Месечни архиви: November 2015

USI Names Peirce Employee Benefits Leader Producer for Mountain Region


USI Names Peirce Employee Benefits Leader Producer for Mountain Region

USI Insurance Services has named Robert Peirce employee benefits leader and producer for the Mountain region.

Peirce is responsible for driving revenue growth as well as managing a book of prospects and clients for USI in Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota and Utah.

Peirce has more than 12 years of experience working in the insurance and broker industry.

Robert Peirce

Robert Peirce

Prior to USI Peirce was the vice president and employee benefits market leader for Oswald Cos. in Columbus, Ohio. He also served as the senior sales executive, brand sales manager and senior sales executive for Oswald.

Valhalla, N.Y.-based USI is a large insurance broker that operates out of roughly 100 offices across the U.S.

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Virginia Approves 34 Overall Increase in Workers’ Comp Loss Costs


Virginia Approves 34 Overall Increase in Workers’ Comp Loss Costs

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) announced Tuesday the approval of revisions to the premium levels charged for workers’ compensation insurance in Virginia.

The revisions will result in an overall average increase of 3.4 percent for voluntary market loss costs and 2.3 percent for assigned risk rates, according to Virginia’s Bureau of Insurance.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) sought the revisions. The changes approved by the SCC will raise the overall premium level for the industrial, surface and underground coal mine classifications in the voluntary market and the assigned risk plan. The industrial classes include manufacturing, office and clerical, goods and services, contracting and miscellaneous industry groups.

The changes will also decrease the overall premium level for the federal classifications, which fall under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, in the voluntary market and assigned risk plan.

The changes will become effective April 1, 2016, for new and renewal workers’ comp policies, as follows:

In the industrial class, voluntary market loss costs will increase 3.4 percent, and assigned risk rates will increase 2.3 percent.
In the federal class, voluntary market loss costs will decrease 1.2 percent, and assigned risk rates will decrease 1.7 percent.
In the surface coal mine class, voluntary market loss costs will increase 13.3 percent, and assigned risk rates will increase 11.3 percent.
In the underground coal mine class, voluntary market loss costs will increase 12.0 percent, and assigned risk rates will increase 9.9 percent.

NCCI, a Florida-based ratemaking organization, represents insurance companies licensed to write workers’ comp insurance in Virginia.

Workers’ comp insurance provides medical care and wage replacement benefits to injured workers. Almost all Virginia employers are required to provide the coverage to their employees.

Source: The Virginia State Corporation Commission

 

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Missouri Hotel Closed after Legionnaires’ Bacteria Found


Missouri Hotel Closed after Legionnaires’ Bacteria Found

A hotel in northeast Missouri’s Hannibal is temporarily closed after health officials found evidence of the respiratory-related Legionnaires’ disease there.

The Hannibal Courier-Post reports the Best Western in the Mississippi River city closed last week after state and federal health officials says samples taken from there Nov. 10 tested positive for Legionella bacteria.

There are no immediate reports of any illnesses linked to the hotel and the bacteria.

The illness is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria that infect the lungs. Named after a 1976 outbreak among participants of an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, the disease can cause coughs, breathing trouble, fever and muscle aches.

People can get sick if they inhale mist or vapor from contaminated water systems, hot tubs and other typical sources.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Reward Offered for Information on 86 Suspected Arsons in Louisiana


Reward Offered for Information on 86 Suspected Arsons in Louisiana

A $4,000 reward is available for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for setting 86 suspected arsons that occurred between Aug. 30 and Oct. 21 of this year.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and the sheriff’s offices in Bienville and Jackson parishes are investigating the fires that investigators say began in the Castor community in Bienville Parish and progressed east through the Liberty Hill area and east to North Hodge in Jackson Parish.

A department news release said almost all the fires occurred on properties owned by timber company Weyerhaeuser Industries.

The Louisiana Forestry Association and Weyerhaeuser have put up the reward money.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the agriculture department at 225-925-4500 or 855-452-5323.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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AM Best Outlook Stable for Missouri Valley Mutual Insurance


AM Best Outlook Stable for Missouri Valley Mutual Insurance

A.M. Best has revised the outlook to stable from negative and affirmed the financial strength rating of B (Good) and the issuer credit rating of “bbb-” of Missouri Valley Mutual Insurance Co. (Missouri Valley) in Burke, S.D.

The rating outlook reflects Missouri Valley’s improved operating profitability since 2012, which has continued into 2015. As result, pre-tax and total returns on revenue and equity have improved and additions to surplus have been reported for three consecutive years with this trend also continuing into 2015.

The reversal in operating and underwriting results are in direct correlation with aggressive exposure and risk management initiatives that were implemented by management in earlier years and continue to gain traction and materialize favorably. These actions include; tighter underwriting guidelines, increased inspection programs, ensuring adequate total insured value, system enhancements and rate increases.

Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the company’s elevated underwriting expense structure and geographic concentration of risk. Missouri Valley maintains an elevated underwriting expense structure primarily due to high other expenses.

This is not uncommon with smaller size companies that lack size and scale. However, the elevated underwriting expense structure is partially mitigated by the company’s favorable pure loss ratio, as well as its loss and loss adjusted expense ratio. In addition, as a single state writer with all of its business produced in South Dakota, the company is exposed to frequent and severe weather-related events, as well as judicial, regulatory and economic concerns.

Source: A.M. Best

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Battle Over Legalizing Marijuana Taking Shape in New Jersey


Battle Over Legalizing Marijuana Taking Shape in New Jersey

New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled Legislature took a step toward a showdown with Gov. Chris Christie over legalized marijuana on Monday.

A state Senate panel convened a hearing on legalizing the drug, and a leading Democratic lawmaker says it’s time to bring it out of an underground economy by legalizing, taxing and regulating it.

“I believe our state should lead the way,” Democratic state Sen. Nicholas Scutari said. Scutari, who has authored a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for people over 21, sketched a scenario in which the drug comes out of what he called a “black market” and gives way to a billion-dollar industry.

But the issue comes as Christie, who is seeking the GOP nomination for president, has repeatedly underscored his opposition to legalizing marijuana, viewing it as a gateway to the abuse of other drugs. But he is in favor of treating addicted drug users.

“As a former federal prosecutor, I’ve been the most outspoken person in this race on this issue,” Christie said in a recent interview with Laura Ingraham. “I am completely, 100 percent opposed to drug legalization; that’s different than being for treatment.”

Advocates of legalization on Monday cast the issue as a civil rights question that could help ease the disproportionate arrest of black residents. Udi Ofer, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union-New Jersey, alluded to video of Christie talking passionately about getting drug addicts help and said there’s a disconnect in the governor’s positions.

“Here we have a governor who talks about how the war on drugs has failed,” Ofer said. “Yet we have seen arrests increase over time. There’s an inconsistency there.”

Christie has been a longtime advocate for drug treatment and certain judicial reforms. Under a program he championed, nonviolent drug-addicted offenders in the state can be sentenced to mandatory participation in drug treatment programs rather than get jail time.

The witnesses at the hearing, where there was an occasional interruption by applause from the public, were mostly supportive of legalization. Republican lawmakers questioned why opponents were not invited to the hearing. Scutari said lawmakers would hear from opponents at a later hearing.

Marijuana has been legalized for all uses in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska and for medical use in nearly 20 others, including New Jersey.

New Jersey’s medical marijuana law is among the most restrictive, with patients and doctors required to register with the state and each pay a $200 fee.

There are five dispensaries. A sixth is pending.

 

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Tornadoes in North Texas Damage Homes Businesses


Tornadoes in North Texas Damage Homes Businesses

Multiple tornadoes hit North Texas late on Nov. 16 and early on Nov. 17, causing property damage.

The National Weather Service says at least five tornadoes touched down in the Pampa, Texas, area Monday night.

Forecasters in Fort Worth says a small tornado touched down before dawn Tuesday in North Texas, in the Keller area. Several homes were damaged but nobody was hurt.

Halliburton officials say no employees were at a chemical facility in the Texas Panhandle when the site was hit by a tornado.

In a statement, Halliburton said its district office near Pampa recently closed and no chemicals or workers were at the location during Monday night’s storm. Halliburton officials are investigating tornado damage to the facility.

The Gray County Sheriff’s Office says two deputies responding to severe weather were exposed to natural gas at the Halliburton complex and were checked by medical personnel at the scene. Both deputies declined to be taken to a hospital.

The sheriff’s office, in a statement, said the deputies were apparently exposed to natural gas before the lines were shut off. No further danger was found at the scene.

Four empty cars on a BNSF Railway freight train derailed near Miami, about 20 miles from Pampa. Nobody was injured. The 87-car train was bound from Kansas to Amarillo.

The Gray County Sheriff’s Office had no reports of anyone hurt in the storms that destroyed at least two homes and damaged several businesses.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch until late Tuesday afternoon for areas of Texas including Houston, Huntsville and Beaumont.

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GEICO 1st Auto Insurer in NY to Offer Digital ID Cards for Policyholders


GEICO 1st Auto Insurer in NY to Offer Digital ID Cards for Policyholders

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that GEICO has become the first insurer in New York State to complete the certification process through the Department of Motor Vehicles to allow customers to begin using electronic ID cards on their smart phones and electronic devices.

GEICO’s new feature became available to New York customers on the company’s mobile app Tuesday.

At the governor’s direction, the New York DMV amended its regulations in April to allow insurers to issue e-cards to their customers. Certification testing by DMV is required for all carriers that wish to participate to ensure the cards meet technical requirements.

“This new program will both improve efficacy and increase convenience for motorists across New York State,” Cuomo said. “This administration is committed to providing a better customer experience for New Yorkers and I thank GEICO for working with us to keep the needs of our drivers a top priority.”

“This service is not only extremely convenient to customers, but also it helps greatly improve efficiency for both insurance companies and DMV,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. “Motorists will be able to show proof of insurance quickly and easily, and have an insurance card handy at a moment’s notice. I encourage insurance companies across the state to take advantage of this helpful service, so we can all work together to give New Yorkers the excellent customer service that they deserve.”

New Yorkers must have New York State approved auto liability insurance coverage to register a vehicle. DMV’s amended regulations allow motorists to provide proof of auto liability coverage, or insurance ID cards, in a paper or electronic format. Proof of insurance in an electronic format can now be used for motorists acquiring registrations in DMV offices, providing proof of insurance coverage during a traffic stop, and providing proof of insurance coverage to a judge, justice, or magistrate in response to a summons.

Source: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

 

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St Louis-Area Taxi Drivers Sue Uber over Lost Business


St Louis-Area Taxi Drivers Sue Uber over Lost Business

St. Louis-area taxi drivers suing Uber allege they’ve seen up to a 40 percent dip in business since the ride service began operating in violation of local regulations.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that drivers Robert Glynn of Laclede Cab, Douglas Uchendi of ABC Cab, and Aaron Vilcek and Jeffrey Hamilton of St. Louis County Cab filed the suit Friday in St. Louis County.

The suit says the plaintiffs’ individual damages are less than $75,000 each. The damages sought in a class-action case would be less than $5 million.

An Uber spokeswoman says the company hasn’t seen the suit and declined to comment.

The latest suit follows two federal lawsuits between Uber and the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission over disagreements of driver regulations under state law.

Related: 

Uber Sues St. Louis Taxi Commission Over Ride-Sharing Ban
Taxi Companies’ Lawsuit Against Uber in Connecticut Dismissed
Taxi Group’s New Lawsuit Targets New York’s Uber Policy
Judge in California Says Uber Must Face Taxi Suit over Safety Claims
Uber Called ‘Criminal Enterprise’ by Philadelphia Cab Owners Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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XL Catlin Expands Yacht Insurance Risk Appetite


XL Catlin Expands Yacht Insurance Risk Appetite

XL Catlin, the official insurance partner of the America’s Cup, has expanded its appetite to insure yachts of all sizes.

According to Richard DeSimone, chief underwriting officer of Marine in XL Catlin’s Americas region, the bringing together of the Catlin and XL Group marine teams has created a larger underwriting and claims team with more capacity to cover a broader range of yachts.

Recently, the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) named XL Catlin the Official Insurance Partner of the 35th America’s Cup, sailing’s biggest yacht race.

Rick Salway, vice president and Recreational Marine manager, the new underwriting and claims capabilities allows XL Catlin to address the insurance needs of yachts valued from $50,000 to $50 million.

Liability limits range from $100,000 to $50 million.

XL Catlin’s yacht coverage, ShipShape and ShipShape Plus, provides a variety of recreational marine coverages, including:

• Liability coverage that extends to paid crew and includes Jones Act, General Maritime Law, and Death on the High Seas Act
• Defense costs outside liability limit
• Medical payments extended to paid crew members
• Broad navigational limits
• Veterinary service for pets

XL Catlin’s yacht insurance coverage is provided by the XL Catlin insurance companies.

The XL Catlin insurance companies offer property, casualty, professional, financial lines and specialty insurance products globally. XL Catlin is the global brand used by XL Group plc’s insurance and reinsurance companies which provide property, casualty, professional and specialty products to industrial, commercial and professional firms, insurance companies and other enterprises throughout the world.

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