Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Wednesday, May 6

May 6, 2009

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Bill would eliminate insurers’ rate caps

Supporters say it would help revive the property insurance market.

The largest property insurance companies in Florida would be able to charge whatever they want under a bill that should reach the governor’s desk in the next few weeks.


State’s stance on insurance rates is tested

The largest property insurance companies in Florida would be able to charge whatever they want under a bill that should reach the governor’s desk in the next few weeks.


Consumer group urges insurance bill veto

One of the state’s largest consumer groups is urging Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill passed Friday by the Florida Legislature that foes call “The State Farm Bailout Bill,” but that supporters named the “consumer choice” bill.


Liberty Mutual to shed 4,400 property insurance policies

Liberty Mutual is dropping about 4,400 property insurance policies in Florida, predominantly in the Gulf Coast and south Florida, the insurer confirmed Monday.


Not much condo reform from legislators, but some relief over condo insurance confusion

Condo law reform was somewhat limited this year, but what did pass could give owners and associations some financial relief.


Insurance companies are looking for workers

Are you a financial services professional cast adrift by the recession? Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. — and other insurance players — are looking to hire new agents in the region.


Allstate to close Miami office, lay off 66

Allstate Insurance Co. has notified the state that it will be closing its Miami claim office and laying off 66 employees, effective July 1.


Sink vows to push for SBA reforms

CFO Alex Sink has sent a letter to State Board of Administration Executive Director Ash Williams today asking that he discuss the status of 10 recommendations she proposed in 2008 to improve accountability and oversight of the SBA’s investments at the next Cabinet meeting.


WellCare’s former chiefs to be charged

Federal prosecutors expect to file criminal fraud and conspiracy charges against former executives of WellCare Health Plans, according to federal officials.


Governor Crist Signs Bill Requiring Safety Belt Use in Motor Vehicles

Governor Charlie Crist today signed Senate Bill 344, the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law. The legislation mandates the use of seatbelts in motor vehicles, effective June 30, 2009.


Drug-tracking database bill awaits Crist’s approval

Among the concerns over creating a database that tracks prescription drug purchases in Florida was that it could be hacked into and put thousands of identities at risk. A majority of lawmakers, however, approved the bill (SB 462), which is on its way to Gov. Charlie Crist for final approval.


Editorial: KidCare program expansion needed

Florida lawmakers on Friday – to their credit – did not scuttle a bill that would make it easier for low-income working families without health insurance to buy KidCare insurance for their youngsters.


Budget Raises Variety of Fees

Motor vehicle registration, driver license and court fees will be going up, but Florida also will become the last state to waive court filing fees for poor people through a series of budget conforming bills approved Tuesday by top House and Senate negotiators.


Florida Senate backtracks on Seminole gaming pact

With the governor and leaders of the Seminole Tribe sitting in the front row, legislative talks over the future of the gambling agreement with the tribe fell apart Wednesday.


State’s growth rules set to change

With just minutes to go in the 2009 session, state legislators revived and passed one of the biggest changes to Florida’s growth laws in decades.


Florida‘s property tax debate is on again

Business leaders have emerged as unlikely critics of proposed property tax cuts that will go to Florida voters next year.


Marco Rubio faces long odds in run for a Senate seat

There are plenty of names that should haunt Marco Rubio, who on Tuesday became the first major Republican to announce for the U.S. Senate: Peter Wallace, Tom Lee, Johnnie Byrd, Ralph Haben, John Vogt, Tom Gustafson, Ander Crenshaw, Harry Johnston.


After Specter’s switch, focus turns to Crist’s future in GOP

Is there room in the Republican Party for Charlie Crist?


Senate skips approval of 173 Crist appointees to state boards

Recent appointees to the governing boards of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Space Florida and the University of Central Florida are among 173 of Gov. Charlie Crist’s nominees whose appointments were not confirmed this year.


Ex-Ormond cop enters state House race

A retired Ormond Beach police officer plans to challenge for the open state House 26 seat in the 2010 elections.


Florida GOP Chairman Targets Freshmen Grayson and Kosmas

Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, expects to field a strong challenger to freshman Democratic Rep. Suzanne M. Kosmas in the state’s 24th Congressional District.


Legislative session is a bit of good, bad and ugly

Anytime you try to find the good, the bad and the ugly in a legislative session, you usually find yourself waist-deep in bad and up to your neck in ugly.


Obama aims to oust chief of consumer safety over drywall

President Barack Obama intends to remove the current chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission — an agency that has been criticized for its slow response to the Chinese drywall and other issues — as lawmakers look for another $2 million in emergency funding aimed at the growing problem.


Fugate’s confirmation as FEMA chief blocked by Louisiana senator

Hurricane season starts in just a few weeks, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency remains without a leader as a Louisiana GOP senator is blocking the White House’s nominee over lingering concerns from Hurricane Katrina.


Report warns of gaps in Louisiana emergency plans

Hurricane season is just weeks away, but many south Louisiana parishes cannot show their disaster plans cover evacuation of at-risk populations such as the disabled, the homeless and the elderly, according to the Disaster Accountability Project, a student-led watchdog group.


Insuring climate change still possible: Munich Re

Insuring the effects of climate change is still possible anywhere in the world “at the right price” despite increasing natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, reinsurance group Munich Re said on Wednesday.


Assurant Purchases $150 Million Catastrophe Reinsurance Coverage Through Catastrophe Bonds

Assurant, a premier provider of specialized insurance and insurance-related products and services, announced today that certain of its subsidiaries have entered into reinsurance agreements providing for $150 million in multi-year, fully collateralized reinsurance from Ibis Re Ltd., a special purpose reinsurance company domiciled in the Cayman Islands.


Insurance industry offers concessions in bid to block a proposed government plan

Health insurance companies are offering new concessions, including lower rates for millions of women, as they try to persuade Congress not to set up a government health plan to compete against them.


NAIC Testifies On Expansion, Affordability Of Health Care Coverage

Testifying on behalf of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Tuesday, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger spoke at a Senate Finance Committee roundtable discussion on expanding health care coverage.


FDIC’s Bair Says U.S. Needs Systemic Risk Council as Regulator

The United States needs a council of regulators to oversee threats to the financial system, in addition to a regulator to supervise the largest financial institutions, the head of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said.


Fund firm behavior faces state scrutiny

MassMutual’s link to unit questioned after $3.3b lost to Madoff

Secretary of State William F. Galvin is investigating Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s relationship with a hedge fund operation that lost $3.3 billion to admitted swindler Bernard L. Madoff.


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