Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, November 22

Nov 22, 2010


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Fraud Is Not the Driving Force Behind Sinkhole Claims

There has been a lot of talk of late about sinkholes and their impact on Florida’s property insurance industry.

Tampa Bay insurance firm Baldwin Connelly to split

Citing “different opinions” on a long-term vision, Tampa Bay insurance brokerage Baldwin Connelly is splitting into new firms with separate ownership effective Dec. 31, the firm said Friday.


Legislators:   Vehicle fee reduction unlikely

The 2009 Florida Legislature, faced with a $6 billion deficit, increased 106 DMV fees for all motor vehicles. Predictably, Floridians were furious.

Trial lawyers’ foes have reins in Florida

With a new governor ready to take office and a more conservative Legislature already installed, it may be an uphill battle for the next few years for the state’s trial lawyers.


Budget cutting ritual starts in Tallahassee

Departments submit austerity budgets

With conservative campaign promises fresh in the minds of voters, Florida’s newly elected leaders have hard choices of balancing a budget and maintaining essential services.

Florida GOP lawmakers’ plan to cut Medicaid costs:  Shield doctors from malpractice suits

One proposal by Republican lawmakers to help reduce the $20 billion that Florida expects to pay for health care for the poor in the coming year hinges on an age-old battle between doctors and lawyers: whether doctors should be protected from medical malpractice lawsuits.

Rebate checks OK’d for Florida solar, air-conditioning programs

Program gives money to those using energy-saving systems.

Florida lawmakers have given consumers a new shot at claiming rebates from a pair of energy-saving programs that shut down months ago.

Florida legislators revisit merit pay for teachers

Draft Legislation:  Though similar to vetoed bill, new proposal has concessions

The highly contentious teacher merit pay proposal that was shot down by Gov. Charlie Crist last spring has re-emerged, but with some preliminary concessions to teachers and also perhaps to Gov.-elect Rick Scott, who as the father of a special education teacher voiced concerns about the proposal’s fairness to some educators.

European Group Gears Up Florida High-Speed Rail

A consortium of European companies is vying to finance and operate Florida’s high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando.

Blog:  Scott’s inaugural committee pledges to donate unspent cash to Wounded Warrior Project

Gov.-elect Rick Scott announced this morning that he will donate any unspent inaugural fund contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project.


Judge in ‘Taj Mahal’ scandal stepping down

 A chief appeals judge in Tallahassee has stepped down from his administrative job in the wake of a controversy over the $48 million ‘Taj Mahal’ courthouse being built.

Chief Judge Paul M. Hawkes resigned Friday from the top job at the 1st District Court of Appeal, just a few weeks before moving into a new courthouse that critics dubbed the ”Taj Mahal” and ”Taj MaHawkes.”


Rules for government? The Legislature will be the judge of that

Florida politicians are pros at making bogey men out of their own employees: in particular, the bureaucrats tasked with making sense out of the often vague, sometimes contradictory and occasionally unconstitutional laws that get passed in Tallahassee.

Mississippi Court Rejects Bad Faith Part of Katrina Damages Award

The Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld a breach-of-contract verdict in a dispute between an insurance company and a retired Navy admiral over coverage of damages from Hurricane Katrina.


New York Agents Lose Court Battle over Compensation Disclosure

New York agents failed to make their case that insurance regulators cannot require agents and brokers to disclose their commissions, a Supreme Court judge has ruled.


California Insurance Commissioner rejects worker’s comp hike

Insurer-backed board had asked for 28% price jump

In his swan song as the state’s insurance commissioner, Steve Poizner rejected a filing that could have sparked a 28 percent price hike in workers’ compensation insurance.


Best Affirms Assurant and Subsidiaries Ratings;  Outlook Stable

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength ratings and issuer credit ratings of the property/casualty and life/health insurance subsidiaries of Assurant, Inc. Best also affirmed the ICR of “bbb” and debt ratings of Assurant. The outlook for all ratings is stable.


Wall Street Journal:  Insurers Test Data Profiles to Identify Risky Clients

Life insurers are testing an intensely personal new use for the vast dossiers of data being amassed about Americans: predicting people’s longevity.