FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Florida’s consumer confidence drops three points in July

Florida's consumer confidence tumbled in July, ending a four-month streak of gains, according to a University of Florida survey released Tuesday. The UF survey is in lockstep with the Conference Board index also announced Tuesday that showed a July pull-back in consumer confidence nationally. But that result contrasts with a national survey by the University of Michigan that indicated confidence was up slightly. More from the Tampa Bay Times and UF News.

Florida Trend Exclusive
Best Companies Sounding Board

Employees answer:
 "What do you like best about your company?"

Below are responses from 9 of the midsized companies on our Florida's Best Companies to Work For 2013 list.

Midsized Company Employees Answer
No. 4 - Banking
No. 21 - Software
No. 10 - Technology
FBC Mortgage
No. 24 - Financial, mortgages
Gregory, Sharer & Stuart CPAs
No. 15 - Accounting
Plan Source
No. 28 - Technology
No. 16 - Technology
Modernizing Medicine
No. 31 - Health care IT
A-C-T Environmental
No. 17 - Environmental, infrastructure

Florida insurance officials: rates will rise under ACA

Florida's insurance officials said Tuesday that health insurance rates will rise 5 to 20 percent for small businesses and 30 to 40 percent in the individual market through the state's new exchange under the federal health law. Some of the state's largest individual health insurers, including Florida Blue and Cigna, will be among 11 plans competing through the exchange in the individual market and five insurers will offer plans in the small group market. [Source: Miami Herald]

Hurricane center extends its tropical outlook

Thanks to steady improvement in its forecasting skills, the National Hurricane Center plans to tell us when a disturbance holds potential to grow into a storm — five days in advance. It's the first major change in that segment of the forecast in more than three decades. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Moody’s praises push to shrink Citizens

Moody’s issued a report saying the plan by approved by the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott will reduce the risk for a hurricane fund that had gotten too large. By reducing the risk of a flood of post-storm claims Citizens couldn’t afford, the “depopulation” plan will also make it easier for private insurers to compete in Florida and will decrease the possibility of an assessment on all Florida insurance policies to subsidize a major loss by Citizens. [Source: Miami Herald]


› EverBank to lay off 48 in Jacksonville
EverBank will lay 48 employees in Jacksonville as it exits the wholesale broker home lending business. It will lay off about 100 others in Dallas and Sacramento, Calif. The bank, headquartered in Jacksonville, made the announcement late Monday, saying it intended to focus on retail, direct and correspondent lending.

› Florida remains No. 1 in home seizures
Florida remains tops in the nation for the highest percentage of distressed homes and the number of completed foreclosures, a new report has found. The state's foreclosure inventory -- properties in some stage of foreclosure -- stood at 8.6 percent of all mortgaged homes in June, real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday.

› Adult technical education program prepares to launch in Hernando
Past attempts by the Hernando County School District to bring adult technical education to the county have not gone well, marred by missteps and nagging questions over funding. But officials are ready to try again — this time with a fresh approach.

› Bus companies sue Orlando over airport pickup rules
Three bus companies that carry passengers to and from Orlando International Airport have sued Orlando, asking a judge to block the city from enforcing its regulations for taxis and other hired vehicles against them.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Gov. Rick Scott helps Golf Channel celebrate 88 new jobs
Gov. Rick Scott came to Orlando on Tuesday to help The Golf Channel celebrate the creation of 88 new jobs for which it received government incentives. A spokesman for the Golf Channel said the network has added the new jobs primarily in digital media and had made a capital investment of $4.4 million.

› Ansafone locating company headquarters in Ocala
Ansafone Contact Centers LLC announced it will be opening its corporate headquarters in downtown Ocala, although the company's current offices in Santa Ana, Calif., will not be closed.

› Office Depot: Merger cost savings are on track
Office Depot is on track to deliver $400 million to $600 million in savings from merging with rival OfficeMax, the Boca Raton-based company said Tuesday during an earnings conference call with analysts.

› Deal reached for sale of Bayfront Health System parent
As expected, Tennessee-based Community Health Systems announced Tuesday morning that it had agreed to purchase Health Management Associates of Naples, owner of St. Petersburg's Bayfront Health System. The deal was valued at $3.9 billion. Community would also assume $3.7 billion in HMA debt.
» Related: Company plans $3.9B takeover of Venice, Charlotte hospital owners