March 8, 2021

“People who’ve been affected by a disaster are dealing with trauma. They’re trying to pull the documents together, and just hearing ‘no’ from one entity or another can shut things down. They don’t know how to navigate the bureaucracy. They’re just done.”

— Attorney Tracy Figueroa with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid is one of a number of advocates who say FEMA is using a complex bureaucratic process to weed out people who likely need the most help.

“Despite the widespread impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy, and uncertainty as to how long the pandemic will last, the E&S segment’s ongoing profitability and premium growth signal opportunities for surplus lines carriers to successfully operate.”

— A.M. Best said in its latest market segment outlook for the U.S. excess and surplus lines insurance sector. The ratings agency upgraded the outlook for the U.S. E&S to stable from negative, citing the sector’s resiliency in the face of pandemic challenges.

“If they’d called it the ‘spongy tire challenge’ we might have a different case. But that’s not what it was presented as.”

— Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael Gadola said in ruling that a lower court wrongly dismissed Tarek Hamade’s lawsuit against DeBuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. Hamade sued after he fractured his ankle while running across tires that were part of an obstacle course known as “Tough Farmer.” DeBuck’s argued that the spongy tire was an open and obvious risk, but the appeals court said the tire’s condition was not obvious.

“The best we can do is harvest as much as possible before a freeze.”

— April Flowers of Lone Star Citrus, a 6,000-acre citrus farm in Mission, Texas, says about 15% of the farm’s citrus crop was likely lost in the mid-February deep freeze in that state. Any crop losses from the freeze will come on top of the $100 million beating the Texas citrus industry took from Hurricane Hanna, which was the first hurricane of the 2020 season.

“It developed so fast. I mean, it just was really nothing and just exploded. Within four minutes, we had a tornado on the ground, which is scary because everyone’s in bed at nighttime sleeping.”

— Brunswick County, N.C., Emergency Services Director Ed Conrow on the EF3 tornado that struck the community of Ocean Isle Beach in February. The tornado sprouted so quickly that there was little time to warn residents, who had to scramble to safety. Three people died and 10 were injured as the storm took off roofs, knocked over trees and damaged dozens of homes.

“Just as one might drill for oil on land or on the sea, so also can the activity in which Potter was engaged – fish farming – be accomplished on land as well as on the sea.”

— Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Catherine Connors wrote in the court’s decision that an aquaculture worker who got hurt tending to salmon raised in offshore pens is not considered a seaman and is eligible for workers’ comp under state law, but not federal law. Darla Potter slipped and hurt her knee while caring for salmon, but Great Falls Insurance Co. had contended that the Workers’ Compensation Board lacked jurisdiction because Potter should be considered a seaman under federal law.