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Jimmy Patronis' office has retruned more than $1 billion to Floridians since he took over.

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Insights from Florida Chamber Insurance Summit: Jimmy Patronis tackles insurance fraud, liability protections

“If we don’t act now this will get out of hand.”

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis doubled down Friday on his desire to see legislation that would create COVID-19 liability protections for businesses.

Patronis since May has advocated for a bill that would protect businesses from frivolous or predatory lawsuits amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Along the way, he’s described the legislation as a crucial part of Florida’s road to economic recovery.

“Folks are already operating on thin enough margins,” he said. “We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help them protect their employees and protect their customers.”

Patronis reiterated his case Friday at the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Virtual Insurance Summit. There, he argued businesses should have  “peace of mind” if they’re doing their part to protect customers and employees.

“It’s time for these vital protections to be moving forward and proactive policies need to be part of the debate to ensure a healthy economic rebound for our state,” Patronis contended.

Patronis wasn’t the only lawmaker to stress the need for liability protection at the summit. Rep. Tom Leek said it would get airtime in the new Pandemic & Public Emergencies Committee he chairs.

Beyond liability protection, Patronis addressed Florida’s ongoing battle against insurance fraud.

Notably, Florida ranks second in the nation for identity theft. What’s more, the Federal Trade Commission reported over $90 million worth of insurance fraud-related expenses last year alone.

Patronis described the trend as “alarming.”

“If we don’t act now this will get out of hand,” he said. “All of this ultimately contributes to increased insurance rates in the state of Florida.”

In response, Patronis highlighted his Fraud Free Florida initiative. The initiative coordinates public and private sector resources including law enforcement to help curb fraud.

The collaboration effort is specifically geared to protect Florida’s senior population from scam artists.

“As we continue to work together, we will create an environment that deters these scam artists from doing any more harm to Florida citizens,” Patronis added. “These partnerships will help us communicate and share these resources better so we can stay at least 2-3 steps ahead of these con artists that look forward to stealing your money.”

More details on Fraud Free Florida can be found online.

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

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