FEMA Pushing for Stronger Building Codes Nationwide
Kelly Burch | June 13, 2022
Kali Worth and her family. Courtesy of Kali Worth
• Kali Worth’s daughter had up to 200 seizures a day, plus other challenges.
• She eventually was diagnosed with SYNGAP1, a genetic condition.
• This is Kali’s story, as told to Kelly Burch.
I knew something was different about my daughter Kai long before I was ready to admit it. By her first birthday, Kai would injure herself when she got upset, scratching at her eyes and mouth or biting her wrists. She wasn’t walking or communicating well.
A friend with a background in childhood development once pointed out that Kai’s jacket was always falling off. Her body was so limp that the coat just slipped down. I got defensive because I wasn’t ready to admit to myself or someone else that something was wrong.
As a first-time mom, you don’t know what typical development looks like, so it’s easy to push your worries aside.
FEMA Pushing for Stronger Building Codes Nationwide
June 2, 2022
On the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, federal officials announced a new initiative to modernize building codes across the country so that communities can be more resilient to hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other extreme weather events that are intensifying due to climate change.
Deanne Criswell, the administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Ali Zaidi, the deputy national climate advisor to President Joe Biden, discussed the initiative Wednesday during a briefing at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, where Hurricane Andrew caused $26 billion in damage in 1992, and recovering from a similar hit could cost hundreds of billions today.
Nearly two out of every three communities in the United States have outdated building codes and, as a result, are vulnerable to climate impacts and higher energy costs, officials said. The initiative is designed help state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments adopt current building codes and standards, enabling communities to be more resilient to hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other extreme weather events that are intensifying due to climate change.
NEW YORK (PIX11) — Is remote work going away? According to a survey of 160 major employers in New York City, it’s not likely.
BY Sarah Vasile | May 9, 2022
Nearly 80% of city employers told The Partnership for New York City that they intended on using a hybrid work model for employees. Only 38% of Manhattan office workers are back in the office on the average weekday, with 28% still fully remote.
Only 8% of employees are in the office five days a week, the survey found. Still, the amount of fully remote workers dropped since October 2021 — from 54% to 28% as of April 2022.
A significant amount of employers — 91% — are encouraging employees to return to the office despite hybrid flexibility, the report found. Of those, 64% are using incentives, including social activities and transportation subsidies, to sweeten the deal.
Most employers surveyed said they expect New York City-based workers to increase or stay.
The White House on Tuesday announced new steps to expand access to Paxlovid, the Covid-19 antiviral pill. But experts say that efforts to reach at-risk Americans remain complex and inefficient.
By: Noah Weiland | April 26, 2022
Adeolu Odewale, right, the owner of Demmy’s Pharmacy in Greenbelt, Md., had been eager to obtain Paxlovid for his high-risk customers,
but so far, he has dispensed it to just seven people. Credit…Shuran Huang for The New York Times
GREENBELT, Md. — Last month, the owner of a small pharmacy here secured two dozen courses of Pfizer’s new medication for treating Covid-19, eager to quickly provide them to his high-risk customers who test positive for the virus.
More than a month later, the pharmacy, Demmy’s, has dispensed the antiviral pills to just seven people. The remaining stock is sitting in neatly packed rows on its shelves here in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. And the owner, Adeolu Odewale, is scrambling to figure out how to get the medication, Paxlovid, to more people as cases have increased over 80 percent in Maryland in recent days.
The National Hockey League has filed suit against its insurers over alleged revenue losses during mandatory COVID-19 shutdowns.
BY Autumn Demberger | APRIL 2, 2022
Twenty out of the 32 National Hockey League teams and the league itself are suing five insurance companies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact.
The teams are hoping to recoup an alleged $1 billion worth of losses due to the pandemic. These losses, they say, were in the form of ticket sales, concessions, parking and in-arena merchandise sales.
Due to the pandemic, especially during the 2020 season, teams were forced to play without cheering fans and subsequently without the added revenue stream.
The 2019-20 season was placed on pause in March 2020, finishing out later in the year once the teams were placed in quarantine bubbles.
The 2020-21 season further suffered, the teams allege, due to minimal attendance.
One insurer named in the lawsuit is Factory Mutual.
Tri-City Herald | (Kennewick, WA)
Mar. 27—KENNEWICK, Wa. — A 54-year-old Kennewick man admitted last week to falsely accusing a FBI agent of trying to take a $22,000 bribe to make his case go away.
He was one of 23 suspects recently charged in a scheme to defraud insurance companies by staging 14 vehicle accidents over a three-year span. The group amassed nearly $1 million in fraudulent payouts, say federal prosecutors.
They were charged by indictment in December.
Mohammed Naji Al-Jibory was one of six accused of attempting to obstruct law enforcement officials and the investigation.
The FBI began investigating Al-Jibory and his accomplices in February 2019, after allegations surfaced that they were involved in a scheme to defraud multiple companies of money and property by “staging automobile accidents, and filing false and fraudulent claims with insurance companies, in violation of federal criminal laws,” said a release from Vanessa R. Waldref, U.S.
By: Roger Crombie | February 22, 2022
I’m glad 2021 is over. It was a very bad year.
The plague-related horrors that so many faced didn’t much affect me. I work from home and rarely leave at the best of times.
No, my 2021 owed its unique stink to the authorities. Regular readers may recall that financial insufficiency in later life has been my greatest fear. I shouldn’t have tempted fate by mentioning it: Last summer, government involvement bankrupted me, temporarily anyway.
Rather like the tale of Jericho and Joshua, it was decided that the walls of my apartment building should come tumbling down and be replaced, to improve fire safety.
From Detour, a 1945 movie: “Fate, or some mysterious force, can put the finger on you or me, for no good reason at all.”
My sudden ruin was not my fault — but then all bankrupts say that, I would imagine.
Samirah is the daughter of our C.O.O. Sonya Horton and has spent the last several years traveling to various schools and talking to children about anti-bullying. In addition, Samirah is also known as DJ Annie Red, and is currently the DJ for the Brooklyn Nets. We are all so proud of Samirah and her accomplishments!
BY MARIAH ESPADA | FEBRUARY 9, 2022
Samirah Horton uses music to take a stand against bullying. Courtesy Photo
From the age of 6, Samirah Horton, also known as DJ Annie Red, was picked on by her peers for the things that made her different—her raspier voice, her unique sense of style, and her unwavering confidence in herself. Rather than giving up, Horton decided to pick up a mic and make sure other children knew they weren’t alone. “I didn’t want other kids to go through that experience,” says Horton, “especially at a very young age.”
THE NEED BECOMES MORE OBVIOUS; HOW WILL BENEFIT PLANS RESPOND?
By: Thomas A. McCoy, CLU
One lasting effect of the pandemic, a positive one, is that both employers and employees are becoming more aware of the importance of employee mental health. Support for employees’ mental health is looking more and more like the next universal need in employee benefits plans.
Although certain demographic groups have been especially vulnerable to mental stress during the pandemic, mental health needs transcend age, gender, job functions and income levels. These needs were present before the pandemic and will continue after it ends. The pandemic has simply kick-started the mental health conversation.
Jolee Crosby, head of global L&H underwriting and medical reinsurance for Swiss Re, says it is a “good sign” that consumers’ concern about mental health is on the rise. According to Swiss Re research, almost half (44%) of consumers were already concerned about the issue before the pandemic; now an additional 23% are even more concerned.
By Mark Hollmer
Property/casualty insurers head into 2022 facing “massive” political risks, an expert with the Insurance Information Institute said on Dec. 2. Economic uncertainty will also continue despite recovery trends.
Some exist due to post-pandemic economic fallout, but many others are longstanding or worsening flashpoints in the U.S. and around the globe, noted Michel Leonard, vice president, senior economist and data scientist, and head of the Economics and Analytics Department at III. He spoke during the III Joint Industry Forum 2021 in New York City.
Those risks, when listed together, are substantial. In the U.S., they include labor dislocation and the midterm elections, the continued institutional deadlock in Congress, worsening socioeconomic inequality and far right domestic radicalization. In the U.S. and around the world, these risks encompass anti-vax radicalization relating to the COVID-19 vaccines, far-left industrial sabotage relating to fossil fuels, and conflict with China over Taiwan and Hong Kong.
They were so careful, for so long. They got covid anyway.
By: Tara Bahrampour
Fareha Ahmed had been cautious since the beginning of the pandemic. She had eaten in restaurants only three times. She and her husband were vaccinated and boosted, and their 7-year-old got vaccinated in November as soon as he was eligible. In mid-December, Ahmed, 39, who lives in Brightwood Park in the District, met a former colleague for an outdoor lunch. A few days later, the family attended an indoor gathering for the first time with other families, to bake Christmas cookies.
Then covid caught up with her.
Two days after the lunch, the colleague tested positive for coronavirus. Ahmed took PCR and rapid tests — both negative — and then for good measure took another PCR test the day of the cookie party; the other participants told her to come over and not worry.
But three days after the party she started feeling ill, and the next day her PCR test came back positive.
With risks increasing, insurers look at the broader book of business regarding cyber
By: Lori Widmer
Even the new kid on the block experiences growing pains. Such is the case with the cyber insurance market, which enjoyed rapid expansion and plentiful availability from its infancy through 2018. However, by 2019, carriers were beginning to feel the pressure stemming from more frequent and severe claims, according to a February 2021 Gallagher Market Conditions paper.
When 2020 sent businesses into remote mode, cyber thieves took advantage of the initial confusion and lax cybersecurity practices. According to an FBI Internet Crime Report, there were 791,790 reported complaints of suspected internet crime in 2020, with over $4.2 billion in reported losses. Global costs of cybercrime are projected to increase 15% annually from 2015 to 2025—from $3 trillion to $10.5 trillion, according to the EY 2021 Global Insurance Outlook.
Increased frequency and severity have many predicting tougher times ahead.