Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Wednesday, May 20

May 20, 2009

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Fitch Advises Florida Insurance Market Remains ‘Fragile’

Fitch Ratings agency is advising that the Florida property insurance market is “fragile” and remains a “peak risk zone.”


Sen. Garrett Richter: Competition will bring cheaper, better property insurance for Floridians

The three most significant means to reducing property insurance premiums are increased competition, shared risk and reduced losses.


Bonds “only a partial solution” to FHCF shortfall

The shortfall in available funding for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FCHF) has raised concerns that it may not be able to meet its liabilities if there is a large hurricane this year.


FEMA drops Tampa flood insurance rates

The premium costs for the more than 26,000 households in Tampa with flood insurance policies are now lower.


EPA finds suspect materials in foreign drywall

The Environmental Protection Agency has found sulfur and other materials in a small sampling of Chinese-made drywall, which some officials and residents blame for sickening fumes and corroding metal in homes in several states.


Builders find lawsuits over drywall daunting

Congress: Panel out to make it harder for overseas makers to avoid liability

Tainted Chinese drywall was center stage Tuesday at a U.S. Senate hearing probing the challenges involved in suing foreign manufacturers of defective products.


Florida‘s Craig Fugate debuts as FEMA’s top administrator

Two weeks before hurricane season starts, President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency made his debut, stressing the importance of disaster preparedness at home.


New disaster shelter system announced

The plan includes a nationwide database of thousands of places to go in an emergency.

Federal officials on Tuesday announced a new national shelter system to help locate temporary housing for victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters.


Letter to the editor: Insurers’ schemes

The insurance companies are again crying the blues, and the politicians are preparing to bow to their wishes.


GMAC Insurance study: Florida drivers among the worst

Here’s some news that should come as no surprise to South Florida drivers: The Sunshine State ranks 43rd in the nation, with an average test score of 74.1 percent, according to the 2009 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test.


Blue Cross: Bill will increase costs

Blue Cross Blue Shield has joined with consumer and union groups to urge Gov. Charlie Crist to veto legislation they claim will inflate health care costs.


Crist easing into Senate race

Gov. Charlie Crist told a luncheon crowd Tuesday that he was proud to stand up for the $787 billion federal stimulus package, addressing an issue already seized upon by his main opponent in the upcoming Republican U.S. Senate primary.


Candidates scramble to replace Atwater

Florida’s massive game of political musical chairs continued Tuesday with a scramble for the legislative seat of Senate President Jeff Atwater, who as expected opened a campaign for the statewide post of chief financial officer.


Galvano considers run for Florida AG

State Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, is considering a run for the post of Florida attorney general, an elected position that also may be coveted by his longtime friend, Republican Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp.


Steele decides against District 31 run; Brevard GOP slams Crist endorsement

A good circus is underway in the tent that is the Brevard County Republican Party.


Richardson joins the race for Florida Senate seat

Former state Rep. Curtis Richardson joined the race Tuesday to succeed state Sen. Al Lawson, saying his experience in state government and rural communities best prepares him for the job.


Sizing up the governor’s race

It is still 18 months from election day, but the two major parties are clearing their respective fields in the governor’s race.


State legislation relaxing development rules now on Crist’s desk

A bill developers and legislators argue could jump-start the building industry likely would encourage sprawl on the Treasure Coast and leave taxpayers paying for development, area officials said.


Gov. Charlie Crist to approve cigarette tax

Get ready to pay more for smoking cigarettes in Florida.


Florida Attorney General Joins Federal Enforcement Action Against False Charities

Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced Florida’s participation in a nationwide enforcement effort against fraudulent charitable solicitors which claim to help police, firefighters and veterans, among other supposed charitable causes.


Administration targets Medicare fraud in Miami, elsewhere

A new anti-healthcare fraud mission aiming to fight billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid scams from Miami to Los Angeles will be unveiled today by the Obama administration.


Federal officials get ready for hurricane season

After a caution from President Barack Obama, federal disaster officials said Tuesday they are redoubling efforts to close gaps in their 2009 hurricane preparedness plans.


USAA sells $250 million catastrophe bond, investors say

U.S. military insurer USAA has sold a $250 million catastrophe bond, $100 million larger than initially planned, investors said on Wednesday.


Offshore industry works on improving hurricane readiness

Less than two weeks from the start of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, the offshore oil and gas industry is still addressing weaknesses exposed by Ike, Gustav and other hurricanes that ripped through the Gulf of Mexico in recent years.


Activists seek Justice Dept. probe of insurers

Activists backing President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul are asking the Justice Department to open a wide-ranging investigation of what they say is monopoly-like power in the hands of major insurers.


Allstate Says It Won’t Use TARP Rescue Money

Allstate Corporation said today it won’t participate in the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, saying it already has adequate capital and cash on hand.


U.S. Senate confirms new financial regulator

The Senate voted Tuesday to put Gary Gensler in charge of helping the Obama administration clamp down on financial firms that make risky bets in the derivatives market, less than a decade after he opposed doing so.


Court Approves $843 Million for AIG Investors Hurt By Alleged Fraud

A federal court has approved the distribution of more than $843 million to harmed investors at insurer American International Group, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday.


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