Michael Moline, Author at Florida Politics - Page 3 of 22

Michael Moline

Michael Moline is a former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal and managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal. Previously, he reported on politics and the courts in Tallahassee for United Press International. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as editor of the Florida Flambeau. His family’s roots in Jackson County date back many generations.

House members’ project bills would add $708 million to state budget

House members had filed 319 bills seeking money for local projects as the deadline for such legislation fell Monday. They would cost more than $708 million if enacted.

Under rules approved when Richard Corcoran assumed the speakership, members must file a specific bill describing each project they hope to insert into the state budget. The idea is to get away from secretive logrolling late during sessions.

According to House Rule 5.14, in order for a project to be included in the House budget, it must be filed as a stand-alone bill, favorably considered in committee, and made with non-recurring appropriations.

According to a Lobby Tools tally, the most expensive item is HB 2503 by Cary Pigman, a Sebring Republican. He would spend nearly $62 million to tear down and replace the aging Okeechobee High School.

The least expensive is HB 2003, by Deltona Republican David Santiago, to install a virtual reality lab for STEM students at Edgewater Public Elementary School in Volusia County. The price tag is $25,000.

Of the items, 23 had been vetoed once before, including drainage improvements in Miami Lakes valued at $650,000, and $500,000 for the Madison County Agricultural and Exposition Center.

Also vetoed before were $1.4 million for a post-doctoral research program, and nearly $3 million for “drug discovery and translational research,” at Scripps Florida.

The number of bils would have hit 320, but Bill Hager, a Boca Raton Republican, withdrew his request for $83,000 to remove non-native species and restore shorelines on Bingham Island in Palm Beach County.

The House rule has inspired grousing in the Senate that the other chamber was trying to impose its will. Corcoran has suggested that senators seeking projects find a House co-sponsor, to remain within the spirit of the House’s drive for transparency.

“We have our own rules in the Senate. We are going to abide by our own rules,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala told reporters following recent a committee meeting.

“I think it would be unfortunate if we got to a position where, because the House is trying to force their rules on the whole process, that we get into some kind of government shutdown or something like that,” he said.

A cordial House reception for Scott’s budget, despite off-stage rancor

The House Appropriations Committee gave a respectful reception Tuesday to Gov. Rick Scott’s $83.5 billion state budget Tuesday, with chairman Carlos Trujillo praising the spending plan as “conservative.”

“It’s a very fair budget,” Trujillo told reporters following the meeting. “It was balanced. Some different priorities than we’ve expressed here in the House. But, overall, I think it was very fair, very reasonable, and very well put together.”

Of proposed legislation that would spike Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida — two of Scott’s top priorities — Trujillo said a hearing Wednesday before the Careers and Competition Subcommittee would be telling.

“If the bill goes down in flames tomorrow in committee, we know there’s probably not an appetite for the membership. But if that’s not the case, the appropriations will follow the policy,” Trujillo said.

“I’m assuming it will be reported favorably,” he said.

Asked whether he could recall a time when a proposed committee bill favored by a speaker did not pass, Trujillo had a quick reply.

“Stand your ground, last year in my criminal justice committee.”

The debate over those economic- and tourism-development programs has grown heated, with Scott Tuesday suggesting the bill was motivated by House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s desire to run for higher office.

Informed of the governor’s remarks, Trujillo said: “I would disagree with his comments.”

Regarding the overall budget, Cynthia Kelly, Scott’s top budget aide, briefed the committee on Scott’s plan and answered questions. Several members asked about Scott’s proposal to leave local property tax levels at existing levels, to capture rising property values for schools.

House leaders want to lower that tax rate, to keep tax levels more or less even.

“We do not consider that a tax increase,” Kelly said of the governor’s proposal. “If the rate had been adjusted, that would be different. But as long as the rate is held constant, it is not considered a tax increase.”

House budget subcommittees were to begin hammering out the House’s own spending plan during hearings scheduled for Wednesday.

Insurance Office going after one-way attorney fees in AOB fight

Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier laid out his office’s solution to the insurance assignment-of-benefits problem to Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet Tuesday, and it includes limiting contractors’ ability to recover attorney fees in litigation against insurance companies.

Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute is intended to shield policyholders against legal bills if they want to sue their insurers for failure to pay or lowballing claims. Critics, including Altmaier, argue that unscrupulous contractors, armed with assignment of benefits agreements, or AOBs, exploit the law to file lawsuits, knowing they won’t be on the hook for legal costs.

Draft legislation circulating within the Office of Insurance Regulation would specify that only policyholders can take advantage of the law — not third parties, such as contractors, Altmaier said.

“It would clarify that, if you’re a homeowner, and you own the policy, it’s your name on the policy, you have the benefit of the one-way attorney fee,” Altmaier told reporters following his presentation.

“If your name is not on the policy, then you don’t. It’s just as simple as that.”

Policyholders would remain free to assign their benefits and choose contractors.

“For all the folks that are doing this the right way and not abusing the system, their day-to-day operations shouldn’t change at all as a result of this legislation,” Altmaier said.

“It’s the folks that are abusing the system and causing the fraud that might see the change.”

The draft bill also would bar contractors from filing liens against policyholders to recover repair costs above what insurers pay; policyholders would need to inform insurers when executing an AOB.

In 2012, AOB-related claims accounted for 10 percent of litigation against Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Florida’s insurer of last resort, Altmaier said. By 2015, they accounted for 55 percent.

Altmaier approved a 6.4 percent premium increase for Citizens policyholders last year. Unless the Legislature solves the problem, he said, policyholders would face 10 percent increases into the foreseen future. Private insurers would leave the market. And consumers could get hit with additional assessments by Citizens to pay for repairs following a catastrophic storm.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said he’s seen no increase in consumer complaints to his office suggesting massive wrongdoing by insurers.

“They (consumers) would be reaching out to us,” he said. “The evidence seems to be that that is not happening.”

“There’s no other explanation other than the one-way attorney fees,” Altmaier said.

 

Rick Scott accuses House leadership of playing politics on economic development

Gov. Rick Scott accused House leaders Tuesday of political posturing on Florida’s economic- and tourism-development programs.

“It’s pretty clear. If you don’t care about people’s jobs, you must be caring about something else,” Scott told reporters following a Cabinet meeting.

“What else can it be? How can anybody say, ‘We don’t want to help a poor family get a job?’ How can anybody say, ‘Oh, this investment where we get a significant return, we don’t want to do that?’ ” Scott said.

“The only thing this could be would be politics. You would never think this way in business.”

Legislation introduced in the House last week would dismantle Enterprise Florida, which provides incentives to businesses considering moving to the state, and Visit Florida, which markets tourism and provides education and training to tourism business owners.

The bill is PCB CCS 17-01.

“We’re seeing people who just want to run for higher office,” Scott said. “They’re not concerned about what happens to other people. They just think it’s a nice sound bite. But it doesn’t help anybody in the community. It doesn’t help anybody in our state.”

House Speaker Richard Corcoran has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2020. He has denounced Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida for misspending tax money and engaging in crony capitalism.

In a written statement, Corcoran questioned the wisdom and efficacy of Florida’s economic development programs.

“I think the governor is a good man and a friend. However, we were elected to do what is right and clean up government, put an end to the waste of taxpayer money, and end the culture of corruption,” Corcoran said.

“The governor cannot be surprised that we will do the right thing regardless of the consequences. Whether it is EFI, Visit Florida, or Obamacare expansion, we never question the governor’s motives.”

Last year, the Legislature blocked Scott’s request for $250 million for Enterprise Florida; this year, he has asked lawmakers for $85 million.

Scott conceded problems at both agencies, but pointed to management improvements.

“Is anything in life perfect? Could Enterprise Florida do things better? Sure,” he said.

“There’s more transparency now. There’s new leadership. If there’s something you can do better, you go and improve it. But you don’t just say, ‘Oh, I’m not ever going to do it again,’ ” Scott said.

“If we don’t create a market for the best jobs, we won’t get the best jobs.”

In fact, the governor repeatedly emphasized his jobs-growth agenda.

“This is about jobs. It’s about jobs. It’s about jobs. Do we want more jobs or less jobs?”

“This is so frustrating,” Scott said. “I just don’t understand how anybody can sit there and say, ‘I don’t care about a person getting a job.’ It’s shocking to me that anybody could think that way.”

Insurance office, NCCI refute Sunshine Law claims in workers’ comp appeal

The Office of Insurance Regulation and an organization that proposes workers’ compensation premium rates have filed legal briefs refuting arguments that they calculated Florida’s recent 14.5 percent rate hike in violation of the Sunshine Law.

James Fee, a Miami workers’ compensation attorney fighting the increase, and a group of press and press-freedom organizations, had argued in their own briefs that the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, was obliged to open its internal deliberations to public scrutiny, but failed to do so.

In reply briefs filed late last week with the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, the insurance office and NCCI argued that the opposing parties misread the law.

“If the Legislature intended to make any discussion of rates subject to the Sunshine Law, it could easily have drafted a statute providing that a rating organization may only take actions pertaining to workers compensation or employer’s liability insurance rates in Florida at open meetings held in the state,” the insurance office wrote in a brief filed Thursday.

“That is not what Section 627.091(6) (of the Insurance Code) provides, and any attempt to rewrite the statute to greatly expand the breadth of its applicability, and read the important limitations actually included by the Legislature out of the statute, is improper.”

That section refers to “the committee of a recognized rating organization,” and says its deliberations fall under the Sunshine Law.

NCCI disbanded its internal committee in 1991. Senior actuary Jay Rosen crunched the numbers for the council, albeit in consultation with other NCCI employees.

NCCI proposes premium levels on behalf of most of the workers’ compensation insurers in Florida, subject to approval by the insurance office. It proposed a 19.6 percent hike but the office approved the smaller boost in August.

Attorneys for Fee — and, in a friend-of-the-court brief, for the Associated Press, the Florida Press Association, and the First Amendment Foundation — argued the arrangement amounted to an evasion of the Sunshine Law.

In its own brief, NCCI argued it was not obliged to do the work through a committee.

“Just because an entity can create a collegial body that would be subject to the Sunshine Law, does not mean an entity is required to create a collegial body that is subject to the Sunshine Law,” the council’s attorneys, led by Thomas Maida of Foley & Lardner, wrote.

“Applying the reasoning advanced by appellee and amicus, any governmental entity which has the power to appoint a collegial body to make decisions instead of utilizing a single decision-maker would be ‘evading’ the Sunshine Law if they chose not to create a collegial body,” the brief continues.

“The Sunshine Law does not, however, silently mandate the creation of collegial bodies to exercise decision-making authority whenever it would be possible to do so. It provides instead that, if such a collegial body with decision-making authority exists, meetings at which official acts are to be taken must be open to the public.”

A Leon County judge in December sided with Fee and issued a ruling blocking the rate increase. However, the 1st DCA allowed the increase to begin taking effect pending the appeal.

The insurance office and NCCI asked the court to consolidate oral arguments in the case.

Senate panel begins work on human trafficking problem

A Senate committee got a preview of what a coordinated statewide campaign against human trafficking might look at Monday, when a prosecutor detailed Miami’s “victim-centered” attack on the scourge.

Esther Jacobo, who runs the program for State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, said prosecutors, support staff, victim specialists, and investigators within the office and other Miami-Dade police departments certainly prosecute traffickers.

But they also identify services gaps that make it more difficult to deliver children and young women and men from human traffickers.

“We need to strengthen our entire system of care for the victims,” Jacobo said following her testimony.

The Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs gave her a sympathetic hearing.

“At the end of the day, we know there’s a crisis in the state of Florida — not only here, but across the nation — when it comes to human trafficking,” said Rene Garcia, the Hialeah Republican who chairs the panel.

He considers the Miami program among the best in the country.

”We want to make sure the best practices that are happening there, we can implement them statewide,” Garcia said.

“I hate to say we’re flying blind, but we are. We’re figuring it out as we go.”

Florida ranks No. 3 in the country for human trafficking, Jacobo told the committee.

Nearly half the identified victims were in four large counties — Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Broward, and Orange, according to Cate Cantral, of the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

Identifying victims is difficult, Cantral said — they’re frequently controlled physically or psychologically by their traffickers; reluctant to talk to investigators; and have a high rate of running away from home or treatment.

State officials recently identified a 50 percent increase in human trafficking, largely attributed to improved training and attention to the problem,

Since the Miami-Dade program began in 2012, it has identified 534 victims. Of the females, 95.4 percent were minors. Of the males, 4.6 percent were minors. Jacobo put the age of entry into prostitution at 12 to 14 for girls, and 11 to 13 for boys.

The program emphasizes “trauma-informed prosecution,” Jacobo said — recognizing that stress to developing brains can produce irrational thinking, impaired short-term memory, inability to focus, and self-destructive behavior.

The Miami program participates — with state and local welfare programs and the University of South Florida — in a pilot project called Chance to target these behavior problems, Jacobo said.

A human trafficking child recovery project seeks to recover missing children and identify obstacles to finding them.

In addition, the Phoenix Project is a residential treatment and recovery program providing shelter, medical and psychological services, education and vocational training, and other services to 16 women.

Of the 264 verified child victims known to the state, Cantral said, 55 percent live with a parent and 16 percent were in residential care.

“The parents are trying to do whatever they can do, but the child continues to run and do these activities,” she said.

Victoria Vangalis Zepp, of the Florida Coalition for Children, left the hearing encouraged that Garcia would get something done.

”You can tell by the passion and the pain in his face, and every single one of these senators — they’re going to be moved to action.” Zepp said.

She added: “We’re going to need a lot of money.”

Jeff Brandes: Legislature needs educating about flood risk

A state senator proposing legislation to mitigate flood risk said Friday that lawmakers in Tallahassee don’t fully appreciate the extent of that risk.

“I think my colleagues in the Legislature don’t quite understand the gravity of the situation — much like Congress,” said Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican. “They do not understand how serious the risk is.”

But that’s understandable, Brandes said — their constituents don’t, either.

“Most folks don’t understand how important the issue of flood insurance is. Most Floridian think flood is part of their homeowner’s insurance. It isn’t. They also think, ‘Oh, I don’t live in a flood zone — I don’t have to buy it.’ “

Brandes discussed flood insurance during the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Insurance Summit in Miami.

He has introduced SB 584, to create a statewide flood mitigation and assistance program, providing up to $50 million per year in matching grant money.

The money would help reduce the risk and severity of coastal flooding by using Amendment 1 resources for land acquisition and preservation, and extending the expiration of deregulated rates in flood insurance to 2025 from 2017, giving the flood insurance market more time to grow.

National Flood Insurance Program costs less in communities that have mitigated their flood risk, Brandes said during a short interview.

“You can get discounts off a community’s entire collective premium base if you mitigate. With $50 million, we could be able to create hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for Floridian,” he said.

Your house isn’t in an official flood zone? Sorry, you’re not immune.

“Most of the homes that are flooded don’t have flood insurance because they actually are not in a flood zone,” Brandes said.

“They think the feds will come in and help us. It doesn’t work that way. They don’t have the resources.”

Brandes sees an opportunity for private insurers to enter the flood market — business they have shunned in the past, except for peripheral lines including excess coverage above limits set by the federal program.

Florida represents 37 percent of the flood insurance market,” Brandes said.

“Some large carrier needs to step up and begin to write X Zone policies” — on homes at risk in a 1-in-100-year storm. “That will change the game.”

 

True cost of workers’ compensation rulings pegged at $1.3 billion

Florida Supreme Court rulings in workers’ compensation cases will boost employers’ costs by 35.4 percent, adding $1.3 billion to the cost of doing business in the state, an economist warned Thursday during the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Insurance Summit.

“This breaks into a $929 million annual increase in premiums for the insured employers and a $361 million increase in claims costs for the self-insured employers,” said Mike Helvacian, of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

That means smaller payrolls and annual raises, less hiring, and smaller starting wages, he said.

Helvacian blamed escalating attorney fees now that the court has lifted caps on attorney fees. The court did so in Castellanos v. Next Door Co., a ruling handed down last year. The high court lifted limits on total disability eligibility in a separate ruling.

The attorney fee caps were imposed in reforms the Legislature adopted in 2003, as were other restrictions on benefits intended to drive down the cost of administering claims. Before the reforms, Florida posted the highest workers’ compensation premiums in the country. Afterward, the cost savings contributed to to private employment growth at a rate nearly twice that in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama, Helvacian said.

Wage growth also exceeded that in Florida’s neighbors — at 3.4 percent compared to an average 2.7 percent.

The attorney fee caps, based on the amount of benefits earned for the client, and other reforms saved 28.6 percent in system costs, by Helvacian’s calculations. Without them, he expects costs to rise by that same percentage.

Helvacian appeared during a panel discussion during the Chamber gathering in Miami. Also participating was Chris Bailey, state relations executive with the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, which proposes workers’ compensation premium rates in Florida.

Last year, NCCI proposed a 19.6 percent premium hike, although the Office of Insurance Regulation approved only an 14.5 percent increase. The rate, which began to take effect in December, is under attack in the 1st District Court of Appeal over alleged violation of the Sunshine Law.

Critics of Florida’s workers’ compensation system have questioned NCCI’s role in proposing rates for nearly all Florida insurers. These critics, including trial attorneys on key House and Senate Committees, argue insurers should compete against each other on rates — basing premiums on individual policy loss costs.

That’s a “red herring,” Bailey said — “truly, more of a distraction” from the real problem, And that, he said, is attorney fees.

Under Florida’s system, insurers compete on the “back end,” Bailey said — offer dividends and other inducements to lure business.

Lisa Miller, a Tallahassee lobbyist, counts herself among the system’s critics.

“Workers’ compensation is designed to protect injured workers. The best way to do that is competition on the front end and the back end,” Miller said.

“The best way to do that is re-engineer how we handle rates in Florida, and study the claims practices and go to loss cost.”

 

 

 

 

Jeff Atwater delivers frank advice at Chamber’s Insurance Summit

Jeff Atwater delivered some frank advice Thursday when he warned insurers they need to present hard facts to the Legislature before they can expect help in solving problems with the workers’ compensation system and other priorities.

Speaking at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Insurance Summit in Miami, the state’s Chief Financial Officer called for “honesty and transparency with an abundance of data that makes the case that a legislator, when weighing the evidence, can make a solid choice between what is out there today and where we go forward.”

He told insurance representatives that their industry has not always helped itself — as when, two years ago, it resisted his Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights.

“I’m not crying crocodile tears for anybody in here,” he elaborated to reporters following his remarks to the gathering.

“The industry has created its own perceptions — slow walking, not getting a repair done on time, lowballing with a contractor. Over a long period of time, this created conditions where there’s a tremendous suspicion of what could really be the motivations of the insurance industry.”

The industry has three big items on its legislative agenda for 2017 — reining in rising workers’ compensation premiums; attacking abuse of assignment of benefits agreements under homeowners insurance; and what to do about personal injury protection, or PIP, insurance.

He invited insurance representatives to a workshop in Orlando next month so that prosecutors can school them in how to prepare referrals to his office to attack fraud. The industry presented him with 226 such referrals last year, but few had enough details to produce prosecutions, he said.

“If you believe there is fraud, you have to get your skill sets right,” Atwater said. “Because I do believe there are bad actors.”

Atwater said he suspects mandatory PIP is headed for repeal, probably for a requirement to buy bodily injury coverage.

He’s not sure that will cure the fraud involving PIP coverage, however.

“The last thing I would want to have happen is for us to look back in three or four years and find out we replaced it with bodily injury (coverage), but for some reason within these mechanisms we were not able to address other cost-escalators,” he said.

Of workers’ compensation insurance, Atwater conceded the state might have gone too far in reducing benefits to injured workers to keep costs down.

“Do I believe benefits were diminished in an aggressive way that in retrospect should be revisited? The answer to that is yes.”

Atwater understands the industry faces real challenges. “I get that,” he said. But he urged those gathered not to get lost in verbal warfare with other players — including trial lawyers.

“The conversation should not be built on the integrity or the reputation of the elephants fighting over this,” he said. “The orientation should be the consumer.”

Atwater has a point, Tallahassee lobbyist Tim Meenan conceded.

“I think he’s saying we’re not going to get it done if we don’t have the facts,” Meenan said.

“And he’s not wrong. We didn’t fix PIP for several years. When we finally got the fact about how much money every driver was paying in a fraud tax, it ceased to become about us, and it became about helping consumers,” he said.

“We have a horrible habit of going to legislators and saying, ‘My company is losing money — help me.’ When we should be saying, ‘Consumers are getting hurt.’ “

 

Florida Chamber hosting summit in Miami to take on state’s insurance woes

With the Legislature poised to confront major challenges to Florida’s insurance industry and the businesses and consumers who rely on it, the Florida Chamber of Commerce will convene in Miami Thursday to map out possible solutions.

On the agenda are mandatory personal-injury protection, or PIP, coverage for motorists; abuse of assignment-of-benefits agreements in property insurance; and finding a way to rein in rising workers’ compensation insurance costs.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater will review the overall landscape, and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier will participate in a panel discussion outlining the perspectives of regulators and the regulated.

These issues are central to “our focus on creating jobs and economic opportunity,” the Chamber said in written statement.

“It’s important to address issues in Florida’s insurance industry that cost families and businesses money and make it harder for Florida to compete,” the Chamber continued.

“The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s annual Insurance Summit will attract hundreds of insurance officials, policy makers and business professionals from across the state to discuss how we can secure the future of Florida’s insurance industry.”

Attendees will also include Bryon Ehrhart, global head of strategic growth and development for Aon; Robert McClure, president and CEO of the James Madison Institute; Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle; Barry Gilway, CEO of Citizens Property Insurance Corp.; and Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, will also attend. He is among the lawmakers pushing for repeal of mandatory PIP — which, a study released in September suggested — could save drivers an average $81 per car.

However, consumers could end up paying more for other lines of coverage.

PIP coverage is considered ripe for fraud, especially in South Florida.

Belinda Miller, chief of staff in the Office of Insurance Regulation, will lay out the situation on Friday.

Cracking down on abuse of assignment of benefits, or AOB, agreements is the top legislative priority this year for Citizens Insurance, Florida’s insurer of last resort. It’s the topic of two panel discussions in Miami, centering on who’s to blame and what can be done.

AOBs are contracts through which policyholders sign away their rights in exchange for quicker repairs. But unscrupulous contractors can use them to inflate claims. And when insurers balk at paying, they can file lawsuits, further inflating costs.

Moreover, contractors can slap liens on homeowners to recover expenses insurers refuse to pay.

Gilway has blamed these contracts for a 6.4 percent increase in homeowners’ policies approved by state regulators in September.

At present, 45 percent of Citizens claims wind up in litigation, a trend largely driven by AOB abuse, Gilway said. Moreover, the trend is slowing Citizens’ efforts to move policyholders to private insurers.

Recent hearings before the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee suggested the solution may involve increased regulation of home repair contractors but perhaps not changing Florida’s attorney fee statute to discourage abusive lawsuits.

The Chamber has formed a task force to confront rising workers’ compensation rates. Altmaier’s office approved a 14.5 percent increase that began to take effect in December, and business leaders fear coverage could fast become unaffordable, eroding the state’s economic competitiveness.

Insurance and business interests attach most of the blame to Florida Supreme Court rulings striking down limits on attorney fees and total disability benefits.

The Supreme Court found that the system, which requires injured workers to give up their right to sue in court in exchange for guarantees health care and lost wages, has become stacked in favor of employers and insurers.

A recent state Division of Workers’ Compensation survey found that nearly 66 percent of system stakeholders disagreed or strongly disagreed that the system strikes the right balance between workers and employers.

“It raised a lot of questions. The purpose of the grand bargain is to get the workers better and get them back to work,” said Danny Burgess, chairman of the House insurance and banking panel.

Knabb will participate in a discussion of hurricane modeling, forecasting, and recovery with Lorilee Medders, director of the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center, and Bryan Koon, director of the state Division of Emergency Management.

Additional topics include the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund; flood insurance; and “how errant regulation hurts Florida.”

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