For small business owners along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, I have some good news! Meteorologists at Colorado State University are predicting a milder than normal hurricane season this year. They expect nine named storms to occur, two of which will become hurricanes. The average for the Eastern Atlantic is twelve named storms, seven of which become hurricanes. In case you are wondering, a storm is assigned a name when it becomes a tropical cyclone, a storm that has wind speeds of at least 39 m.p.h.
If there's one thing that can harm a company's reputation, it's a well-publicized product recall. Just ask Lululemon, the Canadian seller of yoga wear. Last March the company announced that it was recalling one of its best-selling products, black Luon yoga pants, because they were too sheer. Shortly thereafter, Lululemon's CEO resigned and sales slowed. Fortunately for Lululemon, the company seems to be recovering. Now General Motors is in the hot seat, and the problems it is facing are much more serious than Lululemon's. See-through yoga pants may have embarrassed some customers but they sure didn't cause any deaths!
The search continues for missing residents of the Oso, Washington area following the landslide that occurred on March 22. As of this morning, 30 people had been confirmed dead and 15 were still missing. These aerial photos show the scope of the devastation. As you can see, the slide left a deep gouge in the hillside above the town of Oso. Many of the homes that were destroyed are now buried under 15 to 75 feet of mud.
Malaysian Air Flight 370 has now been missing for almost three weeks. On Monday the Malaysian Prime Minister formally announced that the plane had gone down in the Southern Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia. The Malaysian government reached this conclusions based on satellite data as no wreckage has yet been found. The situation is bizarre! Who would hijack a plane only to crash it into the ocean? It doesn't make sense. There are also questions of liability. However, until the plane's "black box" is located, we won't know who was (or is) responsible for the loss of the plane and its 227 passengers.
This week Uber and Lyft, two ridesharing companies, announced that their insurance policies have been extended to cover drivers who are logged into the companies' networks but are not transporting any customers. Previously, drivers were covered only while transporting passengers. Lyft will cover these drivers subject to a $1 million limit, while Uber will provide a limit of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. While this extension of insurance is a positive move, it does not address the primary problem. Drivers for these companies are relying on their personal auto policies to cover a risk that most personal policies exclude. Clearly, this is a bad idea.
Which ten cities in the U.S. have the highest auto insurance rates? Which ten cities have the lowest rates? To find the answer, a financial website called nerdwallet compared the averages rates charged in the 125 largest U.S. cities. The hypothetical buyer was a 26-year-old male driver with no prior accidents. The results of the study are eye-opening. Detroit's rates were the highest by far. In that city, the annual premium for a young male driver is a whopping $10,723! Winston-Salem had the lowest premium at $969. The study focused on personal auto rates charged for one of the riskiest groups of drivers (young males). Nevertheless, many of the factors that determine personal rates affect the rates used in commercial auto policies as well.
The Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) was enacted in 2010. Key parts of the law are still being implemented. Soon after the ACA was passed, speculation began as to the effects it might have on state workers compensation programs. The ACA has no direct bearing on workers compensation, but it does make a number of changes to the healthcare delivery system. These changes may impact state workers compensation programs in a number of ways.
I and my fellow Baby Boomers are aging. That means that there are more older drivers are on the road these days. If older drivers have higher fatality rates than other drivers, we shouldn't be allowed to drive on the job, right? That's not true according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Since its creation in 1968, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has been the sole source of primary flood insurance for homeowners and businesses. Private insurers have offered only excess flood coverage, which does not apply until federal flood insurance has been used up. Fortunately, some flood insurance buyers now have an alternative to the federal flood program. In October of last year a Florida company called The Flood Insurance Agency began selling primary flood policies underwritten by a syndicate at Lloyd's of London. If all goes well, more insurers may enter the primary flood insurance market.
The summer of 2014 will be the hottest on record according to article in The Independent, an online newspaper. A team of scientists in Germany have predicted that that El Nino conditions are likely to form later this year. The scientists say that the likelihood that an El Nino will occur is 75%. What is an El Nino and why is it important?