TEST: Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, September 5

Sep 5, 2008

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Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Rejects State Farm

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty today announced that the Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) has rejected State Farm Florida’s (State Farm) petition for a formal hearing on the Office’s Aug. 25 Notice of Intent to disapprove (Notice) the company’s 47.1 percent proposed statewide average increase. A letter was sent to the company today.

Florida-based Homeowners Choice Takes-out More Citizens Policies

Homeowners Choice Inc., a Clearwater, Florida-based homeowners’ insurer, announced that its wholly-owned insurance subsidiary, Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Co. Inc., received approval from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to increase its policy takeout authorization from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to 95,000 policies from 30,000 policies.

Flood insurance requests on rise along Treasure Coast

‘We’ve definitely been getting a lot more people calling about getting flood insurance,’ said Hawk, an agent with the Allstate Herbach Agency in Palm City. ‘We’ve been giving people a whole education on flood insurance.’

Crist offers more warnings as Ike, Hanna take aim

Gov. Charlie Crist said Hurricane Ike has blown into ‘a dangerous, powerful storm’ Thursday while Tropical Storm Hanna is expected to cause heavy rains and rip currents as it passes Florida in a near miss. And then there’s Josephine, the next tropical weather system lining up in the western Atlantic. State emergency planners are tracking Ike, Hanna and Josephine as they bail out from Fay’s flooding and coordinate evacuee services for Gulf Coast residents dislodged by Hurricane Gustav.’There’s a lot coming at us,’ Crist said during a briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center.

Fears of flooding rise as storms approach

Stacked-up sandbags, carved-up beaches and roiled-up rip currents could be Hanna’s main legacies along the Space Coast today. But Ike, Josephine and a system of ‘disturbed weather’ between Africa and the Lesser Antilles trail behind, threatening more of the same.

Activists: Storms heighten danger to Lake Okeechobee, urgency of U.S. Sugar purchase

The approach of three storms from the east, coupled with the surge in Lake Okeechobee’s water level following Tropical Storm Fay, poses a serious threat to the integrity the massive earthen levee that protects 40,000 Glades residents and the rest of South Florida from flooding, environmentalists warned today.

Search for a contractor to fix storm damage can be daunting

So, the neighbor’s massive water oak has just crashed through your living-room roof. You’re still in shock when you’re hit with the next dumbfounding blow: “How do I find someone to fix this mess?”

Florida receives award from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators

The State of Florida recently received an award from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators nationally recognizing the state for reducing fatalities involving commercial vehicles.

Met Health expands Humana pact

Metropolitan Health Networks Inc. (Amex: MDF, $2.26) announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Metcare of Florida Inc., has amended an existing agreement with Humana Inc. to expand its network into nine additional Florida counties.

Crist delays next step on property tax relief

The removal of a property tax-cutting amendment from Florida’s ballot left Gov. Charlie Crist disappointed Thursday, but he said he wants to deal with a series of hurricanes threatening the state before deciding his next move on tax relief.

Florida Legislature to re-examine property tax relief again

State high court struck down earlier initiative

Florida’s property tax wars now return to the state Legislature, a place where gridlock and battling interest groups make it difficult to achieve the deep relief that politicians promise.

Missing ballots case may go to court

Just when Palm Beach County election officials thought they had solved the mystery of the missing ballots it blew up in their faces again.

Justice Cantero gets Supreme Court send-off

The Florida Supreme Court held its goodbye ceremony Thursday for retiring Justice Raoul Cantero III, the 47-year-old lawyer who announced in April he would leave the bench and return his family to Miami to be closer to relatives.

Judge Gets Fax From Fasano, And A Trial Is Derailed

Under normal circumstances, State Sen. Mike Fasano’s Thursday morning fax to Circuit Judge Jack Day might have amounted to nothing more than another person’s opinion about an ongoing case.

CFO Sink Uncovers Fraudulent Check-Cashing Scheme; Delivers $325,000 in Restitution

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today that an investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Division of Insurance Fraud, has led to more than 110 criminal charges against Christiano Leonardo Gloria, the operator of one of the largest check-cashing operations in Broward County, for allegedly conspiring in a major money-laundering and workers’ compensation fraud scheme. Attorney General Bill McCollum’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will be prosecuting the case.

Hispanic group sues state, alleging specialty license-plate rules discriminate

A nonprofit group proposing a custom Hispanic license plate for Florida filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, claiming discrimination and infringement of free speech.

Public Service Commission approves plans for 3 FPL plants

State regulators signed off this morning on Florida Power & Light Co.’s plans for three new power-generating projects, including a proposal to make the aging Riviera Beach power plant less imposing and more efficient.

State OK’s rates to encourage solar power

State regulators gave the final go-ahead so businesses or homeowners with solar panels can sell electricity to the utilities’ grid.

The Public Service Commission on Thursday took the final step in arranging for customers who produce renewable energy to get credit for sending their excess power to the state’s electric grid.

Manatee, Sarasota exceed federal ozone standard

Despite those fresh breezes blowing from the Gulf of Mexico, Manatee and Sarasota counties exceed tougher new federal ozone standards established in March, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

NASA chief: Odds grow for shuttle catastrophe

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said Thursday that he’s examining what it would take to keep the space shuttle flying for five years past its 2010 retirement date.

New Property And Casualty Models Hit Market

Risk Management Solutions (RMS) and Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC have each released models to assist insurers in managing catastrophic risks, one on the property side, and one on the casualty side.

PCI Supports IFRS, As Do Life Groups

A property-casualty insurance trade group said today it backs Securities and Exchange Commission efforts that could lead to the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for traded U.S. companies.

FEMA to pick up Gustav hotel tabs

The federal government says it will pay hotel expenses for some of the nearly 2 million people who fled their homes ahead of Hurricane Gustav, but exactly who will be eligible for assistance and how much it will cost taxpayers is uncertain.

NAIC Eyes Conflict Policy For Consumer Reps

Insurance regulators and funded public advocates are discussing a conflict of interest policy for consumer representatives at a time when complaints are being raised about conflicts raised by the “revolving door” between insurance commissioners and the carriers they supervise.

Ex CEOs Of Benfield, RenRe Form A Reinsurance Brokerage

Two former top insurance industry chief executive officers said they have joined to start a new reinsurance brokerage based in Greenwich, Conn.

Lloyd’s of London signals push into Asia, Latin America, Gulf, warns of shift in world power

Lloyd’s of London, the world’s biggest insurance market, signaled its intention to push its business in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America and oil rich countries in the Gulf, warning on Friday that a shift in world power can not be ignored.

Auditors: Drug marketing falls short

About 85 percent of the marketing materials that private insurers use for their prescription drug plans fail to meet all of Medicare’s guidelines for those products, federal auditors said Thursday.

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