Americans Put Too Much Faith in Homeowners Insurance

Insurance Journal

Too few Americans take steps to prepare for disasters and too many assume their home insurance policies will bail them out if one strikes.

As disaster season peaks, a new national consumer survey commissioned by Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”), reveals that many homeowners lack adequate insurance coverage, do not fully understand their homeowners policies and do not have enough savings to support their households in the event of a disaster. Continue reading Americans Put Too Much Faith in Homeowners Insurance

July Continued Earth’s Record-Setting Hot Streak

Insurance Journal

As more than 100,000 Americans flee destructive wildfires in California and floods in Louisiana, earth sends yet another reminder that the worst is yet to come: a new record for planet-wide heat. Continue reading July Continued Earth’s Record-Setting Hot Streak

Researchers Say Bounce Houses Raise Heat Safety Concern

Insurance Journal

Heat safety issues in bounce houses can put children in danger, according to a new University of Georgia study.

Expanding on the concept of microclimates like those in parked vehicles that cause serious injuries to children, the study investigated potential heat-related risks associated with bounce houses, which create a microclimate environment similar to automobiles but one that had not been previously examined.

The new paper, “Do Inflatable Bounce Houses Pose Heat-related Hazards to Children,” was published July 28 in the early online edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

bouncehouse.phpThe study examined specific research questions that compared temperature and moisture conditions inside the bounce house to ambient outdoor conditions, and whether such differences might reach levels that pose health risks.

“Heat illnesses like heat stroke can be deadly and occur in children participating in sports, left alone in parked cars, and as our study shows, potentially when playing in bounce houses,” said Andrew Grundstein, UGA professor of geography and co-author on the study. “Children are more sensitive to heat than adults and parents need to carefully watch their children for signs of overheating when active on hot and humid days. Signs there is a problem may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and flushed, moist skin.”

The findings are based on experiments with a bounce house on the UGA campus in July 2015, with weather conditions representative of a typical summer day in the area. Over a five-hour period of measurements, researchers found that air temperatures inside the bounce house were consistently greater than ambient conditions. For a 92-degree summer day in Athens, the bounce house added almost 4 degrees to the temperature. But peak bounce house temperatures exceeding 100 F were almost 7 degrees Fahrenheit more than outside temperatures.

“This research is a preliminary look at something that no one had really examined in the published literature,” said Marshall Shepherd, UGA Athletic Association distinguished professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences and co-author on the study. “I knew it was a problem when I watched my child in one on a particularly hot day and our early findings confirmed my suspicions. Hopefully it makes parents more aware of something they probably overlooked.”

Researchers also considered the heat index, which integrates air temperature and humidity and is used as a heat exposure metric by the National Weather Service. The difference in heat index within and outside the bounce house was larger than for air temperatures alone. The average heat index reached almost 104 F in the bounce house, over 7 degrees Fahrenheit more than outside, and its peak temperature of 117 F was over 8 degrees Fahrenheit greater.

As a guide to help public safety officials, the media and parents assess possible heat-related hazard to children, researchers developed a modified heat index table presented in Fahrenheit that is included in the study.

The experiments in July 2015 took place in conjunction with a demonstration on weather-related bounce accidents in a “Collaborative Research in Atmospheric Sciences” class. The seminar, “Meteorological and Policy Contexts of Bounce House Accidents,” involved students in the department of geography and is the focus of other forthcoming research by faculty on other significant hazards of bounce houses including wind blown risks and outflow from thunderstorms.

Source: University of Georgia

Zeppelin Loses Fight over Legal Fees In ‘Stairway’ Copyright Case

Insurance Journal

Led Zeppelin may have won the copyright war over its creation of “Stairway to Heaven,” but it lost its battle this week to recoup nearly $800,000 in defense fees.

Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled that the band’s songwriters, record label and associated companies were not entitled to legal fees and other costs because the copyright lawsuit against them was not frivolous. Continue reading Zeppelin Loses Fight over Legal Fees In ‘Stairway’ Copyright Case

Uber to Settle Suit for $100M, Drivers Stay Independent Contractors

Insurance Journal

Uber has agreed to pay up to $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit which resolves a major challenge to its business model by allowing the ridesharing service to keep its California and Massachusetts drivers as independent contractors.

The lawsuit had claimed that Uber drivers are employees and thus entitled to reimbursement of expenses. Continue reading Uber to Settle Suit for $100M, Drivers Stay Independent Contractors

Court Upholds NFL’s $765 Million Concussion Settlement as ‘Fair’

Insurance Journal

The National Football League’s $765 million concussion settlement was found by a federal appeals court to be fair, if imperfect.

The decision sets in motion the resolution of thousands of lawsuits covering more than 20,000 retired players. About 1 percent opted out of the settlement, which is to compensate for head injuries over the next 65 years. Continue reading Court Upholds NFL’s $765 Million Concussion Settlement as ‘Fair’

Automatic Braking, Due by 2022 in U.S. Cars, Could Prevent 20% of All Crashes

Major automakers will announce Thursday they have agreed to install automatic emergency braking systems in nearly all U.S. vehicles by September 2022, three sources briefed on the plans said.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in September a deal in principle with 10 automakers to eventually add the technology to prevent thousands of crashes a year. The final agreement includes additional automakers and will be unveiled at a press conference in McLean, Va., at a press conference. Continue reading Automatic Braking, Due by 2022 in U.S. Cars, Could Prevent 20% of All Crashes

Uber to Pay $28M to Settle Claims over Its ‘Safe Rides Fee’

Insurance Journal

Uber Technologies Inc. said it will pay $28.5 million to settle claims that a $1 “safe rides fee” charged to riders was misleading because its background checks on drivers aren’t as rigorous as the company advertised. Continue reading Uber to Pay $28M to Settle Claims over Its ‘Safe Rides Fee’

Driverless Car Accidents Pile Up As They Obey Laws, Humans Don’t So Much

Insurance Journal

The self-driving car, that cutting-edge creation that’s supposed to lead to a world without accidents, is achieving the exact opposite right now: The vehicles have racked up a crash rate double that of those with human drivers.

The glitch?

They obey the law all the time, as in, without exception. This may sound like the right way to program a robot to drive a car, but good luck trying to merge onto a chaotic, jam-packed highway with traffic flying along well above the speed limit. It tends not to work out well. As the accidents have piled up — all minor scrape-ups for now — the arguments among programmers at places like Google Inc. andCarnegie Mellon University are heating up: Should they teach the cars how to commit infractions from time to time to stay out of trouble? Continue reading Driverless Car Accidents Pile Up As They Obey Laws, Humans Don’t So Much

U.S. Unveils Hobby Drone Registry Rules, Deadlines

Insurance Journal

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has unveiled its registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS), or small drones used for hobby or recreation.

The registration requirement applies to UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds including payloads such as on-board cameras. Continue reading U.S. Unveils Hobby Drone Registry Rules, Deadlines

Southern California Man Arrested for Fraud After Crashing BMW in Race

Insurance Journal

Andres Hernandez, 36, of Lakewood, Calif., allegedly totaled his BMW while racing and then provided false statements to his insurer about the location of the collision.

He was paid $64,860 for the claim, and was subsequently arrested on two counts of auto insurance fraud. Continue reading Southern California Man Arrested for Fraud After Crashing BMW in Race

California Worker Injury Rate Lowest in 13 Years

Insurance Journal

 

The California Department of Industrial Relations has posted the state’s 2014 occupational injury and illness data, which offers a look at employer-reported injuries involving days away from work.

The data shows that the incidence of occupational injuries remained at its lowest level in 13 years. Continue reading California Worker Injury Rate Lowest in 13 Years