Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, March 29

Mar 29, 2010



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Florida insurers’ fees to affiliates questioned

Consumer advocates call for more scrutiny as insurers report losses and request rate hikes

Florida property insurers are pressing state legislators to allow them to raise rates without regulator approval, citing losses in recent years. But consumer advocates and regulators question the legitimacy of the losses after four hurricane-free years in Florida.


Florida orders Hillcrest insurance executive to step down

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty ordered a Hillcrest Insurance Co. executive to step down from the company this week for allegedly investing $600,000 from it — and essentially, from policyholders — to a bank he owns.


Florida rebukes insurer over transactions

A Florida property insurer that bought hurricane protection from its own Bermuda company has been ordered to attempt to recover the money, following a Herald-Tribune report about the transaction.


Former Florida governor backing consumer options

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says it’s time Tallahassee politicians ensure a robust private property insurance market to avoid a financial disaster if a major hurricane or several smaller storms strike the state this summer.  


Editorial:  More insurance headaches

Mr. Crist needs to squash the latest effort to deregulate the homeowners’ market.

Here’s why Gov. Crist might soon need to grab a great big Sharpie and veto legislation that lets property insurers impose great big rate hikes on policy holders without regulatory review.


Part of Jaxport $100M terminal repair bill covered by insurance

The nearly $1 million worth of repairs to two Blount Island cranes reflect the Port of Jacksonville’s increased need for funding to keep its aging terminals functioning.


Editorial: Red-light cameras work

The Florida Legislature should approve a bill giving cities and counties the authority to use red-light cameras to catch and fine motorists running the lights. That authority is vague now, which resulted in a court banning the cameras’ use in a South Florida city.


Education shocker: Florida not a winner in federal Race to the Top education grant

In a huge surprise, Florida is not a first-round winner of a massive federal education grant that would have pushed participating school districts to change how they pay and evaluate teachers and turn around struggling schools.


Crist, Rubio debate over money and Obama

Fox News Sunday cast it as a “rough and tumble battle,” and for 40 minutes, Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio gave a national audience just that, arguing about a lot of things that ultimately were about two: money and President Barack Obama.


With Florida session approaching midway point, much work left undone

But there’s still more for Gov. Charlie Crist to approve or veto.

With a four-day weekend, the Legislature won’t reconvene until Wednesday – the 30th day of the 60-day legislative session.


THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Business initiatives advance despite tight Florida budget

In separate initiatives that fall under the umbrella of economic development, House and Senate leaders are poised to offer tax incentives, credits and straight up cash to lure companies to a state hoping to wean itself from real estate development and tourism – its twin engines of non-agricultural growth.


Sen. Alexander Draws Wrath of Florida State Workers

State employees are none too happy these days with state Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, the budget chief of the upper chamber of the Legislature.


Plan to reduce funding troubles Florida court clerks

Clerks of courts around the state could face a new round of state budget cuts they say will devastate their ability to manage court paperwork, process speeding tickets and oversee public documents.


Ashland Paving and Construction Commentary:  Bankrupting the Florida Department of Transportation and local firms

With the state unemployment rate at 12.2 percent and thousands of Floridians facing foreclosure, is it any surprise a state agency in Florida could also be in deep water? If the Legislature moves forward with Speaker of the House Larry Cretul’s recently announced budget allocations, the Florida Department of Transportation could be bankrupt before Thanksgiving.


Legislature: Anti-union or just getting ‘Floridians back to work’?

Hundreds of thousands of Florida workers, including teachers, deputies and state employees, are facing salary cuts, pension reductions and other measures that labor leaders are calling an all-out assault on lower- and middle-class workers by lawmakers.


Unions say these bills would harm the state’s workers

Pay cuts: PCB CEED 10-02 would impose 3 percent salary cuts for all state workers, including university personnel. Would give agency heads the option of layoffs or demotions instead of across-the-board salary cuts.


Where are jobs after stimulus is gone?

At first glance, Florida appears to be in a whirl of job creation.

Tens of thousands of construction workers and teachers benefiting from federal stimulus dollars. Hospitals and small businesses tapping government-backed subsidies to add up to 11,000 workers. About 63,700 U.S. Census takers hired statewide.


Column: Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability looks at state compensation

Expert analysts and computers sometimes do detailed research that produces indisputable documentation conclusively proving what you already knew by just looking around.


Editorial:  Florida must enact pension reform before inflated retirements bankrupt the state

Predictably, a proposal that would reduce future retirement pay for hundreds of thousands of Floridians has irked the ire of union leaders across the state. Nonetheless, state lawmakers are right to push long-overdue reforms, including opening up broader use of retirement alternatives, such as 401(k) plans.


Regulators close bank in Key West

Regulators on Friday shut down two Georgia banks and one in Florida, bringing to 40 the number of U.S. banks that have failed this year following the 140 that fell in 2009 to mounting loan defaults and the recession.


Federal Flood Insurance Program Closed for Weeks

As insurance and real estate agents and homeowners feared, Congress left Washington without extending the federal flood insurance program.


Insurers Disagree With California Over Divesture of Iranian Investments

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that 460 insurers have agreed in writing to a moratorium on future investments in 50 companies identified by the California Department of Insurance to be doing business with the Iranian energy, nuclear and defense sectors.


Swiss Re completes $120M catastrophe bond placement

Swiss Reinsurance Co. Ltd. said Monday that it has completed a $120 million catastrophe bond placement to cover a portion of its catastrophe losses from North Atlantic hurricanes, European windstorms, and California and Japan earthquakes.


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