Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, July 18

Jul 18, 2008


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


State Farm’s rate request may hide motives

By most accounts, the odds are remote that State Farm will win approval to raise homeowners insurance rates an average of 47.1 percent statewide. ‘I know I will do everything I can,’ state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said Thursday, ‘to see they don’t get one dime of an increase.’ So what’s really going on here? More precisely, as some state officials suggest, is Florida’s largest private insurer asking for such a large increase so it has an excuse to drop far more than the 50,000 policyholders it is currently shedding?

More insurance rate hike requests predicted

It’s likely that State Farm won’t be the last property insurer to ask Florida for a new rate hike, an industry spokesman said Thursday.

Wexler calls for probe of State Farm rate request

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat from Boca Raton, believes State Farm Florida’s request for an average 47.1 percent rate increase deserves congressional scrutiny.

A Florida congressman called for an investigation into State Farm Florida’s request for a rate increase that averages 47.1 percent.

State Farm rate request displeases lawmakers

State Rep. Keith Fitzgerald will not have to sweat the hefty homeowners insurance rate increase proposed by State Farm Florida — the company is dropping him this year.

EDITORIAL: Kill the increase

State regulators should reject State Farm’s request for yet another big rate hike
Hide your wallets because the rip-off artists are back.

EDITORIAL: Insurers just don’t get it

What would possess State Farm to demand a 47 percent rate increase on homeowner policies knowing it’s most likely going to be rejected?

Florida could spend a buck on prevention to save $7 in health costs

For every dollar invested to keep people fit and healthy in Florida, nearly $7 could be saved within a decade.

Author of report critical of Florida’s Medicaid changes fired

The state official whose critical report halted expansion of Florida’s Medicaid changes has been fired by her boss, a former legislator who helped write the law implementing the changes.

Brown & Brown reports decrease in net income

National insurance agency Brown & Brown Inc. posted a sharp drop in its net income, hit by the slowdown in the U.S. economy.

Teen train to survive disasters

Kaitlyn Wolfe didn’t want to participate in the local American Red Cross teen disaster camp.

South Florida: High court asked to rethink casino ruling

Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe asked the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday to reconsider its order this month striking down the deal to allow blackjack and baccarat table games in tribal casinos.

Legislature slammed over child-welfare budgeting

State child-welfare administrators blamed a lack of funding for the high turnover rate of abuse investigators.

A panel of child welfare administrators from throughout Florida — gathered to recommend reforms in the wake of a high-profile missing-child case — blasted lawmakers Thursday for funding state agencies so poorly that turnover among child abuse investigators has reached ”dangerous” levels.

GOP Hopefuls Stress Common Themes

Florida roots, strong families and a focus on education, insurance reform and limited taxes are common themes in the Republican primary for Florida House District 64.

Six Democrats in race for House District 94

Six candidates who consider themselves community activists are vying to be the next state representative from House District 94, replacing Democrat Matt Meadows, who isleaving because of term limits.

Florida a multimillion-dollar gold mine for presidential hopefuls

In the presidential race for campaign cash, Florida was especially generous to John McCain last month and gave even more to Barack Obama.

Crist fields VP queries on Europe trade trip

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist capped a four-day trade mission to Britain Wednesday with speculation about his vice presidential chances, hopes that cheap Florida real estate would entice foreign buyers and a private meeting with Prince Charles.

Crist: Out of town, out of touch

As a beaming Gov. Charlie Crist and his fiancee Carole Rome posed for pictures in London Wednesday with the Prince of Wales, state economists were wailing about the latest signs of Florida’s deteriorating condition.

Fla.’s Slump Is Deep, Will Last Longer

Economists say things won’t start to turn around until the end of 2009.

Florida’s economic slump is worse than state economists had predicted earlier this year, and now they say it’ll last about six months longer than previously expected.

Max Planck Society to finalize agreement with Palm Beach County for bio-imaging center

Germany’s Max Planck Society will finalize next week a landmark ‘grant agreement’ with Palm Beach County for the science giant to build a bio-imaging center here that will employ dozens of scientists and technicians and holds promise of triggering a rebound in the area economy.

Health warning for three more area beaches

Three more Southwest Florida beaches are under a health advisory for having high bacteria levels, joining the Venice Fishing Pier beach, which has been under an advisory for more than a month.

Florida green groups sue EPA

Five environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency today, saying state and federal officials have done nothing in 10 years to set pollution limits for lakes, rivers and springs that are being damaged by algae blooms.

U.S. Arbitration Ban Bill Draws Insurer Fire

Insurance industry officials are voicing strong opposition to legislation approved earlier this week by a House subcommittee that would abolish use of arbitration agreements in consumer, franchise and employment contracts.

Congressional committee will probe health insurers that cancel sick members’ coverage

A congressional committee will investigate health insurers’ practice of canceling coverage when policyholders get sick, its chairman said Thursday.

EDITORIAL:  Give Us Reform, Not a Veto

Talk about short-lived. How’s this for a brief lifespan for a presidential veto: Congress sent a Medicare bill to the president last week to head off cuts in doctor payments. President George W. Bush went through with his threatened veto Tuesday morning. By the end of Tuesday, the House voted to override the veto 383-41 and the Senate voted 70-26 to override.

Vioxx settlement payments start in August

People who suffered heart attacks while taking Vioxx could receive a partial settlement check as early as next month.

2 health insurers to pay $13M to Calif regulators

Two of California’s biggest health insurers have agreed to collectively pay $13 million and reinstate more than 2,000 insurance policies to settle claims with the state that they illegally dropped policyholders from coverage.

Democrat-Backed Drilling Bill Falls Short In House

The U.S. House of Representatives killed a bill Thursday that Democrats, including Kathy Castor, had pushed as a way to spur drilling on 68 million acres of government land already leased by oil and gas companies in Alaska, the West and the western Gulf of Mexico.

OPINION:  A Few Comments on Proposed Rule 151A and Commenting on The Rule

Since the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed Rule 151A on June 25, the indexed annuity industry is scrambling. This proposed rule would redefine indexed annuities, a fixed product with downside guarantees and risk borne to the insurance carrier, as securities products. Interested parties have until Sept. 10 to submit comments to the SEC regarding the proposal. After that time, the SEC will make their decision on the matter. Once the SEC makes a decision, it goes into effect 12 months later, according to the proposal.

New York Hearings Pit Agents Against Compensation-Reformers

A top executive for a key insurance broker urged New York regulators to quash the practice of insurance agents taking contingent commissions, despite calls from agents that the practice would hurt their businesses, and do nothing to improve the insurance industry.

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send an e-mail to