California Wildfire Survivor Bills Pass Senate Committee

Four bills sponsored by the California Department of Insurance that the department believes will strengthen consumer protections for wildfire survivors have passed the Senate Insurance Committee with unanimous, bipartisan votes.

Assembly Bill 1772 would extend the amount of time a home or business owner has to rebuild an insured property from two to three years after a declared wildfire emergency and receive the full replacement costs to which they are entitled.

2014 Napa Quake Could be Linked to Groundwater Changes, Study Shows

Research suggests the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that rocked California wine country in 2014 may have been caused by an expansion of Earth’s crust because of seasonally receding groundwater under the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

The vineyard-filled valleys flank the West Napa Fault, which produced the quake that killed one person, injured several hundred and caused more than $500 million in losses.

WCRIB: California Workers’ Comp Written Premium to be Down Again This Year

Lower workers’ compensation rates in California will bring down written premium once again this year, according to a forecast from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau.

That revelation is expected in a full report on the state of California’s workers’ comp system is due out in about a week, but David Bellusci, WCIRB executive vice president and chief actuary, gave a rundown of what to expect during the group’s annual conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Employers Waking Up to Costs of Employees Falling Asleep on the Job

An employer with 1,000 employees can expect to lose more than $1 million each year in missed workdays, lower productivity and increased healthcare due to employee fatigue, according to a new survey.

About one-third of all employers report employee injuries and near-misses due to worker fatigue, the National Safety Council survey also found. Half said they have had employees fall asleep on the job.

Oregon Earthquake Simulation Reveals Dangers

Researchers at Oregon State University say bridges and roads in the northwestern resort city of Seaside should be prioritized for improvement after a simulation discovered they would have higher mortality rates in an earthquake and tsunami.

Researchers found that the bridge on Broadway Street over Neawanna Creek would result in the most fatalities, The Daily Astorian reported.

Downed Power Lines Sparked Deadly California Fires, Investigation Shows

A dozen wildfires that burned thousands of homes in California’s wine country and killed at least 15 people last October were started by Pacific Gas & Electric power lines and utility poles, state fire officials said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection released its investigation Friday for some of the wind-driven fires that ravaged Mendocino, Humboldt, Butte, Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties.

Airlines Urged to Use Predictive Models, Data Sharing to Keep Skies Safe

Global airlines, coming off a record-low accident rate in 2017, need to guard against complacency over safety as heavy growth in travel demand stretches the air transport system, industry leaders warned at a conference this week.

There were no jet crashes in 2017 and 19 fatalities across the sector, while some 301 passengers have died in five crashes over just the first five months of 2018, including the first fatality on a U.S. airline since 2009. The other fatal accidents occurred in Cuba, Russia, Iran and Nepal.

Scooters Take Hiatus From San Francisco’s Busy Streets

San Francisco’s scooter revolution is officially on hiatus.

Lime, Bird, and Spin, startups that have delighted and infuriated San Franciscans with their scooter-sharing services, have pulled their vehicles from the streets while they apply for permits to operate. The process for allowing scooters was established soon after the companies began operating without explicit permission from city officials this spring. Lime told its users it hoped to be back on the streets within weeks.

Earthquake Country Needs a Sense of Urgency

Emergency managers and the many different disciplines and organizations they partner with are working every day to make their communities a safer and better place to be; before, during and after a disaster.

Having cut my teeth here on the West Coast, I have always envied emergency managers who have hurricanes as their worst-case disaster. This is for two reasons. One is that they have a set schedule on the calendar that is identified and known by as the hurricane season, which, by the way, just started on June 1, and was preceded by Tropical Storm Alberto. Evidently Alberto did not get the save-the-date message and arrived a few days early.

California Legislators Said to Consider Wildfire Relief Fund to Help Utilities

California lawmakers are said to be considering a proposal to help utilities shoulder billions of dollars in potential liability costs while offering relief to wildfire victims by setting up a compensation fund that would be backed by the state and the power companies.

Details, including the size, are still being worked out and the proposal – one of a number of options being considered – may not come together, according to people familiar with the discussions who asked not to be identified because they aren’t public. The fund could issue bonds, with the payments potentially provided by utility shareholders, ratepayers and revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade program or general fund, the people said.

Pages