Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, June 9

Jun 9, 2008


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Nebraska Supreme Court rules against Florida

A multimillion-dollar insurance dispute that’s a decade old received new life on its third trip to the Nebraska Supreme Court because the court ordered a new trial today.

Ex-Poe policyholders submit barrage of claims before deadline

More than 1,300 insurance claims dating from the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons were filed by former Poe Financial Group policyholders in the 30 days before the door closed shut Monday on new filings.

Glades, Cat Fund Burden McCain

In a three-day tour of Florida this week, John McCain sought to set the tone for his campaign against Barack Obama, showing himself as a reformer distinct from President Bush, but more experienced and prudent than his opponent.

Growing Caribbean Insurer Picks Tampa

The economic news in the Bay area hasn’t been good lately, but a large insurance company with roots in Barbados is bucking that trend and planning to use Tampa as the base of a major expansion.

COLUMN: Declining rates worry insurance executives

Insurance executives, steeped in hefty profits in recent years, are getting nervous. At a Standard & Poor’s conference last week, some top insurance executives said declining policy rates will eat into profits in the short term.

OPINION: Florida Officials, Media Ignore Insurance Solution

There is absolutely nothing creative about the Tribune’s editorial, “Creative Windstorm Coverage,” (Our Opinion, May 31.) It has been discussed for years.

Hudson storm shelter may open by next year

A regional hurricane shelter in Hudson could be open by August 2009 after federal regulators decided it doesn’t have to be built to tougher, more expensive tornado and wind standards.

Sinkhole Sounded Like ‘Sonic Boom,’ Lutz Homeowner Says

The sinkhole in Kimberly Whitehill’s yard started off as a small dimple in April, but it truly opened up 5 a.m. Thursday, she said.

COLUMN: Federal flood insurance lets us off the hook

Rising seas. More hurricanes. A growing number of climate scientists warning that global warming will be sending some real howlers our way.

Five credits can cut home insurance bill

Include security, hurricane protection

Homeowners often don’t take time to reassess their home-insurance coverage when it’s time to pay the premium.

How tough is your house? Florida hurricane inspections tell you

The wind inspector squeezed into the attic. I followed. In a few minutes, I would learn whether a hurricane could easily rip off my roof, or whether my insurance company might cut me a break.

Make your home fire-safe

Sprinklers are no match for wildfires but they excel at interior flareups.

Most people wouldn’t notice, but in Baldwin Park, fire hydrants are farther apart than they are in other communities — 500 feet instead of the typical 300 feet.

Hedging bets on nature’s wily ways

At the end of the 1983 movie Trading Places, Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy make a killing trading frozen orange juice futures.

Hurricane Center focuses on where storms will strike

Housed in a drab, gray, bunker-like building, the National Hurricane Center sits at the edge of the Florida International University campus west of downtown Miami.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Insurance company dropped homeowner

I am yet another statistic caused by the hurricane. My insurance company wrote me a letter saying storms “forced State Farm Florida to analyze our exposure near the Florida coast. Due to the high risk of damage to your property from a hurricane we are not renewing.”

Bill A Mixed Blessing For Protection Groups

A bill to protect seagrasses by levying fines on boaters who carelessly run over the flats, House Bill 7059 is drawing fire from some environmental groups because Rep. Will Kendrick tacked on a provision that says developers may cut channels through some grass beds if they agree to “mitigate” the damage by restoring an equivalent amount of seagrass elsewhere.

Mystery group uses FL man’s photo in Medicare scare

A group that wants to block Medicare pay cuts to medical equipment suppliers is sending out misleading cards to seniors featuring the photograph of a Florida man who died nine months ago.

Process begins for hiring new Public Service Commissioner

Wanted: Technically minded, consumer oriented individual willing to endure hours of public meetings and blistering criticism.

Democrats smell blood in House District 44

Republican state Rep. Rob Schenck just finished his first term in Tallahassee. But there’s no time for him to relax.

Citrus feels the squeeze

When Michael Sparks, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, gives the state of the industry address Thursday at Florida’s annual citrus conference in Bonita Springs, the 800-pound grapefruit in the room will be this:

Wexler lends booming voice to Obama’s campaign

Rep. Robert Wexler has been loud and clear in his support for Sen. Barack Obama.

What makes Robert Wexler yell?

COLUMN: Buchanan using leadership PAC to gain influence

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan may be new to Congress, but he has been quick to use senior-like tactics to gain influence on Capitol Hill.

Paper ballot deal disappoints

What’s the use of paper ballots if no one looks at them? That is the question that election watchdogs continue to press, even as the state’s election supervisors race to implement the 2007 election law requiring every Florida county to vote on paper ballots.

Momentum Grows In Congress For Shift

Momentum is apparently growing in Congress for both property-casualty and life insurers to have an option to operate under a federal charter within the next two years, with one key House Democrat declaring that optional federal charter legislation will be his “top priority” in the next Congress.

NAIC Okays ‘Baseline’ Plan To Monitor Climate Change Impact On Insurers

A panel of state insurance commissioners has voted to adopt a controversial white paper that establishes what one key regulator characterized as a “baseline” for spurring and monitoring insurance industry and regulatory action on climate change issues.

As Wage & Hour Lawsuits Explode, Carriers Weigh In Against Insurability

While an explosion in wage-and-hour lawsuits may bring more employers to the doors of their employment practices liability insurance carriers, in most cases, those seeking coverage for settlement costs will be out of luck, experts say.

Insurers Wary Of Climbing Cyberliability Exposures

Cyberliability exposures will continue to grow, with claims costs more likely to run into the millions, regardless of how many individuals can prove personal damage from a data security breach, experts in this evolving market warned.

Judge rejects State Farm affiliate’s sanctions against policyholders victimized by Hurricane Katrina

Policyholders are casualties in a battle that has pitted State Farm and one of its vendors, E.A. Renfroe, against the Scruggs Katrina Group of attorneys, U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. wrote in an eight-page opinion filed this week.

Federal Appeals Court Takes on Louisiana’s Case Against Insurers

A federal appeals court agreed to hear a lawsuit that Louisiana’s former attorney general filed against some of the nation’s largest insurance companies after Hurricane Katrina.

Jury Rules Against Iowa’s United Fire & Casualty in Katrina Lawsuit

A federal court jury in Louisiana has ruled that United Fire & Casualty Co. should pay $21 million to a commercial policyholder claiming the insurance company declined to cover all damages caused by hurricane Katrina.

Federal Judge: Mississippi Attorney General Conspired with Trial Lawyer

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood wrongly conspired with prominent trial attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs to skirt a court order in a case involving Hurricane Katrina insurance claims, a federal judge ruled.

Mass. Agents, Arbella Challenge Managed Competition Rules

Massachusetts insurance agents and one of the state’s biggest auto insurers are going to court seeking to overturn rules that they say give new carriers an unfair advantage under the state’s new managed competition system.

Mississippi watchdog group leader slams FEMA’s decision on delivering ice

Ben Smilowitz, executive director for the Disaster Accountability Project, said Friday that ice brought in for the public is a necessity after a hurricane, and criticized FEMA’s decision to deliver it only for medical emergencies or life-saving reasons.

Allianz, Aflac Crack ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’ List

Allianz and Aflac were found to be the two insurance companies to crack The Ethisphere Institute’s “World’s Most Ethical Companies” list, according to a research think-tank.

Caribbean renews insurance coverage

Sixteen Caribbean nations and territories pool their risk through the program, slashing individual premiums by 40 percent. Governments have purchased policy deductibles that would reimburse them for damage incurred during hurricanes or earthquakes over a 20 year period.

Lloyd’s Analyzes Impact on Insurance of World Food Price Hikes

The rise in world food prices carries implications for both rich and poor countries – the latter will more fully feel the impact, as well as the insurance industry.

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