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November 19, 2020 Edition

Headlines


 
Wildfires and hurricanes caused billions of dollars in insured losses during October, and insurers are facing payouts beyond $8 billion, resulting from fires across California, Colorado and Oregon during October.

 
 
Ransomware was the number one cause of loss for small and medium-sized enterprises last year, and the average ransom amount jumped to $175,000 in 2019 from $72,000 in 2018.
 

Business


 
Commercial insurance prices are accelerating as U.S. property-and-casualty insurers hit by pandemic and catastrophe headwinds seek to offset rising loss costs and low interest rates.
 
 
Cyber security has emerged as the most pressing exposure for business confronting a new age of risk, topping the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, in part because cybercrime is so pervasive.
 
 
While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed global business activity, for underwriters who were in the process of increasing property insurance rates when the pandemic hit, the timing may be auspicious.
 
 
Following uncertainty at the start of the pandemic, the surety markets, and especially surety-supporting construction projects, have fared surprisingly well, but that could change without further government help.
 

Education


The state of Oregon announced Monday it will provide free fire debris cleanup for all homes and businesses hit by September fires. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also extended loan applications to Nov. 30.
Parents who’ve lost their jobs during the pandemic are driving a surge of litigation, alleging their employers discriminated against them for taking care of their kids when schools closed.
Three Mid-Columbia farms are among those receiving the biggest fines from the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries for serious violations of agriculture regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
As the development, and possible mass production, of COVID-19 vaccines gather speed, the transportation and logistics industry will need to turn its attention to how the product can be safely and efficiently distributed.
Despite education programs and state laws, phone-based driving distraction is still on the rise — and is likely responsible for far more accidents than widely reported,
Recent wildfires have destroyed a large number of homes, in part because there are more homes and people in wildfire-prone areas, putting more property at risk.

Environment


 
By any measure, this year’s wildfire season was a scorcher. From weeks of oppressive smoke to explosive blazes that destroyed an entire town and culminated in the death of an infant, this year’s catastrophic fires affected nearly everyone in Washington.
 
 
A network of 620 wilderness cameras connected to the ALERTWildfire website will allow both firefighters and citizens to monitor for wildfires in California communities.
 
 
Hurricanes are maintaining their strength after landfall for much longer, and exposing populations far inland to damaging winds that they have rarely experienced before.
 

Innovation


 
State Farm is sending sensors that can detect hazards in electric wiring to 40,000 homeowners in California, Arizona and Texas as part of a pilot project that will measure potential savings and customer acceptance.
 
 
General Motors Co. launched an auto insurance program with the help of its OnStar subsidiary, joining a field of companies hoping to cash in on the data generated by increasingly automated and connected cars.
 

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