daytona Avenue, Flagler Beach, FL 32136
Register | Directions | Flyer

Thursday, November 16th - Bunnell
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Christ Lutheran Church, Fellowship Hall
2323 N. State Street, #112, Bunnell, FL 32110
Register | Directions | Flyer

Please let us know if you would like to request a workshop in your area.

Florida Economic Briefs

Personal Income on the Rise
National personal income, a measure of pre-tax income, increased by 0.4 percent in September. This is the fastest rate of growth in the last several months.
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis


Florida Consumer Sentiment Drops
Consumer sentiment in the Sunshine State fell by 1.5 points in October, reaching 94.3. The biggest contributors to the drop were negative outlooks on the national economy in the near-term and medium-term future.
Source: Bureau of Economic and Business Research