Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Tuesday, August 12

Aug 12, 2008

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Insurance rate cut may turn into hike

Florida consumers have been told mitigation could be the sure way to reduce insurance costs, but one insurer says it’s killing its bottom line and wants a big rate hike.

When Edgar Wilson qualified for mitigation credits for his Fort Lauderdale home, his State Farm insurance premium dropped by more than half to $1,467, and he was able to reduce his deductible to 2 percent.

Consumer advocate seeks State Farm rate cut of 40 percent

Instead of facing a proposed 47.1 percent average increase in property insurance premiums, State Farm’s nearly 1-million customers statewide should see rates cut almost 40 percent, according to Florida’s insurance consumer advocate.

Profits, Rate Requests Fuel Anger Over Insurers’ ‘Pups’

In February, the Illinois-based State Farm group of insurance companies reported the company’s fifth consecutive profitable year.

Floridians Embracing New Homeowners Insurance Model

Intent on demonstrating that there is plenty of room for “little guys” to compete successfully against the direct-writing monoliths of the online insurance arena, Florida Home Insurers, Inc. announced that more than 8,000 Floridians visited its recently launched website and sought homeowners insurance quotes — tripling projected participation for the launch.

James Madison Institute: Hurricane could wreak fiscal havoc

On July 29, Florida’s Board of Administration voted to spend $224 million in return for a well-known billionaire’s pledge.

State’s top mortgage regulator, Don Saxon, to resign

Commissioner Don Saxon, under severe criticism for allowing bank robbers and racketeers to sell loans in Florida, resigned Tuesday morning during a Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee.

Please note: Florida Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Don Saxon has resigned, effective September 30, 2008

Regulator now seeks reform of mortgage industry

Embattled state mortgage regulator Don Saxon — who previously defended his agency’s licensing practices — is now proposing sweeping changes.

Under severe criticism for allowing bank robbers and racketeers to sell loans in Florida, the state’s top mortgage industry regulator is calling for sweeping emergency changes to bar people convicted of financial crimes from peddling loans and running mortgage businesses.

Crist, Fla. Cabinet approve mortgage rules

Criminals won’t be able to work in Florida’s mortgage industry under emergency rules adopted by Gov. Charlie Crist and the Cabinet.

Crist and the Cabinet also accepted the resignation of Don Saxon, who heads the Office of Financial Regulation.

EDITORIAL: Take a stand for Florida consumers

Cabinet Should Take Action Against Rogue Mortgage Brokers

When the Florida Cabinet gathers for its twice-monthly meeting on Tuesday, it should do what it decided not to do the last time it met: Look for new leadership to run the Office of Financial Regulation. That begins with the removal of OFR Commissioner Don Saxon from office.

Day 1 of state Supreme Court interviews begins

There were stern, inquiring faces, occasional reprieves of polite laughter and plenty of red ties and freshly ironed suits.

Sink Orders External Audit of Accounting & Auditing

In a continuing effort to improve safeguards over public funds, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today announced she has engaged Deloitte & Touche LLP., to review procedures surrounding electronic payments and transfers within the Division of Accounting and Auditing.

Governor Crist Appoints DeBeaugrine as Director of Agency for Persons with Disabilities

Governor Charlie Crist today announced the appointment of James DeBeaugrine of Tallahassee to serve as executive director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Suit challenges Fla. polling place petition limits

A Florida law that prohibits petition gathering near polling places is being challenged through a federal lawsuit filed in Fort Myers by the American Civil Liberties Union.

EDITORIAL: Evasion on Amendment 5

Crist ought to say how lost school funding should be replaced

Interest groups – ranging from the Florida Education Association to the Florida Association of Realtors — are lining up to oppose or support Amendment 5.

Miami grand jury calls for mental health law reform

A Miami-Dade grand jury recommended reforms in the way the dangerously mentally ill are handled in Florida.

The Miami-Dade grand jury issued a report Monday calling for sweeping reforms of the state’s law dealing with the dangerously mentally ill, warning of another Virginia Tech-like tragedy if the system isn’t fixed.

OP-ED: Florida’s Coming Medical Disaster

In 2015, just a few years from now, Florida will be in deep trouble.

Who wants the dubious notoriety of “last in the nation?”

Reward for champion fraud-fighter: unemployment

It took Linda Keen only six months to go from an “indispensable part” of the leadership team at the Agency for Health Care Administration to being out of work.

Voters poised to change face of Legislature

The curtain call for 10 legislators, a challenging year for incumbents and a dour economy are poised to remake South Florida’s cast of state lawmakers.

Nehr’s debts become campaign issue

Banks have filed three lawsuits against state Rep. Peter Nehr in recent months as the Republican tries to balance his failing business with a run for re-election.

Rep. Curtis Richardson withdraws from parole commission consideration

State Rep. Curtis Richardson withdrew his candidacy for a seat on the Florida Parole Commission on Monday, saying he lacks the law-enforcement background that Gov. Charlie Crist and Cabinet members want for the job.

GOP group barrels into Dems’ primary for Orange seat

Orlando state Sen. Gary Siplin’s Democratic primary against Maurice Woodard is starting to border on the surreal.

College student in Senate District 11 race wasn’t in Democrats’ plans

Something happened on the way to the Florida Democratic Party’s handpicked candidate skating into the general election for state Senate: A skinny 21-year-old college student from Palm Harbor, Richard Skandera, entered the race.

GOP faces uphill battle for House Dist. 10 seat

Voter registration suggests Republicans face an uphill battle in sprawling House District 10, the seat being vacated by Will Kendrick, R-Carrabelle.

Many Republicans endorse Posey, but GOP challengers call for change in District 15

Big-name Republicans across Florida have spent most of the year anointing state Sen. Bill Posey as the heir to Congressman Dave Weldon as the representative of Florida’s 15th District in Congress.

Crist lauds plan for commercial launches

Gov. Charlie Crist called a plan to beef up an abandoned launchpad for commercial use “historic” and said Monday that he was as confident as ever about the future of Florida’s Space Coast.

Supporters report commuter rail project moves to final design

Florida transportation officials have the federal go-ahead to start final design of the proposed Central Florida commuter rail project, rail supporters announced Monday.

Tribe wants ‘Glades reservoir work resumed

The Miccosukee Indian Tribe is asking a federal judge in Miami to restart a huge Everglades restoration project that is now on hold.

Southern governors to develop energy plan

Southern governors whose states represent one of the nation’s major energy producing regions are working on a comprehensive plan to reduce the South’s carbon footprint and create jobs.

Texas Windstorm Pool Takes Over Property Inspection Duties

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association recently announced it is assuming the responsibility of getting exterior photographs and inspecting all structures submitted for coverage, whether residential or commercial.

More Self-Insured Trust Problems Loom In N.Y.

The New York State Workers Compensation Board said that it will have enough funds, without having to borrow money from the state unemployment fund, to pay claims on behalf of a deficit-ridden employers’ self insurance operation.

EDITORIAL: Three Years After Katrina

The pace of recovery is slowing in New Orleans as the city approaches the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina late this month. The next president and Congress will need to expedite assistance before the city’s mood turns from guarded optimism back to despair.

With a melange of federal, state, city and private recovery efforts under way, it is difficult to grasp what is really happening in the stricken city. Fortunately, two reports on New Orleanss condition have just been issued by authoritative outside organizations.

How to Out-Buzz the Big Spenders in Insurance Advertising

Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility: What’s Your Policy? television ad campaign has enjoyed great success on television, generating lots of buzz for the company.

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