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Malena Carollo - Utilities, Consumer Issues, Cybersecurity and Insurance Reporter

Utilities, Consumer Issues, Cybersecurity and Insurance Reporter

I'm passionate about writing stories that expose broken systems and wrongdoing. My work brought to light an auto lender taking advantage of Floridians, highlighted burgeoning neighborhood surveillance and prompted an investigation by the Florida Attorney General's Office. Help me learn what's going on in your part of Tampa Bay. Contact me more securely on Signal at (813) 591-0688. I earned my master’s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where I studied investigative and data reporting and practical digital security. Before the Times, I covered cybersecurity for the Christian Science Monitor’s Passcode section.

  1. A big sea change in data privacy protection is ramping up in California, and many Florida businesses will soon feel its ripple effects. Pictured is a woman typing on a keyboard in October. [Jenny Kane| Associated Press]
    Beginning this month, businesses around the country are required to answer requests from Californians about personal data companies collect about them.
  2. Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Co., a Tampa insurance firm, has a preliminary agreement to acquire St. Petersburg's Anchor Property & Casualty Insurance Co. and all of its policies. Pictured is Paresh Patel, CEO of HCI Group, Homeowners Choice's parent company, in 2013.
    The Tampa firm reached a preliminary agreement to buy the St. Petersburg insurer.
  3. More than 50 people gathered on Bayshore Boulevard in remembrance of George Gage, who died when he was hit jogging. along Bayshore Boulevard and West Julia Street.
    They met shortly after the alleged driver in the accident, Benjamin Douglas Ehas, appeared in a wheelchair before a judge, who ordered him held without bail.
  4. A private agency that scores the financial health of insurance companies is planning on downgrading its ratings for nearly half of the 40 Florida property insurers it grades because of economic conditions following the heavy storm seasons since 2016. Pictured is damage from Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach. [Douglas R. Clifford | Times (2018)]
    Many of them are carrying heavy debt following intense storms from 2016 to 2019.
  5. Sports apparel giant Fanatics Inc. will move into Laser Spine Institute's former headquarters. Pictured is the building in March following the Laser Spine Institute's shutdown in March. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
    The 5332 Avion Park Drive location will house Fanatics’ in-house apparel division, Fanatics Brands.
  6. Tampa Electric Co.'s "Lamb Cam" is back. Pictured are sheep in a still from a video last year courtesy of Tampa Electric. [Courtesy of Tampa Electric Co.]
    The utility uses the sheep rather than lawn mowers around its solar arrays.
  7. Florida tops list for U-Haul’s ‘fastest-growing’ states. Pictured is a U-Haul truck in Tampa Bay. | [Times file photo]
    The list ranks states based on how many U-Haul trucks go into a state versus out.
  8. As tensions with the Middle East grow, many consumers’ are eyeing the pump for signs of higher gas prices in the near future. Pictured is a man filling up in 2017 in Tampa Bay. | [Dirk Shadd, Times]
    State gas prices rose as expected following higher oil prices last week, but political tension could push them further.
  9. Gas prices are uncharacteristically high for the season. Pictured is a woman pumps gas at a gas pump at a convenience store in Pittsburgh in September. [Gene J. Puskar | AP]
    According to AAA, the Auto Club Group, Florida gas prices are about 30 cents more per gallon than last year.
  10. CareerSource Tampa Bay is hosting a business and education summit at the end of February. Pictured is its office in Tampa in 2017. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
    The summit is scheduled for the end of February.