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December 3, 2020 Edition

Headlines


 
As homeowners rebuild after wildfires, they have the opportunity to use fire-resistant building materials to help protect their new homes and their communities. But most states don't require rebuilding with these materials, leaving communities vulnerable to future harm.
 
 
It's a classic chicken-and-egg problem. An app tracking coronavirus exposure only works if a lot of people use it, but people will only use it if they know it works.
 

Business


 
Reinsurance markets may be heading into a multiyear hardening with prices expected to increase “materially” at 2021 renewals, according to a new report.
 
 
Today's Lloyd's of London market for casualty insurance is marked by rising prices, reduced capacity, and buyers embracing more self-insurance. 
 
 
Pandemic-related underwriting expenses and dividends to policyholders increased costs, as did the provision of premium credits and refunds. 
 
 
Employers with office spaces that don't meet workplace-safety regulations face legal exposure if their employees contract the coronavirus.
 

Education


This year's Atlantic hurricane season is the most hyperactive since 2005, the only other time there have been enough named tropical systems to force the use of Greek names. That winter, most of the country saw milder-than-average temperatures. 
Waymo and Tesla are pushing into new legal territory. But according to experts, suing a robot will be similar to suing a human driver. (Site has a paywall.)
Business interruption losses accounted for 60% of cyber insurance claims in the past five years, in large part because companies now rely so heavily on software, online platforms and digital processes. 
Blackened acres do not tell the whole story about the effects of fires on humans. A 50,000-acre fire in a wilderness area has fewer direct impacts on the population than, for instance, the 3,200-acre Almeda Fire that destroyed 2,357 residences in Southern Oregon.

Environment


 
The need for affordable housing and the desire for more space are driving people to move to areas at high risk for wildfire. 
 

Innovation


 
As drivers get more familiar with and develop trust in partial automation, they fidget with electronics and take both hands off the wheel more often. As a result, their focus slips.
 
 
The U.S. communications regulator will allow a growing number of wireless devices to use part of a spectrum previously set aside for vehicles to communicate with each other, a decision that the Transportation Department warned could result in “thousands of accidents.”
 
 
In 2019 alone, tornadoes were responsible for about $3.1 billion in economic damage across the country. They can turn whole neighborhoods into what looks like piles of popsicle sticks and kill about 70 people every year. And they typically come with less than 15 minutes warning.
 

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