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Digest

Talk of the bay

By TIMES WIRES
Published February 6, 2007


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INSURANCE GETS EVEN MORE BEFUDDLING

Here's an idea. Let's make the property insurance issue even more confusing by changing the law twice in two weeks. First, lawmakers in mid-January promised premiums would come down (without being specific on how much). Then last week, the Florida Cabinet, thinking insurance companies would dump policies and raise rates ahead of the new law, ordered a temporary freeze on rates and cancellations. It essentially means that no one can be cancelled or have their rates raised until at least May. But does that apply to the thousands of homeowners who got a non-renewal notice before the emergency order was signed? No one seems to know. State regulators say they are still sorting out the order. Officials suggest homeowners call their insurance agent, or the Department of Financial Services at 1-800-342-2762.

Only business students allowed

Forget business incubators. This fall, the University of South Florida will begin incubating business students. USF says it is will set aside an entire dormitory floor for 32 incoming freshmen who want to form the school's first-ever Bulls Business Community. In addition to living together, residents of the coed facility will take identical introductory courses, learn at the feet of junior and senior business majors, socialize with business faculty, and choose from workshops. Find out more at www.coba.usf.edu/bbn.

Coast summons some more help

Another financial guru is preparing to enlighten financially strapped Coast Financial Holdings, which is facing millions in losses on 482 loans to St. Petersburg builder Construction Compliance Inc. The parent of Coast Bank has hired veteran Sarasota banker Tramm Hudson, 54, to advise on such issues as bank regulation and problem loans. Coast also appointed a new interim chairman, title company head Michael Ruffino, after ex-chairman Jim Toomey suffered chest pains Friday. Coast lent about $70-million to customers of CCI. The builder ran out of money and ceased building hundreds of houses last fall.

Correction

CMR Studios of St. Petersburg filmed the commercial for the new Angel Guard car safety device. A photo caption in Saturday's edition was incorrect.

All about money

Times personal finance editor Helen Huntley talks about money topics and answers your finance questions at blogs.tampabay.com/money.

[Last modified February 6, 2007, 00:45:29]


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