By Kay Kipling Photography by Ted Mase July 1, 2011

The series on Florida’s tangled insurance industry that just won Paige St. John the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s first Pulitzer Prize was born when she was covering Florida’s horrific 2004-2005 hurricane season. "I saw the problems people had getting their claims paid, plus the lasting effect of higher insurance rates," says the 50-year-old St. John. Her biggest assets in the lengthy investigation? "Having an inquisitive mind and not taking the first answer to a question and walking away," she says. She’s happy not only with the win but the effects of her story. "I’ve heard from a lot of people who are communicating with their legislators now; there’s a fuller debate," she says. "That’s our role, to inform democracy."

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