C F O Patronis' Weekly Rundown newsletter
DFS Homepage | Past Issues | PDF Volume 15 | Number 29 | August 3, 2018

Floridians,

More than $321 million in unclaimed property has been returned to Floridians since I took office, breaking the previously held record set in the program’s 57-year history by more than $8 million. That’s nearly 635,000 claims that have been paid. It’s been my goal to do everything possible to return unclaimed dollars and property back to Florida residents and businesses. Our state is a national leader with our proactive efforts to return unclaimed property, and we will continue working to raise the bar even higher.

Part of this work includes finding owners or heirs of contents of safety deposit boxes when the rent of these boxes goes unpaid. Despite years of exhaustive efforts to locate the owners, when no rightful owner or heir comes forward the items go to auction. The unclaimed property auction features items like jewelry, watches and rare coins. Proceeds from the auction are deposited into the state’s education fund where they work to support Florida’s public school system. Should a property owner discover that he or she owned an item that was auctioned, however, the proceeds from the sale can be claimed any time at no cost.

This year, our annual auction will be held on Saturday, August 18 in Tampa. The auction is open to the public, and I hope you will join me. I also encourage you to visit www.FLTreasureHunt.gov to see if you or someone you know has unclaimed property.

Sincerely,

Jimmy
Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

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News of Interest

Florida Politics: Jimmy Patronis cheers extension of National Flood Insurance Program

News 4 JAX: Insurance agent accused of taking out $5M in bogus policies

Wall Street Journal: What Does Your Homeowners Policy Cover in Disasters? Often, Not Enough

NBC 2: Public assistance fraud cost taxpayers $202K

WFSU: Chief Financial Officer Spreading Awareness Of Safe Pool Habits

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Floridians’ consumer confidence rises

News 4 JAX: How to spot, avoid credit card skimmers that will steal your identity


We Will Expedite Election Cybersecurity Payments

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis directed his staff to expedite payments to local Supervisors of Elections for additional cybersecurity protection in Florida’s elections.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Cybersecurity has been a top priority of mine, and Gov. Scott was right to make secure elections a priority. As Florida’s election season heats up, it’s imperative our local officials have the resources needed to ensure a fair election. Investing in additional measures shows a total commitment to protecting the integrity of our democracy.”

Payments will be paid within 24 hours of submission and authorization in the Department of Financial Services’ payment system.

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel said, “We are thrilled to hear CFO Jimmy Patronis will speed up the payment process and look forward to quickly purchasing additional hardware to protect the vital votes in Seminole County.

Martin County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis said, “Protecting the integrity of our elections process is one of my top priorities. I thank CFO Patronis for ensuring the funds we are requesting for cybersecurity aren’t held up in a bureaucratic process.”


National Flood Insurance Program Extension Good for Floridians, Reforms Can’t Skyrocket Rates

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis released the following statement on congressional action to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until November 30, 2018, coinciding with the end of the 2018 Hurricane Season.

“Flooding is a statewide issue, not just a coastal concern, and it’s important that Florida families take the steps needed to protect their largest asset—their home—from damage. One of the best ways to do this is to have flood insurance. As we approach the peak of the 2018 Hurricane Season, a lapse of the NFIP would have a devastating impact on our state. Considering that floods in Florida have cost more than $5.1 billion over the last 40 years, Florida families and businesses can’t be blindsided when it comes to flood protections.

“The extension comes while talk continues about reforming the program. Any discussion must include keeping rates affordable for Floridians. As the largest donor state to the NFIP, Floridians shoulder the majority of the financial burden for a much-needed coverage. Insurance market certainty and protecting our taxpayers are essential to reforms, but we must also support and encourage private sector involvement. Florida has been a leader in crafting private market solutions and a competitive marketplace will help protect our residents at a reasonable cost.”


Child Pool Safety Must Be Our Top Concern

Child pool and spa deaths in Florida continue to rise:

  • Child pool and spa deaths in the state increased by 20 percent from 2016 to 2017
  • Florida is number one for child pool and spa deaths, with a total of 51 deaths in 2017
  • 80 percent of the deaths in 2017 involved children under the age of 5
  • More than 90 percent of Florida’s home swimming pools were built before Florida’s Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act took effect, which includes requirements for safety pool covers and barriers that surround the pool
  • Drowning is the leading cause of deaths of young children in Florida

CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “Over the past few months, I’ve met with firefighters across the state, listening to their top issues and concerns. One issue that continues to emerge is the concern of pool safety among residents and visitors to our state. As our population grows, and new families move to our state where pools are very common, we must keep raising awareness about the potential dangers.

“With more than 116 million visitors coming to Florida in 2017 alone, it’s also important we engage tourism industry stakeholders to help protect those who choose our state as their vacation destination. I’ve directed my office to meet with representatives from the tourism industry, including vacation rental companies such as Airbnb and Expedia (VRBO, HomeAway) to engage them in a conversation on how we can educate visitors on keeping their families safe.”

Safety Tips for Florida Residents and Visitors:

Supervise. According to the Florida Department of Health, in the time it takes to put in a load of laundry, a child can drown. Never leave a child to swim unattended, and be sure to keep your eyes on the pool at all times.

Barriers. A child should never be able to enter the pool area without adult supervision. A barrier should be installed that isolates the pool from the home (a fence or a wall or a combination of both) and surrounds the pool.

Tech. Pool and door alarms can alert you when a door or window is open or detects movement in the water. Easy to install and can save a life.

Important Skills. Teach a child in your family or neighbor how to swim and be sure you know how to swim. Learn CPR even if you aren’t a parent.


Florida Economic Briefs

U.S. Added 157,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Rate Slips to 3.9%
The latest job figures follow a steady stream of hiring gains and a robust reading on economic growth. Last week, the Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the second quarter, the fastest pace in nearly four years.
Source: New York Times

Florida’s Jobs Have Finally Recovered from Hurricane Irma. Gains Are Tops in Nation.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Florida had a net gain of 214,372 private-sector jobs in the last three months of 2017. It was the largest net gain of jobs by any state, according to the federal data.
Source: Miami Herald

Florida Consumer Sentiment Rises in July
Floridians’ opinions about their current financial situation increased. Perceptions of one’s personal financial situation now compared with a year ago increased 2.2 points in this month’s reading from 91.2 to 93.4. Similarly, opinions as to whether now is a good time to buy a big-ticket household item like an appliance increased 1.9 points from 103.0 to 104.9.
Source: UF News

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