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Insurer Spends Heavily On Legislative Lobbying

Amid a debate about revamping workers' compensation insurance laws, Sarasota-based FCCI Insurance Group appears to have spent more than any other company or group on legislative lobbying during the first three months of the year.

A state report that aggregates lobbyist-compensation totals estimated that FCCI spent $383,000 on legislative lobbying from Jan. 1 through March 31. That number, however, is not exact because lobbyists report their compensation in ranges, except when paid $50,000 or more by clients.

The lobbying firm Floridian Partners reported being paid $70,000 by FCCI during the first quarter; the firm Southern Strategy Group reported being paid $53,000; and the firm Silver Palm Consulting reported being paid $50,000. FCCI, other parts of the insurance industry and business groups pushed for legislation during this spring's session to hold down workers' compensation insurance rates and to limit attorney fees in workers' compensation disputes.

Lawmakers adjourned May 8 without agreeing on a bill. Lobbying firms were required to file first-quarter compensation reports with the state by Monday. Among other major spenders were Associated Industries of Florida, AT&T, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and United States Sugar, according to the state aggregation of the data.