The Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau sent midyear workers' compensation loss cost filings of 5.24% and 10.02% effective Jan. 1 to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. This is the first filing after Gov. Tom Wolf reinstated impairment ratings for injured workers after the state Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional in 2017.
Annuity sales totaled $59.5 billion in the second quarter, according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, hitting a level not seen since early 2015, right before the Labor Department's fiduciary rule was put in place. In addition to the fiduciary rule being vacated, rising interest rates boost sales, LIMRA spokeswoman Catherine Theroux said.
Having a "planning mindset" is crucial for success in saving for retirement, according to a Wells Fargo study. Among characteristics of a planning mindset: having set a specific financial goal in the past six months, having set a long-term financial goal and prioritizing retirement savings now, rather than waiting until later.
The Woolsey Fire in suburban Los Angeles is now 35% contained, despite a flare-up Tuesday caused by strong Santa Ana winds, while the fire in total has scorched 97,000 acres, destroyed 435 buildings and "deep infrastructure," such as power lines, water lines, sewers and roads. The death toll from the Camp Fire has risen to 48 as forensic teams sift through charred homes in search of bodies.
CoreLogic estimates that 48,390 residences in California are at "high or extreme risk" from the wildfires now burning in the state, and the potential rebuilding cost is at $18 billion. The fires are also causing smoke and ash to spread through the state, affecting homes, heating, water supply and ventilation, while the cost of recovery and reconstruction after each fire causes the cost of home construction to soar, potentially raising the average home price.
A report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that around half of retirement households are expected to fall short of the goal of replacing three-quarters of preretirement income. The report examined five surveys commonly used to measure retirees' financial resources and found that between 42% and 60% of retirees are not likely to meet this goal.
Oregon has expanded its state-run mandatory retirement plan, OregonSaves, to include individuals such as the self-employed or gig workers. OregonSaves launched last year as a pilot program.
As Michigan becomes the 10th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that crashes are up by as much as 6% in states that have legalized marijuana, as PCI's Jeff Junkas notes the public awareness of the dangers of drugged driving is lagging. "If Michigan wants to avoid some of its residents from becoming another statistic, law enforcement and elected officials must take the wheel and introduce a sustained public awareness campaign that doesn't downplay the dangers of driving high," Junkas writes.
Lime is expanding its offerings by launching 50 car-sharing vehicles, or "LimePods," in Seattle this week and the company hopes to have 1,500 cars in the city by early 2019, which would make it the single largest free-floating car-sharing program in the country. Lime users will be able to unlock a LimePod for $1 and then pay 40 cents per minute, and insurance is covered in the cost.
Park Williams, a professor at Columbia University and an expert on wildfires, says that despite human effort to contain and prevent wildfires they are extremely powerful events, similar to a combustion-powered hurricane, and the increase in fires is inevitable. "If the public understood that, then they would become more tolerant of managerial tactics that are currently seen as too risky or heartless," such as controlled burns, Williams says.