Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, May 19

May 19, 2008


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Catastrophe fund needs a bailout

Insurance surcharge may be on way

The possibility Florida residents could soon be faced with higher surcharges on their home, auto and other insurance policies because the state’s catastrophe fund needs more money to pay claims from past hurricanes doesn’t set well with Andy Zawodny.

Can smaller insurers tackle big storms? Florida says yes

About 100,000 Florida homeowners are facing the 2008 hurricane season with a different insurer.

Home insurer for rich reaps $17 million in help from state

A property insurance company devoted solely to insuring the houses of Florida’s richest residents received a $17 million low-interest state loan that enabled multimillionaires to save an average of $4,700 a year on their premiums.

EDITORIAL: Latest property-insurance reforms could provide some relief

It’s risky business getting too enthusiastic about the state’s efforts to rein in the property insurance industry.

EDITORIAL: Insurance dilemma

Hurricane season starts in two weeks.

Even more frightening: One of the biggest pocketbook issues over the past year – property insurance rates – got short shrift from the Legislature this session.

EDITORIAL: Who’s effective in the Florida Legislature

Welcome to the scene of the crime.

No sales tax break for hurricane preparedness this year

Aura Marchany was planning to use this year’s sales tax holiday to buy windows and a door, items for her home that is still in need of repair from past hurricanes.

In storm season lull, survival goes upscale

Vendors at conference get creative as ‘hurricane amnesia’ looms large

Surviving a hurricane does not have to be all bad. It can even involve a touch of luxury.

Disney tackles Hurricane Charley

Hurricane Charley, one of the most destructive storms to strike the United States, is getting the Disney treatment.

A new exhibit opening in late August at Disney’s Epcot Innoventions pavilion will put visitors in the eye of the storm’s lashing Category 4 winds using 3-D technology and surround sound.

Many young South Florida voters feel vulnerable because they lack health insurance

Evol Higgins, 28, can’t wait to vote in the presidential election in November.

Health Care Plans Are A Major Accomplishment Of 2008 Legislature

Helping make Florida affordable again and restoring the state’s economy were the top priorities this year for the House of Representatives.

Crews battle 90+ blazes in drought-stricken Fla.

Drought-stricken Florida continued to burn over the weekend as crews battled fires from Everglades National Park to the exposed lake bed of mammoth Lake Okeechobee.

Broadcasters battle tax-swap plan

Put aside the Clinton vs. Obama and McCain fights for a moment and consider a summer of political ads accusing black-hat corporate interests of getting million-dollar tax breaks at the expense of hard-working Floridians if they approve an amendment to the state constitution.

EDITORIAL: State fails red-light test

Use of cameras to enforce the law remains in local hands

The failure of the Legislature, once again, to pass a law allowing the use of cameras to ticket red-light runners places the responsibility back in the hands of local government.

Is Florida’s big ethanol investment worth the risk?

Florida is investing millions to produce the biofuel, but studies suggest it may be far worse for the planet than gasoline.

In its bid to halt climate change, Florida has pumped nearly $50 million into ethanol projects in the past two years.

Hoped-for gotcha video now local tool in campaigns

Welcome to the first post-macaca election cycle.

Florida Democrats elect final delegates for DNC

The head of the Florida AFL-CIO, leaders of the state teachers and public employee unions and four state legislators were among delegates chosen Saturday for the Democratic national convention by state party officers hoping to get out of the political “penalty box.”

Senate Passes Flood Bill Minus Wind Coverage

strong support in the Senate last week for legislation reauthorizing and reforming the National Flood Insurance Program, it remains unclear how—and how promptly—Congress will move to reconcile the Senate bill with a far different House version.

U.S. House Panel Hits Defense Department, Insurers Over War Zone Insurance Costs

A House committee looking into defense contractors has alleged that the Department of Defense (DoD) has been lax in its management such that insurance companies providing workers’ compensation for civilian employees in Iraq and Afghanistan may have collected $585 million in excess profits over the past five years.

Pinnacle Settles with 2 Insurers over Katrina Damage in Mississippi

Casino owner Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. settled a lawsuit with two insurance companies over Hurricane Katrina damage to the company’s property in Mississippi.

Mississippi Lawyer Ordered to Release Records to State Farm

A federal judge has ordered Mississippi attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs to turn over policyholder records to State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. within 15 days.

Study says global warming not worsening hurricanes

Global warming isn’t to blame for the recent jump in hurricanes in the Atlantic, concludes a study by a prominent federal scientist whose position has shifted on the subject.

Program Managers Do Heavy Lifting

Ideas easier to come by than models to manage underwriting profits

Although no two program administrators travel the same roads to success in the program business segment, the unique approaches they develop to deliver consistent underwriting results to carrier partners all start the same way—with a massive research project.

Update: Alabama Governor to Sign Bill Raising Auto Insurance Requirements

Some Alabama motorists may need to buy more auto liability insurance in a few months.

$3M Ohio Mold Ruling Raises Coverage Questions

Insurance professionals took note recently when a Franklin County, Ohio judge awarded $3 million plus legal costs to a family whose central-Ohio home became overrun with toxic mold, presumably caused by the contractor’s defective construction techniques and means.

Arizona Passes Captive Insurance Legislation

The Arizona Legislature has passed a bill designed to allow captive insurers to cover employment practices liability risk and remove the requirement that at least one incorporator be a resident of the state.

AIG Rebuilding After $7.8 Billion Loss

American International Group held its annual meeting last week, facing only limited fire from shareholders over a bottom-line loss of $7.8 billion announced days earlier, even after some public criticisms of management voiced by the company’s former chairman.

Make Web Site Service Priority, Agents Told

Insurance agents to stay relevant with an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base must update Web sites to offer the type of electronic services these consumers demand, professionals at an industry conference here advised.

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