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Insurance, real estate coalition seeks homeowners insurance reform in 2016

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More than a dozen Florida real estate, construction and insurance groups announced Tuesday that they are teaming up to push for homeowners’ insurance reform in the 2016 Legislative Session. The Consumer Protection Coalition seeks to curb a practice known as “assignment of benefits,” where owners sign away their insurance policy to a third party who will collect on their behalf. The 17-member coalition, led by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, contends AOB is being abused to extract more cash from…

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Rick Scott touts budget priorities, highlights job growth in Jacksonville

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Gov. Rick Scott highlighted a Jacksonville confectioner’s jobs expansion Monday as he continued to push for his business tax cut priorities. Sweet Pete’s, a candy and chocolate manufacturer, opened in Jacksonville back in 2010 and recently expanded operations with 75 new jobs and the purchase of a 23,000-square-foot facility. “It is exciting to highlight their growth in Florida and across the nation with 75 new jobs just this year,” Scott said. “We want small businesses like Sweet Pete’s, who would directly benefit from our…

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Insurance attorney at Florida Chamber summit: Assignment of benefits = “sinkholes lite”

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The legal maneuver known as “assignment of benefits” rivals or even outstrips mother nature herself as a threat to coastal Florida policyholders, according to a top staffer with a state-owned insurer and an insurance industry lawyer. At the Florida Chamber of Commerce‘s annual Insurance Summit at a Disney resort near Orlando, Angel Conlin, General Counsel for American Strategic Insurance Company, joined a chorus of antipathy for the practice and for trial lawyers who lucratively employ it Tuesday afternoon. Conlin said so-called…

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Sorry, Joe Negron, but this latest ploy for Senate Presidency is weak sauce

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State Sen. Joe Negron on Wednesday morning upped the ante in the poker game to be president of the Florida Senate in 2016-18 by releasing the names of his colleagues who have pledged their support to him. Unfortunately for Negron, this latest ploy will likely fall flat. Claiming that he has the support of “Senators who represent (a) majority,” Negron has taken the extraordinary step of listing his pledges as “Senator Don Gaetz (District 1), Senator Aaron Bean (District 4),…

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Personnel note: Caitlin Murray named government affairs director for Office of Insurance Regulation

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Caitlin Murray has been tapped as director of government affairs for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Murray, named one of the “30 under 30″ rising stars in Florida politics by SaintPetersBlog, began her new role effective Monday. According to OIR Commissioner Kevin McCarty, Murray will handle oversight of the agency’s government affairs initiatives in both the Legislature and Cabinet. “I am excited to join the Office and honored to work with Commissioner McCarty,” Murray said. “I look forward to…

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Rick Scott gets bill limiting drones in Florida

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If you happen to own your own drone to take photos of other Floridians on their property, you better stop it soon — unless you want to get sued. That’s because on Thursday, SB 766 was sent to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk. The bill states that drones cannot be used to photograph or record images of people or their property from the air. The restrictions would also apply to state and local governments. The legislation was sponsored in the Senate by…

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Drone restrictions flying to Gov. Scott

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A Florida Legislature crackdown on drones flew out of the House Tuesday with a unanimous vote. SB 766 would prohibit drones – unmanned mini-robots equipped with cameras — from taking pictures on private property without consent. The measure already cleared the Senate, and now is on its way to Gov. Rick Scott. Drones are popping up everywhere. They are being used to fight an avocado fungus in Florida, terrorists in the Middle East and to rescue injured skiers in Norway. The…

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