Talk of the bay

Published December 7, 2006


Verizon made a big splash last year in parts of the Tampa Bay area when it unveiled its FiOS fiber optic cable television service as a new alternative to Bright House Networks and other cable TV competitors. Now comes Verizon's first rate hike for its FiOS service. Come January, Verizon is raising the price for new subscribers $3 per month. The rate change won't affect existing customers unless they change their FiOS TV package. New customers will pay $42.99 per month for the FiOS Premiere package, plus $4.99 a month for each set-top box. Existing customers pay $39.95 plus the set-top box fee.

No need for a bank to deposit a check

In a rush to deposit a check? Just sign the back, log on to your bank account and fire up your computer scanner. Or at least you can if you're a customer of USAA Federal Savings Bank, which rolled out the new online deposit service Wednesday. The San Antonio, Texas bank said it's the largest nationwide bank to offer deposits using a home scanner and an Internet connection. The service comes in particularly handy for USAA members on active military duty, who don't always have an ATM handy. Deposits received before 9 p.m. Eastern time are credited that same business day. (Now if only they can figure out how to get the computer to spit out cash.) USAA has about 200,000 banking customers in Florida and about 1,500 employees in its Tampa property and casualty insurance office.

She'll stir up storm for hurricane help

Just in time for the end of hurricane season: Florida's incoming chief financial officer, Alex Sink, this weekend will start lobbying coastal states from Maine to Georgia to establish a regional catastrophe fund for reinsurance. Her venue: the National Association of Insurance Commissioners conference in San Antonio, Texas. The notion of a national catastrophe fund hasn't exactly caught on. But Sink is hoping similarly situated coastal states will be interested in working together to create a fund that would provide cheaper reinsurance for insurance companies. In theory, at least, that's supposed to lead to lower premiums.


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