Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, May 28

May 28, 2010

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Citizens says losses rose 34 percent over previous year

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reported that losses rose 34 percent over a year ago, due largely to sinkhole claims from both residential and commercial policyholders. The state-run insurer of last resort posted net income of $191.3 million for the year ended March 31, down 41 percent.


Blog:  Citizens slammed for “discouraging” competition on $60 million for contractors

Citizens Property Insurance says anyone who meets the qualifications will be hired to be an inspector and receive some of the up to the $60 million it plans to spend on home re-inspections.


Blog:  Mandate for Detailed Report on All Residential Property Rate Filings Pending in Budget

See Item 4:  McCarty has been a constant target of some lawmakers the last few years especially after he urged Crist to veto last year’s property deregulation bill.


Pasco homeowner sues Bank of America over flood insurance requirements

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, New Port Richey resident James Wright alleges the megabank forced him to buy more flood insurance than required under federal law, costing him an extra $500 in annual premiums.


Environmental Groups Join Opposition Against Florida Congressman’s National Catastrophe Backstop Fund Bill

Most of the property/casualty insurance industry has been opposing a bill that would form a federal backstop fund for natural catastrophes, and now, environmental groups have joined the cause, petitioning House lawmakers to reject the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Ron Klein, D-Fla.


Some new Florida homeowners use tax credit to harden home

First-time home buyers who signed contracts before April 30 received a tax credit of up to $8,000 and while no one tracks how they used that money, some of them in hurricane-prone states from Texas through Florida and up the Atlantic coast used the money to reinforce their homes.


Sinkhole swallows Pinellas family’s front yard

Colin and Judi Niven say their lives have been ordinary… up until Wednesday night when they found a sinkhole swallowing up their front yard as they returned home from dinner with friends.


1997 Miami Beach drowning case settled for $1.5 million

An insurance company that for years refused to pay damages in a controversial Miami Beach drowning case has agreed to settle for $1.45 million with the husband of the victim, according to the family’s attorney.


Blog:  Crist at Obama’s side as federal response steps up

President Obama is speaking right now in Grand Isle, Louisiana. With him is Gov. Charlie Crist. Obama mentioned Crist and Bobby Jindal and said one way people can help is to visit Gulf beaches.


Florida stops Build America Bonds sales on subsidy concerns

Florida won’t sell more Build America Bonds, the fastest-growing part of the $2.8 trillion municipal market, until the federal government guarantees the subsidy on the program, said Ben Watkins, who oversees the state’s debt sales.


First $67M for high-speed train released to Florida

Florida on Thursday received its first installment from the federal government to build the high-speed train that would link Orlando International Airport and Tampa.


In reversal, Florida’s Crist supports ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal

In an apparent nod to Democrats, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Thursday he’d support repealing the policy that bars openly gay people from serving in the military, reversing what he told reporters three days earlier.

Crist axes $371 million from state budget

With little pomp and no public availability, Gov. Charlie Crist signed the state’s $70 billion state budget Friday, vetoing $371 million in lawmaker spending priorities.  Crist’s list of line-item cuts include a $160 million sweep of dollars out of the transportation trust fund, a cut to the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes, and a ban on using tax dollars flowing into the state to support human embryonic stem cell research.


Crist signs Fla. bong ban, debt collectors bills

Gov. Charlie Crist has signed bills banning bong sales, cracking down on rogue debt collectors and helping lure baseball teams to Florida for spring training.


Blog:  Meek Concurs with Crist on Special Session Call

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist wants to call the state’s legislature into a special session to consider a constitutional amendment banning offshore drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Kendrick Meek wants that session, too. Now.


Top Florida lawmaker is pushing for an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigration

An Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigration may be gaining ground in Florida, the state with the third-highest undocumented population. The state House’s top legislator on criminal justice issues says he wants to see legislation to mirror Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration crackdown.


NWF Daily News: Sansom-established Transportation Corridor Authority is broke

Northwest Florida Transportation Corridor Authority members sounded slightly wistful Thursday as they discussed $1.2 million they desperately need but that remains, they believe, just out of their grasp.


National Flood Insurance Program to end as hurricane season begins

Unable to reach consensus on either a short- or long-term extension on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), legislators in Washington, D.C., will let the federal program lapse as of the first day of the hurricane season.


State Farm raising rates 35% for many Dallas homeowners

Many Dallas-area homeowners insured by State Farm are being hit with premium increases that are nearly triple the 13 percent figure that the company said it was imposing statewide under twin rate hikes filed over the past eight months.


Disaster derivatives in demand as US wind season looms

Imminent U.S. hurricane season prompts more Industry-Loss Warranty trading

Catastrophe derivative prices and trading have increased sharply in all U.S. natural peril risks in the run-up to the start of the hurricane season, making it more dfficult for reinsurance companies to hedge against a repeat of Hurricane Katrina, brokers say


Recession fails to drive down auto insurance costs

Prices of some things go down in a recession but, this time, auto insurance isn’t one of them; it’s been going up, and there are more increases in the pipeline, say industry experts. The main reason given: a resurgence of fraud, especially phony or exaggerated medical claims.


Insurers ‘live and die’ with $2.2 trillion in corporate bonds

Insurance investors are betting the corporate bond rally that bolstered industry stocks can withstand concern that the Greek rescue plan will be insufficient to stabilize debt markets.


Ken Kaye: What would happen if a hurricane hits the oil spill?

What would happen if a hurricane churns into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?



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