Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Wednesday, March 17

Mar 17, 2010



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Barney Bishop:  Hurricane tax won’t stabilize insurance

As the state legislative session kicked off this month, I began to wonder if I was experiencing deja vu.


FEMA Denies Aid for Florida Families with Chinese Drywall Damage

Last week Florida asked for federal financial assistance for thousands of homeowners with property damage caused by defective Chinese drywall.  


Bundled Florida Chinese Drywall Lawsuits Start Today in Louisiana

Chinese drywall is getting its day in court.


Florida Ports Investment Act Would Trade Insurance Premium Tax Credits for Cash Investments

Cash investments by insurance companies in Florida’s port infrastructure would be incentivized through insurance premium tax credits under the provisions of House Bill 1169, which passed the Florida House of Representatives’ Economic Development Policy Committee unanimously today, March 17, 2010. 


Universal Insurance posts loss

Fort Lauderdale-based Universal Insurance Holdings reported a net loss of $2.8 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2009.


Hollywood bank fined by regulators for violating federal flood insurance laws

The Office of Thrift Supervision made Home Federal Bank of Hollywood pay a $3,850 fine for violating federal flood insurance laws.


Demotech issues Report on Florida property insurance

Guidance on Financial Stability Ratings® and Catastrophe Reinsurance Program Reporting for Florida Property Insurers.


Fees up but Florida motor vehicle agency strapped

Florida last year taxed motorists’ wallets. Now, it’s taxing their patience.


CFO Sink Commends Legislation Strengthening Florida’s Risk Management, Workers’ Comp Costs

Florida CFO Alex Sink today commended the Florida House Government Operations Appropriations Committee for unanimously passing legislation that implements recommendations made by CFO Sink to strengthen the state’s Risk Management program and reduce workers’ compensation costs.


Florida House protects health programs

Hospitals wouldn’t get hit with tax increases, and Medically Needy, mental health and substance abuse programs would avoid major cuts under an initial House budget proposal released Tuesday. In other words, this plan looks little like the Senate’s. 


Healthy Families is worth saving, Florida panel told

Looking for $600 million to slash from health and social welfare programs, a Senate panel got a warning Tuesday from a heavy hitting former colleague – don’t kill Healthy Families.


Florida universities considering health consortium

The Board of Governors is considering a recommendation to form a purchasing consortium for health care insurance covering students at Florida’s state universities.


Growth management placed on back burner in Tallahassee

Growth management, which was at the center of an uproar last year, is being avoided this year by lawmakers.


Florida Senate wants federal balanced budget

A resolution calling for a U.S. constitutional convention to draft an amendment requiring a balanced federal budget cleared the Florida Senate on a nearly straight party line vote Tuesday.


Trial lawyers find themselves overruled in this Florida legislative session

The lobbying arm of the Florida trial lawyers limped into this legislative session, and the group’s pain is only getting worse.


Legislature starts today with social, other issues on the table

Should there be some type of prayer time in schools?


Florida jobs agency: Feds don’t fund us

State unemployment officials have blamed their failure to meet key federal performance standards on a funding formula that takes 68 percent of the money that Florida sends to Washington, D.C., to pay for the system and funnels it to other states.


Florida Senate president shepherds bills affecting CFO post he’s seeking

If Jeff Atwater’s Senate has its way, the higher office he seeks will have unprecedented power over privatized prisons, billions of dollars in purchasing authority and the power to investigate Medicaid and food-stamp fraud.


Encore Bank is pulling out of Florida; HomeBanc buys its Pinellas County branches

Houston-based Encore Bank is pulling out of the Florida market, selling six offices on Florida’s west coast to different investor groups. Tampa-based HomeBanc is buying Encore’s Pinellas County operations.


Many open seats will make Florida elections historic, lively

Job creation will be the top issue

This year is a historic election year for Florida, like we haven’t seen in more than 100 years.


Florida House may bring back ‘leadership funds’

The Florida House is poised to bring back the “leadership funds” controlled by designated House Speakers, Senate Presidents and minority leaders who raise millions of dollars to build their party strength in the Legislature.


Crist, lawmakers wring hands over NASA job losses

Gov. Charlie Crist huddled with Florida lawmakers Tuesday to figure out ways the state could stop a White House plan for NASA that cancels the agency’s moon rocket program and its future jobs at Kennedy Space Center.


Attacks against homeless classified as hate crimes by Florida House committee

The Florida House appears poised to make prejudice-driven attacks against the homeless a hate crime, prompted by the caught-on-video 2006 beating of three homeless men in Fort Lauderdale that made national news.


Florida legislators set Wednesday for debate on school prayer

Advocates are stirring for a fight on a long-contentious social issue that suddenly surfaced on the Florida Legislature’s agenda: school prayer.


New York Times Editorial:  Good Deal for the Everglades

The effort to restore Florida’s Everglades has been revived thanks to the efforts of President Obama and Florida’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist.  


Florida lottery officials warn of e-mail scam

A new, subtler e-mail scam is circulating, and Florida Lottery officials are urging residents to avoid being pulled into the apparent identity-theft scheme.


Florida prison population rises as most states show declines, study finds

More than half the states in the nation lowered their prison populations last year – but not Florida, where it continued to rise, according to a recent survey by the Pew Center on the States.


Mississippi Ends Special Subsidy for Coastal Wind Pool

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has vetoed a bill that would have continued a program that designated part of the state’s insurance premium tax to fund the state’s property insurer of last resort.


Conservation Groups Recommend Revisions to Louisiana’s 2011 Annual Plan for Coastal

Organizations call on state to include plans for cost-effective program to reduce hurricane risk quickly

Five local and national conservation groups working on coastal Louisiana restoration are calling on Louisiana’s Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration to amend its Fiscal Year 2011 draft plan for coastal restoration and hurricane protection.


South Carolina High Court Nixes $18 Million Award in Ford Crash

South Carolina’s highest court has overturned an $18 million verdict against Ford Motor Co. in a fatal crash, ruling that one expert shouldn’t have been allowed to testify about cruise control problems.


Tennessee Couple Wins $19.2 Million in Malpractice Suit

A woman who sued after surgery for a broken leg left her partially paralyzed has been awarded $19.2 million by a federal court jury in Chattanooga that also returned a $3 million verdict for her husband.


Judge Sets Aside $100 Million Verdict in BP Texas Case

A federal judge in Texas has set aside a $100 million verdict against BP Plc., saying 10 workers who sued the oil company after they were sickened by a chemical release did not prove BP was grossly negligent.


Marsh & McLennan Agency Acquires Rutherfoord 

Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC announced it has acquired Thomas Rutherfoord Inc. Financial terms were not released.


Updated:  A new way to predict hurricane’s punch

This hurricane season, for the first time, researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say they will use Global Positioning System technology to measure the dynamics of airborne moisture far offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, and track the fuel available to ramp up tropical systems moving through the gulf.


Storm forecasting boosted, but one program in doubt

With a new weather satellite in orbit this month and a 2011 budget that includes funding for more, the science of hurricane forecasting should get a boost.


Municipal Risk Managers Need St. Patrick’s Day Plan, Not A Shamrock 

St. Patrick’s Day parades and other festivities may mean entertainment for the public, but for municipal risk managers they represent a need for pre-planning, coordination and contractual risk transfer, said an insurance expert. 


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