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Insurance Business America - The head of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program has announced major reforms in the wake of accusations of fraud and delays in the insurance review process. Roy Wright, who took the helm at the flood insurance program 10 months ago, said the changes would increase oversight of private companies that offer flood insurance, according to an Asbury Park Press report. “We didn’t have the policy holder at the center of what we were doing,” Wright said. “A series of long-term actions need to be taken.” The reforms, announced Monday, are intended to increase transparency and FEMA’s oversight of the 79 private insurers that issue flood insurance policies.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
 
Bay News 9 - At a research facility in South Carolina, scientists and researchers harness the destructive forces of hurricanes and bend them to their will. "We’re actually creating hurricanes around structures very much like Mother Nature would do," Julie Rochman said. She’s the president and CEO of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. Its headquarters is in Tampa. “This is truly a force of nature being imitated very meticulously,” Rochman said. “What is unique about the IBHS Research Center is that we’re the only facility that can do full scale testing, so we don’t need to shrink nails and shingles down to which their physical properties would change.”
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
 
The Orange County Register - A 7-year-old boy was getting ready for bed Saturday night at his Costa Mesa home when he smelled smoke. Then he saw fire in the garage and ran to tell his dad, who had already fallen asleep watching television. “He had to shake his dad to wake him up,” said Costa Mesa fire Capt. Chris Coates. The man, William Rimmer, opened the door leading to the garage at his house in the 3000 block of Warren Lane and saw there was a blaze.He closed it and both he and his son, William II, got out of the house. The garage was well involved with flames which were spreading to a motorhome on the driveway and a neighbor’s storage shed, Coates said.
Monday, May 23, 2016
 
Insurance Business America - It is likely that 2016 will be a huge year in terms of insurance payments due to the Fort McMurray wildfire, said the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).The IBC reported that severe weather insurance claims have been rising for a few decades and have climbed exponentially since 2009. According to Steve Kee, director of media and digital communications at IBC, payouts are expected to reach C$1bn annually, up from C$40m in the 1970s.“Prior to 2009, the insurance payouts to the policy holders as a result of severe weather, they really weren’t big notable events,” said Kee.
Friday, May 20, 2016
 
InsuranceNewsNet - Lynaire Kennels is slowly picking up the pieces after an electrical fire that took the lives of 27 dogs on May 9 as workers and pet owners still deal with grief at the loss of the pets. According to a spokeswoman with Lynaire Kennels, a manager who did not want her name used, owner Linda Baake Jarvis has been told by insurance companies that the 4 a.m. fire was caused by wiring somewhere in the attic or crawlspace over the main kennel. Twenty-seven dogs died in the blaze. Another 20 pets, however -- cats and dogs -- were rescued from a second adjoining building by rescue personnel who first arrived at the blaze.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
 
ABC News - An estimated 150,000 commuters into and out of New York’s famed Grand Central Terminal faced crippling delays Wednesday, one day after a raging fire broke out beneath elevated train tracks in the city, officials said. The blaze Tuesday night at a garden center underneath Metro-North tracks north of the station in Manhattan’s East Harlem section halted train service and left thousands of commuters stranded on their way home. Metro-North said two of the four tracks in the area of the fire were operational for Wednesday’s morning rush. Trains were slowed from their normal 60 mph to 30 mph as repairs continue.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
 
The Denver Post - Angry skies spitting out lightning bolts and icy marbles could soon replace the gray clouds and misty rains that ruled this week along the northern Front Range. "As soon as it warms up, we are headed into our peak storm season," warned Carole Walker, executive director for Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. Colorado ranks second only to Texas for the number of insurance claims filed due to hail strikes on homes, property and cars the past three years, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Hail-related insurance claims in Colorado numbered 182,591 between 2013 and 2015, accounting for 9 percent of the U.S. total.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
 
Canadian Underwriter - Industry insured losses from the Fort McMurray wildfire that began May 1 and is still being fought today is estimated at $4.4 billion to $9.0 billion, AIR Worldwide reported late Monday.The catastrophe modelling firm notes the estimate reflects insured physical damage to residential and commercial property (structures and their contents, and auto) and direct business interruption losses (except for those related to the oil industry). That said, a number of losses are not reflected in the estimate.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
 
KPHO - A firefighter was taken to the hospital after a fire at hoarder’s house in Phoenix. Fire crews from Phoenix and Glendale were called out to the house near 35th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak just before 9 p.m. on Wednesday. Firefighters said there were access issues to the fire due to all the items in the house. They said items were stacked from the floor to the ceiling.The fire department said a man and a woman live in the house. The man was at work at the time of the fire, but firefighters weren’t sure where the woman was.
Friday, May 13, 2016
 
NBC Washington - A Maryland-based home contractor is at the center of a state investigation, following complaints about faulty and incomplete work on houses, including some customers who had already lost almost all of their possessions in house fires, the News4 I-Team has learned. One of those customers, Zenobia Garnder, said she paid Prompt Restoration, Inc. $299,000 for work that is still incomplete. "I was told I was going to be made whole after the fire," Gardner said. "But he is not making me whole. He’s just taken advantage of me." Gardner’s home burned down in November 2014, after her husband’s classic Chevy malfunctioned and exploded in their garage in Fort Washington, Maryland.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
 
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