Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, August 29

Aug 29, 2008

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Insurer’s pitch surprises some

Some local homeowners may have been surprised to receive a sales pitch this week urging them to call the Poe & Associates insurance agency.

EDITORIAL: The answer is No

State Farm Florida got it wrong. State regulators got it right. They dealt a decisive smack-down to the insurance company’s brazen request for an average 47.1 percent increase on its homeowners’ policies.

COLUMN: Can the insurance market weather Crist’s reforms?

As Florida mops up after Tropical Storm Fay, homeowners and businesses are beginning to make repairs and calculate the damage. Even though Fay never attained hurricane status after landfall, the record rains still caused considerable destruction.

Property damage from Fay now tops $14 million in Volusia

More than 100 people packed an emergency meeting Wednesday at DeBary Town Hall to vent their frustrations over the flood disaster in their community. ‘I want to cry, yell, scream and laugh because it’s so ridiculous what is happening,’ resident David Williams told the City Council. ‘I want to say to help us all you can.’ Flood waters from a 20-plus-inch drenching from Tropical Storm Fay have invaded more than 138 homes in the city, many valued at more than $250,000. One week into the recovery, city officials did not have good news for the emotional crowd.

Recovering from Fay

The federal government is offering disaster loans to homeowners, renters and entrepreneurs who suffered losses from Tropical Storm Fay. The loans available are:

$6 million in unemployment assistance requested for Fay disaster areas

Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation has submitted a request for more than $6 million in disaster unemployment assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Insurers Prepare For Gustav Landfall

As Tropical Storm Gustav spun toward the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, insurance companies were ready to send adjusters and appraisers to assess damage from the storm if it does make landfall in the United States. They were also prepared financially, having made changes in their coverage in the three years since Hurricane Katrina.

United Insurance to grow St. Pete corporate base

United Insurance Holdings LC is on track to become a public company through a reverse merger with FMG Acquisition Corp.

COMMENTARY: Monroe County saved its residents’ butts with inspection program

It is not often that I contribute to this page, however, because of my background, and because of a common misperception that was recently aired by a letter-writer, I feel compelled. He wrote: ‘What irks me is that I would not have had to undergo such an inspection had not Monroe County fought with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] over permitting living units in lower enclosures. The inspection program is nothing but punishment of homeowners for the misdeeds of county government.’

Canady chosen for high court

Gov. Charlie Crist selected ex-congressman Charles Canady for Florida’s Supreme Court, the first of four appointments Crist will make to the court in the coming months.

Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Lakeland judge and former congressman Charles T. Canady to replace retiring Justice Raoul Cantero on the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday, bringing to the bench an appointee with more partisan political experience than any justice in decades.

Crist job-approval rating slips from its high of 70%

A poll shows Gov. Charlie Crist’s popularity has fallen, though he has increased his support among Republicans.

About 57 percent of Floridians rate Crist’s job performance as ”excellent” or ”good,” the poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research says. About 41 percent say he’s doing a fair to poor job. That’s a 23 percent increase in the ”fair to poor” category since June 2007, when his job-approval rating was sky-high at 70 percent.

Poll: Many don’t buy into tax swap

A majority of voters, close to the 60 percent needed for passage, favor writing a same-sex-marriage ban into the Florida Constitution, according to a new Orlando Sentinel poll.

Majority in Florida want to see offshore drilling

More than three in five Floridians now support drilling for oil of the state’s coast, a change of heart both opponents and proponents attribute to high gasoline prices.

Red light camera company backs out of contract

In just a few short months, the red light camera at U.S. 19 and Ridge Road has been a success for the city, raking in thousands of dollars from traffic tickets and making drivers think twice about gunning it through one of Pasco’s busiest intersections.

Ethanol plan scrapped, but biodiesel may replace it

Exit ethanol, enter biodiesel.

Port Sutton EnviroFuels has shelved plans to build Florida’s first ethanol plant, blaming a “frivolous” lawsuit that delayed the project and cost the company its financing. A Texas company has stepped in to take over Port Sutton’s 22-acre lease and build a biodiesel plant instead.

FPL green energy provider counters scathing state report

A company that ran Florida Power & Light’s green energy program said it lost money on the deal.

Two months after state regulators issued a scathing report saying a green energy program sponsored by Florida Power & Light wasted most of its money on administrative and marketing expenses, the company that carried out the program issued its own report Thursday saying it had accomplished what it was asked to do.

Report: Miami water supply at greater risk than expected

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have published a report stating that Miami’s public water supply from the Miami-Dade Northwest Wellfield is at risk of contamination due to the proximity of existing lakes created from limestone rock mining activities.

More Companies Invest In Workers’ Health

Employers hoping to improve the company’s bottom line are starting to pay more attention to their workers’ “bottom lines.”

Dem Platform Backs U.S. Cat Fund

The Democratic Party has approved a plank in its platform for the coming election that calls for creation of a national catastrophe fund. An advocate for such legislation said the move was a first for a major political party.

Bush Administration Wants More Notice on Workplace Hazard Rules

The Bush administration is proposing that workplace hazard standards be subject to more public and expert scrutiny before being adopted. Critics say the proposals could make it harder to limit worker exposure to carcinogens and other toxic materials.

FEMA To Explain A Claims Policy On RIMS Webinar

The Risk and Insurance Management Society said it is holding a webinar with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address and clarify the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s new policy on reimbursing repetitive loss claims by public entities.

Connecticut Says Use of Fake Auto Insurance Cards Growing

Counterfeit auto insurance cards have been a problem for years, say Connecticut insurance officials, but recently, the department’s fraud and investigations’ divisions have been seeing seen a lot more of the cards.

Untrustworthy Insurance Agents Will Lose Licenses in Washington

Insurance agents in Washington state can lose their licenses if they are deemed “untrustworthy.”

Mississippi Gets $400,000 in Insurance Deal

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says Mississippi is part of a multistate settlement agreement with HealthMarkets, Incorporated and its affiliated insurance companies.

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