Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Thursday, March 18

Mar 18, 2010



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William Stander:  Property insurers’ breaking point

In response to “How insurers make millions on the side:”

The unfortunate truth is that during the past several years, government has passed laws and pursued a regulatory environment that has pushed the property insurance market to the breaking point.


Former Reinsurance CEO:  Be proactive on Florida insurers

Property insurance company schemes as the ones depicted in Paige St. John’s exposé, “How insurers make millions on the side,” have surfaced from time to time, and will continue to rear their ugly heads until our elected state officials and the state insurance department take a proactive stance.


Bill would let Florida property insurers raise premiums up to 15% without state approval

Property insurers would be able to raise premiums without regulatory approval, but only by up to 15 percent a year, under a wide-ranging insurance approved in a House committee Wednesday.


Committee OKs bill that would allow unapproved Florida property-insurance hikes

A proposal to allow property-insurance companies to raise homeowners rates without regulatory approval passed a first House committee Wednesday and was amended to include much of an insurance industry wish list.


Florida House passes limits on lawsuits, lawyer fees

The House has passed a pair of bills to limit “slip-and-fall” lawsuits against businesses and cap fees the state pays to outside lawyers.


Blog:  Florida lawmaker wants investigation of insurance companies

State Rep. Alan Hays on Wednesday called for the Legislature to investigate property insurance companies in Florida, noting the millions executives made in bonuses and other perks as the companies threatened to leave Florida and begged the state for higher rates to make them profitable.


Blog:  JD: I was wrong

Sen. JD Alexander , R-Lake Wales, said that he no longer thinks that Florida’s insurance commissioner should be an appointed official.


Editorial: Florida legislators must get serious about overseeing Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

About the only good news for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. as it went to sell bonds this week was that in February, Moody’s raised its outlook on the entity’s 42.8 million in bonds to stable from negative.


Treasure Coast residents walking away from homes with Chinese drywall because of unknown health risks

Within the first six months of buying their new Vero Lake Estates home in 2007, the air conditioning unit in Bradley and Alyse Simons home mysteriously stopped working.


Florida’s 11 State Universities Form Health Consortium

Florida’s 11 state universities will join forces in a health insurance consortium to seek lower premiums and better benefits for students through ‘bulk buying’ under a recommendation approved Wednesday by the Board of Governors.


CFO Sink’s Staged Accident Sweep Nets 5th Suspect in Miami Ring

Florida CFO Alex Sink today announced the arrest of Angel Sotolongo Sierra, 28, the fifth individual arrested for participation in a staged auto accident ring in Miami.


Florida supreme court expands judicial records access

New rules are in place to assure public access to court records, with the Florida Supreme Court sharply limiting information that can be kept secret.


Florida Department of Management Services break-up plan clears hurdle

Senate sponsor says proposal would return agency to ‘core functions’

A plan to break up the Department of Management Services cleared a key Senate committee Wednesday with its sponsor saying he’s not punishing employees for saving the state money.


Florida House passes election law changes

The Florida House has passed a bill to restore and fix a stricken law that unconstitutionally limited political speech.


Florida shuts down loan modification firms in Bonita and Naples

A Bonita Springs-based loan modification company and one in Naples were shut down by the state Office of Financial Regulation.


Bill Would Give Floridians Priority for Being Hired by State Contractors

Florida residents would get preference for being hired by state contractors under legislation approved Wednesday by a Senate committee.


Florida House panel passes school prayer bill; opponents call it unconstitutional

Teachers could pray with their students under a controversial bill that cleared its first hurdle in the Florida House on Wednesday.


Florida House unanimously approves $10 million for Space Florida

The Florida House just voted 111-0 to free up about $10 million for Space Florida as a hedge against the 9,000 layoffs that will follow the last flight of the space shuttle, possibly in October.


Florida Senate committee to support Senator Negron bill to move up 2012 legislative session

Florida’s Senate Reapportionment committee unanimously agreed Tuesday to support a bill by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, to move up the start of the 2012 legislative session to accommodate the once-a-decade redistricting process.


Blog:  Florida Senate stymies McCollum on debt collectors

An assortment of insurance issues and feuds made for a lively Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Wednesday.


Bill to boost Florida local tax haul for rooms booked online stalls

When the PriceLine Negotiator or the Roaming Gnome gets you a good deal on a hotel room, he’s paying less in hotel room taxes than you would be if you booked the room yourself.


Florida Sen. Constantine tackles water pollution, use

Bill would overhaul Florida water laws

Virtually every important aspect of water in Florida, from tap to toilet and from storm runoff to bubbling spring, has a place in sweeping legislation unveiled Wednesday by state Sen. Lee Constantine.


Florida recycling bill gains momentum

Constantine’s recycling bill would boost reuse of solid waste to 75% by 2020

State Sen. Lee Constantine’s longtime goal of dramatically boosting the recycling of Florida’s 32 million tons a year of trash is gaining momentum.


Florida lawmakers seeking criminal background checks for caregivers of most vulnerable

Legislation that would tighten screening and criminal background checks for people who work with children, seniors and disabled people is coming up for a vote in the Florida House.


Blog:  Tom Lee backs Rubio in Senate primary

Former state Senate President Tom Lee of Brandon announced today he’s backing Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate primary, becoming one of the first prominent Hillsborough Republicans to side with Rubio against Gov. Charlie Crist.


Mean season: Florida session already dominated by election-year posturing and politics

Despite the state’s own budget mess and a record unemployment rate, lawmakers in Tallahassee on Tuesday are expected to debate whether or not Congress should be forced to balance the federal budget.


Florida lawmakers seek tax breaks and fee cuts despite a budget shortfall

After raising $2.2 billion in new taxes and fees last year, Florida legislators want to erase that memory this election year with proposals to roll back auto registration fees and steer up to $100 million to businesses in tax incentives.


Wachovia to pay $160M settlement for lax anti-money laundering program

Wachovia Bank, one of the nation’s largest banks, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement Wednesday with federal authorities in Miami to resolve charges that it willfully failed to establish an anti-money laundering program.


Orlando clears runway for JetBlue

Orlando International Airport may learn shortly whether JetBlue Airways, the darling of cheap chic travelers, will move its headquarters, along with 800 jobs, to Central Florida from New York City.


St. Joe moving headquarters out of Jacksonville

Company consolidating its offices in the Panhandle, closer to its operations.

With the company banking its future on development opportunities surrounding a new Panama City airport, The St. Joe Co., which has been a staple in Jacksonville since 1935, announced Wednesday it will move its headquarters there.


Florida one of 10 states least vulnerable to a spike in gas prices

Florida is one of the 10 states least vulnerable to a spike in oil prices, according to a report released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Hometown Democracy vs. the Anti-Amendment in Florida

Amendment 4 will loom over all other statewide issues until voters cast their ballots in November.

If Amendment 4 passes, changing land-use plans to allow subdivisions or condo buildings would have to go before voters, but so would tiny changes.


Press Release:  Florida Attorney General’s Legislative Priority to Prevent Pay-to-Play Politics Passes House

The bill, sponsored by Senator John Thrasher and Representative Eric Eisnaugle, requires common-sense provisions such as posting contracts and payments online, keeping detailed time records for private attorneys’ hours, and competitively selecting private attorneys.


Opportunity in failure: Centennial Bank intends to build in Florida on Old Southern’s foundation

Arkansas-based Centennial Bank stretched temporary banners over the outdoor signs for Old Southern Bank this week as it settled into operating the failed Orlando bank, which was seized and sold by regulators last weekend.


Florida OJ Sales Fall With Price Hikes

The decline will impact farm prices Florida growers get for their oranges.

That roller-coaster ride named “Florida citrus” is on a downward path again.


U.S. Senate Passes Flood Insurance Extension; No House Vote Yet

The U.S. Senate has passed a measure to extend the federal flood insurance program until Dec. 31, 2010.


Regulators Testify on Multi-State Approach to Group Supervision

Financial Assessment of Insurers Aided by Unique Regulatory Tools

The checks and balances of a multi-state approach to group supervision and financial assessment is a key strength of the state regulatory system, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners told Congress today.


Industry Reps See Finance Bill Exempting Big Insurers 

Insurance representatives said they may get a deal for Senate financial services reform legislation with no financial assessments and little regulatory impact for high-asset insurers.


Chinese drywall maker is on the attack in Louisiana trial

A producer of tainted Chinese drywall continued its attack Wednesday on homeowners’ contention that much of the wiring and appliances must be torn out of the houses in addition to the wallboard.


Corps to Build Permanent Pumps, Dams in Louisiana

The Army Corps of Engineers will begin taking proposals next month for permanent replacements for pumps and floodgates at the three canals where waters poured into New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, officials said March 16.


South Carolina Insurer Targeted HIV Patients To Drop Coverage

In May, 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. In 2004, a jury in Florence County, South Carolina, ordered Assurant Health, part of Assurant Inc, to pay Mitchell $15 million for wrongly revoking his heath insurance policy.


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