Property Insurance News

11/20/2019 11:45 AM
Florida Officials Fraudulently Used FEMA Funds From Hurricane Michael
Two former officials of a Florida city are charged with conspiring with two businesses to bilk the federal government out of $5 million in Hurricane Michael cleanup money, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Tuesday. U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe said the two former Lynn Haven officials approved false invoices for the two companies, Erosion Control Specialists and Greenleaf Lawn Care, for work they never performed. One of the companies also was paid to wrap Christmas presents, prepare a site for a Halloween party, and clean and repair the private homes of several city officials, including the mayor and city attorney, according to the indictment. “Abusing one’s position for personal gain — especially in a time of crisis — is a blatant disregard to the oath that every government official takes,” Rachel Rojas, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville division, said in a news release.

11/19/2019 12:30 PM
PG&E Is Dubious Of Fire Victim’s Claim For A 500-Pound Emerald
PG&E Corp. says it has found suspicious monetary claims by victims of California’s wildfires, including one from a man who says a 500-pound (227-kilogram) emerald worth $280 million was destroyed at his home a year ago in the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in state history. The utility is probing duplicate or “exceptionally large monetary claims, which appear suspicious,” according to a court filing that is part of efforts to determine PG&E’s potential liability from fire-related losses and estimate damages. U.S. District Judge James Donato will probably take up the issue Monday at a regularly scheduled hearing. PG&E, which filed for bankruptcy in the face of liability over the wildfires, wants to question the owner of the emerald, who says it was destroyed in the 2018 Camp Fire that killed 86 people and razed the town of Paradise. PG&E’s equipment was found to have contributed to the blaze. In addition to seeking reimbursement for the emerald, the man and his wife submitted four duplicate claims of $4.5 million, PG&E says.

11/19/2019 11:00 AM
Tesla Supercharger Catches Fire At New Jersey Convenience Store
A Tesla Supercharger station located at a Wawa convenience store ignited in Parsippany, New Jersey, CNBC confirmed after images of the fire were shared on social media. According to a Wawa spokesperson, “Tesla had an issue with their cabinet and the power has been shut off while they are investigating. Our store was unaffected as it is on a completely separate power line.” Tesla and emergency response officials in Parsippany did not immediately return requests for comment. A witness to Sunday’s fire, who asked to remain unidentified because they were not authorized to speak with press, said that flames were first noticed by a neighbor across the street from the Wawa store, and reported to the fire department by this person and store employees, both.

11/18/2019 12:00 PM
Flames Destroy Two Luxury Yachts At Fort Lauderdale Marina
Over $20 million worth of property went up in flames early Saturday in Florida, where two multimillion-dollar yachts were destroyed in a fire. More than 60 firefighters and three fire boats battled the blaze at Universal Marine Center docks in Fort Lauderdale, working to prevent the fire from spreading to other yachts nearby. Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue reported that nobody was injured. Officials believe the blaze began on a 160-foot yacht named Lohengrin and spread to a neighboring 100-foot yacht named Reflections. The estimated loss from the fire is more than $20 million, said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. Crews were still on the scene of the fire Sunday, working to remove scaffolding surrounding the boats and extinguish hot spots, according to a Twitter post by Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue.

11/18/2019 11:30 AM
21 People Displaced By Massive Fire In Hornell, New York
The American Red Cross is assisting 21 people (13 adults and eight children) following a massive fire in Steuben County that impacted seven residences. The area was solemn Sunday afternoon on Preston Avenue in Hornell. A neighbor who captured video said it was windy when the fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. "Three of these houses were arms-length apart. I mean, you could reach out the window and touch the adjacent. So you’ve got that radiant heat, plus the wind taking the currents over so it was quite a challenge right off the bat," said Chief Frank Brzozowski, Hornell City Fire Department. "Between so many structures and such a volume and intense fire, to sift through it. It’s going to take some time to get through it."

11/15/2019 10:00 AM
Italy Declares State Of Emergency In Venice Amid Flooding From High Tides
Italy’s government declared a state of emergency Thursday in flood-ravaged Venice, seeking to release funds to repair the historic lagoon city after it was damaged by the highest tide in 50 years. A cabinet meeting approved a special decree that included 20 million euros ($21.7 million) in immediate financial aid aimed at helping the city recover. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the flooding as “a blow to the heart of our country,” after spending Wednesday night in Venice, where world-famous monuments, homes and businesses were hit hard by the exceptional flooding. Venice’s mayor said the damage is estimated at “hundreds of millions of euros.” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro blamed climate change for the “dramatic situation” in the historical city and called for the speedy completion of the city’s long-delayed Moses flood defense project.

11/15/2019 09:15 AM
‘Land Of Extremes’: In Kansas, A Year Of Damaging Floods And Forecast Of More To Come
Each day, the roughly 150 residents of Lakeside Village drink, cook and bathe with water hauled in by the Kansas National Guard. Months after floodwaters overwhelmed the northeast Kansas community’s well system, trucks are still delivering up to 40,000 gallons of water daily. The new normal for Lakeside Village is just one snapshot of the lingering damage from floodwaters that rose across Kansas and the region earlier this year. The high water wrecked at least $15 million of infrastructure and generated $3.8 million in federal flood insurance claims. Lawmakers huddled at the Capitol on Tuesday to hear from state and federal officials about the floods. The message: be ready for more.

11/12/2019 11:15 AM
Charles Town, West Virginia Home Leveled After Propane Gas Explosion
Two were injured after a gas leak caused an explosion Monday afternoon, setting fire to a Cloverdale Heights home in Charles Town, West Virginia, said Larry Herbst, fire chief of Citizens Fire Department. At approximately 12:45 p.m., an explosion set fire to a home on the 500 block of Cloverdale Road, injuring an HVAC technician that was working in the home and another person, Herbst said. Herbst said he was unable to confirm if the second victim was an HVAC technician or someone who lived in the residence. The HVAC technician was airlifted to Medstar Washington Hospital Center, and the second victim was driven to Jefferson Medical Center, Herbst said. He said the extent of their injuries were not immediately known. “There were two HVAC technicians working on the heating and air conditioning system, and there was a gas leak that found an emission source and there was an explosion,” he said. The fire resulted in the home being a total loss, Herbst said.

11/12/2019 10:00 AM
Lessons Learned After Hard CAT Years: Certain Claims Attract Public Adjusters
It has been quite the turbulent ride for catastrophe insurance providers in the past few years. The US has suffered a series of devastating hurricanes, kicking off on August 25, 2017, when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm. It left a trail of destruction in its wake, which cost the insurance industry up to $20 billion. Following Harvey in 2017 came two Category 5 strength hurricanes, Irma and Maria, one of which (Maria) became the second costliest hurricane to hit the US, causing insured losses of up to $30 billion. It was surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina, which caused approximately $52 billion in insured losses in 2018. That year, more devastating storms made landfall in the US, with Hurricanes Florence and Michael causing up to $12 billion insured losses between them. And those hoping for some respite in 2019 did not get what they were looking for, thanks to Hurricanes Barry and Dorian.

11/11/2019 11:30 AM
Speeding Porsche Goes Airborne, Crashes Into Second Story Of Commercial Property
Two people were killed Sunday morning after a red Porsche went airborne and crashed into the second floor of a commercial building in Toms River, police said. Police identified the victims as Braden DeMartin, 22, and Daniel Foley, 23, both of Toms River. DeMartin was driving a red 2010 Porsche Boxter convertible at a high rate of speed northbound on Hooper Avenue when it lost control, crossed over the roadway and hit an embankment, said Jillian Messina, a spokeswoman for the Toms River Police Department. The car then plunged into the second story of building on the southbound side of Hooper Avenue. Foley was a passenger in the vehicle.