“I encourage New Yorkers to exercise caution when disclosing sensitive personal information.”
— New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood warned in a press release announcing that a Manhattan man has been convicted of engaging in two separate identity theft schemes between 2013 and 2014 and has been sentenced to prison. An investigation by Underwood’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit revealed that Sharif King stole the personal identifying information of employees and prospective employees, and then fraudulently used their identities to steal an $8,000 insurance settlement, buy a $58,000 2015 Mercedes Benz Sprinter passenger van and attempt to take out a $29,000 loan.
“Since this problem emerged, we have been committed to finding a solution that will assist our customers dealing with this unfortunate and complex issue.”
— Michael Klein, executive vice president and president of personal insurance at Travelers, said in a press release announcing that The Travelers Companies Inc. has established the Travelers Benefit Program, a $5 million fund to assist customers in repairing homes with crumbling foundations in Northeast Connecticut. To help homeowners with the repair costs associated with pyrrhotite-related damage, the state recently created the Connecticut Foundations Solutions Indemnity Company (CFSIC). As some repairs may cost more than the CFSIC will cover, Travelers created the fund to provide additional financial support for its customers.
Optimism, Despite Challenges
“Despite the challenges, the reasons for optimism are clear: business is growing and jobs are relatively abundant.”
— Mike Seling, vice president of Business Development and Regional Operations, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, comments after the release of a survey commissioned by Accident Fund and the Michigan Business Network that shows acquiring and retaining talent remains the top challenge for Michigan’s small- to mid-sized business leaders. The latest Michigan Future Business Index (MFBI) data also show the rising cost of health insurance and higher wages have emerged as additional concerns. Still, business owners said they are continuing to have strong sales and profits.
“The odds are astronomical. …People are telling me I should buy a lottery ticket.”
— Phil Sevening, the owner of
Corner Hardware in Correctionville, Iowa, comments after his store was damaged in two separate incidents in the space of five days when vehicles collided with the building after failing to negotiate a tricky curve in the street where the store is located. Sevening, who has owned the business for 12 years, has estimated $9,000 in damage from the accidents.
“Requiring thousands of wildfire survivors, who’ve suffered through such heartbreaking loss to create detailed inventories of their belongings and other property is adding insult to injury.”
— California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in mid-December asked residential insurers to pay at least 75 percent and up to 100 percent of personal property or contents coverage in the event of a total loss without requiring detailed personal property inventories to help victims of the Camp and Woolsey fires.
“This paints a clear picture of the sequence of events leading to the vortex development and intensification.”
— Neil Lareau of the University of Nevada, Reno, talked about a study he co-authored explaining a rare fire tornado that raged during this summer’s deadly Carr Fire in Northern California. The study shows the firenado was created by a combination of scorching weather, erratic winds and an ice-topped cloud that towered miles into the atmosphere.
No Ordinary Care
“Patterson Drilling had the most direct control over the drilling operations and emergency response to changing conditions and failed to use ordinary care with respect to its conduct.”
— A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of one of the workers killed in an explosion at an Oklahoma gas well in January 2018 alleges that the driller of the well, Patterson-UTI Drilling, ignored multiple warnings that safety equipment on the gas well was malfunctioning before the blast that killed five workers and badly injured another. The Jan. 22 blowout occurred near Quinton, about 125 miles east of Oklahoma City. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board found that the rig’s accumulator, a piece of safety equipment that closes part of the well to prevent an uncontrolled release of fluids, wasn’t able to fully close the well on the day of the blast. The suit alleges Patterson knew of the problem.
Flooding Down in Texas
“Due to a combination of population growth and related development, Texas can be certain that without proper planning, flood events will impact more lives and cause more damage in the future. … This statement is just as true on the High Plains near Post as it is along Dickinson Bayou near Galveston.”
— The Texas Water Development
Board, in a flood assessment report, asserts the cost to curtail damaging flooding across Texas over the next 10 years is more than $31.5 billion. The report, produced for the state lawmakers ahead of the legislative session that begins in early January, says coastal and river flooding alone is expected to cause more than $6.8 billion in property losses over the next five years.