Bon Voyage! Travel Safe with These Important Tips

“The first thing is to understand who’s in charge of your security when you travel; you are,” said Wesley Odom, president of the Ackermann Group LLC, a security and investigative firm. “You can’t deny that you’re at risk — all you can do is mitigate it.”

Mitigating that risk can be anything from monitoring travel warnings through the Department of State Website (which you can check out here.) to purchasing insurance to protect yourself and your belongings. While on your trip, it is important to keep in mind four basic tips:

Street Smarts

  • Dress down and blend in; avoid wearing expensive jewelry and flashing your cell phone. 

Airport Safety

  • "Spend as little time as possible in the public areas of the airport like check-in and baggage claim.” The gate area is actually more secure than the public areas because everyone has passed through security at that point. When arriving overseas, be cautious with how much information is shared with immigration and customs agents. Additionally, a prearranged driver is the safest way to go, but when travelling on the fly, make sure to use a legitimate, registered taxi. 

Hotel Room Security

  • Once in the room, check all of the locks, chains and u-bars. Make sure that the hotel room phone works in case of an emergency, and review the escape route from the room in the event of a fire. Use the in-room safes with caution. For more valuable, important items consider using the hotel's safe deposit boxes.

Traveling Around Town

  • “Always walk with purpose,” he advised, “and act like this is your town. Don’t put anything in your pockets you don’t want to lose, and don’t display any wealth.” Stay in well-traveled area and consider using money belts or hidden pockets to protect your money, credit cards and phone. 
  • Should any unrest or political stability occur, stay in your hotel and call your family and the American Embassy in that city or country to let them know where you are. 

The biggest tip: keeping a low profile. “The risk of kidnapping for ransom is not high for most travelers,” he explained, “it is usually higher for ex-patriots who are living abroad. Your anonymity is your best protection, so keep a low profile when you travel.

Don't let any of these tips discourage you: travel is generally safe for anywhere that is not a war zone. Using common sense and taking basic steps to secure your belongings goes a long way toward having a safe, and fun, vacation. 

 

To read more, check out the original article here. 

The Catastrophic Costs of Cyber Attacks

Research by Lloyd's of London has revealed has revealed that a catastrophic cyber attack could cost up to $120 Billion--equivalent to disasters Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The report compares various scenarios of cyber attacks, with average economic losses at a wide range. The report states: "Because of the uncertainty around aggregating cyber losses, this figure could be as high as $121 billion or as low as $15 billion." 

With such high potential losses and an economy dependent on digitization, ensuring cyber protection and security is of utmost importance.

Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd's, says, "This report gives a real sense of the scale of damage a cyber-attack could cause the global economy. Just like some of the worst natural catastrophes, cyber events can cause a severe impact on businesses and economies, trigger multiple claims and dramatically increase insurers’ claims costs."

To read more, click here or here.

What the Senate Health Care Bill means for Medicaid

Among the many changes the Senate Health Care Bill would make to our health care system, the bill plans to make large cuts to Medicaid: $772 Billion in cuts to be exact. This figure will also cut approximately 15 million people from receiving Medicaid benefits by the year 2026. 

Here are the four main provisions that will affect Medicaid benefits:

1. Work Requirements

"States would be allowed to require Medicaid enrollees to have a job, look for work or participate in some kind of job training." This requirement grants exceptions for pregnant women, children, elderly, disabled, and adults caring for young children. 

2. Retroactive Eligibility

Previously, under Obamacare, once an individual were approved for Medicaid benefits, the previous 3 months of medical care would be reimbursed. This new bill would only allow for reimbursement for the calendar month in which they enrolled in Medicare. Considering how expensive hospitalization and other care can be, this had been a very important provision, especially for those with sudden onset disabilities. 

3. Presumptive Eligibility

Previously, certain health care providers were able to 'presume' Medicaid coverage and enroll individuals immediately; such as when being treated at a hospital. This prevented gaps of coverage and relieved stress of medical debt for patients while still allowing a secondary check on eligibility. 

4. Eligibility Re-determinations

Currently, eligibility is rechecked every year. The new bill will change the period of eligibility to 6 months. "This has a couple of consequences. First, it could more rapidly end the generous federal funding for Obamacare's Medicaid expansion; under the Senate plan, states lose that enhanced funding if a person cycles off the program for more than a month. More frequent eligibility checks are likely to lead to more people cycling on and off of Medicaid."

Additionally, "it risks more disruptions in a person's health coverage and a lapse in coverage if there is a paperwork problem."

You can read more about how the bill will affect Medicaid coverage from the original article here.

Insuring Ride Sharing

Ridesharing has completely changed the transportation industry. In just a few short years, companies like Uber and Lyft have developed ridesharing into a multi billion dollar industry. With such popularity of these businesses, insurers are facing the unprecedented challenge of providing appropriate coverage to both drivers and passengers.

If you are a driver, your regular auto policy most likely will not cover you for ridesharing activities, which could leave you, and your passengers, unprotected or underinsured in the event of an accident. In fact, most personal auto policies specifically exclude using the vehicle commercially as a ride service. 

Developing appropriate coverage is tricky, because there is no way to determine when the car is being used personally vs. as a rideshare vs. in storage. Generally, coverage can be determined based on the average commute of the owner/primary operator and where they live or operate the vehicle; but when transporting passengers a vehicle can be driving any matter of distance, crossing city or even state lines.

Mark Maucere, senior vice president for AmWins Transportation Underwriters, Inc., says, “Our rate [for transportation classes] is based on a point A to point B mechanism, and the problem with these operations is we don’t know when the car is out or in the garage, we don’t know the experience of the driver, car maintenance or in what other ways it is used.”

Companies are searching for a solution, but since the business is so new, there is very little information to use in the underwriting, rate development process. Maucere says: “There is an opportunity here, and we would be interested in potentially looking at these classes of business if we could properly underwrite and put the rate around it...But it’s very difficult until you can grab that data and verify some of the things we can’t verify now.”

Most ride sharing companies provide some form of coverage for drivers. Excess and surplus lines insurer James River currently provides coverage for Uber. The policy has three main parts: 

1. the "Core"--contingent on the driver having his/her own private passenger auto policy; has a $1 million limit that drops down and covers the driver from when he/she is picking up a passenger all the way until the passenger is delivered to the destination. 

2. a lower limit applies when the driver is waiting for a new rider.

3. separate coverage for physical damage to the driver's vehicle occurring while performing ridesharing duties.

For now, insurance is expected to follow this model and remain a surplus lines risk, as it gives flexibility until more accurate data can be collected to establish other provider options.

To read more, check out the original article HERE.

The Basics of Managing Risk with a Captive

Let's start with the basics: what is a captive? Captives are insurance companies that are wholly owned and controlled by the insureds. No one captive is exactly like another. They may vary on "coverages, retentions, limits, reinsurance, type of captive, type of ownership structure, domicile, service provider selection, stated goal of the captive, related or unrelated business," etc. 

When contemplating creating or buying into a captive, there are many decisions to be made. One of the most important factors is having senior management buy-in, as the captive is a long term decision and should have full support from upper level leadership. This buy-in is a commitment that is essential for being accepted into the captive.

The second important consideration is the company's corporate risk profile. Some captives may be more suitable for high-risk industries, others for low-risk, and some risk profiles are better handled by retention (self insurance) or purchasing coverage on the open market. Knowing your business' risk appetite is important when it comes to selecting the right captive for you. 

In the grand scheme of things, there are three dispositions to a risk exposure:

  1. Self-funding or financing through a captive arrangement,
  2. Purchasing insurance on the open market to cover any potential losses, or
  3. Avoidance.

("Using a Captive Insurance Company to Manage Risk," Jeff Kenneson)

Finally, there are "three Cs" of captive formation: control, cost, coverage. "With a captive arrangement you gain better control over your insurance-buying and risk-financing mechanisms, which should lower your costs. You’re able to select the various service providers who will assist you in operating the captive and in doing so, lower the cost of services. You have the ability to cover exposures that are uninsurable or too expensive to cover in the open market along with having the ability to manuscript policies if you so desire to plug any holes in your current coverage from the traditional carriers." Furthermore, as a part of a captive, you are more involved in claims management, which gives greater control over the decision process for claims handling.

Other important considerations include your company's loss experience, and tax issues. 

To read more, check out the rest of Jeff Kenneson's article here.

 

Preparing for the Road Ahead: Emerging Risk Trends

Yesterday, Swiss Re released a report highlighting six emerging trends in risk management. The data was collected from underwriters, client managers, risk experts and other insurance sector experts; their SONAR program utilized this information to compile the report, and the results may surprise you.

The biggest risk to property? Drought. 

To liability? Cloud computing.

Additionally, the report lists the threats that spin off of these risks. For example, "losses in agricultural, energy and forestry, risk of large-scale wildfires, drought-induced soil subsidence and water pollution events in the energy, mining and agricultural sectors are just some of the rising exposures related to drought."

Staying up to date on emerging risk trends is just as important as ever to make sure your business (and self) are protected, and to implement risk control measures to limit your exposure!

After all, it was best said by Swiss Re’s group chief risk officer Patrick Raaflaub, "Ignoring emerging risks is just not an option. We need to prepare for the risks of tomorrow.”

To read more, click here

Risky Business: Which Areas of the U.S. are Most Prone to Natural Disaster?

If you live or work in one of these zones and have any doubts about your coverage, you might want to consider speaking to your broker. A study conducted by RealtyTrac used data from over 3,000 counties to develop a color coded map of the riskiest areas in terms of natural disaster exposure. These exposures include losses caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and fires. 

Check out the map--It may be time to update your coverage!

Click here for more details and to view the interactive version.

'Avocado Hand', Brunch Injury on the Rise

Wait... this is a real thing? 

With the rise of avocado popularity, insurers have seen an influx of personal injury claims arising from the attempt to cut into this oddly shaped fruit. Many injuries require stitches, however, some can be severe enough to cause nerve damage and require surgery to fix, which can even rack up medical bills up to $20,000. Most reported injuries come in on Sunday afternoons, a typical brunch-time avocado toast craving.

'Avocado hand' has caused some publications to issue public service announcements on the safety hazards of cutting an avocado, with instructions on proper safe handling. In the UK, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons wants to alert people of the safety risk, perhaps with a warning label. 

In a Times of London article, Simon Eccles, secretary of the association and former president of the plastic surgery section of the Royal Society of Medicine, said: "People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them. We don't want to put people off the fruit but I think warning labels are an effective way of dealing with this. It needs to be recognizable...Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?"

You can read more here, and here.

In the meantime, be careful what you slice and perhaps opt for the pre-made guacamole instead. 

Capstone launches site for real-time healthcare reform updates

Capstone Group is proud to announce the launch of a new webpage dedicated to keeping readers informed of recent compliance and health reform updates. Our Benefits Team is committed to providing the guidance needed to understand and make decisions based on the evolving future of our nation's healthcare legislation. 

Visit Capstone's Compliance page...

Trump's Proposal: Hefty HHS Budget Cuts

A new proposal by the Trump Administration for the fiscal 2018 budget will include two hefty cuts to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), both of which are agencies for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These agencies are responsible for health data privacy and security issues, including HIPAA enforcement. 

The plan proposes a 36% cut for the ONC, and according to the plan's terminology, the ONC's privacy and security activities would be "closed out." It also proposes a 13% budget cut for the OCR. 

Although this plan is considered to be a rough draft of what will actually be passed (especially considering Congress' disagreement with these cuts), however, it does bring about concern for the future of health information security and HIPAA enforcement in the future. The proposed cut would severely limit the abilities of the OCR HIPAA audit program, and may place onsite audit plans on hold indefinitely. Other civil rights activities will be similarly affected. 

Meanwhile, the proposed budget cuts to ONC could impact the agency's assigned work related to health IT provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law last December by President Obama. The act holds many privacy and security provisions meant to protect patient's health information. 

Kirk Nahra, a privacy attorney at Wiley Rein says the budget proposal, "places abstract political principles and tax cuts ahead of the business of government, even in defense of laws passed by Congress. While OCR, for example, is not generally changing its approach, cutting staff will force them to do things differently. That may have the result of being bad for both individuals and businesses."

Similarly, privacy attorney David Holtzman, vice president of compliance at security consulting firm CynergisTek, claims it would be "extremely challenging for federal agencies like OCR and ONC to carry out their mission if the president's proposed budget for HHS is passed by Congress."

Again, this proposal may end up being far from the eventual budget, but it brings about much speculation for the future of privacy regulations, and whether they will continue to be upheld. As Holtzman says, we will have to "wait-and-see."

To read more, click here

Important Insurance Terms You Should Be Familiar With

Finding affordable insurance can be difficult, especially if there are insurance terms you don't understand. Simply having the basic understanding of insurance definitions can make the difference between having a policy that will cover you for the majority of your expenses and one that leaves you paying thousands of dollars out of pocket. 

Listed below are some of the most important definitions that InsNerds has compiled to better help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of insurance. 

Basics of Insurance:

Insurance: Paying a company a little money for the promise they will pay a lot of money for things we break without meaning to.

Risk: Chance of something changing either for better or worse .

Pure Risk: An event that can only leave you worse off, but not better.

Speculative Risk: An event that could leave you better or worse.

Probability: The chance that an event will happen written as a number.

Physical Hazard: something real about a building, job or place that creates a larger chance of a poor ending

Moral Hazard: Something that might lead the owner to break his own stuff.

Morale Hazard: Something that might lead the owner to not care if his stuff breaks.

Liability: When the law says you have to pay for breaking something.

Premium: The little bit of money that the company asks you to pay for the promise that they will pay a lot of money if you break or lose something covered by their promise.

Claim: Asking somebody else to pay when something breaks or is lost.

Insurer/Carrier: A company who promised to pay for big things you break or lose if you pay them a little money before it happened.

Insured: The person who gets paid when something breaks or is lost.

Policy: A written paper that explains in long words the promise you have bought from the company and what is covered or not covered.

Contract: A written promise.

 

Click here to lookup more important insurance definitions

Homeowners Liability Claims Increased 18 Percent due to Dog Bites

An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the Insurance Information Institute found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,123 in 2016, compared to 15,352 in 2015 – an 18 percent increase. The average attack cost $33,230, a decline from 2015, but up more than 70 percent from 2003 because of increased medical costs and larger settlements, the Insurance Information Institute said in a statement.

Children account for more than half of the injuries. “If they haven’t been properly trained by their parents on how to approach a dog, that’s a big issue,” Loretta Worters, a vice president with the Insurance Information Institute, said in an interview. “Children just go up, they see a cute dog, and they just start trying to pet it.”

Kids should be taught to ask permission before petting a dog, and not to run away, because such behavior can encourage pets to chase, she said. Owners should make sure they socialize puppies, helping them learn appropriate behaviors when they’re young, and have the dogs spayed or neutered, according to the institute.

Click here to read the full article

Possible Consequences of Repealing the Affordable Care Act

Americans reaching 65 become eligible for Medicare. Before reaching that age, some can get retiree coverage from their former employers. But not very many companies, especially small ones, offer medical insurance to retirees. If early retirees are poor enough, they could turn to Medicaid. To retire early, everybody else would need to turn to the individual health insurance market. Without the subsidies and protections the A.C.A. put in place, health care coverage would be more difficult to obtain, cost consumers more where available, and provide fewer benefits than it does today.

That means that if the A.C.A. is repealed, retiring early would become less feasible for many Americans.

This consequence is called job lock — the need to maintain a job to get health insurance. One of the arguments in favor of the A.C.A. was that it would reduce or eliminate job lock. With repeal of the law on the agenda of Congress and President Trump, there is renewed concern about how health insurance could affect employment and retirement decisions.

Click here to read more.

Understanding the Importance of Protecting Your Jewelry

With the market for jewelry continuing to grow, it’s more important than ever to protect your valuables and ensure that they can be replaced if they are stolen, lost or misplaced.

Only a small minority of jewelry purchased is insured properly, let alone insured. With a diamond engagement ring costing an average of $5,978, it makes sense to have a way to replace it if lost, stolen or misplaced. Surprisingly enough, a vast majority of jewelry is left uninsured.

Odds are, if something happens to your jewelry, you'll want to be able to replace it. The right insurance can replace your fine jewelry and watches. Some policies will replace a pair of earrings, if only one has been lost, and pay a replacement cost up to 150% of the initial insured amount if the item has increased in value. 

You may think that your homeowner's policy will cover you if your jewelry is stolen, lost, or misplaced, but that may not be the case. Typical homeowner's policies cover jewelry only if it is stolen, not if it is lost or misplaced. Most homeowner's policies have a maximum limit, so if your jewelry costs more than that, you won't be able to replace it with a similar item.

The right insurance policy, specifically for jewelry and other valuables, will provide "all risk" coverage for most causes of loss, with no deductible. Meaning, if you break an item, lose it, can't find it, or it's stolen, you'll receive a benefit immediately up to 150% of its value, so you can purchase another one exactly like you had.

Some insurance companies do not require an appraisal, they just need a good description of the piece, a photograph of the item and an estimated value. That makes getting the right coverage easy. They also provide automatic coverage for newly acquired pieces, so you don't have to worry about getting each new piece on the policy the same day you bought it.

To read more about the importance of protecting your jewelry and other valuables, click here.

Benefits of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

As the cost of healthcare in general -- and health insurance specifically -- continues to climb, it's refreshing to find a vehicle that is helping save people money. Health savings accounts (HSAs) are one of the best innovations in health benefits to arrive this century.

The concept behind the HSA is simple, really: It's a tax-advantaged account set up with a trustee that holds money you set aside for the purpose of paying for future medical expenses. Consider the following HSA features and think about whether opening an HSA would benefit you:

1. You save money on insurance premiums

2. Contributions are tax free

3. Qualified distributions are tax free

4. You can keep the money

5. The account stays with you

6. You can make money on your contributions

 

Read more about the benefits of HSAs here

 

10 Considerations for the Inspection When Buying a Home

Inspections are among the most important aspects of purchasing a new home. If you don't thoroughly evaluate the abode before signing the contract, you could take on a money pit of sorts - and one that ends up being far more expensive than the agreed-upon sale price.  

Here are 10 tips to help avoid unpleasant surprises with your new home:

1. Inspect the inspector
More likely than not, you're going to bring a professional home inspector in to check out the structure. Bankrate, a consumer financial services company, states that not evaluating the person responsible for the inspection is the top mistake individuals makewhen purchasing or selling a house. You'll need to vet the inspector, ensuring he or she has a strong track record of getting the inspection right. Past that, you'll want to double check to ensure that the inspector is focusing on the areas below.

2. Flood history
Has the home experienced a flood? Even if everything looks clean and functional on the surface, flood damage can remain beneath the surface, potentially hindering the foundation's integrity or promoting the growth of mold. Look into the flood history, and ask for records related to the repairs made. 

3. Drainage problems
HGTV, a home improvement television channel, suggests ensuring the grade slopes away from the house. Many homes will have severe issues with flooding even after tame storms should the grade drain in the direction of the home. 

4. Signs of infestation
A bug problem can be a big headache for a new homeowner. Look for signs of invasive creatures such as bed bugs, ants, termites, cockroaches and the like before finalizing the deal, as these removing pests can be expensive. 

5. Criminal history
It might seem extreme, but some homes have a criminal history that could endanger your family or impact the home's value. For example, was the home ever used to manufacture dangerous drugs? Make sure you get disclosures on any and all criminal activities that took place in the home. 

More Considerations Here

Cybersecurity 'has to be everyone's problem' says former NYPD commissioner

Protect your company against a cyber breach!

To Ray Kelly, current vice chair of K2 Intelligence and the longest-serving police commissioner of the New York Police Department, there are four main catastrophic events that can befall a company: terrorism, conventional crime, natural disasters and political instability. And while some of these are more applicable than others in different industries and in different areas of the world, they all have one common thread.

“Virtually every one of these areas involves cyber,” Kelly said. “Cyber is interwoven into everything that we do, so if you’re hit by a terrorist attack or natural disaster, cyber is going to play a role in some way, shape or form.”

Combating growing cyber risks, Kelly explained, takes a team and a plan. To help with the first stage of the plan — awareness — Kelly will conduct a keynote speech at ALM cyberSecure titled “Security in Today’s Hyper Connected Society” on Sept. 27 in New York. The main takeaway from the speech, Kelly recently told Legaltech News, will be that “cyber has to be everyone’s concern and everyone’s problem.”

Specifically, he noted that the entire management team, ranging from a company’s CIO to its CEO, needs to be involved with a business continuity plan. This business continuity plan is a schematic of how a company can get back in operation if it falls victim to a catastrophic event, and as a necessity, it needs to include cybersecurity. 

Cyber is a mystery


“[Cyber] is this mystery area, and it doesn’t seem to have a day-to-day impact in making money, of the core business of the company, so it’s relegated to someone down in the management chain,” Kelly said. “That to me is a mistake.”

It’s particularly important for the CIO to be involved in any business continuity plan, he noted, because that person would best know what technological resources are needed after a breach.

The CEO, meanwhile, is tasked with making sure cybersecurity is a priority. As Kelly has seen from working with many companies, “If it doesn’t come from the top, chances are it’s not going to be adopted or certainly not going to be interwoven.

And receiving buy-in quickly is imperative in this changing cyber landscape. Not only has each individual threat evolved and become harder to identify in a system, but as the business world has become more globalized, threats can come from anywhere. This means that local law enforcement increasingly needs to work with federal and international agents on cases; it also means that identifying hackers’ profiles is increasingly tough to do.

Click here to read more about sophisticated cyber threats!

Obamacare killing jobs in New York area, executives tell Federal Reserve survey

Obamacare is killing jobs in and around the Big Apple, executives say.

About 20 percent of companies in the New York region say they are cutting their workforce in response to the Affordable Care Act, according to a new Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey.

And most companies said they will be paying more in insurance premiums, and requiring their workers to pay a bigger share of those premiums, as a result of Obamacare.

The survey results come two days after the large health insurer Aetnajoined rivals UnitedHealth Group and Humana in announcing it would significantly cut back the number of geographic areas where it sells Obamacare plans next year due to steep losses on those plans.

The New York Fed survey found that, "roughly 17 percent of service sector firms and 21 percent of manufacturers said they were reducing the number of workers in response to the ACA."

"The vast majority of respondents in both surveys [of manufacturing and service company executives] said they were not changing the proportion of part-time workers or the amount of work outsourced to other firms," said the report, which questioned about 250 executives in New York state, northern New Jersey and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

That point is noteworthy because there had been speculation that companies would cut the number of employees who work 30 or more hours per week to avoid having to offer them health insurance, as Obamacare now requires for firms with 50 or more such workers.

"Most respondents also said wage and salary compensation and other benefits were not being affected by the ACA, though more respondents said they were being cut than raised," the survey said.

"And slightly less than a third of manufacturers and 21 percent of service sector panelists said they were raising the prices they charge to customers." These responses were broadly similar to those in the August 2015 and 2014 surveys.

Roughly 2 in 5 respondents — in both the manufacturing and service sector surveys — said they were not changing their plans in response to the ACA. "Of those that were, however, the most widely reported adjustments involved higher deductibles, increased co-pays and higher out-of-pocket maximums," the survey said.

"The vast majority of firms in both surveys indicated that they would be paying a higher total premium, and somewhat more than half of respondents in both the manufacturing and service sector surveys said they were raising their employees' share of contribution to the premium," the survey found.

When asked about the costs of their current and future health coverage options for workers, the executives' median response among both manufacturers and service firms showed an expectation costs would rise 8.5 percent.

"These increases are somewhat lower than what respondents had anticipated in last August's survey, though it should be emphasized that the pool of respondents is not exactly the same," the report noted. "When firms were asked about the expected change for 2017, the median response in both surveys was for a 10 percent increase."

The survey also said 17 percent of manufacturers and 22 percent of service firms expect the excise tax on high-value health plans — also known as the "Cadillac tax" — would apply to their existing health plans.

The tax imposes a 40 percent surcharge on the value of health plans above a certain dollar amount, and will kick in during 2020. By that year, the threshold is expected to be about $10,900 for plans covering individuals and $29,400 for family plans.

Nearly a third of service sector firms and 37 percent of manufacturers said they weren't sure whether the Cadillac tax will apply to them, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Know the unusual risks of owning a pool

The yin and yang of summer are a hot, steamy day and the cool, refreshing water of a swimming pool.

Floating languidly at the local swim club or at a friend's house could cause one to desire a pool of his own, but several insurance considerations should come into play before installing an in-ground attractive nuisance.

Property losses

Many of us first think of the liability issues involved with pool ownership, but pools are also subject to some complicated property losses. For example, in Bozek v. Erie Ins. Group, 46 N.E.3d 362 (Ill. App. 2015), the insured's pool heaved out of the ground.

The pool had been emptied to clean debris, and then three and half inches of rain fell. Because the weight of the water in the pool did not exceed the uplift forces of the water pressure in the soil, the pool lifted upward, damaging it beyond repair and taking out the surrounding concrete slab.

The Bozeks had a Homeowners policy with Erie Insurance Group that provided $89,000 in coverage for damage to the pool. However, when the Bozeks presented a claim to the insurer, Erie denied coverage based on the anticoncurrent causation clause in the policy. The insureds alleged that Erie improperly denied coverage. In the Bozeks’ view, the anticoncurrent causation clause dictated that, because a failure of the pressure-relief valve in this instance (a covered event), preceded the increase in hydrostatic pressure (an excluded event), the loss was covered.

Read About More Risks Here

BMW to be the first major automaker in the future of autonomous vehicles

BMW AG is teaming up with chipmaker Intel Corp. and camera-software company Mobileye NV to bring self-driving cars to the road by 2021, becoming the first major automaker to set a specific date to produce a fully autonomous vehicle.

The technology will be used in theiNext, set to supplant the 7-Series sedan as BMW’s flagship model, the company said Friday. The iNext will be a basis for “fleets of fully autonomous vehicles” to cruise highways and eventually also be available as robo-taxis in cities, BMW said. The platform will be open for other carmakers and technology companies to use.

“Given the players involved, this will likely become the industry standard,” Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst for Evercore ISI, wrote in an e-mail. “Today could be transformational for individual mobility. Mark your calendar.”

The biggest luxury carmaker setting a date for its self-driving debut will put pressure on rivals including Tesla Motors Inc. and Mercedes-Benz, as manufacturers strive to fend off competition not only within the industry but also from the likes of Uber Technologies Inc. and Google. Robo-taxis will make up 40% of automotive profits by 2030, more than selling vehicles to individuals, according to consulting company Roland Berger.

Read More Here