National Flood Insurance Program claims payments totaled $1.2 billion last year, marking the sixth straight year that payouts have exceeded $1 billion, an E&E News analysis found. Data shows that properties outside the 100-year flood zone have accounted for 36% of NFIP claims over the past decade.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now says an average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, up from 12 named storms and six hurricanes previously. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Risk says the 2021 season could bring 17 named storms and eight hurricanes, three of which could reach Category 3 intensity or higher.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has upheld lower court decisions that an injured worker can be reimbursed for medical marijuana via workers' compensation. The court said the employer in the case, a construction company, "does not face a credible threat of federal criminal" charges over such reimbursement, adding that medical marijuana can "constitute reasonable and necessary care under New Jersey's workers' compensation scheme."
Joyson Safety Systems is facing an investigation into whether more than 250,000 of its passenger-side replacement air bag cushions might have been folded in a way that could hinder deployment, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says. In 2018, Joyson acquired Takata, whose air bag inflators have been connected to more than 250 injuries and at least 18 deaths in the US, NHTSA says.
A pair of California initiatives that require use of fire-resistant materials could hamper construction and elevate building costs, builder advocacy groups say. "If you're going to say you can only use steel or cement-type structures in some of these areas, that's a different kind of build with significant costs associated with it," says Peter Tateishi, CEO of Associated General Contractors of California.
Utilities in Texas appear to have known ahead of February's severe winter weather that their systems needed to be winterized, said Dallas-based insurance lawyer Lawrence Bowman, who is preparing for legal disputes over claims stemming from the winter storm. However, the large number of companies involved in Texas' electric grid could pose challenges in determining fault, and insurers must demonstrate that gross negligence occurred.
Information about 21 million ParkMobile customers -- as well as their vehicles -- is reportedly available in a Russian-language cybercrime forum. The company, which has a parking payment app that's popular in North America, says no payment card information is involved and blames a vulnerability in third-party software.
Three measures introduced in Michigan aim to help the state's distracted-driving law keep pace with more modern technology, said state Rep. Mari Manoogian, a co-sponsor of the legislation. The bills would add to the list of devices that cannot be used while driving, add certain exemptions for mobile device use by drivers, prohibit the use of social media while driving and heighten the penalties for distracted driving.
A law enacted in Virginia creates a rebuttable presumption that firefighters, emergency medical services personnel and law-enforcement officers who fall ill with COVID-19 contracted the coronavirus on the job. The legislation applies to workers' compensation claims filed after July 1, 2020, and it will remain in effect through Dec. 31.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Life Insurance and Annuities Committee does not appear to be interested in forming a group to look at reengineering life insurance and annuity illustrations. Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said there is not enough consensus among regulators to produce meaningful results.
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