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A state appeals court again rejected Florida's attempt to halt any Allstate Insurance company from writing new policies in the state. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Florida regulators and Allstate have 40 days to submit paperwork supporting positions. The court had initially stopped the state's suspension of Allstate on Jan. 18, but Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty appealed last week. The appeals court decision Wednesday allows Allstate's 1,100 Florida agents to keep writing new policies. The ban would have applied to all types of insurance sold by Allstate, but would not affect existing policies or renewals. Regulators want to know why Allstate has not complied with legislation that directs insurers to lower homeowners rates. Allstate had asked to raise its homeowner rates an average of 42 percent statewide.

TECO blows fuse over Orlando pact

TECO Energy's coal-mining unit could lose up to $60-million over the next four years if a 12-year-old contract with the Orlando Utilities Commission, the city's provider of electricity, isn't updated. A federal lawsuit filed in Kentucky says periodic adjustments to the contract price for changes in TECO's production costs have not worked as planned. Now Orlando is exercising its right to extend the contract through 2011 - without fixing the pricing problem. "OUC would reap an unjustified and unconscionable windfall," Tampa-based TECO says.

WellCare's ousted not awash in cash

Three executives ousted from WellCare Health Plans Inc. in Tampa last week were not handed golden parachutes. President and CEO Todd Farha, chief financial officer Paul Behrens and chief counsel Thaddeus Bereday will pick up their regular paychecks and have the right to cash vested stock options through March 31. Farha owns more than 750,000 shares of WellCare and could earn 130,000 more shares if the company meets certain financial benchmarks and, more important, is not shown to have engaged in any wrongdoing under his leadership. The managed-care company is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation with which WellCare is cooperating. Farha's replacement, Heath Schiesser, will receive a base salary of $400,000, matching Farha's 2006 base. WellCare's new executive chairman, Charles Berg, will get a base salary of $500,000, according to company documents.