Friday, July 26, 2013


The Homeowners’ Policy and Claims Bill of Rights Working Group is a panel developing consumer-protection recommendations that they will offer to the Legislature in next year’s session.

Recently the state levied a $1.26MM fine against the state’s 2nd largest insurer, Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company for wrongly denying claims and canceling policies without adequate notice.   Universal has 550,000 policyholders. 
Universal was cited for using credit histories of clients to deny claims, long after the underwriting process should have been completed.  A bill was amended to limit use of credit records to deny coverage to 90 days after policy is written, but the bill failed to pass.

Some Florida consumers had had damages claims denied and coverage canceled because of an old credit report, despite having long-held insurance policies with same company.  Some others face lengthy legal proceedings in which they must participate or risk losing their policies.

Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Smith Westcott cautioned consumers in the middle of a claim or dispute to refrain from immediately signing contracts with contractors, adjusters and other groups offering aid.  He said, “first, contact your insurance company to get the process started”.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Tax Reform is underway on Capitol Hill. The Senate tax-writers have adopted a "Blank Slate" approach that initially eliminates every provision in the tax code, including those that are cherished by homeowners and future homeowners.  The intent is to lower tax rates that in turn will stimulate the economy.
From a 
website created for the effort
"In order to make sure that we end up with a simpler, more efficient and fairer tax code, we believe it is important to start with a "blank slate" -- that is, a tax code without all of the special provisions in the form of exclusions, deductions and credits and other preferences that some refer to as "tax expenditures." This blank slate is not, of course, the end product, nor the end of the discussion....
We plan to operate from an assumption that all special provisions are out unless there is clear evidence that they: (1) help grow the economy, (2) make the tax code fairer, or (3) effectively promote other important policy objectives."

The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Finance Committee recently
 began a legislative push to simplify the tax code by asking all Senators to make a case for including special tax breaks.Senator Max Baucus, on the left, and Senator Orrin Hatch want to start work on the tax code by clearing it of special breaks, unless those breaks meet specific goals. 

In the House, the committee that works on tax measures is called the Ways and Means Committee and it is headed up by Dave Camp, (R-Mich). This Committee has held many hearings on tax reform and has built "working groups" to arrive at a game plan for tax reform.
Normally Senators are tasked with the need to eliminate tax breaks but Senator Baucus and Senator Hatch thought that it is easier for Senators to come up with their list of deductions and breaks they want SAVED.

Every  $2 trillion in individual tax breaks added back to their "blank slate" would raise tax rates 1.3 to 2.2 percentage points. In other words, Senators must decide between popular tax breaks and low income tax rates.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


21ST rank in all of FL, 9th in Ft Lauderdale/Miami region for 2013-2014 annual listing of America’s Best Hospitals.  
Ranked as high-performing hospital in Gastroenterology/Gastrointestinal Surgery and Gynecology.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


Art Cinema logo
EVERY WEDNESDAY, July 10-August 28.
Screenings are at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Cash bar and snacks available.
Delray Beach Center for the Arts announces this new series in the Crest Theatre. ART CINEMA AT THE CREST will offer a variety of films on eight consecutive Wednesdays.

Caroline Breder-Watts, midday host for 91.3 WLRN and host of "Cinematically Speaking" on Arts Radio Network, will host each 8:30 pm screening - providing an introduction and leading a post-screening talkback session.

Tickets $8 -- Purchase by phone through the Box Office at 561-243-7922, ext. 1; at the door; or online.
SPECIAL OFFER FOR ONLINE PURCHASERS! When you purchase your ticket online, you will pay a $2 internet fee, BUT don't let that stop you! We will ease the pain of that fee with a coupon for $2 OFF A GLASS OF WINE OR A BEER on movie night! To receive the coupon, you must print your ticket at home (the coupon will print with the ticket). Bring everything to the Crest Theatre on movie night. This offer is for online purchases ONLY.
Listen to our film series interview with Caroline Breder-Watts and Brian Ridolfo at
Movie titles are subject to change without notice.

Art Cinema at the Crest

  • "Casablanca"
    July 10, 2013
    "Casablanca" Wednesday, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Crest Theatre; tickets $8. 1942 classic romance/drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II, an American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications. Cash bar available.
  • "The Big Lebowski"
    July 17, 2013
    "The Big Lebowski" Wednesday, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Crest Theatre, tickets $8. 1998 comedy starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman. "Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. Cash bar available.
  • "Anna Karenina"
    July 24, 2013
    "Anna Karenina" Wednesday, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Crest Theatre, tickets $8. 2012 drama starring Matthew Macfadyen, Keira Knightley and Jude Law. Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. Cash bar available.
  • "Price Check"
    July 31, 2013
    "Price Check" Wednesday, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Crest Theatre, tickets $8. 2012 comedy/drama starring Parker Posey, Eric Mabius and Annie Parisse. Peter, a family man who works for a failing supermarket chain finds his life shaken up by his new boss, Susan, who starts to groom him for an executive position.…
  • "Sound City"
    August 7, 2013
    "Sound City" Wednesday, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Crest Theatre, tickets $8. 2013 documentary starring Vinny Appice, Mick Fleetwood and Tom Petty. A documentary on the fabled recording studio that was located in Van Nuys, California. Cash bar available.
  • Quartet
    August 14, 2013
    Quartet Wednesday, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Crest Theatre, tickets $8. 2012 comedy/drama starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay and Billy Connolly (rated PG-13). At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of…
  • "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
    August 21, 2013
    "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" Wednesday, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Crest Theatre, tickets $8. 2012 drama starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world. Cash bar available.
  • "If I Were You"
    August 28, 2013
    "If I Were You" Wednesday, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Crest Theatre, tickets $8. 2012 comedy/drama starring Marcia Gay Harden, Leonor Watling and Aidan Quinn. When a woman tries to outwit her husband's sexy young mistress, the unexpected consequences include starring as King Lear in a very amateur

Thursday, July 04, 2013


To protect our military forces with mortgage relief, termination of leases, protection from eviction, a 6% cap on interest rates and the right to reopen any default judgments made during their active duty, in 2003, President Bush signed into law the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.  This law applied only to obligations that originated before their military service and were still in effect.  “Servicemembers” includes all those on active duty in the military and includes National Guard members called up for active duty for more than 30 days.

All lenders should be immediately notified when you go on active duty, and they must receive a copy of your military orders.  When put on notice, all interest payments must be reduced to 6% and lender must forgive all pre-service debts exceeding the 6% cap.  Your monthly payment must be reduced.  This also applies only to debts that were initiated before active service began.

Leases entered into before active service began can be terminated before expiring, giving landlord 30 days advance notice of termination and rent must be paid up to termination date.  A private life insurance policy cannot lapse, terminate or be forfeited for nonpayment of premiums while insured is on active duty and for one year after duty ends.

Garnishments and attachments, requested by military personnel or a court, may be stayed or vacated during active service.  The court can appoint an attorney to represent the interests of a servicemember.

The Supreme Court ruled that the law must be read with “an eye friendly to those who dropped their affairs to answer their country’s call.”