Western U.S. Wildfires Have Made Insurance for Contractors a Tough Buy

Things look bad with California’s ever-sooner wildfire season seemingly approaching and what’s shaping up to be a severe drought across the Western U.S.

The plague of wildfires in the past few years in California have made things tough for residents and businesses, and in the last few years, larger and more frequent wildfires have been particularly bad for utilities.

One business segment that’s getting some bad breaks are contractors that work for utilities or that work in wildfire-prone areas.

Three Dozen California Bills Focus on Wildfire, Others Are Concerning for Insurance Industry

Roughly three dozen pieces of California legislation are directly related to wildfire, and while those bills should hold much interest for the insurance community, there are other bills making their rounds that should draw a great deal of concern.

So far 2,369 bills have been introduced in state Legislature this year, according to John Norwood of Norwood Associates, an industry lobbyist who also represents the California Insurance Wholesalers Association.

Norwood said he’s by encouraged by all the attention California’s wildfires are getting.

California to Establish Home And Community Hardening Standards for Insurance

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara on Monday announced a new partnership between the California Department of Insurance and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Administration to establish statewide standards for home and community hardening aimed at reducing wildfire risk, protecting lives and property and making insurance available and affordable to residents and businesses.

California Co-Workers Charged for Insurance Fraud and Arson

Co-workers Rajdeep Singh, 35, of Rocklin, Calif., and David Bailey, Jr., 29, of Sacramento, were arrested on multiple counts of insurance fraud and arson after allegedly conspiring to commit vehicular arson in order to receive an undeserved insurance payout of over $30,000.

The Sacramento Fire Department on June 24 responded to a vehicle fire in a parking lot and identified the vehicle as a 2016 Honda Pilot. The morning of the fire, the registered owner’s son, Singh, arrived on the scene and claimed the vehicle had been stolen while he was working at his job, Primetime Autos, a used car dealership where he worked as a finance manager.

P/C Insurers Face Workforce, Risk, Policy Challenges as Pandemic Continues

Given that business-as-usual is unlikely to return soon due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. property/casualty insurers will continue to face challenges related to virus-related insurance losses and premium volume declines in 2021, according to Fitch Ratings.

The operational and risk management challenges of managing workforce flexibility, limiting risk aggregations and reducing claims exposure through clarity of policy terms will endure beyond the pandemic and become “new normal” longer-term drivers of the industry, contend analysts James Auden and Christopher Grimes, authors of “The Next Phase: U.S. Property/ Casualty Insurers.”

Government-Produced Flood Maps May Have Underestimated Properties at Risk

First Street Foundation, a nonprofit agency, is making accurate climate change-adjusted flood scores available for every property in the U.S. today. There are government-produced maps showing 8.7 million homes and properties at significant flood risk—and it turns out those may have underestimated the amount of real estate at risk by 67%. Or, in other words, an additional 6 million properties face a significant risk of flood.

Before these individual property scores were available, there was no easy way for your average homeowner or buyer to understand the flood risk associated with specific properties. That’s particularly problematic because climate change is causing flood risk to increase; there are more extreme rain events and coastal flooding than there used to be.

Businesses Hurt First by Coronavirus Then by Looting Have New Insurance Questions

Al’s, a sporting-goods store tucked in Wilmington, Delaware’s small shopping district, opened during the Great Depression, weathered World War II and has been able to keep workers on the job during the coronavirus pandemic. But this past weekend delivered a new challenge.

Owner Bob Hart closed the 17,000-square-foot shop at 4 p.m. Saturday as protesters walked Market Street, blocks away. A few hours later, around 8:15 p.m., the first of the store alarms went off. Looters who followed the peaceful demonstrations broke windows at the store and stole the majority of Hart’s inventory, including about 10,000 pairs of shoes.

New York Dusts Off 1918 Pandemic Playbook For Help in Making Subway Safer

As in 1918, New York may use staggered work hours to keep subway safe

As New York City makes plans to reopen in the coming months, officials are dusting off the playbook from the 1918 flu pandemic, when businesses were ordered to begin their work days at staggered times to prevent the subway from becoming a vector of disease.

Munich Re Expects Coronavirus-Related Claims in Excess of $1 Billion During 2020

Munich Re said on Thursday it expected to receive claims for canceled or postponed events because of the coronavirus crisis in excess of 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) this year after it posted a 65% drop in first-quarter profit.

The German reinsurer, which joins a raft of insurers warning of threats to their business, had already said it would not meet a profit target this year.

California Governor Announces Workers’ Comp Presumption for COVID-19

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced that workers who contract COVID-19 while on the job may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation.

The governor signed an executive order that creates a time-limited rebuttable presumption for accessing workers’ comp benefits applicable to Californians who must work outside of their homes during the stay at home order.

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