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Talk of the bay: Title insurance leaders to meet with regulators

By Times Staff
Published August 21, 2007


It's raining subpoenas in Tallahassee. Days after state regulators served subpoenas on State Farm, several key players in the title insurance industry got the same legal treatment Monday, directing them to appear before regulators Thursday to discuss their sales and business practices. Among the topics of the probe: how the costs to produce title insurance policies relate to insurance premiums, the procedures used by companies to audit agents, the methods of conducting title searches, the use of affiliated business arrangements and the use of reinsurance contracts. The hearing agenda is available on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation's Web site at

Man whose calls made history dies

Rest in peace, Joybubbles. Joe Engressia was a blind University of South Florida math student in the late 1960s when he learned he could make free long-distance phone calls (back when that was a wild notion) with his perfect pitch. He found he could whistle into a pay telephone the precise pitch - 2600 hertz or close to a high A note - that would trip phone circuits and allow him to make long-distance calls at no cost. Engressia once even called around the world (for free) and talked to himself on a second telephone. "It took eight seconds," he said. But his hobby eventually came to USF's attention and, with encouragement from the phone company, he was disciplined by the university. But his talent earned the Tampa student the nickname "The Whistler" and a place in history in a 1971 Esquire magazine article as one of the granddaddies of telephone hacking, known as "phone phreaking." Engressia, who changed his legal name to Joybubbles in 1991 to reflect his childhood fascination, died earlier this month in Minneapolis of an apparent heart attack. He was 58.

SunTrust cuts have little local impact

SunTrust Banks is slashing 7 percent of its work force, but the Tampa Bay area won't see much of an impact. The region is losing 30 jobs, some of them vacant positions. Atlanta-based SunTrust said it will take a $45-million charge in the third quarter to cover costs related to the elimination of 2,400 positions companywide, including 250 in Florida.


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[Last modified August 20, 2007, 23:00:17]

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