Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, July 6

Jul 6, 2009

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Florida Regulators, State Farm Florida Appear Headed to Court Over Withdrawal Plan

Negotiations between Florida regulators and State Farm Florida concerning the insurer’s plans to withdraw from the state’s property insurance market appear to be at a stalemate, and with a deadline approaching, an administrative court date looks imminent.


Citizens may nix insurance rate cut

Citizens Property Insurance board will decide Wednesday how to move toward greater financial soundness, including a proposal to reject rate cuts for policyholders that would cost some ratepayers thousands in cheaper premiums. Its choice won’t be final. State regulators make that call for rates that go into effect in January.


Floridians press members of Congress for fund to cover catastrophes

Florida residents and business leaders told federal lawmakers Thursday that the rising cost of property insurance is hitting state residents and the economy hard, and called on Congress to pass legislation for a “catastrophe fund” to help local homeowners.


Insurer may reject rate cuts

The Citizens Property Insurance board will decide Wednesday how to move toward greater financial soundness, including a proposal to reject rate cuts for policyholders to get there faster and cost some ratepayers thousands in cheaper premiums.


Rep. Bill Proctor: Crist was wrong on insurance veto

Regarding Gov. Charlie Crist’s June 24 veto message pertaining to HB 1171 and the consequent reduction of homeowner policies currently issued by national companies, I wish to address four points.


Column: Crist gets heat for insurance veto from Wall Street Journal

Gov. Charlie Crist got a crackback block from The Wall Street Journal for his veto of the bill-not-to-be-called the State Farm bill.


Allstate Agent Joins Race For Fla. Chief Financial Officer 

A longtime Allstate agent and veteran of the Florida House of Representatives has announced his candidacy for Florida chief financial officer in a race likely to see some focus on the state’s fractured insurance market.


Florida Keys may ease hurricane-evacuation policy

With better forecasting and communications, emergency managers consider easing up on evacuating tourists for every hurricane threat.

Twice last year, tens of thousands of visitors were ordered to leave the Florida Keys when far-off tropical storms threatened. Both Fay and Ike wound up as little more than blustery side-swipes.


South Florida cities are better prepared for a major storm four years after Wilma

It left millions without power for weeks, triggered long gas lines, took out traffic lights and trashed the region with debris.


Mercedes Homes at fault for cracks in Florida houses, lawsuit says

The five homeowners, identifying themselves as representatives of the group, claim it will cost a minimum of $120 million to repair the cracks responsible for the leaks in 8,000 homes built by the financially troubled construction company


Crash-Tax Law: Double Taxation Arrested

Gov. Charlie Crist last month put a welcome end to so-called crash taxes when he signed into law a bill prohibiting police agencies from charging drivers for investigating traffic accidents.


Former South Florida water manager cleared as Joel Steinger viatical fraud case spawns corruption probe

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating corruption allegations by an indicted Fort Lauderdale insurance executive who, in a bid for a favorable plea deal, has named lawyers, lobbyists and fund-raisers he claims plotted with him to thwart a state crackdown on him and his industry.


OSHA opens probe into Disney monorail death

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the death of an operator of Walt Disney World’s monorail train, and will look into whether any workplace safety rules were broken that led to 21-year-old Austin Wuennenberg’s death Sunday when a monorail train crashed into another one.


Medicare rules making it difficult for Treasure Coast patients to get oxygen

New Medicare payment rules are starting to strangle local small oxygen suppliers by forcing them to turn away business.


Florida ranks last in money received per person from the stimulus package

Floridians have received less federal stimulus money than any of their fellow Americans, despite an unemployment rate here that ranks among the highest in the country and a budget crisis that few states can match.


Florida House leader pledges more efficient session

Meeting with business leaders last week, Florida’s Speaker of the House Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, says lawmakers can be more efficient in how they handle the state’s business and can spend less time – and taxpayer money – in the process.


Senate Full of Familiar Faces

Term-limited House members move to Senate.

Floridians overwhelmingly approved eight-year term limits for Florida lawmakers in 1992, but they have unwittingly created a revolving door that leaves the Senate rich in experience and the House filled with aspiring senators.


Florida aided Allen Stanford, suspect in huge swindle

Florida regulators — over objections by the state’s top banking lawyer — gave sweeping powers to banker Allen Stanford, accused of swindling investors of $7 billion.

Years before his banking empire was shut down in a massive fraud case, Allen Stanford swept into Florida with a bold plan: entice Latin Americans to pour millions into his ventures — in secrecy.


New e-mails shed light on Richburg-Sansom talks

Privacy was a concern when state Rep. Ray Sansom began discussions with Northwest Florida State College President Bob Richburg about working for the college.


States join Florida in seeking tests for ‘gray wave’ of older drivers

A looming ‘gray wave’ of Baby Boomers expected on the nation’s highways over the next two decades has prompted states to launch programs aimed at allowing seniors to keep driving as long as they can without endangering themselves or others.


Greyhound Potentially Liable for Lack of Bus Seatbelts

A Federal Court judge in Sacramento, Calif., has ruled that Greyhound could be liable for failing to put seatbelts on its buses.


New Jersey Insurance Commissioner Goldman Stepping Down

After three years as commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance, Steven Goldman will leave July 15 to resume his private law career.


Bloggers run risk of lawsuits, may want to add insurance to cover libel

Courtney Love sued after allegedly posting comments on social networking sites

When Courtney Love fell into a dispute with a clothing designer this year, she aired her beef on MySpace and Twitter.


Jackson Concert Promoter Says Insurance Covers Accidental Death

Concert promoter AEG Live’s chief executive said that insurance will help cover any losses on the now-canceled Michael Jackson concert series if the pop star died accidentally — including of a drug overdose — but not if he died of natural causes.


Blog:  Why insurance commissioners should not regulate Credit Default Swaps

There’s a meme doing the rounds – I fear it may have been caught by my colleague Rolfe Winkler – that credit default swaps are insurance products, and that therefore they should be regulated by insurance regulators. So before this nonsense spreads any further, it’s worth explaining just why that’s a very bad idea.


Hartford Sues Arch For Allegedly Poaching Execs

The Hartford Financial Services Group is suing Arch Insurance Group for allegedly poaching its financial products division of executives and stealing trade secrets.


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