Property Insurance News

09/19/2018 02:00 PM
Millions Of Farm Animals Perish In North Carolina Floodwaters
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services projected the animal death toll after emergency workers and veterinarians spent days in the field assessing losses at farms following the storm. “I’m just assuming¸ based on the depth of the water that we had in North Carolina and the amount of rainfall¸ that we probably will exceed what we had in [Hurricane] Matthew¸” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in an interview¸ referring to hog losses. He spoke on Tuesday after flying over flooded areas¸ before the department issued its estimates.

09/19/2018 11:45 AM
Did ’Downgraded’ Florence Contribute To A False Sense Of Security?
From 1 to 5¸ the numbers we use to categorize hurricanes are ingrained in the minds of millions of Americans from Texas to Maine. But the famed 47-year-old Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale¸ which only measures wind speed¸ may not be the best way to gauge a storm’s ferocity. Last week¸ powerful Hurricane Florence was downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 2 and eventually a Category 1 as it made landfall – and this may have contributed to a false sense of security. “The concept of saying ‘downgraded’ or ’weakened should be forever banished¸” University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd said. “With Florence¸ I felt it was more dangerous after it was lowered to Category 2.”

09/19/2018 10:30 AM
Puerto Rico Files Suit Against Insurers Over Unpaid Hurricane Claims
The government of Puerto Rico is suing several insurance companies¸ claiming that the insurers have not responded quickly enough to claims filed following Hurricane Maria. Gov. Ricardo Rossello said that the lawsuits are aimed at preventing insurers from dropping claims. Rossello explained that insurance companies believe they can drop a claim if clients do not file a lawsuit within a year. The Category 4 storm Hurricane Maria struck the region on September 20¸ knocking out 95% of the island’s power and causing an estimated $90 billion dollars in damage. An estimated 2¸975 people in Puerto Rico were killed by the hurricane.

09/19/2018 09:30 AM
Lawsuit Targets Massachusetts Utility Over Deadly Gas Explosions
A resident of a Massachusetts city rocked by last week’s deadly gas blasts that damaged dozens of homes sued utility operator NiSource Inc on Tuesday¸ accusing it of inadequately maintaining its distribution system. The proposed class action lawsuit targets NiSource and its subsidiary Columbia Gas of Massachusetts¸ which services Andover¸ North Andover and Lawrence¸ three communities northwest of Boston that staged large-scale evacuations following the Thursday afternoon blasts that killed one person and injured at least 25. The lawsuit in Essex County Superior Court is the first to be filed after Thursday’s explosions. It claims the gas pipeline system used by Columbia Gas to service those communities was “poorly maintained¸ antiquated¸ obsolete¸ and highly dangerous.”

09/18/2018 01:30 PM
Biohazards¸ Toxins In North Carolina Floodwaters
The 40 inches of rain Hurricane Florence has dumped on North Carolina is leaving a trail of industrial waste as runoff from coal ash pits¸ inundated sewage systems¸ and feces from dozens of hog farms pour into rivers¸ lakes and neighborhoods. North Carolina is home to the densest population of hogs in the country with 2¸100 hog farms producing an estimated 40 million gallons of hog poop a day¸ most of which ends up being stored in 3¸000 open-pit earthen basins known as “lagoons.” Before Hurricane Florence made landfall¸ hog farms had been frantically trying to lower the level of those lagoons by spraying the waste on fields. But as of noon Monday¸ two hog lagoons in the hurricane area had been breached¸ seven had overflowed’ and four had been inundated.

09/18/2018 11:15 AM
Drone Teams Deploy To Assess Utilities¸ Flood Damage In The Carolinas
With the remnants of Hurricane Florence continuing to deluge the southeastern U.S.¸ a small army of drones is being deployed to identify and fix damage caused by flooding. At least 53 drone teams have been recruited to help with damage assessment¸ said Brian Reil¸ a spokesman for Edison Electric Institute¸ the Washington-based industry group coordinating utility recovery efforts. Each team usually brings more than one drone and the force collectively includes about 100 to 160 operators¸ he said. While the storm has weakened into a tropical depression¸ Florence continued to dump record rainfall while areas of North Carolina are experiencing unprecedented flooding. Hundreds of roads have been shut in the region¸ making it dangerous or difficult to access areas to restore power.

09/18/2018 10:15 AM
FEMA’s Flood Insurance Chief Says Agency Ready For Onslaught Of Florence Claims
The head of the National Flood Insurance Program told CNBC’s "Squawk on the Street" Monday that the government is prepared to handle the anticipated rash of claims filed by homeowners in the upcoming days and weeks. "As the days continue¸ we’ll be able to start to get the number of claims being submitted¸ get adjusters out in the field when it’s safe¸ and when it’s safe for policyholders to be in their homes¸" said David Maurstad¸ the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation and the chief executive of the NFIP.

09/18/2018 09:15 AM
Death Toll Rises To 32 As Florence Spawns Tornadoes In Virginia
Rising flood waters threatened communities across the Carolinas on Tuesday as storm Florence hit the U.S. Northeast with heavy rains and tornadoes after killing at least 32 people. Widespread flooding has already reached roofs¸ turned highways into rivers and left thousands to be saved by rescue workers. Waterways are expected to keep rising on Tuesday in places like Fayetteville¸ North Carolina¸ a city of 200¸000 in the southern part of the state¸ according to the National Weather Service (NWS). At least 32 people have been killed since Florence came ashore as a hurricane on Friday¸ including 25 in North Carolina and six in South Carolina. One person was killed when at least 16 tornadoes developed from Florence on Monday in Virginia¸ where dozens of building were destroyed¸ the NWS reported.

09/17/2018 03:30 PM
Gas Company Linked To Massachusetts Explosions Has Had Prior Incidents
The corporate parent of the Massachusetts natural gas utility that’s the focus of an investigation into explosions and fires that killed one person and injured about 25 others had links to three previous gas line blasts¸ a review of federal and state records and court filings shows. The links emerged as Columbia Gas of Massachusetts scrambled to provide assistance and information to residents of Lawrence¸ North Andover and other Merrimack Valley communities after Thursday’s tragedy. The history of other accidents also came as the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation that showed Columbia Gas pipes in the area of the explosions had been over-pressurized.

09/17/2018 01:30 PM
Lack Of Flood Insurance Heaps Misery On Homeowners Slammed By Hurricane Florence
The drenching rains and massive flooding caused by Florence are expected to inflict a high financial toll on homeowners in North Carolina and other states¸ as only a small percentage are covered by flood insurance that could help offset the costs of rebuilding their damaged homes. An estimated quarter of a million homes in North Carolina are projected to be affected by Florence¸ which has caused flash flooding and record rain amounts across the state¸ according to CoreLogic¸ a property analytics company. Estimates from insurance analysts and actuaries show an alarmingly high percentage of homeowners – both in coastal towns and those far inland – that are underinsured for a water-driven natural disaster as destructive as Florence.