Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, March 24

Mar 24, 2008


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Storm brewing over Florida property insurance legislation

A year after making sweeping property insurance changes, Florida legislators are divided between maintaining a consumer-friendly face or allowing homeowner premiums to start inching up.

Commercial insurance is back from the brink

It’s not the good old days again — before eight hurricanes slammed into Florida between 2004 and 2005 — when plenty of insurers were willing to write commercial coverage and rates were relatively low.

Takeout companies replacing Citizens

Minerd knows a bit about homeowners’ insurance: Her big, 100-year-old Beach Street house took a beating during the 2004 hurricanes, and the ensuing agony gave her an unwanted education.

Citizens Sells Fewer Sinkhole Policies

Thousands more homeowners in “sinkhole alley” are going uncovered.

Insurers deal new blow to home buyers

First, it was mortgage lenders who began requiring bigger down payments from borrowers in South Florida, ostensibly making it harder to buy and slowing recovery of the housing sector.

EDITORIAL: Reduce the public risk from hurricane claims

As part of the constant effort to deal with Florida’s property insurance crisis, the Legislature this year must undo a little of what the Legislature did last year.

Years after hurricanes, legal storm batters Sandalwood

Uniform rows of tidy brick townhouses belie the mess inside Sandalwood.

Florida House Passes Fire Prevention Bill

By unanimously passing the Fire Prevention and Control Bill, Florida Representatives would expand the state fire marshal’s investigative and enforcement functions.

Week ahead for Legislature: Taxes and budget dominate

Attention turns from the Legislature to a constitutional commission this week as a select group considers potentially drastic changes to Florida’s system of taxation.

Woes in Condo Market Build

The condominium market is about to get worse as many cities brace for a flood of new supply this year — the result of construction started at the height of the housing boom.

Florida legislators debate where to make next budget cuts

Layoffs of state workers.

Proposed property-tax trade: Deliverance or downfall?

In November, Florida voters will decide if they want to do away with a state-mandated property tax for local schools.

EDITORIAL: Flawed plan

Crist insurance solution lacks quality

Across Florida, 3.8 million people lack health insurance.

EDITORIAL: Florida’s growth engine sputters

The party is over.

Not all in GOP are wild about Crist

Another rough week for Gov. Charlie Crist on the Veep-O-Meter.

Ex-lawmaker starts job in juvenile justice

Former state Rep. Gus Barreiro, the lawmaker who led the charge to shut down boot camps after the death of Martin Lee Anderson, will start a new job Monday at the Department of Juvenile Justice.

EDITORIAL: Can wind farm work?

Last week, Florida Power & Light Co. killed plans to build three wind turbines on a publicly owned St. Lucie County beach – just hours before county commissioners had scheduled a vote to oppose the project.

Red-light camera bills met with mixed response on Treasure Coast

The state Legislature is working on its own version of ‘Candid Camera,’ a law that would allow counties and cities to put cameras at traffic intersections to catch red-light runners.

Sponsors Say OFC Bill Needed To Keep U.S. Competitive

The two House sponsors of legislation creating an optional federal charter are seeking to win over more lawmakers to their cause by citing a recent finding by Standard & Poor’s that new Economic Union insurance regulation reforms will leave non-EU insurers “at a competitive disadvantage in Europe.”

Insurance Groups Balk At Federal Bill To Limit Insurance Credit Scoring

Property-casualty groups have voiced strong opposition to legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to limit the use of credit information by insurers in underwriting and rate-setting.

Subprime Crisis Could Reignite Debate Over Use Of Insurance Credit Scoring

The collapse of the housing market and the severe downturn in the economy could reignite insurance scoring battles in state legislatures and in Congress, according to consumer groups, which expect lawmakers to aggressively take another look at the rating factor in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent credit crunch.

Chamber Of Commerce ‘Agnostic’ On Federal Oversight Of Insurance

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement of principles on insurance regulatory reform last week that opposes rate regulation but does not take a stand on whether oversight should remain state-based or directly involve the federal government.

Georgia Legislature Approves Auto Rate Reform

The Georgia legislature has passed and sent Gov. Sonny Perdue a measure that changes the auto insurance rate setting process and makes other insurance law changes.

Insurers See Improvement In Minn. Senate Bad Faith Bill

Insurance industry trade groups are praising a Minnesota Senate decision earlier this week to pass a more limited “bad faith” damages bill that they called a “reasonable alternative” to a version pending in the Minnesota House.

Percentage of Flood-insured Kansans Low Despite Flooding

Only 1.3 percent of Kansas homes carried flood insurance in 2007, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

State Farm Restricts Storm Coverage for Coastal Alabama

Reacting to Gulf Coast hurricanes and potential future storm losses, State Farm said it will limit coverage in Alabama for new policies in Mobile and Baldwin counties beginning April 1.

Louisiana’s Katrina-Hit Areas Among Fastest-Growing Counties

New Orleans and nearby St. Bernard Parish, areas that suffered huge population losses after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, are regaining residents so fast that they topped the U.S. Census Bureau’s list of fastest-growing counties last year.

Help Finally Available for Louisiana’s Hurricane-Weary Fishermen

For the past two and a half years, Louisiana’s fishermen have relied on their natural gift for resourcefulness and made do with jury-rigged docks cobbled together from hurricane debris and spent countless hours in search of ice and fuel.

Reinsurers Logged $1.7B In 2007 Profits

The U.S. reinsurance industry reported an underwriting profit of $1.7 billion last year, making 2007 and 2006 the only times since 1980 that the industry has recorded a profit on operations, according to data released by the industry this week.

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