Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Thursday, April 23

Apr 23, 2009

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Florida may lift insurer’s rate cap

Worried about financial risks and an exodus of major insurers, Florida lawmakers started moving forward Wednesday with plans that could lead to higher property-insurance rates.


Lawmakers seek to bring large insurers to state

Bill allows unregulated home policies

The state House of Representatives passed a property insurance measure Wednesday that would allow large insurers to sell essentially unregulated home and condominium insurance policies at whatever price they want.


Bill seeks federal guarantee for Florida catastrophe fund

A bill to be introduced in the U.S. Senate seeks a Federal Reserve guarantee for hurricane catastrophe funds in Florida and elsewhere.

Legislation that would allow the Federal Reserve to guarantee bonds issued by hurricane catastrophe funds in Florida, Texas and Louisiana and the earthquake insurance pool in California will be introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, Sen. Bill Nelson’s office said Wednesday.


Group Unveils Blueprint To Save Billions From Hurricanes

A coalition of insurers and other groups announced a seven point plan they said could cut hurricane losses dramatically, if public officials and the private sector see to its adoption.


Strengthened Fla. voucher program would give insurer tax credits

A school voucher program financed through corporate tax credits would be strengthened under a bill that’s cleared the House. The measure also would give insurance companies premium similar tax credits if they contribute to the program that sends low-income students to private schools.


Editorial:  Legislature trying to make Citizens actuarially sound

Soon the legislative session will be over. In addition to the budget and a myriad of other issues, the largest problem to be solved is the looming financial hammer that will fall on all of us if there is one or more significant hurricanes that hit Florida this hurricane season, which begins in June.


Florida official picked by Obama to head FEMA impresses senators

Craig Fugate, who led Florida’s disaster response during back-to-back hurricanes, told senators at his confirmation hearing Wednesday for the top post at the Federal Emergency Management Agency that he’ll hold the troubled agency to a “much higher standard of success” than its Hurricane Katrina performance.


Some suspect drywall in illnesses at complex

Ashley Morrison of the Magdalena Gardens condominium complex doesn’t know if the Chinese drywall used in her complex is causing illnesses for herself or her 1-year-old daughter.


Florida inspections company C&E Information Services passes 1 million-inspection mark

C&E Information Services announced that it had recently surpassed 1 million insrance inspections in the state of Florida.


Freberg, ZCL Target Florida with Underground Storage Tank Insurance

ZCL Composites Inc., an underground fiberglass tank manufacturer, has partnered with Freberg Environmental Insurance of Denver to offer Prezerver, a non-cancellable, 10-year underground storage tank insurance policy for ZCL’s U.S. customers.


Editorial:  Fair to workers, businesses

A good compromise remains possible for one of this year’s most important and contentious issues:  fees for attorneys who win benefits wrongly denied to injured workers.


House bill aims to cut Fla. university health cost

The Florida House has passed a bill aimed at cutting health insurance costs at state universities.


Florida House passes Medicaid changes

A plan to restructure the panel that recommends how the state doles out Medicaid money is headed to the Senate floor after clearing the House Wednesday.

The Florida House on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to restructure the panel that recommends how to distribute roughly $2 billion a year in Medicaid money — nearly 30 percent of which comes from Miami-Dade and Broward taxpayers.


Congress notices Florida ‘shell game’

A Congressional staff report raps Florida and seven other states for misuse of Medicaid stimulus funds that were supposed to create health-care jobs and help newly uninsured people get coverage. The report raises a question of whether Florida could be held accountable for paying back diverted money.


Insurer investigation reveals mistake on supplement given to dead polo ponies

The head of a Tallahassee-based pharmacy admitted Thursday that it incorrectly mixed a medication that was given to 21 horses that mysteriously collapsed and died before a polo match over the weekend.


1,000-acre fire shuts down Alligator Alley

Visibility is close to zero in some parts of Florida’s main east-west artery.

Truckers and other drivers are cooling their heels today on U.S. 27, losing money and patience as they wait for Alligator Alley to reopen after a 1,000-acre brush fire closed it last night.


Momentum Builds in Florida Legislature to Rename Insurance Legislation After Alonzo Mourning

Momentum Builds in Florida Legislature to Rename Proposed Legislation After Miami Heat Fan Favorite and NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning


Florida budget talks not budging

With a week left to resolve budget issues, Republican legislative leaders were still searching for a starting point Wednesday after an unusually long five days of behind-the-scenes discussions that had minority Democrats fuming.


Budget standoff could be costly to taxpayers

The fallout from a budget standoff between the House and Senate could hit taxpayers even harder this year as lawmakers braced Tuesday for overtime at $40,000 a day.


Dean Cannon a power in secret budget talks

As lawmakers struggle with questions of tax increases, the state’s mammoth budget and whether the legislative session will end on time, one person has emerged as a political power in the Capitol: Winter Park Republican Dean Cannon.


Seminoles offer $1 billion to seal gambling deal

The Seminole Tribe offered $1.1 billion to entice lawmakers to support itsr gambling plan.

As legislative budget negotiations reached a stalemate Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe offered the state a financial lifeline: $1.1 billion in cash over two years in return for giving the tribe a gambling monopoly.


    Fla. Gov. Crist “open minded” on expanded drilling

    Gov. Charlie Crist’s opposition to offshore oil drilling is getting weaker and weaker.


    Jack Latvala to run for state Senate District 16 seat

    Jack Latvala, former majority leader of the Florida Senate, wants a seat in his old haunt again; Latvala, a Republican, became the first announced candidate Wednesday to replace state Sen. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg, who is running for Congress, creating a potential scrum for his District 16 seat representing Pinellas and Hills­borough counties.


    Commentary: The Case Against Aiding Insurers

    American insurers want government aid. But their lobbyists say that solvency isn’t their problem, unlike the banks.


    Europe to Impose New Solvency Regulations for Insurance by 2012

    The European Parliament voted this week for new regulation of insurers that aims to cut costs by giving one national regulator the lead role in monitoring insurance companies operating across several EU nations.


    North Carolina Coastal Insurance Rates to Rise May 1

    Homeowners in 18 coastal North Carolina counties whose homes are insured by a state-backed insurance pool shouldn’t expect a delay of higher rates taking effect May 1.


    Insurers, Environmental Advocates Urge Changes to Protect U.S. Coastlines

    A coalition of insurers, public officials, risk experts, builders and conservation groups introduced a blueprint of policy changes and common sense actions that could reduce economic losses from future storms and rising sea levels by as much as half along U.S. coastlines.


    Going Green Brings Insurance Discounts

    After years of inertia, the $16 trillion industry has begun to address climate change with mandatory risk disclosures and more products to help businesses and individuals reduce energy use.


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