2006 Legislative Session - What to Expect
Steve Roddenberry
Special Consultant
Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell, & Dunbar, P.A.

Committee meetings for the 2006 legislative session have wrapped up and the session has begun. As the old saying goes, nothing is safe when the Legislature is in town. This year poses to be no different. From an insurance perspective, however, we have a fair idea of what is on the agenda for the 2006 Legislature.


Several bills that have already been filed (SB 644/HB 635 and SB124/HB199) will be on our radar for this session. They propose to amend Chapter 768, Florida Statues, the sovereign immunity statue. At the time of publication, the bills stand as follows:

SB124/HB199 relieves, at least
in part, law enforcement agencies of certain liability when injury, death, or property damage is caused by a person fleeing from law enforcement in a vehicle. There are three conditions that must be met before the law enforcement agency can avail itself of this reduced liability: Read the entire article . . .


Average Weelky Wage
Larry J. Feinstein, Esquire
Vernis & Bowling of Central Florida, P.A.

When determining the average weekly wage of a self employed claimant, the claimant's net income should be used (gross receipts less business expenses). Two recent claims effectively illustrate this point.

In Case #1, a volunteer policeman was injured in the course and scope of his employment in that capacity. While he had no earnings in which he reported $87,000 of income for the year preceding his compensable accident. The carrier and former defense counsel divided his gross annual income by 52 weeks and an average weekly wage of $1,697.92 was determined to be appropriate, leading to payment of temporary benefits at the maximum compensation rate for that year. Following receipt of the file, the claimant's tax records were reviewed and it was noted that of the claimant's gross income (after business expenses were deducted) was approximately $9,865.31. Breaking that figure to a weekly basis, this resulted in an average weekly wage of $189.72 with a corresponding compensation rate of $126.48. Unfortunately, this file was not brought to the attention of this firm until after the 104 weeks of temporary benifits had been paid. As a result of the change in the average weekly wage and compensation rate, the carrier will be attempting to recoup almost $46,000 against future indemnity (if any).

Read the entire article . . .


Florida Legislature Addresses Governmental Entity Liability for Public Beaches
Joseph D. Tessitore
Attorney at Law
Bell, Leeper, and Roper, P.A.

In March of 2005 in the case of Breaux v. City of Miami Beach, 889 So. 2d 1059 (Fla. 2005), the Florida Supreme Court held that if a governmental entity holds an area of beach out as a public swimming area or leads the public to believe an area is designated swimming area, then the governmental entity owes a duty of care to the general public. The duty of care owed would include the duty to warn swimmers of potential hazards, including rip currents, and could include the obligation to post lifeguards anywhere along a public beach where a member of the general public might swim. Read the entire article . . .

Underwriting Property Risks
Michael Scholl
Vice President, Underwriting
Public Risk Underwriters

"It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are" - Clive James

The recent hyperactive hurricane season did more than cause unprecedented damage in the Gulf region; it damaged the credibility of the hurricane models used by insurance companies to predict losses. As the dust settled and the waters receded, many companies found that their actual loss from Katrina was two to four times what the models predicted as the '10,000 Year' storm. While Katrina was a large Cat 4, most climatologists are in agreement they can envision worse hurricanes making landfall.
Read the entire article . . .

Risk Managers in the EOC
Chuck Magazine
Risk Manager
City of Boynton Beach

How many of you Risk Managers have spent any time in your Emergency Operations Center, before, during, or after a hurricane?

Why not? Other than your administrator or town, city, or county manager, who has a better overall perspective on your public entity than you do?

The risk manager brings a lot to the table at the EOC. I am not just talking about the recovery phase after the storm either. You probably know more about the capabilities of individual departments and their staff than the manager, and sometimes the department head. Or, at least you should.

Read the entire article. . .

Workplace Violence: A Growing Problem, Part II
Mike Marinan
Director of Safety and Risk Management
Public Risk Underwriters

In the last edition of Preferred Info we began to address some of the issues regarding workplace violence and some of the controls employers can use to begin to identify and hopefully prevent the situation from occurring. In this issue we want to continue looking at the subject.

Larry Porte, a former Secret Service agent and Manager of the Threat Response and Asset Protection Division of Kerby Baily and Associates, says that workplace violence is a process that does not occur in a vacuum. "Violence is the product of an interaction among three factors:

  1. The individual who takes violent action
  2. The stimulus or triggering conditions that lead the person to see violence as a way out.
  3. A setting in which that facilitates or permits the violence, a setting in which there is a lack of intervention"
Read the entire article . . .

  A word from PGIT Board of Trustees Chair, Ed Wolf.
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