It was no easy session for insurance lobbyists – especially pregnant ones, which makes Kalifeh’s win of Insurance Lobbyist of the Year all the more sweet.
Kalifeh, who spent the summer home with her newborn daughter, gets credit for the hard work put in toward a host of unresolved issues this year, including assignment of benefits and workers’ comp.
Her background in government helps: She’s a former legislative affairs director and deputy chief financial officer for Florida’s Department of Financial Services.
Working with Associated Industries of Florida, she also took part in what she called “an ancillary, but important, issue – injured worker privacy.”
With sponsors Keith Perry in the Senate and Ben Albritton in the House leading the way, a bill passed to ensure “workers’ compensation claimants now will be free from aggressive, confiusing attorney solicitations soon after they are injured on the job,” she said.
She also helped take out an archaic program in which drivers in certain counties had to undergo a vehicle inspection before getting insurance coverage. A study by the state showed that $12 million had been spent on compliance, yet only $35,640 had been saved.
This session, Sens. Jeff Brandes and Randolph Bracy, and Rep. Bobby DuBose agreed to carry legislation to deep-six the inspection requirement. It also won approval.
Kalifeh “is fearless and motivated and that is a good thing,” said fellow lobbyist Mark Delegal, for whom she once worked. “She is tough and smart. She will do BIG things.”