A Pew Charitable Trusts survey shows that only 53% of firms with five to 250 employees offer a retirement plan, with 93% of respondents saying their workers would prefer higher wages or other benefits. The survey authors note underlying trends that suggest recently formed businesses aim to reach a level of financial stability before offering such plans.
Net income for the property/casualty insurance sector dropped 42.2% year over year in the first quarter as direct catastrophe losses totaled $7.3 billion, the highest Q1 amount since California's 1994 Northridge earthquake, according to PCI and Insurance Services Office. The Q1 2017 losses include the $4.4 billion cost of three major weather events that involved tornadoes and hail.
Legislation that would implement a camera system to catch and fine uninsured drivers in Rhode Island has gained the state House's approval. The measure faces opposition from PCI, the state Division of Motor Vehicles and others.
HCI Group, which offers flood insurance in Florida through a homeowners subsidiary and a proprietary online platform, is talking with regulators in nine additional states as it seeks to expand sales of flood coverage. The company plans to grow regardless of how Congress might change the National Flood Insurance Program's private flood insurance options, said HCI's Kevin Mitchell.
A wildfire in Utah's Brian Head resort area has spread to 72 square miles, making it the biggest active fire in the US right now, officials say. The fire has destroyed 13 homes and led to the evacuation of more than 1,500 people, and officials say it began when someone was burning weeds with a torch device.
Efforts to relieve flooding in the Florida Everglades are raising concerns that pumping could send more polluted water into Lake Okeechobee. Freeing up reservoir space in southwestern Palm Beach County may help avoid permanent destruction of some Everglades area, but water diverted north to the lake can lead to toxic algae blooms along coastal waterways.
A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that hailstorms across the US could decrease in frequency because of climate change. Hailstones, however, could become larger and more damaging, the study says.
Ransomware attacks increased globally 11.4% to almost 2.6 million over the past 12 months, Kaspersky Lab says. Mobile ransomware attacks also are up, with 19% of mobile users in the US affected, the highest percentage worldwide, according to Kaspersky.
Florida Public Service Commission member and former state lawmaker Jimmy Patronis is Gov. Rick Scott's appointee to serve as the state's chief financial officer. "PCI will continue to work with CFO Patronis and the Department of Financial Services on a wide range of issues, including assignment-of-benefits abuse, auto safety, and maintaining a healthy workers' compensation system," said Logan McFaddin of PCI.
The funding ratio for state pension plans deteriorated to 69% in fiscal 2016, compared with a 73% ratio in fiscal 2015, according to a report from Wilshire Consulting. The report says state pension assets decreased by 1.8% in fiscal 2016 as liabilities increased by 5.4%.
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