FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Tara Klimek or Brannon Jordan (850) 413-2842
March 5, 2007
Floridians can log on to www.fldfs.com/ica/
to learn about the Insurance Consumer Advocate
TALLAHASSEE, FL— Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink joined General Bob Milligan Monday on his first day reporting for duty as Florida’s new Insurance Consumer Advocate. Pledging to increase awareness of the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s office, the two unveiled a new website designed to educate Floridians about their vision for the position, as well as provide contact information for consumers with insurance-related questions. Floridians can now go online at www.fldfs.com/ica/ to access the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s office. “As I stated during the campaign, I want the Insurance Consumer Advocate to become a household name in Florida,” said CFO Sink. “One of the first steps in strengthening the Insurance Consumer Advocate is educating Floridians about this position and how it serves the people.”
“As the Insurance Consumer Advocate, it’s my goal to help educate and help defend the rights of Floridians when it comes to insurance,” said General Milligan. “Together, the CFO and I will also be searching for new insurance solutions that will increase competition, stabilize the insurance market and offer consumers more choices.”
CFO Sink has a three-pronged vision for a stronger Insurance Consumer Advocate: proactive, investigative, and challenger of unfair rate increases.
Proactive- The Insurance Consumer Advocate will be proactive in finding insurance solutions in other areas. An example of a potential area needing attention is the access and affordability of health insurance. While property insurance has understandably been forefront on Floridians’ minds, Florida has a real health insurance crisis as well. More than 3 million Floridians lack health insurance and our state ranksamong the bottom when it comes to insuring our children. A stronger insurance consumer advocate will be empowered to bring solutions and ideas from other states or work with Congress to create federal solutions.
• Investigates Bad Practices- The Department of Financial Services runs a statewide consumer helpline that receives approximately 500,000 financial and insurance-related inquiries annually. A stronger Insurance Consumer Advocate will examine the real-time concerns and complaints we receive from Floridians everyday. We can identify negative trends and bad business practices, and a stronger Insurance Consumer Advocate will have the authority to call attention to insurance companies operating in bad faith, using unfair trade practices, or deceptive or misleading sales tactics.
• Challenging Unfair Rates- Floridians deserve a strong Insurance Consumer Advocate who will go head-to-head with the insurance companies seeking unfair and unjustified rate increases. In order to be effective in challenging unsound rate hikes, the Insurance Consumer Advocate needs to have clear legal authority. The Insurance Consumer Advocate also should have access to all the same information as the Office of Insurance Regulation.
CFO Sink and General Milligan will work with leaders in the House and Senate to enhance the current powers of the Insurance Consumer Advocate. This may include the ability to intervene as a party in legal and administrative proceedings, have access to the public model for hurricane loss projections, investigate insurance schemes or practices that adversely affect Floridians, appeal any action taken by the Office of Insurance Regulation, and hire additional staff in the areas of health and life insurance. General Milligan was elected Florida's Comptroller from 1994 until 2002. General Milligan served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 35 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant general (3 stars). While a member of the Florida Cabinet, General Milligan helped create the current position of Chief Financial Officer. Throughout his service, he was known for doing what was right and putting people ahead of politics.