Insurance Companies Face $20 Billion Exposure from Hurricane Florence

Industry experts are warning that Hurricane Florence – looming over North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia – could generate “tens of billions of dollars” in insured losses. Although the storm’s current path and potential damage remain difficult to predict, catastrophe risk modeler Risk Management Solutions (RMS) has projected insured losses resulting from the hurricane of between US$15 billion and US$20 billion, additionally noting that Florence will be the strongest hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina since 1954. According to Fitch Ratings, the pre-landfall forecasts for Florence suggest that the hurricane could linger over the Carolina coastal area after its arrival, which could expose the region to an extended period of strong gusts, heavy coastal storm surge, and rainfall-induced flooding (both coastal and inland). If the storm manages to keep its intensity as it travels inland through densely populated areas, Florence could potentially cause “considerable economic and insured losses.” Fitch Ratings has also compiled a list of insurers that would be hit the hardest once Florence makes landfall. Top-five homeowners’ writers as measured by statutory direct written premiums in NC, SC, GA and VA: State Farm Mutual Insurance Group United Services Automobile Association (USAA) The Allstate Corporation Nationwide Mutual Insurance Group Travelers Companies Top-five commercial writers (inland marine, allied lines, fire, commercial multi-peril non-liability) as measured by statutory direct written premiums in NC, SC, GA and VA: Liberty Mutual Insurance Group CNA Financial Corporation Travelers Nationwide American International Group (AIG) Top-five private flood writers as measured by statutory direct written premiums in NC, SC, GA and VA: FM Global Group AIG Assurant Zurich American Insurance Group Swiss Re...

Medical Marijuana and Ohio Employers

Legal marijuana is reported to be a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S.—its growth and size are now on par with other well-established businesses. It is no wonder that Ohio has now joined at least 28 other states that have legalized some form of marijuana. The new Ohio law, signed in September 2016, stipulated that the program be ready to service Ohio residents on September 8, 2018. So what does this mean for Ohio employers and their drug-free workplace policies? Employers do not have to accommodate medical marijuana, but may choose to do so. Ohio law does not require employers to permit or accommodate an applicant’s or employee’s use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana. An employer may choose to accommodate on- and/or off-duty medical marijuana use like any other accommodation. However, under federal law, federal contractors must still maintain a drug-free workplace, and employees in certain safety-sensitive positions (like DOT-regulated drivers) cannot be accommodated. Employers can still make employment decisions based on marijuana use. Employers can discharge, refuse to hire, or discipline an individual because of his or her medical marijuana use. And employers can always prohibit employees from working when impaired, regardless of a substance’s legal or quasi-legal status. Employees who are discharged for using medical marijuana are ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits if their employer’s policy prohibits the use of medical marijuana. Employers may still drug test. Employers can implement and enforce drug testing, drug-free workplace, and zero-tolerance policies. However, drug testing doesn’t measure actual on-the-job impairment when it comes to medical marijuana, and so managers must be trained to identify signs of impairment. Employers should be clear about their...

Quick Home Improvement Projects To Tackle Before The Holidays

Quick Home Improvement Projects To Tackle Before The Holidays With Thanksgiving barely behind us and Christmas on the way, you’re likely worried about how your house looks for holiday guests. While you may think you don’t have time to hire a general contractor in time for Christmas, there are a number of quick home improvement projects you can do to really spruce up your home in time for your guests. Quick & Easy Home Improvement Projects  Replace Doorknobs and Lock Sets Do your doorknobs and locksets look a bit dated? If so, replacing them can give your home a much more updated, modern feel. Replacing doorknobs is fairly easy and while replacing locksets is a bit more challenging, it’s definitely something that most homeowners can handle. Clean and Seal Grout in Kitchen and Bathroom Is the grout in your kitchen and bathroom looking a bit rough? If so, it’s best to use a special cleaner specifically designed to clean grout. Once you’ve cleaned the grout you can use a sealer to prevent it from getting dirty so quickly. Replace Cabinet Hardware Changing the finish and style of your cabinet hardware is another easy project that can really transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Give your home a more contemporary or traditional look just by swapping out your old drawer knobs and pulls for something that is a bit more up to date. Replace Your Dated Shower Rod Looking to give your holiday guests a little more room when they shower? Install a curved shower rod to give your guests some extra room when showering. Upgrade Your Toilet Seat...

Mold and Your Health

We all know that mold in our homes is a bad thing – but exactly how bad is it for your health and your home itself? Mold grows by releasing its spores (reproductive cells) into the air, which are invisible to the naked eye. It can spread and grow anywhere as long as moisture and oxygen are present but commonly grows on surfaces such as insulation, sheetrock, tile, fabrics, and wood. It can enter your home through windows, vents, and doorways or it can attach itself to clothing and pets and be carried inside. It might be a shock to learn that you can have hundreds or even thousands of mold spores in one cubic foot of air in your home. Mold and your health Spores that land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing can produce allergens, irritants, and potentially toxic substances. Continuous exposure to a moldy environment can cause or worsen pre-existing health effects. Seemingly healthy people can also suffer from throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation or nasal stuffiness in a home with high levels of mold. People who are allergic to mold or who have any pre-existing health issues could get serious infections in their lungs that can spread. Those with asthma could see worsened asthmatic symptoms over time due to exposure to mold spores. Some recent studies even suggest a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children. Your home Mold growth affects not only your family’s health but also the health and safety of your home. Because it grows where moisture and oxygen exist, mold...

Humidifiers 101

Benefits of Humidification Humidifiers gently disperse moisture into your home environment, alleviating dry air and making your home more comfortable throughout the year. In arid regions or during the dry winter months, dry indoor air can be detrimental to your home and to your family’s well-being: What Humidifiers Do and Why This Is Important Add moisture in dry months and maintain a healthy level of humidity throughout the year. Relieve scratchy throat and hay fever symptoms: moisture helps relieve dry skin and eyes, coughs, and scratchy throats, helping you breathe better and sleep more comfortably. Reduce static electricity: beneficial to people, computers, and other home electronics. Maintain your home’s interior: consistent moisture level protects wood floors, plant life and even furniture, musical instruments, paint, and wallpaper. Increase freshness: adding humidity can increase the freshness in your home, alleviating stale “indoor air.” Lower energy bills: moist air feels warmer than dry air, so you can set your thermostat lower while still feeling warm and comfortable. Types of Products   Additional features: Look for these added features on your Holmes® humidifier. Humidistat – a humidity thermostat measures the moisture in the air and automatically disperses moisture to achieve the setting you select. Contains an Antimicrobial Product Protection Additive – This information is based upon standard laboratory tests and is provided for comparative purposes to substantiate antimicrobial activity for nonpublic health applications. The antimicrobial additive is not designed to protect users from disease-causing microorganisms. Antimicrobial additive inhibits the growth of microorganisms that cause stains and odors. Antimicrobial action limited to the product surface. Filter Change Reminder – an indicator light takes the...
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