Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, February 19

Feb 19, 2010



Note:  Until the March 2, 2010 Florida legislative bill filing deadline, Capitol to Courthouse Headliners will provide a listing of insurance-related bills filed each day.  This listing will be located at the end of the news headlines.


To view a complete story, click on a headline below:


Insurance reinspections find that many homes don’t deserve wind mitigation discounts

The first stage of Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s home reinspection program has uncovered errors that could yield about $350,000 in additional premium revenue for the state-owned insurer.


Jacksonville Port Authority CEO on board with plan to garner $500 million from insurance taxes for Florida ports

State Rep. Lake Ray of Jacksonville is asking fellow lawmakers to approve a plan for steering up to $500 million to Florida’s ports by using a portion of taxes paid by insurance companies.


Florida legislature tries again to tackle insurance mess

Randi Schuknecht worried that her longtime, established insurance company was about to leave Florida – and leave her without a homeowner’s policy.  


Palm Beach homeowners with Bad Drywall Qualify for Lower Property Appraisals

Palm Beach County homeowners with defective Chinese drywall are now eligible to get their property appraisals cut by almost three-quarters.


Canadian firm buying Sarasota County’s 16th largest employer-Zenith National Insurance           

Canadian financial services holding company Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. said Thursday that it will buy all the shares of U.S. insurer Zenith National Insurance Corp. in a deal that values the company at about $1.4 billion.


South Florida seeks new satellites, radar systems to improve weather forecasts

One satellite would better track hurricanes. Another would detect solar flare-ups and prevent telecommunications failures. Then there’s a sophisticated radar system that would almost instantly warn of tornadoes.


Sen. Bill Nelson wants federal investigation into Palm Beach cancer cluster

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says the state needs federal help to search for the cause of higher rates of brain cancer in girls and teens in the rural western Palm Beach County community of the Acreage.


Florida insurance commissioner orders several companies and individuals to cease and desist the unauthorized sale of health insurance products

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty today announced the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has issued an Order to a dozen entities, including companies and their officers, for the unauthorized sale of health insurance products to approximately 2,500 Floridians.


Florida to get $282 Million Medicare refund

Congratulations, Florida! You’re getting a refund of $282.5 million in overpayments to Medicare, thanks to a recalculation of drug premiums for low-income elderly.


Press Release:  CSC Renews Business Process Outsourcing Contract with Florida-based Sunshine State Insurance Company

Florida Insurer Updates Technology Platform and Expands Services for Agents

CSC today announced a six-year extension to its business process outsourcing services agreement with Sunshine State Insurance Company, St. Augustine, Fla.


Florida theme parks battle lawyers over waivers for kids

Florida’s tourism industry seeks again to reinstate parental waivers

Waiver move comes even though few businesses bar kids from some activities

Fourteen months ago, the highest court in Florida ruled that parents did not have the authority to sign away their children’s civil-lawsuit rights before participating in potentially dangerous commercial activities – a decision that outraged the state’s tourism industry and prompted warnings that businesses would begin to drop children from certain programs.


1976 insurance settlement check for $17,500 found in Broward woman’s nightstand drawer

Insurance settlement was for 1976 accident under Brooklyn Bridge

Barbara Cosgrove doesn’t specifically remember who gave her the envelope in late January 1978.


Florida Supreme Court Strikes Down Anti-Hometown Democracy Petition Revocation Law

Today, in a lengthy 4-2 opinion, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the revocation legislation passed by the Florida Legislature back in 2007 to keep Florida Hometown Democracy off the ballot.


Minnesota sues debt ‘helper’ companies in Florida, California and Texas

The suits seek to halt practices that allegedly make things worse for debt-strapped consumers.

Minnesota’s attorney general sued six out-of-state debt-settlement firms Thursday, alleging that they broke a new state law while promising help to debt-ridden consumers and leaving many in worse shape.


South Florida officials, farmers lash out at EPA’s tough new water pollution rules

South Florida farmers and local governments alike on Thursday called for federal regulators to back off tough new water pollution rules they argue would cost too much to follow.


Florida budget writers expect to do more cutting

The Legislature has chopped about $7 billion from the state’s annual budget over the last three years – enough to run Florida’s courts and all state environmental, agricultural, prison, and public safety agencies combined for a full year.


Florida lawmakers dining on warmed over issues

The Florida Legislature this year will be rewarming a plate full of leftovers from past sessions.


Florida lawmakers hear good, bad of Gulf oil drilling

Drilling proponents tell of many safeguards, but there still are spills.


Florida State Rep. Sansom hearing set for Monday

Unable to reach a deal to avert a spectacle that could embarrass some of the state’s top politicians, the Florida House plans to begin its disciplinary hearing of Rep. Ray Sansom next week.


Ben Albritton Top Fundraiser in Florida House District 66 Race

In the race to replace Rep. Baxter Troutman in his District 66 seat in the Florida House of Representatives, one candidate is far ahead in the three-way Republican primary race.


Rubio wows national conservative conference

Conservatives have jumpstarted the U.S. Senate campaign of Marco Rubio, and he returned the favor on Thursday by opening the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference with a rousing speech against moderates and the Democratic establishment.


Florida rural counties get $30 million for broadband

A coalition of 22 rural north Florida governments has received $30 million in federal stimulus funds for broadband and high-speed connectivity to jumpstart economic development.  


Florida business owners tell CFO Sink that state fails them

Each of the 10 small business owners surrounding Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink had a beef with the state’s plan to help them emerge from the Great Recession.


‘Bribes’ often needed to prevent mortgage defaults or destruction of homes in Florida

They’re resorting to bribery.


Medicare Secondary Payer Reports Deadline Moved To Jan. 1

To the relief of workers’ compensation insurers and self-insured risk managers, the government has extended their deadline for reporting under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act until next year.


Mississippi Court Rules on CGL Coverage for Subcontractor Work

A general contractor’s hiring of a subcontractor does not necessarily preclude coverage under its commercial general liability policy for shoddy work performed by the subcontractor, Mississippi’s highest court has ruled.


Chinese company drops out on eve of drywall trial

Less than 24 hours before a potentially historic tainted drywall case was to commence – one that will determine the procedures for fixing houses – the Chinese company that was to provide the manufacturers’ defense shocked participants by dropping out.


Oklahoma Insurance Department Seeking to Become Standalone Entity

A measure to make the Oklahoma Insurance Department a non-appropriated agency has passed the state Senate Appropriations Committee.


Medical Malpractice Insurers Could Keep Antitrust Protection

Democrats appear to be removing medical malpractice insurers from a bill to eliminate the antitrust exemption for health insurers in the McCarran-Ferguson Act.


Appraisal Provision Validated: Setting the amount of insured loss

In Farmers Automobile Insurance Association v. Union Pacific Railway Co., the Wisconsin Supreme Court set forth the standard for vacating or modifying insurance policy appraisal provisions used to set value for claimed losses. The court also tackled discovery and standard of review issues.



Florida insurance-related bills filed on Friday, February 19:


SB 2196 Relating to Agreements for Property Repairs and Reactive Drywall by State Senator Mike Bennett  (Similar H 1133)

Authorizes certain persons or entities to agree to certain measures to effect repairs to improvements to real property due to problems arising from the use of reactive drywall. Prohibits a cause of action for damage to property arising from prior use of reactive drywall or from such repairs.  Effective Date:  Upon becoming law.


SB 2232 Relating to Guaranty Associations by State Senator Garrett Richter                   

Expands an exemption from the applicability of certain provisions of state law to include workers’ compensation claims under employer liability coverage. Revises the structure of the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association by combining the auto liability and auto physical damage accounts. Deletes provisions relating to classification and payment of emergency assessments. Provides guidelines for the calculation of recoupment factors.  Effective Date:  Upon becoming law


SB 2226 Relating to Off-highway Vehicles/ROV by State Senator Carey Baker  

Redefines the term “ROV” to include vehicles of an increased width and weight.  Effective Date:  July 1, 2010


HB 1151 Relating to Municipal Police Pension Plans by State Representative Marty Kiar

Allows premium tax revenues to be used to repay advances from municipalities that are used to purchase annuities to fund accrued liabilities of plan.  Effective Date:  July 1, 2010


HB 1149 Relating to Audits of Pharmacy Records by State Representative Eddy Gonzalez       

Revises requirements for audits of Medicaid-related pharmacy records and authorizes third-party payor and third-party administrator audits of pharmacies.  Provides that claims containing certain clerical or recordkeeping errors are not subject to financial recoupment and specifies that certain audit criteria apply to third-party claims submitted after a specified date.  Prohibits certain accounting practices used for calculating recoupment of claims and prohibits audit criteria from requiring recoupment of claims except under certain circumstances.  Provides procedures for audits of third-party payor and third-party administrator audits.  Effective Date:  Upon becoming a law


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