Southwest Florida Roundup
Private insurers are flooding the market
Flooding the Market
Tampa Bay has become a jumping-off point for analytics-driven flood insurance companies looking to go national. Founded in 2016, Tampa-based TypTap Insurance, a subsidiary of the HCI Group, recently announced plans to expand beyond Florida.
“Our expansion plans will increase our total addressable market from approximately $11 billion within Florida to over $105 billion,” says Kevin Mitchell, TypTap’s president.
In 2018, the company had $2.5 million in premiums. That’s up to $75 million now, and the company projects to have $100 million by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, across the bay in St. Petersburg, Neptune Flood Insurance, which uses data analytics and algorithms to determine which properties to cover and how much to charge, was founded in 2017 and has already gone national, writing flood insurance policies in more than 40 states.
One Man’s Trash ...
A broken golf cart on the campus of Florida Polytechnic University was destined for the junkyard until a team of researchers converted it into an autonomous vehicle. The project — students spent a semester getting the cart working again — was funded in part by a $350,000 grant that Florida Poly’s Advanced Mobility Institute received from the National Science Foundation to develop a simulation facility for autonomous vehicles. The cart can be controlled via a website and is solar-powered. “We are designing this in such a way that students can do research with it,” says Arman Sargolzaei, director of the Advanced Mobility Institute. “It’s not just for demonstration. We are making the code and applications available so undergraduate and graduate students in the future can do research and implement different algorithms for different fields for autonomy, control systems, cyber-security, power systems and energy systems.”
- Naples-based First Florida Integrity Bank promoted Heather Tice to senior vice president and director of marketing.
- Pasco County is giving medicalproducts manufacturer Soule $177,172 in incentives to help it build a $8-million, 100,000-sq.-ft. factory in Wesley Chapel, a move that will create 25 jobs.
- The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce has changed its name to SWflInc. iO Associates, an information technology and digital staffing firm based in England, will open an office in Tampa, its first in the U.S., and hire 40.
- Colombia-based Incofilt, which makes industrial filters, will open an office in Tampa and plans to hire 10 engineers.
- Jean D. Kabongo is the University of South Florida Sarasota- Manatee’s new dean of the USF Muma College of Business. Kabongo, a professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship, is a four-time winner of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s outstanding professor award.
- Sarasota County is paying $562,000 to purchase and preserve 40 acres of conservation land adjacent to the Old Miakka Preserve.
- A $126-million addition at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa is opening its first 30 rooms, with 60 to follow. The seven-story hospital includes access to an elevated pedestrian bridge connecting St. Joseph’s Hospital to St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital.
- Nathan H. Walcker is the new CEO of Fort Myers-based Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute. He had been CFO.
- Christina “Cina” Welch is the new president and CEO of the FCCI Insurance Group in Sarasota. She replaces Craig Johnson, who was fired following a May incident in a Sarasota restaurant where he refused to leave and was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer.
- The Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition and Newtown Alive are working with the city of Sarasota to create a Sarasota Museum of African American History and Culture.
- Walton, an Arizona real estate and land management firm, has purchased 128 acres in Hernando County’s Crystal Waters community. The land, already approved for 244 single-family homes, includes 3.3 acres for commercial development.
- Construction on the 198-unit Watercrest Sarasota Senior Living Community is nearly complete. The facility, on University Parkway near the border of Sarasota and Manatee counties, will include 72 homes for independent living, 94 for assisted living and 32 for residents needing memory-care assistance.
- A mixed-use development proposed to replace St. Petersburg’s former police headquarters is on hold.
- Amazon plans to spend $40 million to build a 110,000-sq.-ft. delivery-support facility in the Pasco County community of Lutz. Scheduled to open next year, the facility is expected to employ 120.
- St. Petersburg-based Plasma-Therm, which makes plasma-process equipment for the semiconductor industry, opened an office in Singapore.
- Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has installed three non-contact temperature screening kiosks, where airport employees will undergo temperature checks before the start of every shift. Passengers will have the option to get a touch-free temperature check, as well. Any traveler with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more will be advised not to travel.
- St. Petersburg-based Duke Energy Florida is awarding $655,000 to 19 workforce development and education programs around the state to help counter pandemic-caused economic disruptions. St. Petersburg College will get $100,000 to support its Diversity in Energy Initiative, which recruits low-income, minority and female students and helps connect them with training for energy-industry jobs.
- Forty arts and cultural organizations in Sarasota County will see a 20% drop in available grant money from the county.
Read more in Florida Trend's October issue.
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