August 7, 2023

“Dismal first-quarter 2023 direct incurred loss ratios in the homeowners and private auto business suggests a repeat of 2022, when highly favorable underwriting results in the commercial lines were more than offset by the personal lines losses.”

— Explained Tim Zawacki, principal research analyst, S&P Global Market Intelligence (S&P GMI) in S&P’s 2023 U.S. P&C Insurance Market Report, which sees the property/casualty insurance market heading for a second straight year of underwriting losses. The report estimates a combined ratio of 100.8 for 2023, down from the calendar-year 2022 result of 102.6, but above the profitability threshold of 100.

“They were the conspirators, even if they don’t want to admit it.”

— Civil rights attorney Ben Crump at a news conference announced a lawsuit seeking unspecified financial damages against tech and social media giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google. The suit alleges the companies bear some responsibility for radicalizing the shooter who killed 10 Black people in May 2022 at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket. The suit says Payton Gendron was fueled by racist conspiracy theories he encountered online. He was sentenced in February to a life sentence without parole.

“We are a national sacrifice zone.”

— Dawn Chapman of the activist group Just Moms STL — a group pushing for cleanup and federal buyouts in an area near the St. Louis, Missouri, airport — says the region paid a terrible cost with its work on the U.S. nuclear program. The Associate Press reported it reviewed documents showing federal government and companies responsible for nuclear bomb production and atomic waste storage sites in the St. Louis area in the mid- 20th century were aware of health risks, spills, improperly stored contaminants and other problems but often ignored them.

“We looked up in the sky and the whole sky was lit up orange.”

— Kenneth Haydel told the Associated Press he was with family members near a Baton Rouge, Louisiana-area chemical plant when they heard several loud explosions a few seconds apart. Late on July 14, flames erupted at a Dow Chemical plant on the Mississippi River near Plaquemine triggering explosions that shook homes several miles away and sent flames and smoke billowing into the air. The fire reportedly started in an area of the plant that handles ethylene oxide, a flammable and toxic chemical.

“It’s OK to drink if you want to and it’s OK to drive if you want to, but not both at the same time.”

— South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said upon signing a bill requiring people with multiple DUI convictions to spend up to one year driving with an ignition interlock, a device that confirms no measurable alcohol levels exist before a driver can operate their vehicle. The AP reported the state has some of the highest rates of deadly impaired driving in the country. The new law is effective for offenders registering a .08 blood alcohol content or higher.

“You can actually hear the snap, crackle and pop every minute when you’re there as each home is shifting, is moving.”

— Said Janice Hahn, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, who represents the Palos Verdes Peninsula-area where a mid-July landslide tore apart luxury homes, leaving a confused jumble of collapsed roofs, shattered walls, tilted chimneys and decks dangling over an adjacent canyon. Twelve homes were initially red-tagged as unsafe, and residents were given just 20 minutes to evacuate, the AP reported.