California Bars Insurers From Dropping Policies in Wildfire Areas

first_imgAs California reels from this year’s record wildfires, the state announced on Thursday that it would prevent insurance companies from dropping homeowners for one year in many parts of the state, a sign of the growing financial turmoil caused by climate change.The measure, which applies to almost one-fifth of the state’s residential insurance market, prohibits companies from canceling or refusing to renew insurance policies for 2.1 million households in or near areas hit by this year’s wildfires.- Advertisement – The announcement reflects the increasing strain that climate change has placed on California, which had imposed a similar moratorium once before, at a smaller scale. As rising temperatures and longer droughts make wildfires more devastating, some insurers have responded to enormous financial losses by leaving fire-prone communities. That threatens the economies of those areas, because homes that can’t easily be insured are harder to sell, and nearly impossible to rebuild after a fire.California’s struggles are a preview of the threat that climate change poses to the long-term economic health of communities around the country. Insurers have begun pulling back from fire-prone areas in other states across the West. And in communities near oceans or rivers, the increasing cost of flood insurance poses a similar risk, driving down home values and make them harder to sell. Insurers have said that if the state wants them to keep doing business in those areas, officials must make it easier to allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums, reflecting what they say is the true risk from wildfires. Carolyn Kousky, executive director of the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania, described the new moratorium as a temporary measure that would not solve the underlying problem of growing climate risk.“This problem’s not going to go away. That raises a lot of questions about how we’re building and where we’re building,” Dr. Kousky said. “Clearly the market needs something much beyond this.” A bill that would have allowed insurers to take those steps, including justifying rate increases using computer models that predict future risk, failed to pass the state legislature this year after consumer groups said it would impose an unfair burden on homeowners.The Personal Insurance Federation of California, which represents insurers, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.People who lose access to private insurance can still buy coverage from a high-risk state program called the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements plan. But that coverage is typically more expensive and covers fewer types of damage.The state’s longer-term strategy involves encouraging local officials to reduce exposure and vulnerability to wildfire, through tougher building codes or rules about managing the vegetation around homes.“If we don’t want to be in this position every year, we have to reduce the risk to lives and homes,” Mr. Lara said.But the most promising changes tend to be restrictions on home construction in vulnerable areas. And those restrictions provoke strong pushback in California, where high housing prices have left many people struggling to find homes they can afford, creating pressure to keep building in high-risk areas. Mr. Lara’s office declined an interview request. In a statement, he said the new policy “gives millions of Californians breathing room and hits the pause button on insurance non-renewals while we take additional steps to expand our competitive market.”Still, the state’s ability to shield homeowners from the consequences of climate change is limited. The moratorium cannot be extended, which means that insurers who want to stop offering coverage in high-risk areas will eventually be able to do so. In response to growing climate risks, state officials have intervened to stop insurers from leaving high-risk areas. In December, California’s insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara, for the first time imposed a similar one-year moratorium on insurers dropping coverage for more than 1 million policyholders in or near areas affected by wildfires.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

France says virus spread ‘increasing’ with summer holidays

first_imgBut currently only 208 clusters remain active, it said, clarifying a statement from Monday by Health Minister Olivier Veran, who cited 400 to 500 active clusters even though “we are very far from a second wave” of widespread cases.As people take advantage of the summer holidays, “travel, events and gatherings of families or friends are factors that could foster the epidemic’s resurgence,” the DGS said.Over the past 24 hours, however, only 13 new deaths had been recorded in France, far below the daily tolls at the height of the outbreak.Currently, 6,482 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment, of which 455 are in intensive care requiring ventilator assistance to breathe — compared with over 7,000 in intensive care while the virus was overwhelming hospitals in March and April. Nationwide the “R” number indicating the viral transmission rate now stands at 1.2, meaning 10 infected people will infect an additional 12 on average, according to the Sante Publique France health agency.But in some areas on the French mainland, the rate is much higher, with the southern Mediterranean region including Marseille and Nice now reporting a rate of 1.55.Brittany in western France stands at 2.6 percent — meaning 10 infected people could infect on average 26 more people.This week the government made face masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces such as shops or public buildings, and new lockdowns are possible as the government hopes to avoid a “second wave” of cases that could swamp hospitals. Topics :center_img The French health ministry said Tuesday that coronavirus transmission is increasing during the summer holiday season, with the total number of COVID-19 deaths now standing at 30,165.The ministry’s DGS health directorate said it had registered “an increase in the number of emergency doctor calls, emergency room visits, the number of virus clusters and new hospitalizations” for suspected cases across the country.The directorate said a total of 547 virus clusters had emerged since May 9, just before France began lifting the strict stay-at-home orders and business closures imposed in March to limit the virus’s spread.last_img read more

Plan to grow corporate pensions business working – Sampension

first_img“We have a solid basis within traditional labour-market pensions, which is now being supplemented by new customer groups, which are slowly but surely becoming integrated as part of our overall business,” Jørgensen said.Ongoing contributions rose by DKK123m to DKK4.95bn in the first nine months of 2015 from the same period last year.Sampension said it was very positive that this growth had happened despite there now being fewer employees working for the state and municipalities – workers who make up the lion’s share of Sampension’s customers.It said it aimed to build up its business outside the traditional groups.In the third quarter, it launched a new corporate pensions product suitable for small and medium-sized companies.“The growth in customers,” Jørgensen said, “will help keep our costs for all client groups among the lowest in the industry, and we are convinced there is good synergy between our traditional customers from state and council workplaces and the customer base we are in the process of building up in the corporate pensions market.”Sampension said returns for traditional with-profit pensions came to 0.1% in the first nine months of this year, down from 16.6% over the same period in 2014.Returns for unit-link pensions were negative, at between -0.2% and -0.5%, after positive returns of 6.4-9.2% in January to September 2014.Sampension put the performance down to general instability in the financial markets.Solvency coverage, however, rose to 394% at the end of September from 270% at the end of last year.Sampension attributed this shift partly to the decision by many customers to move out of guaranteed products, as well as a fall in credit spread risk.Total assets rose to DKK246bn at the end of September from DKK230bn at the same point last year but were down from the DKK257bn value stated at the end of December. Denmark’s Sampension has reported a 78% rise in one-off contributions over the first three quarters of this year, which it said was a sign of the increased corporate pensions business it has been working towards.Hasse Jørgensen, chief executive of the DKK250bn (€33.5bn) labour-market pensions provider, said: “We can now confirm our aim towards growth in the corporate sector is bearing fruit.”Interim figures showed that, between January and September, contributions overall rose to DKK6.3bn from DKK5.8bn in the same period last year – a rise of 7.6%.This has been driven by a 78% increase in one-off contributions to DKK868m.last_img read more

Race to rent on in Townsville

first_imgRenting. Istock. Townsville Bulletin Real EstatePROSPECTIVE tenants are being forced to fight over properties and high quality stock is being snapped up in under 24 hours as Townsville’s rental market heats up.Agents across the city are reporting a spike in demand for well maintained rental properties in desirable locations.House hunters are inspecting properties with their applications pre-filled to give them the best chance of securing a home.People moving to Townsville for employment opportunities in the medicine, defence, mining and government are believed to be behind the surge in demand for rentals. The rental market is expected to further improve in 2019 as demand increases and vacancy rates tighten.REIQ Townsville Zone chairman and First National Nicholson owner Wayne Nicholson said securing a rental property was much tougher now than it was 12 months ago.“We’re getting multiple applications for properties and our vacancy rate is about 2.4 per cent,” he said.“The rental market has very much improved from where it was six or nine months ago.“I do believe that 2019 will be better than 2018 in the rental market as more infrastructure projects come on line.”Poorly maintained properties in low socio economic areas are still languishing on the market but there is fierce competition for high-quality homes which are often being tenanted before they become vacant.The official REIQ vacancy rate is sitting at about 4 per cent but agents are reporting the rate is being inflated by poorly maintained rental properties that are difficult to tenant.In September 2016 vacancy rates in Townsville peaked at 7.1 per cent before making a steady decline. The REIQ classifies a rental market as strong when the vacancy rate falls below 3 per cent.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020Smith & Elliott principal Sally Elliott said the rental market had improved considerably.“We’re getting up to 14 groups of people turning up to inspect one property,” she said.“The rental market is markedly different to what it was six months ago and we’ve been sitting at about a 1 per cent vacancy rate.“A lot of the good properties are being rented before they even become vacant.”Ray White Geaney Property Group owner Ella Geaney said November to March was usually the busiest time of the year for rentals but the start of 2019 had been even busier than usual.“At the moment we have absolutely no vacancies in the northern beaches areas like Bushland Beach and we’re getting five or six applications to rent one property,” she said.“We are finding the family style homes are being snapped up really quickly, especially if they are well presented and well maintained.“The rental market is starting to lift and we’re also seeing rental prices increase.”Ms Geaney said prospective tenants trying to secure a rental should make sure they have all of their paperwork organised before conducting an inspection.“They should get online and make a booking to view the property and have all their applications ready to go,” she said.“Make sure you have all your references and anything else you’ll need organised because that’s what most people are doing now.”last_img read more

Raila calls for sobriety, warns leaders spreading hate

first_imgODM party leader Raila Odinga has called on the police and other relevant authorities to reign on politicians preaching division and incitement.Speaking after a meeting with Maa community leaders from Kajiado, Raila made a strong appeal to Kenyans to stand for one united country and against those preaching war and issuing threats to fellow Kenyans.His remarks come in the wake of the arrest and subsequent arraignment in Court of Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno who is facing criminal charges of hate speech.Also Read  Relief for families as MOH revises Covid-19 burial protocols Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi is also on the National Cohesion and Integration Commission watch list after the MP made unsavory remarks towards President Uhuru Kenyatta and his family.Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153 Sudi has been on the receiving end from a majority of elected leaders who have termed his remarks as retrogressive and uncalled for.Also Read  Govt moves to resolve land allocation dispute in East MauRaila said, “This Country deserves peace and unity now more than ever, beating drums of wars will not work.”He said that together with the President they have the interest of the marginalized communities like the Maa at heart especially in revenue allocation.“We have gone to war before because of politics no one should try to take this Country back to war because of politics.” He said.Also Read  Kalonzo applauds Senate for ending revenue stalemateRaila said he hopes that in the not so distant future, the Country will open up and pave way for wider political consultations ahead of 2022.He said they have agreed that there is need to move with speed to conclude th process of BBI.last_img read more

Disney’s Elsa Gets a Girlfriend in Frozen 3

first_imgDisney’s Frozen 2 is not out yet and we are already talking about Frozen 3.It appears that Elsa is getting a girlfriend in the third installment.Disney wanted her to have a girlfriend in the sequel but were afraid that some countries would ban the movie if they did.There was six years between Frozen 1 and Frozen 2 so clearly Frozen 3 is down the road.The hope is by the time Frozen 3 comes around Elsa having a girlfriend and being a lesbian won’t be perceived as a controversial topic anymore.Parents, get ready to do some explaining to your kids when this movie hits theaters.last_img read more

Benjamin Sports/Fitness outfits nine FACC cyclists

first_imgOWNER of Benjamin Sports/Fitness and former National cyclist, Wilbert Benjamin, continues to give back to the sport he loves.This time the former National cycling champion made a generous donation of cycling uniforms to nine cyclists of the Flying Ace Cycling Club (FACC) of Berbice at a simple presentation at his business establishment Lot 220 Courtland Village Corentyne, Berbice.Benjamin said, “I hope with this donation it can motivate the guys.”Meanwhile, coach of FACC, Randolph Roberts, expressed his gratitude to Mr Benjamin for making such a timely donation. Roberts said, “This will benefit our cyclists and I hope to see more cyclists come on board with FACC,”. He went on to say that more support is needed in the area of cycling in the Ancient County.Benjamin then emphasised, “Fitness is important and persons should adopt a healthy lifestyle.”last_img read more

Hockey riding unbeaten streak

first_imgKRIS UGARIZZA/Herald photoFor its first seven games of the season, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team couldn’t find a victory. But the Badgers’ fortunes have turned as of late, as they are currently riding a five-game unbeaten streak following a tie and win against Minnesota-Duluth over the weekend.The three points have catapulted Mike Eaves’ team into third place in the WCHA standings, something he said the players have taken note of.“I know, just in the feedback of the kids, that now they look at the standing board when they walk by it, and they see where we are and where we’ve come from and what we’ve done here recently,” Eaves said in his press conference Monday. “There’s some good feelings. They’re excited, and they’re starting to believe in themselves. I think that’s something that when you come to practice now, we’re going to be able to hopefully continue on the path if we as coaches do our job and keep getting better and better.”UW and UMD tied 3-3 Friday in Duluth as Blake Geoffrion scored twice in the third period to give Wisconsin a short-lived 3-2 lead. The Badgers picked up the victory Saturday by a 4-1 margin — their fourth win in five games.“We’re really encouraged by the things we did on Saturday on the road in a tough building against a good opponent,” Eaves said. “The points are big because they’re conference play, and we just want to keep building on that.”Eaves’ team was able to weather the early storm of tough road games against ranked opponents. Wisconsin opened the year against Boston College, New Hampshire, Denver, Minnesota and North Dakota. It took the team’s seven freshmen awhile to get adjusted, Eaves said, but he believes they’re finally understanding the concept of WCHA hockey.“The beginning of the season, and especially in college athletics, you’ve got a whole bunch of new kids coming in that haven’t played together before. You’re trying to figure out after six practices what you have and where you’re going to go,” Eaves said. “With the schedule that we had, we just didn’t know what we had. We weren’t sure where we were. We had lots to work on. Now I think we’re just starting to get our feet underneath us.”“It’s like that old saying: you’ve got to crawl before you walk and walk before you can run. Well now we’re getting off our knees. We’re starting to walk, and hopefully soon here we’ll be running and even sprinting.”Home on the roadAdding to UW’s early adversity has been the fact that just four of its first 12 games have been played in the Kohl Center. The Badgers are again on the road this weekend when they travel to St. Cloud for a two-game series against the Huskies.Eaves and his team have had no choice but to adjust to life on the road.“You talk about the road trips, and I don’t know who made the schedule, but they certainly had a diabolical mind in their headset when they made this for us,” Eaves said. “I think it’s almost that you become comfortable playing on the road. You become comfortable adapting to hotels, the food, the rinks.”Wisconsin will again have to adjust to a difference in rink sizes. After playing at Minnesota Duluth’s DECC rink — 190 feet by 85 — the Badgers will be skating on a bigger sheet at St. Cloud State’s National Hockey Center — 200 by 100.“Now we go from a rink that was 185 [feet] in length to a rink that’s Olympic-sized,” Eaves said. “It will be a challenge for us, but going on those road trips early probably toughened us up. We talked about quite a bit that from toughness comes character. We’re developing a little character to win on the road.”No update on StreetSenior co-captain Ben Street suffered a leg injury in the second weekend of the season against Denver and hasn’t played since. He had surgery last week on the leg, but it is still uncertain whether he will return this year or seek a medical redshirt and attempt to play against next season.“That’s totally dependent — as I understand it — on his rehab. Everybody’s a little bit different,” Eaves said. “As soon as Ben can start rehabbing and doing the things that he needs to do, that will be the indicator of telling us what’s going to happen in the future.”last_img read more

Versatile freshman Michael Phillips falls just short of national team

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on February 12, 2019 at 10:53 pm Contact Tim: tnolan@syr.educenter_img The first 6,500 meters were no problem for Michael Phillips.It was 65 degrees in Tallahassee, Florida, and familiar to Phillips, who competed at the same course while running for Chiles (Florida) High School. The freshman remembers hearing his calculated exhales and the sound of his feet, interrupted every so often by Syracuse head coach Brien Bell’s voice reminding Phillips what place he was in. But by the 6,500-meter mark, the freshman running his first ever 8-kilometer race began to slow.“It got pretty tough, and I started to struggle,” Phillips said.Phillips finished in eighth place at the USA Track & Field Junior Cross Country Championships with a time of 24:56.70, just over 10 seconds shy of making the national team for the World XC Championships. Two weeks earlier, Phillips ran at Cornell then went to the John Thomas Terrier Invitational the next week, lowering his mile time by 15 seconds. Only one other runner — fellow freshman Matthew Scrape — competed in all three races. Phillips has pushed himself since arriving at SU, hoping to match his versatility with improved stamina.Performing in indoors was Phillips’ primary focus going into the new year, but the junior championships had been in the back of his mind all winter. As a senior in high school, he attended the USATF Championships and was struck by the talent before him.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“When I watched the men’s 10K,” Phillips said, “It was super professional the way they were running times. I never even ran a 5k in high school, and they were doing it twice.”When Phillips returned to Tallahassee to run the event this year, both Scrape and him ran the 8k, the longest possible distance for the U20 Junior Championships on Feb. 2. Phillips committed to SU mainly for his 1600m and the 3200m. The 8000m seemed out of his element, but Bell believed Phillips was driven by a chance to compete on the U.S. national team.“His fitness showed that he would have the opportunity to compete up front,” Bell said.So Phillips traveled back home and used the opportunity to visit friends and family. Scrape was already going to compete, giving Phillips a fellow freshman to be there with him. In the fall, Phillips readied himself with voluntary 7:30 a.m. runs with his cross country team.Senior teammate Simon Smith viewed Phillip’s performance as impressive — not because of his place, but because of his versatility. On Jan. 25, Phillips ran a 4:02.57 mile at the Boston University John Thomas Terrier Invitational, finishing 10th.Since the competition, Phillips has returned his focus to shorter distances in preparation for the ACC Indoor Championships later this month. But, the extra meets will ready him for bigger races to come.“I didn’t quit,” Phillips said, “As it got closer to the end I realized I wasn’t going to make it, but that didn’t stop me. I know what I have to give.”last_img read more

D’Tigress Retain FIBA Women’s Afrobasket Title in Dakar

first_imgBut like D’Tigress did two years ago in Mali, Evelyn Akhator and her teammates rose up to the task to once again deliver devastating blow to the Senegalese.After dispatching Tunisia, Cameroon and DR Congo on the way to the final, Senegal made real good attempt to end Nigeria’s dominance of the continent.Though the hosts began slowly, but surely had an improved defence to curtail D’Tigress, thereby forcing the Nigerian girls to making fouls. Akhator was worse culprit, registering six fouls in all.At a point midway, Nigeria Head Coach Otis Hughley Jr had to introduce Aisha Balarabe. The physical game plan of the hosts was expected as the only way to match Nigeria’s sleek play.D’Tigress too played solid defence and forced Senegal to turnover the ball and make easy buckets on the other end of the court.Bintou Dieme had two fouls inside three minutes of playing time which was cause for worry for Coach Sarr who looked rather disturbed at his bench for help.With Nigeria leading all first three quarters 14-10, 18-14, 16-13, Senegal took the battle as matter of life and death and came out smoking in the last quarterAdrenaline rose with the few Nigerians in the Arena and those watching on television edgy with anxiety.Nigeria was in foul trouble with 5:41 to play in the last quarter. Senegal therefore started using this to their advantage in this game full of emotions from both sets of players.What do you tell your team during a timeout with 58.8 seconds on the clock in the last quarter when you’re leading 57-54? Nigeria’s Otis knew only carelessness from his ladies will throw this fourth title in the kitty aware and so dug deep to psyche them up.At the final buzzer, Nigeria danced to the ultimate prize of this edition with scores standing at 60-55.Meanwhile, African champions D’Tigress have been drawn with Mozambique and DR Congo in Group A of the African Qualifiers for the Pre-Qualifying Tournament of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.The official draw ceremony featured FIBA Vice-president Hamane Niang, newly elected FIBA Africa President Anibal Manave, FIBA Africa Regional Director Alphonse Bile, members of the FIBA Africa Central Board and National Federations.Top six teams at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket in Senegal will play at this tournament. The teams include: the two Finalists, hosts Senegal and the reigning champions Nigeria, Mozambique, Mali, DR Congo and Angola.The D’Tigress of Nigeria have been drawn with Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo in Group A while Senegal will face Mali and Angola in Group B.The African Qualifiers for the Pre-Qualifying Tournament of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will take place from November 14-17 at a country yet to be determined.Teams will play a round-robin format in their specific groups with the winner of Group A facing the second team in Group B while the winner of Group B will come up against the second ranked team in Group A in the Semi-Finals.The two winners of the Semi-Finals will not play a Final as they will automatically advance to the 16-nation FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT) where teams will be divided into four groups in February 2020.The top three teams from each of the three WOQTs will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.Prior to this format, the winner of the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket automatically qualified for the Summer Olympics.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Nigeria’s D’Tigress won the FIBA Women’s Afrobasket title yesterday in Dakar, defeating host Senegal 60-55 to retain the trophy they won in Mali two years ago.It was not an easy road to the title as the hosts backed by nearly all the fans inside the 15,000 seating capacity Dakar Arena stood solidly behind the Cheikh Sarr coached teamlast_img read more