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CFO Atwater’s Department Recovers More Than $17 Million for Florida Consumers


Contact: Alexis Lambert
(850) 413-2842
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today that the Department of Financial Services has taken part in the recovery of more than $17 million so far in 2011.  Recoveries include claim payments, premium refunds and restitution for Florida consumers.
The Department of Financial Services’ Division of Consumer Services is available to answer questions and assist consumers in all lines of insurance—including homeowners, health, auto, life and warranties—and received nearly 100,000 calls during the period of July through September and recovered $4.7 million for consumers.  The Division of Agent and Agency Services licenses insurance professionals and investigates alleged violations of the Florida Insurance Code—handling an average of 600 cases per month.
“In these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever that we help Floridians keep and protect their hard-earned dollars,” said CFO Atwater. “Our helpline specialists offer detailed answers to consumers' questions, provide valuable information regarding important financial decisions and assist in recovering money and property for Florida consumers.”
The following are examples of how consumers were helped by department staff:
• A Miami-Dade County homeowner filed a property claim with his insurance carrier.  Despite providing all of the documentation requested by the insurer, months passed and his claim remained unpaid. After contacting the Division of Consumer Services for help on his claim, division staff helped the homeowner promptly receive his payment of more than $289,000.
• A senior couple from The Villages purchased an annuity from an insurance agent who allegedly misrepresented himself and the terms and conditions of the annuity.  After being charged a series of fees when the couple attempted to make a withdrawal, they contacted the Division of Agent and Agency Services.  The division investigated and subsequently took action against the agent and his license.  In addition, the insurance company refunded the couple’s initial investment, plus interest, which totaled $167,000.
• A Clay County resident experienced substantial damage to his motor home, which was his primary residence.  His claim with his insurance company was delayed, leaving him temporarily homeless.  He contacted the Division of Consumer Services, and they requested the company immediately review the policyholder’s claim discrepancy.  Following the review, the claim was quickly resolved and the homeowner promptly received his payment of more than $124,000.
For assistance with an insurance claim, question or complaint, log on to or call our Consumer Helpline at (850) 413-3089 or toll-free at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236). Consumers can also access online an Insurance Library and numerous consumer brochures, read more about the CFO’s initiatives and verify the license of an insurance agent, agency or company.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, 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.