Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, May 21

May 21, 2010



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Florida Insurers Say Omnibus Property Bill Is Consumer Friendly

One thing in Florida that is less predictable than the upcoming hurricane season is whether Gov. Charlie Crist will sign an omnibus property insurance bill endorsed by the the state’s insurance commissioner, a group of domestic insurance company executives, trade associations, and a consumer advocate.


Editorial:   Looking for relief

With regard to a new property insurance bill, the governor should extend his hand toward the Legislature in the spirit of cooperation – right after he signs the measure into law.


Police agencies team up to reinforce ‘Move Over’ law

Under the measure, drivers must shift over a lane if they see an emergency vehicle on the roadside, giving it a wide berth. Those who cannot move over must slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.


Attorney General Warns Floridians Against Paying Fees for Oil Spill Claims Services

Claims service is entirely free of cost

Attorney General Bill McCollum today warned Floridians that anyone requesting a fee to process a claim for loss or damage associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is not an authorized BP/ESIS adjuster. ESIS is BP’s authorized, third-party claims administrator. The BP claims process is free of any cost to any individual or company filing claims.


Column: Recent cap on legal fees means Attorney General can’t hire the best to sue BP

Nobody likes attorneys until they need one, and then they want the smartest, orneriest, hardest-line lawyer they can get.


Florida man awarded $14 million in asbestos case

A Miami-Dade jury has awarded a Sarasota man more than $14 million after deciding that the asbestos he inhaled in the 1970s caused his deadly abdominal cancer.


Tobacco trial jury awards Hollywood widow $29 million

A Broward County jury on Thursday handed down a $29.1 million verdict to a widow who said her husband started smoking as a teenager.


Audit blasts Jacksonville firm’s Medicaid contract

First Coast Service Options audits state Medicaid program

A Jacksonville-based auditing firm’s $1.8 million annual contract with Florida’s Medicaid program is on shaky ground after state auditors found it had sharply increased its hourly rate while performing fewer audits.


Hospitals Consider New Quality Assurance Program Developed by Surgeons

A quality improvement initiative developed by surgeons, with the potential for changing how the federal government measures hospital performance, is seeking Florida hospitals to participate.


Florida’s Jobless Rate Better for 1st Time Since ’06

Florida’s unemployment rate improved in April with 15,500 workers finding jobs

State labor officials said Friday April’s 12 percent was an improvement from March’s 12.3 percent jobless rate. This represents the first time since February 2006 that the monthly unemployment numbers had gotten better in Florida.


Florida panel OKs looser waterway standards

Environmentalists oppose plan that must be approved by EPA

A plan to change Florida water-quality rules won a state commission’s approval Thursday, easing requirements for some man-made waterways to mirror conditions in healthy, natural rivers.


IRS investigates Miccosukee tribe’s former chairman

The IRS is investigating Billy Cypress, the former longtime chairman of the Miccosukee Tribe, for alleged income tax violations linked to the tribe’s multimillion dollar gambling operation — a probe that coincides with a major shake-up in the tribe’s leadership and the ouster of its longtime lawyer.


Independent Crist backs constitutional ban on gerrymandering

Here’s proof that Gov. Charlie Crist is flexing his muscles as a candidate not tethered to a party platform: This week he endorsed two constitutional amendments that attempt to ban incumbency protection when the Republican-controlled Legislature rewrites the political boundaries starting next year.


Which budget items are targets?

Florida lawmakers spent this year’s legislative session bemoaning a lack of money. But that didn’t stop them from trying to bring home the bacon for health and human-service programs in their districts.


Visitors to Florida increase by 2.7%

The number of travelers who visited Florida during the first quarter was up nearly 3 percent, a welcome boost to a tourism industry emerging from the Great Recession and now worried about the impact of the Gulf oil spill.


Oyster season in Apalachicola Bay opens early

Official: Oil spill spread not imminently impacting Apalachicola Bay

Cashing in on a hot demand for their world-famous oysters, harvesters can start combing the middle of Apalachicola Bay today – 11 days early – as the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill spreads across the Gulf of Mexico and closes fisheries elsewhere.


‘Zero’ chance Mayor Bloomberg will endorse Charlie Crist

Gov. Charlie Crist surely hoped to get support from independent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but it’s looking unlikely.


Florida State Sen. Fasano scoffs as Pasco Republican leaders go RINO (Republicans In Name Only) hunting

But now, local Republicans are trying to exile state senator Mike Fasano from the party

The New Port Richey Republican’s offense? Remaining a loyal supporter of Gov. Charlie Crist despite the Senate hopeful’s switch to independent.


U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene takes jabs at Sen. Bill Nelson

Positioning himself as the outsider against three career politicians for the U.S. Senate, Democratic real estate investor Jeff Greene took a shot at an elder statesman in his own party during a visit Wednesday to a politically active Broward retirement community.


Rick Scott, who ran a company involved in the nation’s largest Medicare fraud case, wants to be Florida’s governor

It was and still is the biggest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history and ended with the hospital giant Columbia/HCA paying a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties and damages.


Dave Aronberg, candidate for Florida attorney general, faces campaign finance questions

A Democratic candidate for attorney general is facing questions about whether his campaign skirted election laws to pay staffers.


U.S. Senate Approves Financial Reform Bill, Addresses Surplus Lines

Surplus lines insurers and agents were also addressed in both the House and Senate financial reform legislation as both bills included language from the NonAdmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act – surplus lines regulatory reform provisions that aim to make access for insurance consumers to the surplus lines market quicker and more efficient, as well as making the payment of surplus lines taxes on multi-state risks, easier and less burdensome for the surplus lines broker.


Munich Re Securitizes $80 Million for Europe Windstorm, U.S. Hurricanes

Munich Re has obtained cover for US hurricane and European windstorm risks amounting to $80 million from special-purpose vehicle EOS Wind Ltd, which placed a catastrophe bond in the market.


News Release:  Guy Carpenter Securities, a Division of MMC Securities Corp., Announces Completion of 144A Catastrophe Bond – EOS Wind Limited

Cat Bond Transaction Provides Per-Occurrence PCS Index Protection for U.S. Hurricane and Per-Occurrence Paradex Protection for European Windstorms

Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC, the leading global risk and reinsurance specialist, and GC Securities, today announced the completion of a USD80 million, two-class note issuance from a new 144A catastrophe bond vehicle, EOS Wind Limited, an Irish special purpose company incorporated with limited liability, to benefit Munich Re.


Ohio Supreme Court: Attorneys’ Fees Distinct from Punitive Damages

The Ohio Supreme Court has issued a slip opinion finding that attorneys’ fees are distinct from punitive damages and that public policy does not prevent an insurance company from covering those fees on behalf of an insured.


State Regulators Scrutinize Annuity Scams: Stranger Originated/Owned Annuities Subject of Public Hearing

The hearing, hosted by the NAIC Life Insurance and Annuities Committee, focused on the suspect practice of targeting seniors and terminally ill patients by inducing them to purchase an annuity largely for the benefit of investors or intermediaries.


Marsh:  Complex Global Risks, Boardroom Demands to Challenge Risk Managers in 2010

Despite the global economic crisis, the commercial insurance market is poised to remain stable through 2010, but new challenges are emerging for risk managers, according to a comprehensive report issued today by Marsh, the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor.


CEO: No MMC Break

Marsh & McLennan Companies’ chief executive indicated there are no plans to break up the company-emphasizing it is more powerful together than apart-but he said nothing to dampen press speculation about the sale of Kroll.


National Restaurant Association, UnitedHealth team up on insurance for restaurant workers

Plan hopes to make coverage more accessible to millions without health benefits

The National Restaurant Association and insurance giant UnitedHealth Group Inc. are teaming up in an attempt to make coverage more accessible to millions of restaurant workers without health benefits, three years ahead of when the health care overhaul would require everyone to have insurance.


Indiana State University Report:  Lack of Demand for Innovation Helps Insurers Avoid Systemic Risk

The 2008 financial failure and system breakdown of American International Group Financial Products did not contribute to broader systemic effects within the insurance industry, according to a new financial services think tank report.  


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