All posts by fmedina

Teamsters, Lyft Drivers Objecting to Class-Action Settlement

Five Lyft drivers and the Teamsters union will object to a proposed class action settlement, saying it would shortchange drivers by keeping them as independent contractors instead of employees, a union spokesman said on Tuesday.

Lyft and larger rival Uber face separate lawsuits brought on behalf of drivers who contend they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers currently pay those costs.

Employment status is a critical one for the so-called sharing economy technology companies. The Uber and Lyft cases have been closely followed because a determination that the workers are employees rather than contractors could affect the valuations of other startups that rely on
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Contracts And Chaos: Inside Uber’s Customer Service Struggles

Uber’s customer support staff is the company’s first line of defense against driver and rider misconduct. But a BuzzFeed News investigation reveals that during Uber’s transition from a local customer support operation to a global one, these employees worked under conditions that sometimes made it difficult for them to do their jobs.

On the evening of May 19, 2015, Katherine accepted what was to be her last fare as an Uber driver.

A former customer support representative for the ride-hail company, Katherine — who asked to be identified by her middle name to protect her anonymity — hadn’t been driving for Uber for long. In March, her contract as a customer service
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At long last, the Anthony Rendon era officially begins

Environmentalist. Early childhood education advocate. Fan of daylight saving time. And now the 70th Speaker of the Assembly.

In just over three years at the Capitol, Anthony Rendon has ascended from head of a nonprofit to the top of political leadership in California. The Lakewood Democrat was selected last September as the next speaker and he will be sworn in Monday during Assembly session at 1 pm.

As the first speaker under new term limits that allow lawmakers to serve up to 12 years in either house, much attention has focused on how long Rendon could hold on to the position after a string of short-term leaders – and what he
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Allstate Rideshare Coverage Approved in California

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has approved a new rideshare insurance product from Allstate Insurance.

The Allstate coverage is for for people driving for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Beginning in April, TNC drivers will have the option to purchase Allstate’s “Ride for Hire” endorsement for an estimated additional $15 to $20 annually for improved insurance coverage during Period 1, while the app is activated and the driver is looking for a new fare.

Transportation network company services generally fall into three periods: Period 1: the driver has the rideshare app open and is waiting for a match; period 2: A match has been accepted, but the passenger has not yet
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f you think insurance companies ream you after a car accident, you’re right.

It’s a head-scratcher: You pay, what, a hundred bucks and change each month for auto coverage, basically for nothing, and the minute you get in a collision you pay again.

In fact, California is the worst state in the nation for post-accident premium increases, according to a new report from website insuranceQuotes and data partner Quadrant Information Services.

The average premium increase after a claim in which you’re at fault is a nation-leading 78 percent in the Golden State, the report found.

“We set out to answer these questions, ‘How much do auto insurance premiums go up after just one $2,000
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California Bay Area Town Bans Short-term Rentals, Airbnb not allowed

A picturesque town in the San Ramon Valley, Calif. has banned residents from operating short-term rentals.

The Contra Costa Times reported that Danville’s town council voted 4-to-1 Tuesday to prohibit rentals of fewer than 30 days.

The town’s attorney said Danville has about 20 households that host through platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO.

Some residents argued they should be allowed to use their property as they want, but many more said they didn’t want Danville’s “small town” feel ruined by strangers.

Danville is about 30 miles east of San Francisco, where Airbnb spent more than $8 million last fall to defeat a ballot measure to further regulate the industry. Cities large and small
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Quake early warning system could save lives. But it’s stalled over money dispute

When a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit Napa in 2014, an earthquake alert system gave researchers in San Francisco about eight seconds of warning before the shaking began. Just last month, 30 seconds of warning reached downtown L.A. before the ground shook from a magnitude 4.4 quake centered near Banning.

Despite these successes, the early warning network is stymied by a lack of funding that has delayed full rollout of the system.

The White House this week highlighted advances of the system by bringing together top scientists, politicians and emergency managers in Washington who marveled at how it could give residents as well as emergency officials and businesses precious seconds of warning before a devastating
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Insurance Department Tally on California Wildfires $1B

Damage from two destructive Northern California wildfires that killed six and sent thousands fleeing their homes topped $1 billion in insured losses, according to a preliminary estimate by the state’s insurance department.

The two fires started days apart in September, burning more than 200 square miles of remote, mountainous territory north and northeast of San Francisco.

The preliminary figure announced Monday includes $700 million from a fire centered largely in Lake County that killed four and destroyed nearly 2,000 structures, including some 1,300 homes. The so-called Valley Fire is the third most destructive wildfire in state history, based on the number of structures lost, and the fifth-costliest based on insured losses.

Another fire
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California Commissioner OKs New insurance Products to Fill Ridesharing Gap

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones approved a new insurance product by USAA designed to close the gap in insurance coverage for drivers driving for all ridesharing companies.

The product is now available to USAA’s California drivers for all ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft.

Ridesharing insurance is divided into three periods, with both ridesharing drivers and rideshare companies required to purchase coverage.  Period 1 is when the driver has the ridesharing app open and is waiting for a match, Period 2 is when a match accepted but the passenger has not yet been picked up and Period 3 is when the passenger in the vehicle and until the passenger exits the
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61 vehicles earn top IIHS safety ratings for 2016

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —  Nearly 50 vehicles meet tougher criteria for 2016 to take home aTOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, earning good ratings in all five crashworthiness evaluations and an advanced or higher rating for front crash prevention. An additional 13 vehicles qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK in this initial group of winners. See full list:

“We asked auto manufacturers to do more this year to qualify for our safety awards, and they delivered,” says Adrian Lund, IIHS president. “For the first time, a good rating in the challenging small overlap front crash test is a requirement to win, in addition to
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