Calif. Carr Fire Claims 6 Lives

Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse in California, the Carr wildfire ignited, claiming six lives so far. The fire in Northern California near the city of Redding has been burning since July 23 and is now one of the largest in the state.

Almost 90,000 acres have burned, destroying more than 500 homes and commercial buildings and damaging 135 structures. Firefighters, who are working 24- to 36-hour shifts with little rest in between, said they are making progress and are now on the offense rather than in a defensive mode.

“Although it’s too early for credible insured loss estimates, the current California wildfires could noticeably impact exposed insurers’ 3Q 2018 earnings,” KBW said in a statement today.

Experts say urban sprawl, climate change heighten wildfire risk

A fire that started in a rural community in Northern California underscored a new reality in the state when days later it suddenly roared through neighborhoods on the edge of the city of Redding: Urban areas are increasingly vulnerable to wildfires.

In the last year, neighborhoods in the Northern California wine country city of Santa Rosa and the Southern California beach city of Ventura have been devastated.

Hotter weather attributed to climate change is drying out vegetation, creating more intense fires that spread quickly from rural areas to city subdivisions, climate and fire experts say. But they also blame municipalities that are expanding housing into previously undeveloped areas.

California Workers’ Comp Changes Helping System, Division Chief Says

California’s workers’ compensation system has undergone numerous changes since the implementation of the sweeping reforms that started in 2013 with Senate Bill 863.

In the last few years medical provider fraud has been addressed by subsequent new laws, a plague of liens that burdened the system are being addressed, and there’s even a new drug formulary.

9 California Restaurants Cited for Failing to Provide Workers’ Comp

A joint enforcement strike force issued more than $200,000 in administrative fines to nine Contra Costa County, Calif. restaurants for failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance.

Investigators from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, Department of Industrial Relations’ Labor Commissioner’s Office, and Employment Development Department conducted surprise inspections in June and July at Contra Costa County restaurants suspected of evading the obligation to provide workers’ comp insurance to employees.

California Governor Taking PG&E Closer to Fire Law Changes

California utility giants PG&E Corp. and Edison International are one step closer to changing a state law that has exposed them to billions of dollars in wildfire liabilities.

Late Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a bill that would require a court to consider whether a utility acted “reasonably” when deciding whether it should end up on the hook for fire damages. Brown said the proposal wouldn’t affect the potential liabilities PG&E and Edison face for blazes that devastated the state in 2017. Still, it’s a win for PG&E, which has been lobbying hard to change a policy that holds utilities responsible for the costs of wildfires their equipment caused, even if they weren’t negligent.

A Guide for Conducting Threat Assessments in Schools

The Secret Service’s newly-released report on creating programs for conducting a threat assessment in schools provides a guide for officials to compare to their own systems.

The report was released by the agency’s National Threat Assessment Center, which was created in 1998 to provide guidance and training on threat assessments to criminal justice and public safety professionals.

Threat assessment programs should be one part of a larger campus protection system. Still, when done right, threat assessments can be an extremely powerful tool to protect your campus because, despite popular opinion, there is no reliable profile of student attackers.

Do agile projects need risk management?

The Agile Manifesto was published in 2001, but agile is still a hot topic in project management. In theory, agile project management is supposed to reduce risks by design, so that ultimately there are no risks any more.

As a result, alongside backlogs, user stories and velocity in the agile approach, there seems to be no place for risks. For example, there is no risk backlog.

Study Examines California Worker’s Comp Prescription Drug Outcomes Under New Formulary

A new analysis offers a preliminary look at Utilization Review and Independent Medical Review outcomes involving pharmaceutical requests for California injured workers since the state implemented a workers’ compensation formulary in January.

The analysis from the California Workers’ Compensation Institute issued on Friday shows that the proportion of UR decisions involving prescription drug requests fell from 44.5 percent in the pre-formulary period to 40.7 percent in the first five months of 2018.

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