Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Tuesday, August 26

Aug 26, 2008

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Veto of State Farm’s rate hike bid could roil market in Fla.

Florida insurance regulators said Monday that they expect to reject State Farm Florida’s proposed homeowners insurance rate hike of 47.1 percent statewide, setting in motion a potential showdown that could result in thousands of homeowners losing their coverage.

St. Johns’ ceaseless rise surprises even the experts

The St. Johns River, already at flood stage all along Volusia County, continued to rise Monday, prompting officials to warn residents in low-lying areas to sandbag their homes and leave if they feel threatened by rising water.

With the St. Johns River swelling, flooding could get worse

Tropical Storm Fay’s flood toll rose to 440 homes across Central Florida on Monday as the St. Johns River, fat and slow-moving, crept higher in a history-making surge that will only get worse.

Tallahassee business owners wade in to reclaim goods from Lake Ella waters

Tropical Storm Fay and its rainy aftermath Sunday and Monday have left businesses at the Cottages at Lake Ella drenched to the point of evacuation.

Tropical Storm Fay the 4th wettest storm in Florida

Of the hundreds of storms whose tracks wiggle across Florida like overlapping spaghetti, no one expected Fay to submerge parts of the state with more than 2 feet of rain.

Number of uninsured Floridians increases

The number of people without health insurance in the United States fell last year to 45.7 million from 47 million in 2006, the U.S. Census bureau said today. In percentage terms, that’s a drop to 15.2 percent of the population from 15.8 percent.

Fay’s floods hit uninsured hard

Mireya and Jose Gamez knew they were taking a big risk when they decided to pass on flood insurance for their three-bedroom, two-bath home. But huge medical bills had decimated their budget.

Officials hoping aid for individuals OK’d

Jeff Grossmann’s air-conditioning shop weathered two hurricanes during a three-week span of 2004 and a thumping from Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

Davie families get free mobile homes from FEMA

Barbra Ivanauskas needed a break.

Whether it was her mobile home’s leaky roof, the floor caving in or mold that built up in her ventilation system, the 63-year-old retiree constantly had to repair damage from Hurricane Wilma three years ago.

Hurricanes’ displaced ‘fighting to find a place to live’

For the past month, Katie King has squeezed her life into Room 219 at the Broadway Inn Express Motel off U.S. Highway 90 in this storm-scarred seaside town. The small room is cramped with a bed, TV, a coffee table and a writing table covered with photos of girlfriends and her deceased husband.

PCI Urges Floridians to Use Tropical Storm Fay as Checklist for Future Storms

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) today urges Floridians to learn from Tropical Storm Fay, the first named storm to impact Florida since 2005, and to evaluate their hurricane preparedness checklist and family plan as the hurricane season does not end until November 30.

N. Cape Coral homes may be eligible for lower premiums

North Cape Coral homes have gotten safer from fires during the past 10 years thanks to more fire stations being built and the fire department’s use of canals to fight fires, according to an insurance fire-protection rating survey.

New Orleans Lawmakers: What Miami can learn from New Orleans

The arrival of Tropical Storm Fay last week coincided with our visit to Miami as delegates of the New Orleans Fleur-de-lis Ambassadors. As survivors of Hurricane Katrina, the worse man-made disaster in modern U.S. history, we found the timing somewhat auspicious.

Medicare assailed for extent of fraud

Medicare officials boasted they were gaining control over fraud, waste and abuse. Not so, said a new federal report.

A federal inspector general denounced Medicare on Monday for its failure to follow policies for auditing medical equipment suppliers’ claims — a blunder that has likely cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sign in and pay now: Insured patients finding they must put down higher fees upfront for care

Patients who need medical procedures are accustomed to following a familiar pattern: Talk to a doctor, schedule it at a hospital, have the procedure done and then get a bill in the mail a month later for your share of the cost.

Ex-FSU football star makes bid for Legislature

Former Florida State All American and pro football star Peter Boulware makes his political debut in Florida’s primary election Tuesday when he seeks the Republican nomination for a seat in the state House of Representatives.

Delegation Declines Talk On Gang Of 10 Drilling Plan

The controversy over new offshore drilling splashed Monday onto the opening day of the Democratic National Convention, with Floridians rejecting a Louisiana senator’s request for a chance to talk to them about the idea.

Doppler sonar to map ocean for undersea power turbines

Florida’s most ambitious renewable energy project – generating electricity from ocean currents – has struggled with permits, but is launching a new phase this fall.

Governor chided over job losses in U.S. Sugar deal

The chairman of the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee warned Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday that the deal to purchase U.S. Sugar could have “drastic consequences” for the state’s economy.

Red light decision may wait

Sarasota County commissioners will most likely again put off the issue of whether to install 10 red light cameras at the county’s most dangerous intersections.

All 6 Alley leasing finalist invited to make offers

Everyone’s a winner in the latest round of discussions on Alligator Alley.

Cat Backstop Bill Report Called Fatally Flawed

A report critical of federal legislation that would create a national risk pool has been lambasted by the plan’s supporters as “special interest double-talk.”

Doctors: Insurance companies endanger patient care

Physicians in Ohio and across the country say that insurance companies are increasingly strong-arming doctors to provide the treatment that is best for the bottom line, not for the patient, a newspaper reported.

COLUMN: Nursing Homes to Get Sprinklers ‘Years’ Late

After decades of partial solutions to fire threats in nursing homes, U.S. regulators are finally requiring sprinkler systems for the 2,466 facilities that still don’t have them fully installed.

COMMENTARY: Replacement Cost Violates Indemnification Rule

Assertion: Replacement cost violates the principle of indemnification as the insured is placed in a better position than existed immediately prior to the loss. For instance, the insured’s five-year-old production machine is destroyed by a covered cause of loss and they get a new one in its place. This is an abuse of the insurance mechanism.

After Katrina: bad contractors swamp ruined neighborhoods with fresh storm of complaints

Herreast Harrison wanted to rebuild after Katrina and thought she did everything right: She hired a contractor who seemed kind and listened to Christian music on the job.

Months later, she claimed, he pocketed $57,000 and walked off with work undone, leaving a mess behind.

Alabama Bills try to help with storm coverage

Montgomery- Coastal residents who take steps to prepare for hurricanes such as retrofitting their homes or setting aside emergency money would be rewarded under two bills filed in the state Senate.

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