Issues of Interest

INSURANCE SCAM The Office of Insurance Regulation warned Floridians that scammers were sending out emails notifying the recipient that their insurance policies have been cancelled. The emails appear to be from OIR Commissioner David Almaier, but are fake messages.  Please notify OIR if you receive such an email by calling the Department’s hotline at 877-693-5236.

HURRICANE FUND The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, the state-created fund that helps private insurers pay out claims after storms, is in good financial health. Damages associated with Hurricane Matthew are estimated to be less than $200 million and much less for Hurricane Hermine. The fund, which has over $17 billion, can draw on an imposed surcharge on insurance policies if it becomes depleted.

EDUCATION In August, the Florida Department of Education fined American Institutes for Research $4.8 million because of problems with the rollout of the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) in 2015. Many students were unable to complete the test or log into the computerized test. The company has a $220-million, six-year contract with Florida to administer the FSA, a series of exams in language arts and math.

TAX-CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS Enrollment in the popular tax credit scholarship programs has increased, with over 90,000 students benefiting from Step Up for Students. Corporations contribute to organizations that provide scholarships to students, and the state provides tax credits in return. Almost 6,000 students are receiving “Gardiner scholarships,” which provide state money to parents of children with disabilities to help meet educational needs.

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