The North Carolina Rate Bureau agreed to revert rates for private vehicle coverage to 2006 levels and to hold them steady until 2011, state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced. The rate adjustments, which are retroactive to Jan. 1, entitle drivers to receive refunds amounting to $50 million and will start Nov. 1, Goodwin said.
Although hybrid motorists enjoy more insurance discounts than drivers who use conventional cars, they command bigger coverage because they drive more miles and have more expensive crashes, according to a study from Insurance Services Office's Quality Planning Corp. The total cost from collision insurance claims for hybrid drivers was 13% higher than for those with regular vehicles, the study found. Granting comprehensive coverage to hybrid drivers cost 17% more than those for other motorists, the firm added.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and researchers from Searete have filed patent applications for water-suction technologies designed to slow destructive hurricanes forming in oceans, according to records from the U.S. Patent and Trade Office. The technologies include turbine-equipped vessels that could be deployed along the hurricane's path in the open seas. These barges would have tubes capable of cooling warm ocean surfaces -- which boost storm intensity -- by using cool water pumped from the deep.
A raging wildfire hit southwestern Colorado on Tuesday, charring about 500 acres in San Miguel County. Although no structures were destroyed, the blaze forced about 20 families to flee their homes. Officials said the cause of the flames, which started in San Miguel Canyon, remains unknown.
A strong tornado landed in Wyoming on Monday, affecting 4,600 acres of land in the northeastern part of the state. Several farm structures including two homes were destroyed, while toppled trees covering areas of the Black Hills National Forest blocked about five miles of roads. Hail caused damage to some houses and vehicles, but nobody was injured, officials reported.