Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Thursday, May 13

May 13, 2010



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Editorial:  Insurance bill needs improvement

Any day now, a property insurance bill that lawmakers jammed through the Legislature in the closing days of the session will land on the desk of Gov. Charlie Crist, who has already expressed reservations about its potential to hurt consumers.


Letter:  Sink not protecting Florida insurance consumers

And I am shocked and dismayed by the anti-consumer turn that the insurance environment has taken in Florida – specifically with several insurers being allowed to remove the “appraisal clause” from their homeowners policies.


Tax credit going to harden home against storms

First-time home buyers who signed contracts before April 30 received a tax credit of up to $8,000 and while no one tracks how they used that money, some of them in hurricane-prone states from Texas through Florida and up the Atlantic coast used the money to reinforce their homes.


Florida Public Service Commission Hurricane Preparedness Workshop Monday

Florida’s Public Service Commission will hold a workshop on May 17 to review the status of hurricane preparedness for the state’s electric utilities and major telephone companies.


Florida property insurers go into hurricane season hoping to miss big storm for 5th straight year

Florida’s property insurance companies haven’t suffered hurricane losses for nearly five years, but many claim to be losing money even while collecting hefty premiums. It’s a complex paradigm for almost anyone to follow.


U.S. Faces 89% Chance of Hurricane Strike, New Florida State University Model Says

The U.S. has an 89 percent chance of being hit by at least one hurricane that would cause property losses during the 2010 storm season, according to a model created by Florida State University researchers.


CFO Sink Announces Arrest of “Shameless” Scammer

Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink today announced the arrest of a Tallahassee man on charges of arson, insurance fraud and grand theft after her State Fire Marshal and Insurance Fraud investigators determined the suspect intentionally set fire to his yacht, a 50-foot SeaRay named “Shameless,” and then filed a false insurance claim for the purpose of collecting insurance benefits.


WellCare ex-director fires more volleys

Rather than simply resign from WellCare Health Plans’ board, former director Regina Herzlinger is talking about the intrigue and backstabbing that took place in the boardroom, where she chaired the Audit Committee. 


44% of Florida voters favor blocking ‘mandate’

With state lawmakers taking aim at federal health reform, fewer than half of Florida voters support a ballot proposal that would seek to prevent residents from being required to buy health insurance, a new poll indicates. 


Pain clinic co-owner pleads guilty to trafficking in oxycodone

The co-owner of several Florida pain clinics, including an Orlando branch, has pleaded guilty in a federal prescription drug trafficking case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.


Blog:  Cash, not safety, the issue in red-light camera debate

Even if you haven’t been following the red-light camera debate, this probably isn’t going to come as a real big, whopping surprise.


Charlie Crist changes voter registration and his mind about giving donor refunds

Gov. Charlie Crist personally renounced the Republican Party Wednesday, making over his voter registration to “no party affiliation” to match his remodeled U.S. Senate bid and spurning any requests from donors who want their money back.


Florida tourism plummets

Florida’s Panhandle on Wednesday boasted of famous sugar-sand beaches, clear Gulf waters and a new international airport set to open.

Hoteliers, restaurateurs and charter owners complained of silent phones.


Oil drilling vote sparks Florida House primary challenge

Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda’s 2009 vote in favor of drilling in Florida waters was already the key reason Rick Minor challenged her in the Democratic primary.


South Florida’s plan to battle oil spill will be different from measures used in Gulf

If oil from the Gulf spill comes to South Florida, a different scene is likely to unfold from the desperate struggle taking place off the Louisiana coast.


New budget bill reflects hard times

Back when government coffers were flush, the spring legislative session could seem like Christmas, with lawmakers delivering packages of goodies to their home districts.


Court upholds $11 million citrus canker payout, but Florida vows to appeal

Despite a court ruling that says Broward property owners are due $11 million, Florida doesn’t want to pay for citrus trees cut down during a canker epidemic.


Mason-Dixon:  Florida Hometown Democracy Issue Polling at 61%

Six out of 10 poll respondents say they’d vote for a proposed constitutional amendment that would require public referenda before amendments or new comprehensive land use plans can be approved, according to a Ron Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll released Wednesday.


Blog:  Case closed between Reps. Janet Long and Ellyn Bogdanoff

A formal complaint by Rep. Janet Long, D-Seminole, against Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, was dismissed Wednesday by the House Rules chairman, Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.


Analysis: Florida Continues to Hold Political Spotlight

Florida will keep its role as the most intriguing political destination in America, with the Republicans announcing Wednesday that they will hold their 2012 national convention in Tampa.


The race for governor said to be wide open

It is not just Florida’s U.S. Senate race that has been turned upside down in the past 30 days.


Poll: Most voters undecided on Florida attorney general races

The leaders are thrilled, those trailing are encouraged and everyone says it is way too early to put too much stock in the first polling data released on the state’s cabinet races.


Storm surge pulled from Saffir-Simpson scale

The five-category system that describes a hurricane’s strength and the havoc its winds could bring to the U.S. has been updated for the 2010 storm season.


Prosecutors Ask if 8 Banks Duped Rating Agencies

The New York attorney general has started an investigation of eight banks to determine whether they provided misleading information to rating agencies in order to inflate the grades of certain mortgage securities, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.


Calif. Commissioner Poizner Gains Ground in Race for Governor

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is gaining ground on his Republican opponent Meg Whitman in the primary race for state governor.


Nevada Insurance Commissioner Resigns, Searches for Replacement

Nevada’s Business & Industry Director Dianne Cornwall announced that Nevada Insurance Commissioner Scott J. Kipper has resigned from the position, effective June 2, 2010.


Catastrophe bond to cover storms, wildfires, quakes

USAA Group is launching a $375 million catastrophe bond to cover U.S. windstorm, thunderstorm, wildfire and earthquake risks.


North Carolina Insurers Running Ads Opposing Change to Negligence Standard

and liability insurers are taking their case to the public to impede an effort in the Legislature to change how monetary awards are determined when somebody gets hit by a car while crossing the street or slips on an icy sidewalk.


Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday for Hurricane Supplies:  May 29-30

Hurricane season is fast approaching and the state of Louisiana wants to help residents prepare.


Federal Officials Say Crackdown On Medicare Fraud Recovers $2.5 Billion

The government says it recovered $2.5 billion in overpayments for the Medicare trust fund last year as the Obama administration focused attention on fraud enforcement efforts in the health care industry.


Association of California Insurance Companies:   Unfair Crash Tax Continues to Spread

The unfair practice by some local governments to impose a tax on auto accident victims is continuing to spread unabated across California at the expense of often unsuspecting motorists, according to the Association of California Insurance Companies.


PCI Highlights Benefits of Credit-based Insurance Scores

At a May 12 U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee hearing, PCI addressed how using credit information allows for more accurate pricing and saves consumers money on their insurance policies.


News Release:  Farmers Insurance Deploys RightSignature for Electronic Signatures, Expanding eZsign to 16 States and Its Entire Claims Processes

Farmers Insurance Claims introduces eZsign, a new initiative enabling customers to settle claims using electronic signatures.


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