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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PIFC’s Priorities

Prelude

California’s rules for establishing home and auto insurance rates are uniquely complicated. But, in this case, being different is not a badge of honor.

Creating a fair system for calculating adequate insurance rates is one of the most important issues to PIFC.  Without a reasonable and predictable ratemaking process, California consumers have fewer choices than are available in other states, with much less ability to find the products, services, premium, and coverages that best fit their individual and family needs.

California’s insurance rating law has not been updated in nearly 30 years, despite dramatic advancements in the auto industry, computer technology, and analytics. The current law, established by ballot measure (Proposition 103) in
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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: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/TSP-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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DISTRACTED DRIVING TRENDS: USE OF HAND-HELD CELLPHONES FOR TALKING DECREASING, INCREASING FOR INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Seventh annual State Farm® Distracted Driving Survey reveals trends in cellphone habits.

PR Newswire, Bloomington, Ill., December 8, 2015
According to the annual survey conducted by State Farm, drivers continue to be in favor of laws restricting cellphone use while driving, yet they are still using them.

For seven years State Farm has surveyed consumers regarding their attitudes and behaviors when it comes to distracted driving, revealing trends over time. A number of interesting trends have been revealed:

Talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving has decreased:

2009 – 65 percent
2015 – 51 percent

Texting while driving has stayed nearly the same:

2009 – 31 percent
2015 – 36 percent

Accessing the Internet while driving has more than doubled:

2009 –
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Court Denies Uber’s Appeal of Class Action Filed by Aspiring Employees

A U.S. appeals court this week denied ride service Uber’s request to immediately appeal an order approving class certification in a lawsuit filed by drivers who wish to be deemed employees.

The ruling, from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, was made in a case in which drivers contend they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers currently pay those costs themselves.

The results of Uber’s legal battle could reshape the sharing economy, which is built around Internet companies that serve as marketplaces matching people who provide a service with others looking to pay for it.

Earlier this year, U.S. District
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Southern California City Unveils Mapping Tool for Wildfire Hazards

As fire season ramps up, San Diego County, Calif. has unveiled a new online interactive map that allows residents to search out wildfire dangers in specific areas.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported he digital tool launched this week expands on existing fire maps that haven’t been searchable until now.

The map, accessible at ReadySanDiego.org, shows that roughly one-third of the county is in “high” or “very high” fire hazard zones, with most of those areas in San Diego’s backcountry.

The newspaper says the county’s worst-ever firestorms have historically occurred in October.

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FYI: Dog Bites Accounted For More Than One-Third Of All Homeowners Liability Pay Outs Last Year As Cost Per Claim Soars

National Dog Bite Prevention Week Is May 17-23; California Has Largest Number of Claims, New York Has Highest Cost per Claim
MAY 13, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE New York Press Office: (212) 346-5500 ;media@iii.org

NEW YORK, May 14, 2015 — Dog bites (and other dog-related injuries) accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2014, costing in excess of $530 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm®, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the United States.

An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that while the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased 4.7 percent in 2014, the average cost per
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