Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, March 15

Mar 15, 2010



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How insurers make millions on the side

Today, nearly half of Florida’s home insurance is provided by companies whose primary profit comes not from insuring homes but from diverting premiums into a host of side ventures.


On the agenda: Letting Florida insurers charge more

Here’s the state of Florida’s star-crossed property insurance market after several years without any major hurricanes: Three Florida property insurers went insolvent this past year. Forty-four of the state’s top 73 property insurers are losing money.


Citizens Property Insurance offers $2 billion of tax-exempt bonds

Florida’s government-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp., bracing for an ”above-normal” hurricane season, plans to sell $2 billion in tax-exempt bonds as early as this week.


Southern Oak Insurance Company Financially Sound:  Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Order lifted

Southern Oak is pleased to announce the quick resolution of concerns expressed by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation in its March 9, 2010 Order.


CFO Sink Opens Storm Line in Response to Severe Weather in Central Florida

Florida CFO Alex Sink activated her Department of Financial Services’ Storm Line, 1-800-22-STORM to assist homeowners and business owners who may have suffered damage as a result of strong winds that struck Thursday in Central Florida.


Crews investigating possible sinkhole at Orlando apartment complex

The 15-foot-wide hole at the Seville Place Apartments is likely the result of the rains of the past two days, according to television reports. Crews are at the site trying to determine how to fill in the hole.


Florida Senator Bennett’s bill on drywall comes under scrutiny

State Sen. Mike Bennett has filed a bill that could limit a homeowner’s or condo association’s ability to sue over defective drywall, according to attorneys representing those dealing with contaminated property.


Is this firm too broke to fix homes?

Bradenton-based Medallion Homes has been at odds with the owners of at least a half-dozen houses it built using contaminated Chinese drywall.


Florida Ranks Second Among Top 10 States for Fraud Complaints

Online crime complaints increased substantially once again last year, with the number of fraud complaints jumping 22.3 percent and total losses linked to online fraud reaching almost $560 million.


19 arrested in statewide stage accident sweep

The state’s chief financial officer conducted a staged accident sweep across the state and arrested 19 people, including four in Fort Myers. CFO Alex Sink says staged accidents put everyone at risk.


Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate:  What impact do recalls have on automobile insurance?

What is the impact of automobile recalls on my insurance coverage?

Sean Shaw, Florida’s insurance consumer advocate, says there are several issues drivers should consider when their automobile is recalled.


Red-light cameras expected in Tallahassee in mid-April

City of Tallahassee officials say red-light cameras at six intersections should be up and running by mid-April despite legal challenges and proposed legislation that would ban such devices.


Insurance Information Institute:  What’s Driving Florida’s High Auto Rates? 

“Given Florida’s hurricane problem, I can almost understand why our homeowners’ insurance costs so much.


Speed of medical-claim bill raising questions in Florida Legislature

In a lean budget year, a $24.8 million medical negligence claim against the University of South Florida Tampa is progressing through the legislative process early in the session, raising eyebrows over the Senate leadership’s interest in the case.


After 2 years, plan to offer affordable health care to Florida small businesses stalled

Almost two years after lawmakers created it, a program to provide affordable health insurance to small businesses has yet to enroll its first client.


Fight Coming On Spending New Florida Medicaid Cash

Congress could steer another $1 billion in Medicaid money to Florida.

With Congress looking likely to steer another $1 billion in Medicaid money to Florida, a fight now is brewing over how to spend the cash in a state budget potholed with program shortfalls.


Governor Crist Proclaims “Cover the Uninsured Week” in Florida

In an effort to continue raising awareness about the importance of making health coverage available and affordable, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has proclaimed March 14-20 as “Cover the Uninsured Week” throughout the State.


Florida, 4 Other States Rush Plans for $1.5B in Housing Funds

The five states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis have been given only weeks to plan how to spend $1.5 billion in federal funding announced by the Obama administration last month.


Budget decisions begin today in Tallahassee

As lawmakers take out the scalpels and start making decisions this week on which programs will be sliced out of the state budget to close a $3.2 billion gap, the House and Senate will showcase issues designed to show they’re doing some positive things, too.


Regulators seize Old Southern Bank, 1st Orlando bank failure in 20 years

Despite a last-hour attempt to fend off insolvency, Old Southern Bank failed Friday, becoming the first Orlando-based community bank to succumb in nearly 20 years and only the second since the Great Depression.


Giant Florida agency may be split

Senate committee considers streamlining state housekeeping

Searching for money to patch holes in the state budget, Florida legislators have squeezed everything done at the Department of Management Services.


State legislators laboring to eliminate dated laws

‘The Repealer Project’ takes aim at Florida laws with no function in today’s society

Florida law requires sheriffs to live within two miles of the county seat – close enough to get there quickly by horse.


Obama’s NASA plan agitates Florida

When President Barack Obama revealed his plan for the nation’s space program, he turned to Buzz Aldrin to explain the new direction, one imagined as more innovative and ambitious.


Vote on Corporate Sponsored Florida License Tags Likely Next Week

The legislation that could allow some companies to stamp their corporate logo on Florida license plates as a way to bring in some cash for the state – and save drivers some money – is likely to get a vote in a Senate committee next week.


State, EPA face off over nutrient-rich waters

A battle is heating up between Florida and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over how best to clean up the state’s polluted waters.


More property values challenged in Florida

Floridians dispute assessments

When Jim Poulos took a job transfer to Brevard County in 2008, he decided to buy a townhouse in Melbourne. He wanted to retire there.


Florida’s Gov. Crist must rebuild credibility for voters

He has a lot of ground to cover, not just in Jacksonville, to defeat Rubio.


Marco Rubio’s lavish rise to the top

Marco Rubio was barely solvent as a young lawmaker climbing his way to the top post in the Florida House, but special interest donations and political perks allowed him to spend big money with little scrutiny.


Military life prepared Florida House Speaker for challenges

Speaker must cope with budget woes and lawmakers competing for his time.

In a previous life, Larry Cretul crawled under jet aircraft on the deck of the USS Forrestal, pulling safety pins to arm the weapons, seconds before the F4 Phantoms catapulted off the deck on the way to their next mission.


Why U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown has been unbeatable in Northeast Florida

Some say it’s career suicide to try to run a campaign against the U.S. representative

As nationwide voter frustration threatens Democratic incumbents this election year, the reputed bulldog Democrat from conservative Northeast Florida says she is focused on pushing liberal platforms like public-option health care, not on campaigning.


GOP makes ‘earmarks’ an issue in Central Florida races

But Orange’s Republican mayor, Rich Crotty, has a $9.2 million wish list he plans to keep fighting for

Republican Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty recently sent Central Florida’s congressional delegation his requested “earmarks,” those hometown projects members of Congress insert into the federal budget that are often tagged as “pork.”


Florida thoroughbred breeders run into hard times

Florida’s thoroughbred breeding industry, consistently second in the nation behind Kentucky, has seen its market share in the foal crop shrink. Meantime, Kentucky and other states have posted long-term and short-term gains.


Who’s in charge in Tallahassee?

The question is, with so many politicians in the Capitol distracted by their own ambitions, who’s in charge?


Except for Citizens Immunity, Louisiana Regulators’ Bills Mostly ‘Clean-Up’

In a briefing session to introduce a package of bills supported by the Louisiana Department of Insurance for the upcoming legislative session, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon described the state’s insurance market as being in “good shape” and said the department’s “approach to this session is one of defense more than offense.”


Homeowners pin hopes on Louisiana judge in drywall cases

In the complex, ongoing mess created by defective, sulfur gas-emitting drywall, U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is regarded by many homeowners as the best hope for providing solutions.


Louisiana Citizens Hoping for Protection

Louisiana lawmakers are considering legislation that would eliminate penalties against Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state’s insurer of last resort, for paying claims too slowly.


Georgia Supreme Court Upholds Emergency Room Tort Reform Law

The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the state’s 2005 tort reform legislation that limits the liability of emergency room medical care providers.


Economy Raises Risk Management Stakes for Architects, Engineers

Risk management is a topic of concern for many types of professionals, none more so than those involved in the building trades.


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