News By Industry
News from Tallahassee for 12/12/13
Florida Drivers to Enter Digital Age posted on 12/11/13
by Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
At any given time, as many a million drivers in Florida are on the road without insurance. Decades ago, the state made it a ticket able offense not to carry proof your car is insured. The fine is a hundred dollars..It drops to ten if you prove you were insured when you were stopped.
“ Any comments or discussion? Hearing none, the motion carries.” said Governor Rick Scott. With a vote by the Governor and Cabinet, Florida will become the eighth state to step into the electronic age by allowing motorists to carry proof of insurance on their smart phones. Highway Safety Director Julie Jones told reporters afterward “This way you have proof of insurance no matter what vehicle you are driving.”
Getting ticketed for not having having that little insurance card made news this past year when it was learned state troopers gave out bogus tickets to speeding lawmakers..citing them for not having insurance instead of speeding
There is one drawback to the proposal, if you hand your device out the window to the officer, and it falls you’re responsible, not the officer.
Scott, cabinet select watchdog for Citizens Property posted on 12/11/13
by JIM Turner | NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Bruce Meeks, a Tallahassee attorney who spent nearly eight years as an inspector general with the State Board of Administration, has been offered a similar role to serve as the new watchdog at Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet agreed Tuesday to offer the Citizens inspector-general position, which has been advertised for up to $200,000 a year, to Meeks.
"The inspector general is going to hold Citizens accountable," Scott said after the meeting. "We've got have Citizens held accountable. We have to watch how they spend the money."
The position, created by the Legislature in the spring as part an overhaul of the state-backed Citizens, was included in the package because of concerns raised by Scott and others about travel spending by Citizens employees and about the firing of the agency's Office of Corporate Integrity.
Meeks, a co-manager and partner with the Law Offices of Roberts & Meeks, was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
In addition to his service with the State Board of Administration, Meeks also worked under former Democratic Attorney General Bob Butterworth, serving as personnel director from 1995 to 1998 and as executive deputy attorney general until 2002.
Families battle Citizens Property Insurance over delayed progress on sinkhole claims posted on 12/2/13
by Mary Ellen Klas | Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
TALLAHASSEE -- To Fred and Emilie Moutran, there’s no dispute that the cracks in the walls of their Spring Hill home were caused by the shifting ground of a sinkhole deep below the surface.
The floor under the chimney has dropped three inches. A gash runs across their mantel. A crack extends the length of a hallway, and the ceiling over the garage has shifted so much that the Moutrans fear it will collapse.
“We hear cracking and popping at night, sometimes all night long, and we’re starting to get very concerned,” said Fred Moutran, 31, who lives in the home with his 64-year-old mother, Emilie.
After two engineering firms concluded the damage was caused by sinkhole activity, the job of repairing their home and the stabilizing the ground fell to Citizens Property Insurance, the state-run company. For three years, the family has been trying to get Citizens to make the repairs.
But the insurance company sent them a check for $21,000 to cover cosmetic repairs, not the fixes to the foundation that will shore up their home.
“They want to force us to make the repairs their way,” Moutran said. “We paid for a service with the understanding it would be there when needed, not three years later.”
by Alex Leary | Tampa Bay Times
WASHINGTON — Feeling heat from constituents over rising flood insurance rates, Florida lawmakers on Thursday redirected some to FEMA, saying the agency has moved too fast with changes Congress approved.
"It's out of control and you're going to put a lot of people out of their houses. … How come you didn't come to members of Congress that this was a big-time problem?" said Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, who convened a meeting of the Florida House delegation.
Republicans and Democrats alike said they would have never voted for the legislation, designed to shore up the $24 billion-in-debt national flood insurance program, had they known it would cause substantial increases for many Florida property owners.
Citizens changes tack, will cover homes with prior sinkhole claims posted on 11/21/13
by Gray Rohrer | Florida Current
Citizens Property Insurance Corp., along with two Pasco County lawmakers, announced Wednesday changes in its underwriting rules to cover residences with previous sinkhole claims.
The changes, which have been in effect since Oct. 31, allow state-run Citizens to cover homes with prior sinkhole claims -- provided the damage has been repaired in line with recommendations from approved engineers, and the homeowner has the documentation and photos to prove it.
Citizens’ basic homeowners policies cover “catastrophic ground cover collapse” -- when your house is completely swallowed by a sinkhole. For additional sinkhole coverage for cracks in the foundation or the cave-in of secondary structures, customers must pay extra. As part of the new changes, homeowners with documents showing partial sinkhole fixes or fixes done against the recommendation of engineers can be covered by Citizens, but without the additional sinkhole coverage.
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