Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, March 24
Mar 24, 2008
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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.
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.
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.
Thousands more homeowners in “sinkhole alley” are going uncovered.
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.
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.
Uniform rows of tidy brick townhouses belie the mess inside Sandalwood.
By unanimously passing the Fire Prevention and Control Bill, Florida Representatives would expand the state fire marshal’s investigative and enforcement functions.
Attention turns from the Legislature to a constitutional commission this week as a select group considers potentially drastic changes to Floridaâ€™s system of taxation.
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.
Layoffs of state workers.
In November, Florida voters will decide if they want to do away with a state-mandated property tax for local schools.
Crist insurance solution lacks quality
Across Florida, 3.8 million people lack health insurance.
The party is over.
Another rough week for Gov. Charlie Crist on the Veep-O-Meter.
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.
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.
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.
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 & Poorâ€™s that new Economic Union insurance regulation reforms will leave non-EU insurers â€œat a competitive disadvantage in Europe.â€
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.
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.
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.
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.
Insurance industry trade groups are praising a Minnesota Senate decision earlier this week to pass a more limited â€œbad faithâ€ damages bill that they called a â€œreasonable alternativeâ€ to a version pending in the Minnesota House.
Only 1.3 percent of Kansas homes carried flood insurance in 2007, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
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.
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.
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.
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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