Last Call for 12.2.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

Ed. Note — Due to a technical issue beyond our control, Sunburn will be taking a day off tomorrow. Never fear, fans, the definitive morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics will return to your inbox on Monday morning! Thanks for your support, and have a great weekend. Stay safe.

First Shot

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ office has deployed two new teams to combat property insurance fraud.

“Last year, we worked with the Florida Legislature to create two new fraud-fighting squads solely dedicated to fighting homeowners and property insurance fraud in Florida,” he said Thursday in comments delivered at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Insurance Summit.

Now, the squads have arrived.

“The new squads are comprised of 13 total personnel including 10 sworn law enforcement detectives and are boots on the ground right now in Tampa and Orlando working with our federal, state, and local partners to investigate property insurance fraud. While based in Central Florida, these squads have the authority to investigate significant cases throughout the state.”

Patronis said he’s directed the detectives “to focus on significant cases involving organized schemes to defraud, multiple suspects or jurisdictions, contractor fraud, fictitious damage claims, inflated damage claims, and fraudulent water and roof damage claims.”

The property insurance market was a major topic of discussion during the first day of the Insurance Summit, which brought together insurance policy experts from across the nation in Tampa to discuss the state of Florida’s insurance industry.

While fraud often takes a back seat to curbing litigation in property insurance policy discussions, Patronis noted that it bleeds millions out of insurers every year.

“Since I took office in 2017, our fraud unit has made more than 4,500 fraud and arson-related arrests. These efforts have resulted in a total of more than $173 million in court-ordered restitution.”

Evening Reads

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to resurrect the Florida State Guard” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Insurance Summit: Citizens Property Insurance to push ‘depopulation’ plan in 2022 Legislative Session” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics

Las Vegas Sands sues Seminoles-linked groups over major gambling expansion in Florida” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

10% of Florida’s younger children got COVID-19 shots in November” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Coronavirus cases in South Africa nearly triple in three days as fears over omicron grow” via Lesley Wroughton of The Washington Post

Omicron’s best- and worst-case scenarios” via Rachel Gutman of The Atlantic

Florida Power & Light execs worked closely with consultants behind ‘ghost’ candidate scheme, records reveal” via Jason Garcia and Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel

Bill allowing camera enforcement in school safety zones speeds ahead” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics

Feds dragging their feet on a plan to feed starving Florida manatees” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix

House panel looks to close evidence tampering ‘loophole’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

COVID-19 kills South Florida cops eight times more often than gunfire the past two years” via Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald

Welcome to Florida. The COVID-19 rules are different here.” via Lois K. Solomon of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Universal: How Spider-Man ride spun into Islands of Adventure” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“We want to be able to have a quick response capability and reestablishing the Florida State Guard will allow civilians from all over the state to be trained in the best emergency response techniques and have the ability to mobilize very, very quickly.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, announcing plans to resurrect the Florida State Guard.

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