Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, May 22

May 22, 2009

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New federal legislation would give South Florida homeowners an insurance break

Policy holders would get relief, have more options

South Florida homeowners could get a break from soaring property insurance premiums under legislation introduced in Congress Thursday that would expand the federal government’s role in supporting state-backed catastrophe coverage.


Eleventh-hour fight against Florida’s less controversial property insurance bill

Florida lawmaker Julio Robaina and two consumer groups are calling for Gov. Charlie Crist to veto property insurance measures passed by the Florida legislature this year.


Only Two Florida Domestic Insurers Lose Demotech Ratings So Far

Two domestic property insurers no longer writing in the state — one by choice, the other forced– are the only two Florida insurers negatively affected thus far by a rating agency’s review of small domestic insurers.


Florida-based American Strategic Insurance Corp. to Offer Homeowners Insurance in South Carolina

Scott H. Richardson, South Carolina Insurance Director, announced Thursday that Florida-based American Strategic Insurance Corporation (ASI) has entered the South Carolina marketplace and is offering homeowners’ insurance coverage for coastal property owners.


Congressional investigation of Chinese drywall gets serious; Florida homes to be tested

Senator asks FEMA to get involved

Prodded by Congress, the federal investigation into tainted Chinese drywall has shifted into overdrive. A sample of homes in Florida will be tested in June.


Air Sampling Methods Ineffective in Detecting Toxic Chinese Drywall

A leading forensic expert on building envelope water intrusion and toxic mold, Spiderman Mulholland, and his forensic division at U.S. Building Consultants, Inc. has determined that air sampling is not an effective method for determining the presence of toxic Chinese drywall corrosions.


Abandoned ships more prevalent than ever in South Florida

Owners walking away from boats they can no longer afford to maintain

A sinking economy, along with past hurricanes, has left a waterlogged legacy in Florida waters: slowly decaying wrecks of once proud boats abandoned by their owners.


Hiscox Opens Miami Office

Hiscox, an international specialist insurer, opened an office in Miami in an effort to further expand its U.S. operations.


Floods swamp east Volusia County

Deluge spurs many to flee as houses fill with water

Donna Fowler didn’t want to leave her home of 33 years, even as water crept onto the back deck Thursday, when torrential rains that battered Florida’s northeast coast this week left scores of east Volusia homeowners struggling with the worst floods they have ever seen.


    Gaetz says health bill is good for workers

    The sponsor of health insurance legislation is firing back at Blue Cross Blue Shield and consumer groups that argue his bill will inflate health care costs.


    Florida Public Interest Group: More ‘bang’ for insurance buck?

    Insurance companies and HMOs should be required to spend at least 85 percent of their revenue on health care, according to Florida Public Interest Group. Most in Florida don’t.


    Former Miami Pharmacy Owner Convicted of Stealing Over $1.3 Million In Prescription Drugs from Medicaid Program

    Attorney General Bill McCollum Thursday announced a guilty verdict against a former Miami pharmacist for stealing over $1.3 million in prescription drugs from the Florida Medicaid program.


    Bronson Out of Governor’s Race, For Now

    Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson announced Thursday that he’s not running for governor “at this time,” but left the door slightly ajar in the event of unforseen circumstances before next year’s election.


    Editorial: Florida’s Next Governor–Crist’s Unfinished Business

    So Charlie Crist is tired of being governor and now yearns to be Florida’s junior U.S. senator.


      Column: Race for governor is the most important in Florida

      Lately, the buzz has been all about the Crist-Rubio rivalry to replace Sen. Mel Martinez.


      Sen. Mike Bennett: New bill reforms road mandates, discourages sprawl

      There is a significant controversy surrounding SB 360, a major overhaul of Florida’s growth management laws that passed in the recent legislative session. Let me explain how we revised the legislation.


        Senate panel advances nomination of Tampa’s Frank Sanchez to Commerce Department post

        The U.S. Senate banking committee approved the nomination of Frank Sanchez of Tampa as President Obama’s under-secretary of international trade.


        Florida makes pitch for federal money for high-speed train

        It was billed as a workshop to answer questions about the Obama administration’s plans to build a high-speed rail network across the country.


        BankUnited, Florida’s largest bank, turned over to new owners

        In the nation’s largest bank failure so far this year, federal regulators have closed battered BankUnited of Coral Gables and appointed new owners led by longtime banking executive John Kanas and Palm Beach billionaire Wilbur Ross.


        Florida Insurance Commissioner Urges Congressional Delegation to Maintain State-Based Regulation of Insurance

        The state-based insurance regulatory system has been a constant in an otherwise erratic economic climate. That was the key message conveyed when Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty visited members of Congress to highlight the part of the regulatory system that has consistently worked.


        National Agent License Bill Introduced

        At the urging of the two main insurance agents’ groups, legislation was introduced in the House Thursday to create a system to provide insurance agents with a nationally valid license.


        NAMIC Urges Swift Congressional Action to Ease Access to Surplus Lines Insurance

        The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) today congratulated Reps. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., and Scott Garrett, R-N.J., for introducing legislation to modernize the regulation of non-admitted insurance and reinsurance markets.


        Life Insurers Criticize New York Times Editorial Attacking OFC Proposal

        Officials of two life industry trade groups criticized a New York Times editorial that said Congress should reject legislation creating an optional federal charter for insurance, calling the OFC approach a recipe for “regulator shopping.”


        FEMA funding dispute still clouds Ike recovery

        Galveston, other areas face mounting bills

        President Barack Obama’s homeland security chief is weighing whether to use arbitration to fix lingering federal-state disputes over millions of dollars in reimbursement for catastrophic damage along Texas Gulf Coast from Hurricane Ike.


        Red light cameras hit by new suit in New Orleans’ Jefferson Parish

        The legal fight over Jefferson Parish’s red light cameras has moved to state court in Gretna after a federal judge in New Orleans dismissed a lawsuit filed by the same plaintiffs.


        Survey: Insurers Focus Now On Reallocation, Risk Management

        Most property-casualty and life insurers find growing and keeping business their biggest challenge and are reacting to the recession by increasing cash allocation and strengthening risk management, a survey finds.


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