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Talk of the bay: British fashion headed to Tampa

By Times staff
Published March 15, 2007


Check this out: British fashion headed to Tampa

Mad for plaid? Burberry, the British luxury label, has started work on a full-line store in Tampa's International Plaza. The company's sixth store in Florida and first in the Tampa Bay area opens in May in space once held by St. John's Knits. Founded in 1856, Burberry has been a fabled name in the history of outerwear, including the introduction of gabardine in 1880 and the familiar Burberry check, shown above, which the company debuted as a lining in British army officers' coats in 1920. Now the ubiquitous check can be bought in everything from neckties to scarves to clothing for pets. In the past decade, the brand experienced such a resurgence as a women's fashion apparel label that Burberry derives 15 percent of its sales from North America.

Risk too high for yet another insurer

Another day, another insurance company deciding not to write homeowners insurance in Florida. In a recent letter to its agents, the Auto-Owners Insurance Group said two of its three companies - Auto-Owners Insurance and Owners Insurance - will no longer accept new policies. Citing recent changes to Florida law, the company said it could not take on the added risk. "In the event of a catastrophic hurricane," the letters reads, "the additional average premium for our lines increases from $1,528 to an estimated $2,169. The increase is due to assessments of 42 percent, or $641 per policy." Allstate Floridian, Nationwide Florida, Liberty Mutual and several smaller companies have made similar decisions in recent months. The Auto-Owners Group writes about 40,000 policies in Florida.

Syniverse's cellular fix travels north

Like their friends across the border, Canadians can now retain the same cell phone number while switching service providers. Tampa-based Syniverse Technologies on Wednesday implemented its wireless number portability clearinghouse solution for all Canadian mobile operators. The service also allows customers to transfer numbers between cell phones, or between landlines and cell phones. Yesterday's announcement strengthens the company's hold over the Canadian market. Syniverse said it now provides number portability solutions to most U.S. mobile operators and all mobile network operators in Europe. The company built the number portability system in Finland and is also involved with systems in parts of Asia.

[Last modified March 14, 2007, 23:08:44]

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