Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, August 16

Aug 16, 2010


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State Farm cuts out long-time discounts, policy rates increase

Mark Albritton was able to knock $245 off his homeowner’s insurance bill last year after a home inspection showed he was eligible for a wind mitigation discount.


Dozens of Florida home insurance companies raising rates by double-digits

Across the state, homeowners are feeling the pain of higher home insurance rates.  In Southwest Florida, some State Farm policy holders have seen their rates increase by more than 40 percent this year.


Growing number of sinkhole claims questioned

Insurance claims for sinkhole damage are rising, and the state wants to know whether that’s because Florida is seeing a lot more sinkholes or, as insurers say, because most of those claims aren’t for legitimate sinkholes.


Septic tank owners are angry over inspection legislation

Some of Florida’s nearly 3 million septic tank owners are getting angry, and a veteran lawmaker who said he was tricked into voting for the first statewide mandatory inspection program is getting nervous.


Florida’s new Chinese drywall property laws take effect  

There are a couple of new laws property owners should keep in mind as the 2010 property tax season kicks off.


Highest Dividend Yield in the Property & Casualty Insurance Industry Detected in Shares of Florida-based Universal Insurance Holdings

Below are the top five companies in the Property & Casualty Insurance industry as measured by dividend yield.  Dividends can enhance returns for investors seeking income in addition to capital gains.


Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund goes broke

A state recovery fund designed to reimburse Floridians who were scammed by their contractors is bankrupt.  Set up after Hurricane Andrew, the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund ran out of cash two years ago.


For consumers, it’s a jungle out there

In Florida, a consumer can do everything right and still end up with a disaster — and little recourse under the law

When Hosney and Yvonne Boutros wanted to buy storm windows last year for their Fort Lauderdale condo, they asked neighbors for recommendations, had two different companies give them estimates, and chose one to do the work.


United States Takes Action to Reduce Hazards from Fertilizer Manufacturing Plant in Florida

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Justice Department announced that CF Industries, Inc. has agreed to spend approximately $12 million to reduce and properly manage hazardous wastes generated at its Plant City, Florida phosphoric acid and ammoniated fertilizer manufacturing facility.


The New York Times:  Some States, Including Florida, Lack Health Insurance Authority

Faced with the need to review insurance rates and enforce a panoply of new rights granted to consumers, states are scrambling to make sure they have the necessary legal authority to carry out the responsibilities being placed on them by President Barack Obama’s health care legislation.


Florida Medical Association votes ‘no confidence’ in American Medical Association

The Florida Medical Association decided Sunday after two days of heated debate not to break off relations with the American Medical Association, officials and delegates said at the conclusion of the event.


Florida Agency for Health Care Administration won’t investigate Scott clinics

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration will not investigate politically explosive allegations against a clinic chain founded by Rick Scott, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor. But AHCA has sent the allegations to federal Medicare officials.


No-penalty amnesty period on overdue Florida taxes will last through Sept. 30

Florida is offering amnesty on three years’ worth of overdue and often-overlooked state taxes owed by individuals and businesses.


Support for drilling ban fading fast in Florida

With oil no longer gushing from the BP well in the Gulf, support for a constitutional ban on drilling in Florida waters is fading, most surprisingly in the Panhandle.


No hug, no spotlight for Crist during Obama visit

There was no hug and little in the way of a photo op, but Gov. Charlie Crist did get a brief pat on the shoulder Saturday from President Barack Obama.


Democrats Meek, Greene split on stimulus, Cuba policy in weekend debate

Billionaire Jeff Greene wants to consider lifting Cuban trade and travel restrictions and said the $787 billion stimulus is a failure, points Rep. Kendrick Meek disagreed with Sunday in the final debate before the Democratic Senate primary.


For GOP chairman Thrasher, election poses real challenges

After he served as speaker of the House, he made millions as a lobbyist in Tallahassee.


Florida’s top lawyer seat is an open race

With billions at stake over Gulf oil damage claims and a pending lawsuit over new federal health care laws, the next attorney general Florida voters choose may be their most influential in years.


Hopefuls eye District 55 seat in Florida Legislature

One candidate is a reformed crack cocaine user who turned around his life, won a seat in the state Legislature and leads the charge against drug paraphernalia.


Column:  Squabble makes for odd titles at Florida Department of Management Services

Tom Berger and Dan Eberhart don’t use rakes and lawnmowers, but the Department of Management Services is using “groundskeeper” job slots to keep them working.


Florida State Representative Kevin Ambler injured, cited in Lutz car crash

State Rep. Kevin Ambler went to a hospital and was cited after a car crash on Saturday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol said.


Stimulus-funded mobile training program out of money, leaving Florida

They enter a mobile unit parked outside a manufacturing plant every day, perhaps 12 to 14 in a group. Some are single moms or dads; some may have criminal records; all are desperate for a job.


Florida Strives to Compile Species List

For 15 years, state wildlife officials have struggled to come up with the best way to declare certain Florida species to be in danger of going extinct and thus in need of protection.


Florida-based Office Depot says it is first national retailer to offer USPS products, shipping

Office Depot says it is the first national retailer to offer U.S. Postal Service shipping products and services.


New Louisiana insurance laws take effect today

Laws designed to encourage policyholders to get rebates from the state’s insurer of last resort and to take policies out of the company’s insurance pool become effective today.


Regulator Calls Domestic Reinsurance Capital Requirements Draconian

A regulator called the risk-based capital requirements for domestic reinsurers “draconian” after representatives from the Reinsurance Association of America said their obligations outweigh the rest of the industry’s commitments.


Iowa Supreme Court rules in favor of Andover Fire Department’s insurance carrier

Justices say Justin Faur was acting as employee, not fireman, at time of accident

The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a Polk County District Court’s decision that a local volunteer fire department’s insurance company does not have to pay benefits in connection with the death of an Andover volunteer firefighter who died while trying to save his employer in a farm-related accident.


Alabama Becomes First State to Sue BP, Others for Gulf Oil ‘Catastrophe’

Alabama is suing BP Plc, Transocean and Halliburton for “catastrophic harm” caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the state’s attorney general said Friday.


Cuomo and New York Regulators Respond to Producer Comp Lawsuit

In a series of court filings, the New York Attorney General’s Office and State Insurance Department argue that new rules requiring agents to disclose their pay to clients are needed to penetrate a “cloak of secrecy” that pervades over agent-client relationships.


Property Casualty Insurers Association of America:  Industry Settled Katrina Claims Quickly, Emerged In Good Shape

Ninety-eight percent of the 1.7 million Hurricane Katrina-related claims were settled within a year, a new white paper said.

  • To access the white paper, click here.



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