I'd like to take the time to remind disaster survivors who have insurance money held in escrow by their mortgage company to check if you're being paid interest on those funds. Many institutions will pay interest if asked, although it can take asking several different people, or moving up the chain of command at the mortgage company before finding someone who is willing to admit this. This is especially true of homeowners who were included in a class action lawsuit settled in November of 2009. Although...Read More
Federal investigators will convene an extraordinary, three-day public hearing this week on the deadly natural gas blast in San Bruno - an inquiry that could affect pipeline safety laws in California and around the nation.
The fact-finding hearing, which starts Tuesday in Washington, D.C., will include the sworn testimony of 10 top employees of the San Bruno pipeline owner, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which has been under intense scrutiny.
It was Assemblyman Tim Donnelly who made the most interesting suggestion at a meeting recently held to discuss systematic non-renewal of homeowners policies by insurance companies, primarily Allstate.
After acknowledging the "great job" residents have done creating defensible space around their homes, Donnelly suggested inviting insurance executives to the mountain communities.
"I think they're going to find we're a lower risk now than we were before the fires," Donnelly said. And if those companies choose not to write policies here in the mountains, "the heck with them," he added.
February 12, 2011 (San Diego)--The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center in San Diego to help residents and businesses impacted by severe winter storms which slammed our region December 18 through January 4.The SBA is making low-interest loans available to San Diego and 10 other counties.
Just in time for local storm victims to get some tender loving care on Valentine’s Day, the Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open Monday, February 14 at the Serra Mesa Recreation Center, 9020 Village Glen Drive in San Diego. A federal disaster declaration for our region makes this assistance available.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has struggled for nearly two decades with a computer system intended to keep track of the characteristics of its natural gas transmission lines, a battle that resulted in the company lacking information crucial to understanding its pipes' potential weaknesses, a Chronicle investigation has found.
Omissions or data-entry errors made when the system was developed - and left uncorrected - may explain why PG&E was unaware that the 1956-vintage pipeline that exploded in San Bruno on Sept. 9, killing eight people, had been built with a seam, according to records and interviews. Federal investigators have found that the explosion started at a poorly installed weld on the seam.
As question answering (QA) systems like Watson mature, let’s consider how providing access to insurance knowledge in an automated fashion can change the insurance landscape. A key element of this is the fact that the world operates in an unstructured way. People have been trained over the past 50 years by the information systems we use to structure our data. We fill in blanks, color in the circle, use zip codes, routing numbers, and all the rest to get our computers to serve us better. Basically, this has worked and provided us with the wide spectrum of tools we use today.
However, the future is happening. Information technology has progressed and continues to challenge our assumptions about how it can work. Today unstructured information and data can be used by information systems to perform an increasing number of tasks. The insurance industry needs to keep a collective open mind about how these types of intelligent systems can and will do. Watson’s performance when playing Jeopardy! demonstrates a more general range of knowledge, but the natural-language (i.e., everyday language) aspect combined with a specific set of information like claims, underwriting, or products, will be game altering for carriers.
Because of frequent flooding of the Mississippi River during the 1960s and the rising cost of taxpayer funded disaster relief for flood victims, in 1968 Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It has three mandates: to provide residential and commercial insurance coverage for flood damage, to improve floodplain management and to develop maps of flood hazard zones.
While the comprehensive section of an auto insurance policy covers flood damage to vehicles, there is no coverage for flooding in standard homeowners, renters or commercial property insurance policies. It is available in a separate policy from the NFIP and from a few private insurers. Despite efforts to publicize this, many people exposed to the risk of floods still fail to purchase flood insurance.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is offering insurance companies $4.67 million in tax credits to invest in underserved communities.
In a letter to company CEOs, Jones pushed for insurers to place a portion of the $4 trillion in investments they hold into the California Organized Investment Network (COIN), administered by the California Department of Insurance (CDI).
Each year, the DOI allocates $2 million in tax credits to support $10 million in community development investments. Because this program has been underutilized in recent years, CDI’s COIN currently has $4.67 million in tax credits available to support $23.7 million in community development investments. Insurers have until July 1, 2011 to place investments in the program. After that date, the program is open to other investors as well.