Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Tuesday, May 27

May 27, 2008


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A Game of Risk for Small Insurers

Small, Florida-based insurers are snagging market share — but are they the solution to reinvigorating the state’s home insurance market?

‘Domestic’ insurers — Florida-based companies that generally only do business here — now have more than a third of the state’s home insurance market.

State ‘financially unprepared’

Insurance claims could go unpaid

State lawmakers had one major focus when they gathered in January 2007: Stop rising property-insurance rates that were digging into the checkbooks of Florida homeowners.

AM Best: Florida’s Insurance Dilemma Might Continue Despite Hurricane Season Outcome

It appears at this point in Florida that all there is left to do is buy stock in plywood and take bets on what the next hurricane will be named, because what has been done in the Florida legislature — what they are terming insurance reforms — isn’t really going to come in handy unless the state dodges hurricanes.

Fitch: Hurricane Season Is Here – A Desk Reference for Insurance Investors

To coincide with the official start of the U.S. Atlantic coast hurricane season June 1st, Fitch Ratings today released the third installment of its annual hurricane season desk reference guide, which, similar to all prior Fitch editions, contains the most recent forecasts for the upcoming hurricane season from leading forecasters and analyzes the top-10 insurers by market share for each of the 18 coastal U.S. states in both personal and commercial insurance.

COLUMN: Ulterior motive is behind insurance discount mandate

Dear Help!: Sometimes you have to wonder just what the heck it is with government.

OPINION: House of cards

Mike Thomas again explains the insurance mess that our politicians in Tallahassee are getting us citizens of Florida into.

Palm Bay Area: FEMA demands payback

A month after Hurricane Jeanne destroyed her Palm Bay duplex in September 2004, Nina Ottaviani got a check for about $14,500 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help her move into a new home and replace what she and her four children lost.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Develop storm plan

The May 15 editorial Congress says No to windstorm relief correctly highlights the symbolic victory achieved by the Florida delegation on the windstorm issue.

Hurricane season bad news for gas prices

The upcoming hurricane season – which starts June 1 – may push constantly climbing gas prices 20 percent higher.

Mobile centers will lend a hand in a storm

For more than two years, two recreational vehicles purchased with $168,000 in state funds have yet to be used for their primary purpose.


Early memo to the 2009 Legislature: Extend the My Safe Florida Home program.

U.S. Representative Mica questions FEMA leadership, reimbursements in Volusia County

With hurricane season just one week away, some officials remain concerned that federal bureaucracy could hamper disaster response.

Disaster training program to focus on natural, unnatural crises

The National Sheriffs’ Association and the Department of Homeland Security plan to conduct training in Charlotte County to help residents prepare for a natural disaster or an act of terrorism.

Planners want grocery chains to handle bulk of ice deliveries during storm outages

Almost $2 million worth of ice that the government stockpiled for Floridians during the 2006 hurricane season went to waste.


What do you tell a pet when you’re evacuating for a hurricane?

Drones head to hurricanes’ core

Government scientists think a fleet of small unmanned airplanes sent to hurricanes cores could lead to revolutionary advances in storm forecasting and measurement.

South Florida demand for hurricane supplies is tepid

With tax holiday gone, consumers show less interest

Signs of a fast-approaching hurricane season are missing this year: retailers marketing deals to early-bird consumers and the state’s tax break on supplies.

EDITORIAL: Governor says yes to healthcare `lite’

Coverage Plan for the Uninsured has Good Prospects

Gov. Charlie Crist wasted no time this week touting a new law that could provide low-cost healthcare coverage to the uninsured and give small-business owners a way to offer insurance to more employees.

COLUMN: Crist faces stacks of work after spending week with McCain

Gov. Charlie Crist had a long week raising green with Sen. John McCain in South Florida, attending a New York fundraiser and bill-signing on Wall Street, then heading out to Arizona for some quality time with McCain alongside other vice-presidential wannabes.

Timing’s right for Crist to reshape high court

Benefiting from historic timing, Gov. Charlie Crist is poised to appoint a majority of the Florida Supreme Court and leave his stamp on the third branch of government for years to come.

OPINION: Please pick Crist

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is among those considered to be a potential candidate for vice president under John McCain.

Volusia boosts Kosmas

Donors raise $247,000 in bid to unseat Feeney

If Suzanne Kosmas unseats U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney this year, she will owe a big debt of gratitude to Volusia County.

Open records law largely spared this session

In a dismal budget year when most of the news from the Legislature was gloom and doom, First Amendment advocates emerged from the recently concluded session basking in sunshine.

Environmentalists step up efforts for funding in Florida despite downturn

Florida’s acclaimed program for buying environmental lands managed to avoid the ax of a budget-slashing Legislature this spring.

Ethanol enthusiasm may be burning out

The idea of turning corn into fuel has met opposition in the face of rising food prices and shortages of corn, weakening support in Congress for mandates.

Not long ago, the fledgling ethanol industry was the darling of investors, farmers, the federal government and a lot of Americans who liked the idea of turning corn into fuel.

EDITORIAL: Make Georgia give it up

Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd are making the state congressional delegation’s case that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers won’t give Florida the water it needs from Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

House Challenges Insurer Use Of Credit Scoring Tool As FTC Seeks More Data

The future of credit scores as an underwriting tool may hinge on the extent that credit-based underwriting has a disparate impact on minorities, according to comments made at a House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing last week.

Disaster planning for small businesses

A spring that has already brought deadly and destructive weather to parts of the country is a reminder to small businesses that they need to prepare for disasters that could shut them down.

Feds Poised To Act If States Don’t Reform Regulation, NAIC Warned

It is increasingly likely Congress will impose some level of federal insurance regulation soon unless states act promptly to impose meaningful reform, the head of a property-casualty insurer group warned state regulators at a sitdown here last week.

GOP frets over loss of seats in U.S. House

In recent weeks, three special elections have turned solidly Republican U.S. House seats over to Democrats, and that has GOP leaders on Capitol Hill doing a little soul searching.

Obama Backs National Cat Fund

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama offered his support to a proposed national catastrophe fund, provided it does not also encourage risky development.

Safety Lapses Raised Risks for Katrina Victims

Within days of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in August 2005, frantic officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered nearly $2.7 billion worth of trailers and mobile homes to house the storm’s victims, many of them using a single page of specifications.

Texas: State Farm refund on hold pending state’s review

State Farm Insurance does not have to refund consumers some $650 million in alleged overcharges while its dispute with Texas regulators over homeowner rates is reviewed.

California: Rate increases sought for homeowners insurance

California’s three biggest issuers want hikes as high as 9.3%. Insurance chief Steve Poizner’s response could affect his political future.

After dropping in recent years, the cost of insuring your home may be about to climb.

Schwarzenegger to propose raising workers’ compensation disability benefits

Ever since California overhauled its troubled workers’ compensation insurance system in 2004, injured workers have complained that they were the big losers.

War Stories About Weird Claims Show Insurance Often Anything But Routine

Those who work in the insurance industry—and particularly in claims—can tell many serious stories about huge losses they’ve handled involving large monetary payouts, considerable damage to property, and even tragic loss of life.

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