Surcharges coming as more Florida insurers on brink of failure
For home insurance customers, the hits just keep coming. On top of a series of steep rate increases over the past few years, now come surcharges to clean up messes left behind by failed insurance companies. Insurance executives expect that some cash-strapped companies won’t be able to raise enough capital to purchase enough reinsurance — insurance that insurers buy to ensure they can pay all claims after a catastrophe — before the upcoming June 1 deadline that coincides with the start of hurricane season. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
While baseball argues about billions, small towns lose their meager spring windfall
The Florida Sports Foundation says spring training has an annual economic impact of $687.1 million in this state. While the money sounds exaggerated, the actual passion for spring training is immeasurable. It is northerners escaping the cold, and students escaping class. It is retirees sitting in the sun alongside business execs sneaking in a lunchtime beer. It is an unhurried pace, an uncommon proximity and unnatural optimization before the inevitable heartbreak of a 162-game season. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida expands state of emergency to threecounties affected by wildfires
Residents in 600 homes in the Florida Panhandle were evacuated as a wildfire destroyed two houses and damaged 12 others, in an area that has spent the past three years recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael, officials said Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of acres of downed trees from the 2018 hurricane, along with low humidity and strong winds, have created “the perfect storm” for the hazardous fire conditions in Bay County, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference outside a church in Panama City. More from the Tampa Bay Times, CNN, and the New York Times.]
Climate scientist says Florida ‘not acting fast enough’
Climate change impacts and risks are becoming increasingly complex and more difficult to manage. That’s one of the conclusions of the latest global report on climate change from a group of scientists gathered by the United Nations. The report says rapid decarbonization needs to happen soon for the planet to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but notes some impacts are already baked in and can’t be stopped. The report repeatedly mentions Florida as an example of a place where some irreversible changes have already happened. More from WJCT and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Strawberry shortcake named Florida’s official dessert. But what about Key Lime pie?
Florida loves its Key Lime pie. We love it so much that it’s the state’s official pie. But now Florida has a new state dessert, too. On Friday, a bill to make strawberry shortcake — with a “healthy dollop” of Florida-made whipped cream — the state’s official dessert passed in the House and is on its way to the governor’s desk. The House passed the bill 109-4. The Senate passed the bill unanimously in January. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis can now sign the bill or let it become law without signing it. He can also veto it. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Shipping company to move operations from backlogged California to Florida’s open ports
While many businesses continue to leave California for Texas and elsewhere, international shipping companies have been increasing their operations in Florida, with one launching a new service on the East Coast, and its first port in Florida, bypassing the West Coast and California ports. Sea Lead Shipping Pte Ltd, a privately owned global shipping line headquartered in Singapore, announced the launch of a new service linking ports in East Asia with ports on the East Coast of the United States – the first port being JAXPORT in Florida.
› Rising gas prices impacting some South Florida businesses
High gas prices aren’t just impacting drivers, they’re also impacting some local businesses. The owner of Misty’s Florist in North Palm Beach, Misty Chang, has been in the floral business for more than three decades. Chang said she’s seen a lot and is feeling the effects of the rising gas prices, especially when it comes to making deliveries. “I used to fill up my tank for $35, now it’s like $44,” Chang said. “We deliver a lot.”
› USS Orleck passes test, nearly ready for trip to Jacksonville to become museum ship
There’s good news and bad news for those hoping to see the USS Orleck brought to Jacksonville as a museum ship. The good news is that the Orleck floats. The 77-year-old retired US Navy destroyer has been undergoing repairs in Texas, where it was removed from drydock late last month and put into the water. The ship floated with no leaks, as expected.
› Royal Caribbean debuts world’s largest cruise ship (again) in Fort Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean debuted its latest, and largest, ship for its maiden voyage from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Friday: Wonder of the Seas. The French-built ship is the world’s largest cruise ship, after the Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. Wonder of the Seas has room for 6,988 passengers and 2,300 crew members. It weighs almost 240,000 tons.
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