January 8, 2018

No Consensus

“Until we have some kind of a consensus, or there’s an outcry from everyday business people, it just seems the issue languishes.”

— Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says there is no Republican commitment to a workers’ compensation reform measure introduced by a Senate committee in late December. The bill would add a fee schedule for medical care in the workers’ comp system. Vos says he hasn’t had a single business person tell him that reforming the workers’ compensation system was a priority.

The Cost of Business

“That is exactly why the Florida citrus industry is shrinking — they (growers) cannot afford the cost of staying in business. If a grower has lost 50 percent of his fruit, it’s unlikely he will make a profit.”

— Ariel Singerman, assistant professor of agricultural economics at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center. Florida citrus growers expect a significantly smaller crop this year because of Hurricane Irma, which destroyed an estimated 50 percent of this season’s oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and tangelos. Growers have also been battling citrus greening disease.

Unfair Rate Discrimination

“New York drivers who do not have a college degree or a high-paying job should not be penalized in the form of higher auto insurance rates.”

— Superintendent of Financial Services Maria T. Vullo said a new New York Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) finalized regulation protects drivers from unfairly discriminatory auto insurance rates. The regulation prohibits insurers from using an individual’s occupational status or educational level as factors in setting rates, unless the insurer demonstrates that the use of these factors does not result in unfair rate discrimination.

Harvey and Climate Change

“Did climate change make this event more likely than in the past? Yes.”

— Karin van der Wiel of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute discusses research presented at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans in December. Scientists say research shows that global warming’s fingerprints were all over the record rainfall from Hurricane Harvey this year.

Pesticides and Pot

“I think it’s a little funny that this year everybody’s caring about pesticides. People have been smoking weed 30, 40, 50 years, and it’s never been an issue.”

— Mike Winderman, manager of The Green Easy in Los Angeles, thinks the issue of pesticides, which is began coming up frequently as the state prepared for recreational marijuana to be sold legally, has been overhyped. He says the vast majority of crops that people eat are grown with pesticides, and even organic crops could be subject to pesticides drifting from nearby farms.

No Blinking

“It’s interesting to see where the underwriters are taking their stand. Right now, no one’s willing to blink because the market has been relatively soft, and there’s a lot of capacity.”

— Paul King, senior vice president at USI, commenting on how underwriters might change, or not change, their thinking going forward when it comes to employment practices liability following the recent storm of sexual harassment allegations.