HURRICANE REIMBURSEMENT PROGRAM LAUNCHED: The Florida Department of Financial Services on Thursday launched a program to reimburse Floridians who paid more than one hurricane deductible last year. The reimbursement plan, which sets aside $150-million, was approved by the state Legislature in a December special session. Maximum reimbursements under the program are $10,000 per event up to a maximum of $30,000. Condominium associations can recover up to $3,000 per unit that did not have insurance for assessments. Storm victims should receive an application from their insurer by mail with information needed to complete the application. If that packet does not arrive by Jan. 27, call the Department of Financial Services toll-free at 1-800-227-8676. Applications also will be available on the department's Web site at www.fldfs.com. Applications must be completed, signed and filed with the department by March 1.
BANK, USF ATHLETICS PARTNER UP: The Bank of St. Petersburg and the University of South Florida Athletic Department have announced a partnership in which the bank will be the official provider of the university's specially branded checks and participate in sports marketing initiatives.
WHOLESALE POWER MARKET EXPANSION REDUCES TECO INCOME: TECO Energy Inc. said a drop in the value of investments made under a failed expansion into wholesale power markets reduced fourth-quarter net income by about $480-million. Valuation adjustments were made for unfinished power stations in Arkansas and Mississippi and a plant in Virginia, TECO said. The company also wrote off unused steam-fueled turbines because of diminished prospects for nonutility electricity sales. TECO shares fell 10 cents to $14.94 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading Thursday.
COMMISSION REAFFIRMS SHRIMP TARIFFS: The U.S. International Trade Commission on Thursday cleared the way for tariffs to be imposed on shrimp imports from six Asian and South American countries, but expressed concern that tariffs on India and Thailand would burden the tsunami-ravaged countries. The commission upheld last February's preliminary finding that imports had injured, or were likely to injure, U.S. shrimp processors and fishermen. The panel reaffirmed with a 6-0 vote that frozen shrimp have hurt the U.S. industry but voted 4-2 to scrap tariffs on canned imports, which make up about 0.4 percent of imports.