As the 2017 Legislative Session nears its end, CFO Atwater celebrates the passage of priority legislation championed by the Department of Financial Services. This year marks CFO Atwater’s seventh and final legislative session as one of Florida’s four Cabinet officers.
Successful key legislative initiatives include:
Insurance Rehabilitation and Liquidation – Sponsored by Senator Kathleen Passidomo (SB 730) and Representative Jake Raburn (HB 837)
“When an insurance company fails financially, it becomes a nightmare for the consumers who are stuck wondering if their claims will be paid and if their health care providers will still see them,” said CFO Atwater. “This legislation clarifies the process that the State of Florida has put in place for these situations, and doing so will give consumers the confidence of knowing that someone is on their side.”
When an insurance company becomes insolvent, the Department of Financial Services steps in to protect policyholders and to assess the company’s finances. The process is known as receivership, and the Department works to determine if the company can be saved through rehabilitation or if it must be liquidated.
This common-sense, consumer protection legislation outlines the obligations of the insurance company to cooperate with Department staff and clarifies the deadlines for debtors to submit claims. By doing so, the Department can better assess the debt owed by the company and prioritize policyholder claims payments using existing funds.
Insurance Fraud – Sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes (SB 1012) and Representative Holly Raschein (HB 1007)
“We have made significant strides in our fight against fraud, and we couldn’t have done so without the partnership of the fraud-fighting units housed within many of our state’s insurance companies and the dedicated prosecutors who take our cases to trial,” said CFO Atwater. “This legislation helps our investigators further improve their processes and hone their techniques, so that our Department can stay a step ahead of the criminals who seek to defraud Floridians.”
This legislation requires insurance companies to annually report specific information to the Department outlining fraud-related statistics and details. The legislation also requires insurance companies to hold annual anti-fraud training for their investigators and asks that insurance companies develop in-house anti-fraud plans. Finally, so that the Chief Financial Officer can ensure that prosecutors are addressing workers’ compensation and insurance fraud cases, it creates mandatory prosecutorial reporting for judicial circuits that receive state funds for dedicated insurance fraud prosecutors.
Agency Enhancements – Sponsored by Senator Kelli Stargel (SB 986) and Representative Mike Miller (HB 925)
“We pride ourselves on operating as efficiently and effectively as possible, and these updates will allow us to continue our mission of becoming the best Department of Financial Services possible,” said CFO Atwater.
This legislation implements several legacy enhancements to the Department of Financial Services including: preservation of the Department’s Holocaust Victims Assistance Program, which reunites Floridians with money and items that were stolen from them during the Nazi era; an update to the Boiler Safety Act; language that affords the prompt payment of contractual grants to vendors contracted with the State of Florida for goods or services; and clarifies the licensure process for insurance agents in Florida.
To learn more about the Department of Financial Services, click HERE.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services, serves as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, and is a member of the Florida Cabinet. 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).