Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, December 18

Dec 18, 2009



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THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA:  Lawmakers ask if Citizens rates went up enough?

When lawmakers decided earlier this year that rates for coverage by Citizens Property Insurance needed to go up to make sure the company had enough to pay claims, they tried to cushion the blow by putting in the final bill a stipulation that rates couldn’t go up any more than 10 percent a year. 


CFO Sink unveils new online help center for Florida’s insurance consumers 

New Consumer Online Help Will Save Taxpayer Dollars While Improving Service Florida CFO Alex Sink today unveiled a new online help center for Florida’s insurance consumers, allowing Floridians to submit their insurance questions and complaints electronically.


FEMA updating Broward flood maps

FEMA is in the process of updating Broward County’s flood maps, which will likely be finished next year. The last maps, completed in 1997, show that the vast majority of Broward is in a flood zone.


‘A travesty’: Crews working to correct major Code flaws to East Naples condo community

For months, Carl Cardascia had to zip his way through his condo.


Blog:  Raise the ceiling to protect the roof?

This year, Gov. Crist vetoed a bill that would have allowed the state’s largest property insurers to charge whatever they want.


Deregulating Florida property insurance rate still at issue

State Farm’s deal won’t deter bid to deregulate property coverage cost.

Supporters of legislation allowing companies to offer property insurance with deregulated rates said Thursday they were undeterred by a deal announced a day earlier that would keep State Farm Florida in the Florida market.


Editorial:  Some neighbor

Our take on: State Farm & Bear necessities

So State Farm’s property division is staying in Florida, despite warning regulators it would split if they rejected its request for a 47 percent rate increase on homeowners.


Column: Did State Farm lie to us all?

State Farm Florida exaggerated wildly to policyholders, lawmakers and a judge within the past year about its need for a breathtaking rate hike.


Editorial:  From bad to less bad

State Farm bluffed, the insurance commissioner caved and Florida is still better off. The deal announced this week granting State Farm a 14.8 percent rate increase and permission to drop about 125,000 policies will be painful to many homeowners, but it is a reasonable trade-off to keep the state’s largest private insurer here. 


Predatory towing legislation moving forward

Legislation designed to crack down on rogue towing companies who prey on motorists in Tampa and Hillsborough County is headed for Tallahassee.


Cottondale couple awarded $4 million judgment

A Cottondale woman who sued her own insurance company after a car wreck was awarded a $4 million judgment, attorneys for both sides confirmed this week.


Critics upset by city traffic laws.

Granted, a lot of the moaning about red-light cameras sounds like basic whining. But in this case, the complaints have more than a little merit.


Feds Scrutinize High-Prescribing Fla. Doctors

The federal government has stopped reimbursing a Miami doctor who wrote nearly 97,000 prescriptions for mental health drugs to Medicaid patients over 18 months, in a case that prompted a key Senator to call for a nationwide investigation.


Alachua County Man Arrested on Numerous Health Care Fraud Charges

An Alachua County man has been arrested on charges of practicing medicine without a license, Medicaid fraud, grand theft and organized scheme to defraud federal and state health care programs.


Michigan Orders Florida Man to End Unlicensed Insurance Activity

The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation has ordered a Florida man who is not licensed to sell insurance in Michigan to stop all insurance related activity in that state.


Florida unemployment hits 11.5 percent

Florida’s unemployment rate continued to rise last month, up two-tenths of a point to 11.5 percent, the state labor department said Friday.


Personal income in Florida ticking up again

After a year of bloodletting, Floridians are seeing their personal income creep back up.


Blog:  Rep. Loranne Ausley waiting on decision whether to run for CFO

State Rep. Loranne Ausley said Thursday she has received many calls from friends and supporters over the last several weeks “strongly encouraging” her to run for chief financial officer and, while she is considering it, she will wait until after the holidays to make her decision.


Fifty GOP officials push Greer showdown

The chorus of Republican officials calling for the ouster of state GOP chairman Jim Greer grew louder Thursday as at least 50 party officials signed a letter calling for a secret ballot vote on rescinding Greer’s chairmanship.


Blog:  Crist pushing corporate income-tax break

In his last year in office, Gov. Charlie Crist wants to score a final tax-cutting victory with a plan to slash Florida’s corporate income tax, which generates $1.7 billion annually.


Beware, mortgage crooks

Too many Florida foreclosure rescue companies have really been Florida lose-your-house-and-make-us-rich companies.


CFO Sink talks about solutions for homeowners at Florida Housing Help Roundtable   

Florida CFO Alex Sink today highlighted two initiatives she said would bring real, tangible help to Florida homeowners facing foreclosure, and heard from local leaders and community groups who are on the frontlines of tackling the state’s housing crisis.


Florida Supreme Court says in some neighborhoods fleeing police is resisting arrest

Fleeing from authorities after being ordered to stop in a high-crime area is against the law, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday.


Florida Justices Ban Shackling Kids In Court

The Florida Supreme Court called the blanket use of shackles, handcuffs and other restraints on children in most of the state’s juvenile courtrooms “repugnant, degrading, humiliating” and counterproductive as the justices banned the practice Thursday.


Vasilinda: Deal ‘fair and square’

State Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda and her television-newsman husband Thursday said renewal of a $3.7 million Florida Lottery contract with his company was “fair and square.”


Florida the third happiest state, researchers say

People in sunny, outdoorsy states – Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida – say they’re the happiest Americans, and researchers think they know why.


NFIP Heading For Feb. 28 Extension

The Senate overcame a procedural roadblock early today that sets the stage for passage on Saturday of legislation containing a provision reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program until Feb. 28.


Marsh & McLennan to Buy HSBC’s Brokerage for $218M

Marsh & McLennan Cos. said Friday its insurance brokerage business will acquire the brokerage unit of HSBC Bank for about $218 million in stock and cash. In addition, Marsh unit has entered into a partnership with HSBC, under which Marsh will have preferred access to provide insurance brokerage and risk management services to HSBC’s corporate and private clients.


S&P keeps negative outlook on property/casualty sector

Standard & Poor’s Corp. is maintaining a negative outlook on the U.S. commercial lines property/casualty sector as 2009 comes to a close, according to a report the ratings agency released, indicating that more downgrades than upgrades during the next 12 months are expected.


Some schools are dropping driver’s ed to cut costs

Beginning driver Ashley Crawford grips the worn gray steering wheel and warily begins maneuvering the 1999 Ford Escort through a set of bright orange traffic cones outside Killian Senior High School.


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