Monthly Archives: March 2014

1347 Residence Insurance Holdings, Inc. Announces Pricing of Its First Public Giving of Frequent …

BATON ROUGE, La., Mar 31, 2014 (Company WIRE) — 1347 Property Insurance coverage Holdings, Inc. /estimates/zigman/27391072/delayed/quotes/nls/pih PIH .00% (“PIH” or “the Company”), a home and casualty insurance coverage holding company providing house owners and dwelling insurance coverage to individuals in Louisiana through its wholly-owned subsidiary Maison Insurance Organization, announced these days the pricing of its original public offering of 1,887,500 shares of its typical stock at a value to the public of $ 700 per share. PIH has granted the representative of the underwriters a 45-day selection to obtain up to 283,125 added shares of typical stock to cover over-allotments, if any.

Shares of PIH frequent stock are anticipated to trade on The NASDAQ Capital Market place below the symbol “PIH” starting on or about April 1st, 2014. The closing of the giving is expected on or about April 4th, 2014 topic to customary closing conditions.

Aegis Capital Corp. is acting as sole guide-working manager for the offering.

EarlyBirdCapital, Inc. is acting as a co-manager for the providing.

A registration statement relating to these securities was declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 31st, 2014.

This providing is getting produced only by indicates of a prospectus. Copies of the prospectus relating to this giving may be obtained by contacting Aegis Capital Corp., Prospectus Division, 810 6th Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10019, telephone: 212-813-1010, e-mail: prospectus@aegiscap.com .

This press release shall not constitute an provide to sell or the solicitation of an offer you to buy, nor shall there be any sale of, these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer you, solicitation, or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification beneath the securities laws of any this kind of state or jurisdiction.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Seeking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements. This kind of forward-looking statements reflect PIH’s expectations about its potential operating results, performance and possibilities that involve considerable dangers and uncertainties. These statements incorporate but are not constrained to statements regarding the meant terms of the supplying and the closing of the giving. When used herein, the phrases “anticipate,” “think,” “estimate,” “upcoming,” “plan,” “target”, “intend” and “count on” and equivalent expressions, as they relate to PIH or its management, are intended to identify such forward-hunting statements. These forward-searching statements are based mostly on information currently available to PIH and are topic to a variety of dangers, uncertainties, and other aspects that could result in PIH real final results, efficiency, prospects, and options to differ materially from these expressed in, or implied by, these forward-hunting statements.

About 1347 Property Insurance Holdings, Inc.

1347 Home Insurance Holdings, Inc. is a residence and casualty insurance coverage holding firm incorporated in Delaware. In December 2012, the Firm began offering house and casualty insurance coverage to individuals in Louisiana by way of its wholly-owned subsidiary Maison Insurance coverage Company. The Company’s insurance coverage offerings currently incorporate homeowners’ insurance, produced house insurance coverage and dwelling fire insurance.

Added information about 1347 Property Insurance Holding, Inc. can be discovered at the Company’s corporate website: www.1347pih.com .

Source: 1347 Residence Insurance Holdings, Inc.

1347 Property Insurance coverage Holdings, Inc.Douglas N. RaucyChief Executive Officer(225) 361-8747 / draucy@maisonins.com orINVESTOR RELATIONS:The Equity Group Inc.Adam PriorSenior Vice President(212) 836-9606 / aprior@equityny.com orCarolyne Y. SohnSenior Associate(415) 568-2255 csohn@equityny.com

Copyright Company Wire 2014

/estimates/zigman/27391072/delayed/quotes/nls/pih

Evacuations Had been Created Following Southern California Quake

A reasonable earthquake that rattled a swath of Southern California forced a number of dozen folks in one particular community out of their houses following firefighters discovered basis problems that created the buildings unsafe to enter, authorities mentioned Saturday.

Fire crews red-tagged twenty apartment units in a creating in the Orange County city of Fullerton after discovering a key foundation crack. Structural woes including broken chimneys and leaning were uncovered in half a dozen single-loved ones houses, which were also deemed as unsafe to occupy until constructing inspectors clear the structures. The damage displaced 83 residents.

In spite of the evacuations, Friday night’s magnitude-5.one quake centered about 25 miles (forty kilometers) south of downtown Los Angeles mostly frayed nerves.


earthquake
The quake was preceded by 2 smaller foreshocks, and much more than 25 aftershocks followed, such as a magnitude-4.one that hit Saturday afternoon, the largest in the sequence so far. No injuries have been reported.

Residents had been inconvenienced and some lost valuables, but “thankfully the harm wasn’t higher,” mentioned Chi-Chung Keung, a spokesman for the city of Fuller-ton.

Business owners in Orange County spent the aftermath sweeping up shattered glass and restocking shelves. Utility crews worked to restore electrical power and shut off gasoline leaks and water main breaks. A rock slide in the Carbon Canyon area of close by Brea also triggered a car to overturn. The occupants had small injuries, and the road remained closed to targeted traffic.

The Red Cross opened a shelter in neighboring La Habra and closed it after 38 people who stayed overnight returned home.

“Everything is beginning to get settled down here,” La Habra police Sgt. Mel Ruiz mentioned.

In Fullerton, some residents will have to keep elsewhere until creating inspectors can examine out the red-tagged apartments and houses and give an all-clear, Fire Battalion Chief John Stokes stated.

Another 14 residential structures around the city suffered lesser damage, including collapsed fireplaces.

A water-main break flooded numerous floors of Brea City Hall, and the shaking knocked down personal computers and ceiling tiles, Stokes said.

It was not instantly clear if City Hall would reopen Monday. An e-mail to the mayor was not immediately returned.

Friday’s jolt was the strongest to strike the greater Los Angeles area considering that 2008. Southern California has been in a seismic lull considering that the deadly 1994 Northridge earthquake killed a number of dozen people and triggered $ 25 billion in damage.

The latest quake hit a week soon after a magnitude-4.4 centered in the San Fernando Valley shook buildings and rattled nerves.

It appeared to break a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) section of the Puente Hills thrust fault, which stretches from the San Gabriel Valley to downtown Los Angeles and brought on the 1987 Whittier Narrows quake that killed 8 folks. The rupture lasted half a 2nd, scientists explained.

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones mentioned it is unclear no matter whether Southern California is entering a far more lively seismic time period. “We have been in a really quiet time. It can’t remain that way,” Jones mentioned.

AP author Daisy Nguyen contributed to this report from Long Beach, California.

Copyright 2014 Related Press. All rights reserved. This material may possibly not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Affirmative Insurance coverage Holdings Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Monetary Benefits

ADDISON, Texas, Mar 31, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE through COMTEX) — Affirmative Insurance Holdings, Inc. /quotes/zigman/10303976/delayed/estimates/nls/affm AFFM +7.45% , a top supplier of non-regular personalized automobile insurance policies, reported consolidated economic results for the 4th quarter and total year ended December 31, 2013.

       3 Months Ended December 31, Yr Ended December 31, (In millions, except per share information) 2013 2012 2013 2012 Gross written premium managed $  79.5 $  64.6 $  340.5 $  237. Revenue 56.2 fifty 5.4 246.1 209.8 Working loss (8.6) (3.2) (8.5) (8.2) Net earnings (loss) (twelve.1) (8.3) 30.6 (51.9) Net earnings (reduction) per diluted share (.76) (.54) one.97 (3.37)    

Michael McClure, Chief Executive Officer, stated, “The quarter was disappointing due to the strengthening of loss reserves for bodily injury claim severities for prior many years and the initial half of 2013. As previously stated, we have created a lot of enhancements from an operational standpoint, but we even now have several locations and opportunities to handle. We are determined to carry on to increase the profitability of the organization. We continue to see either very great or enhancing industry conditions in a quantity of our states. We have been drastically rising our charges given that the starting of 2013 in all of our largest states and took considerable actions to terminate unprofitable independent agency relationships. We think our actions, along with the enhanced working atmosphere, will continue to boost our working results as we move forward.”

Working Efficiency

— Gross written premiums managed for the 4th quarter of 2013 elevated $ 14.9 million, or 23.one%, compared with the 4th quarter of 2012. Gross written premiums managed signify the gross written premiums on policies we control by way of affiliated and unaffiliated underwriting companies. Our insurance coverage organizations may possibly not underwrite a portion of gross written premiums managed. The increase was primarily in California, Texas and Louisiana. For the 2 California and Texas, the increase was mostly due to a substantial enhance in renewal policies as well as charge increases. New policy counts enhanced 12% for the quarter in California compared with 2012 and declined about 12% in Texas. Renewal policy counts for the quarter considerably exceeded new policy counts in both states. Historically, our new company policy reduction ratio has frequently been at least 15 to twenty factors higher than our renewal company loss ratio. The growth in Louisiana was primarily due to development in independent agent business other than organization from the retail stores we sold in September 2013. However, in December 2013, we started out to terminate a significant amount of these Louisiana independent agent relationships due to ongoing profitability issues.

— Total revenues for the 4th quarter of 2013 enhanced $ .8 million, or 1.5%, in contrast with the 4th quarter of 2012. The improve was due to the development in gross premiums managed discussed over, which was partially offset by the reduction in commission and fee earnings due to the sale of our retail business in September 2013.

— Net losses and reduction adjustment bills for the 4th quarter elevated $ 10.2 million, or thirty.%, in contrast with the 4th quarter of 2012. The percentage of net losses and reduction adjustment cost to net premiums earned (the net reduction ratio) was 100.9% in the present quarter compared with a loss ratio of 86.6% in the 4th quarter of 2012. The 14.3 level boost in the reduction ratio for the 4th quarter of 2013 was mainly due to prior period adverse improvement, which represented twelve.1 points of the enhance, and the affect of quota-share reinsurance. The use of quota-share reinsurance overstates the net reduction ratio. Loss adjustment costs include all of the business subject to the quota-share treaties with ceding commission earnings booked as an offset to selling, general and administrative expenses. As this kind of, the quota-share treaties’; impact on the reduction ratio was an boost of 8. points for 4th quarter in 2013 and 4.3 factors for 4th quarter in 2012. The prior time period adverse improvement was mostly due to bodily damage claims. In addition, we strengthened in the 4th quarter of 2013 the reserves associated to bodily damage claims from accidents happening throughout the very first half of 2013 as severities had been larger than anticipated.

— Selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) decreased $ 2.5 million, or eleven.6%, in the 4th quarter of 2013, compared with the 4th quarter of 2012. This decrease was primarily due to value reductions resulting from the sale of the retail company distribution business. Excluding the direct fees for the retail organization from the 4th quarter of 2012, SG&A increased $ 1.4 million or 7.8%. This boost was due to the boost in policy acquisition expenses primarily due to the growth in written premiums partially offset by lower professional fees as a outcome of the termination of the info technological innovation outsourcing agreement and no longer incurring incremental phrase loan advisor charges.

About Affirmative

Affirmative Insurance Holdings, Inc. is a supplier of non-normal private car insurance coverage policies for individual customers in targeted geographic markets. Non-normal private car insurance coverage policies supply coverage to drivers who locate it tough to obtain insurance coverage from common automobile insurance coverage companies due to their lack of prior insurance coverage, age, driving record, limited monetary sources or other aspects. Non-common private car insurance policies typically require increased premiums than common automobile insurance coverage policies.

This press release contains forward-hunting statements created pursuant to the protected harbor provisions of the Personal Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-hunting statements may possibly be identified by, amid other items, the use of forward-searching terms such as “likely,” “normally,” “could,” “intends,” “expects,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “projects,” “targets,” “forecasts,” “seeks,” “prospective,” or “attempts” or the damaging of this kind of terms or other variations on this kind of terms or comparable terminology. By their nature, these statements are topic to hazards, uncertainties and other factors, which could result in actual future results to differ materially from these final results expressed or implied by such forward-seeking statements.

Do not unduly depend on forward-searching statements. They give the Company’;s expectations about the future and are not ensures. Forward-hunting statements communicate only as of the date they are manufactured, and, except as needed by law, the Organization does not intend to update them to reflect alterations that arise after that date. For a discussion of factors that could lead to real benefits to differ from expectations, refer to the Company’;s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, like its Annual Report on Kind 10-K for the 12 months ended December 31, 2013. Any aspect described in this press release or in any document referred to in this press release could, by itself or together with one or much more other aspects, adversely influence the Company’;s company, earnings and/or economic condition.

       AFFIRMATIVE Insurance HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (in 1000's, except per share data) 3 Months Ended 12 months Ended December 31, December 31, 2013 2012 2013 2012 Revenues Net premiums earned $  43,891 $  39,359 $  165,683 $  143,736 Commission income, fees and managing common agent revenue eleven,543 15,504 77,534 61,495 Net investment cash flow 756 533 2,721 3,105 Net recognized gains 24 1 61 922 Other cash flow 2 (one) 125 503 Complete revenues 56,216 55,396 246,124 209,761 Expenses Net losses and reduction adjustment expenses 44,287 34,072 147,818 111,858 Marketing, standard and administrative expenses 19,007 21,526 99,735 96,055 Depreciation and amortization 1,517 3,018 6,079 10,062 Complete expenditures 64,811 58,616 254,632 217,975 Working loss (8,595) (3,220) (8,508) (8,214) Gain on sale of retail enterprise (354) -- 64,971 -- Reduction on extinguishment of debt -- -- (4,193) -- Interest cost (3,514) (5,175) (20,663) (19,743) Goodwill and other intangible assets impairment -- -- -- (23,692) Earnings (loss) just before revenue tax cost (twelve,463) (8,395) 31,607 (51,649) Revenue tax expense (advantage) (329) (115) 889 264 Net income (loss) $  (12,134) $  (8,280) $  30,718 $  (51,913) Fundamental revenue (loss) per common share: Net revenue (reduction) $  (.79) $  (.54) $  1.99 $  (3.37) Diluted revenue (loss) per typical share: Net income (reduction) $  (.76) $  (.54) $  one.97 $  (3.37) Weighted common common shares exceptional: Standard 15,408 15,408 15,408 15,408 Diluted 15,941 15,408 15,622 15,408    

        AFFIRMATIVE Insurance HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES GROSS WRITTEN PREMIUMS MANAGED (in 1000's) 3 Months Ended Yr Ended December 31, December 31, 2013 2012 2013 2012 Louisiana $  27,777 $  23,806 $  119,828 $  106,841 Texas 22,110 18,028 93,573 54,009 California 18,966 8,963 73,741 17,706 Alabama 4,207 4,534 25,272 21,270 Illinois 4,360 5,721 18,359 23,887 Indiana 1,442 2,132 6,846 8,092 Missouri 636 1,026 2,799 3,084 South Carolina -- 365 -- 2,127 Other 20 19 49 6 Total written premium managed 79,518 64,594 340,467 237,022 Much less Texas written premium not underwritten 7,432 -- 48,272 -- Gross underwritten premiums $  72,086 $  64,594 $  292,195 $  237,022    

       Speak to: Earl R. Fonville Executive Vice President and Chief Economic Officer (972) 728-6458 efonville@affirmative.com    

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/quotes/zigman/10303976/delayed/estimates/nls/affm

US : U.S.: OTC

Volume: 7,000

March 28, 2014 2:01p

Rev. per Worker

$ 257,855


Private pensions industry: capped, but not nevertheless controlled

“Business” is too type a word for what significantly of the private pensions sector has spent its time undertaking. From the mis-marketing stampede of the 80s on, the worst firms have by no means centered on anything past creating the greatest possible hole in the savings pot. Intermittently, governments of both stripes have attempted to get a grip. But insurers, experienced lobbyists who can make acres of alarmism on several company pages, have a knack for wriggling free.

When Labour launched a 1% cap on management costs – a increased ceiling than it sounds, since this was one% of complete money each yr – hidden fees have been excluded from the off, and then came a effective campaign to increase this compromised cap to one.5%. The final government later on legislated for Nest, a minimize-price tag, state-backed supplier developed to give the rip-off merchants a run for their income, and the coalition oversaw its establishment. A fantastic concept, but compromised by sector-friendly restrictions that clipped the wings of the fledgling institution as it hatched. Worse, Nest’;s arrival was followed by the finish of any attempt to cap private costs at all. That brings the story up to final week, when – at long final – the government signalled its intention to do one thing much more established.

Soon after a price range that had shaken the market by ditching the necessity to convert retirement financial savings into the form of a pension, the minister Steve Webb published a paper that committed to cap a rather broad definition of charges at .75%. The budget’;s abolition of the annuity rule grabbed the headlines, but will influence only the minority who want to get a far more proactive approach to their finances. Reduce fees could advantage a lot of much more individuals, with none of the potential dangers to tax revenues and the pooling of risk that the spending budget ideas will pose if the details are botched. But both proposals call the bluff of an sector that has overplayed its hand once also typically. In parallel, the ultra-light regulatory regime is toughening up, as proven when the Fiscal Perform Authority signalled, in rather chaotic manner, that it would evaluation historic schemes that locked traders into excessive fees. The persistence of rock-bottom interest rates leaves the insurers with nowhere to hide, and has squeezed savers to the point exactly where patience is operating out.

But sadly, as came through in function and pensions concerns on Monday, such persistence as remains could be tested once once again. For the government is proposing “independent governance committees” for pensions, which are neither independent (getting insurer-nominated) nor in any sense governing (getting able just to advise to managers bound to shareholder interest). It is all in maintaining with the newspeak of an market that too usually manufactures nothing beyond a rapidly buck.

Arizona Joins Fray Above Ridesharing Solutions

Arizona has joined a quantity of states debating how to regulate so-named ridesharing programs that have popped up about the nation and riled conventional taxi and limousine establishments.

An amendment to an unrelated bill becoming debated in a Senate committee last week would categorize the tech-startup programs as “transportation ne2rk services,” exempting them from particular rules that apply to taxi and limousine organizations. Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Military and Vitality accepted the amended bill with a 4-1 vote on March 19.

The amendment to House Bill 2262 is however an additional try to regulate the comparatively new support, which makes it possible for members to hail rides with a swipe of smartphone on internet sites like Uber and Lyft. A related bill in the House was authorized in a committee but later on died.


Lyft Driver (AP Photo)

Lyft Driver
(AP Photograph)

The amendment was celebrated by proponents of ridesharing plans, who say they must not be subject to the same regulations as cabs in part simply because they do not choose up people from the street, but rather members of the service who request a driver.

The amendment would require ridesharing applications to offer a minimum $ one million insurance coverage coverage for drivers and to conduct a criminal background and driver’s license checks. But it would also exempt them from laws that apply to taxi drivers and would prohibit cities, counties and towns from enacting their own laws. The amendment does not need the firms to supply insurance coverage coverage at all times that a driver is on the job, as numerous in the insurance coverage and tax firm business think they must.

“The concept that we’re dealing with proper now on this legislation is a relatively new concept and one particular that we are trying to put some regulatory framework close to,” Uber and Lyft lobbyist Wendy Briggs explained. “This is an substitute kind of transportation, less expensive, more quickly than a taxi. And I would advocate (they are) a lot safer.”

Uber is a San Francisco-based mostly startup that now operates in 80 cities in the United States and in 6 continents. Lyft is a comparable organization that employs a mobile app to connect riders with drivers who charge them based on a donation alternatively of a fare.

Standard transportation organizations say the proposed guidelines are unfair and that the organizations present safety risks to passengers. The debate has taken form in the kind of legislation in Colorado, Georgia, Maryland and other states that are striving to figure out how to regulate anything so technological innovation-driven.

Mike Pinckard, president of Total Transit, a parent business of Discount Cab, mentioned he welcomes the competition that ridesharing businesses carry, but that they should be held to the identical standards as all transportation services.

Pinckard explained he thinks the organizations need to be required to offer insurance coverage coverage for their drivers at all occasions, not just when they are selecting up a passenger. Uber presently insures drivers with $ one million policies, but only from the time the driver accepts a select-up to the time the driver drops off the passenger.

That implies a driver who is working out on the street but has not nevertheless received a request for a trip is not insured by the company unless of course the driver’s personal insurance denies the declare, in which case Uber gives its contingent policy. The problem became especially heated nationwide right after a 6-year-old woman was killed in a crosswalk by a driver logged into the Uber app in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve. The girl’s loved ones contends that Uber is financially responsible due to the fact the driver was waiting for consumers. Uber says it is not liable since no passengers were in the car.

“If a driver was involved in an accident in an activity-based mostly situation, you’re gonna have disputes and litigation till the cows come home,” Pinckard explained. “All we’re saying is get insurance coverage.”

Briggs maintains rideshare packages are safer then cabs because customers get info about the driver and the car they are being picked up in by means of the phone application.

“You’re talking about an capability to get folks to level A to point B, no matter whether it is the elderly going to dialyses or in New York they use this to get their children from stage A to stage B,” she stated.

David Childers of the House Casualty Insurers Association said rideshare drivers are incentivized to be out and obtainable when rides are requested, and they are not just sitting at house waiting for ride requests.

“That would mean Friday and Saturday nights in Previous Town Scottsdale. Close to the airport. High-traffic areas that pose an entirely distinct risk than risks connected with taking your kids to college. They have a responsibility to offer coverage for their drivers,” Childers said.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About Astrid Galvan

Linked Press

Laptop Whizzes Do Battle With ‘Blizzard’ and a ‘Cyberattack’

LAUREL, Md. — As a main winter storm lashes Maryland, causing “catastrophic damage,” a group of malevolent hackers decides to compound the chaos by attacking the emergency management personal computer infrastructure. The “black hat” operation is largely productive, disrupting the catastrophe response and, in one particular situation, switching an buy for emergency bedding supplies to an buy of toy animals.

The good news is, the simultaneous blizzard and cyberattack had been not true. They were produced by the organizers of a collegiate competition held at the Johns Hopkins University Utilized Physics Laboratory final week meant to test the wits and reflexes of what they hope will be the next generation of government and corporate cybersecurity specialists.

“The competition is like consuming from a fire hose, although getting beaten,” 1 of the college students, Hannah Kirse explained with a laugh right after the adrenaline-fueled simulation, which ran from Thursday by means of Saturday. “You know, it’s so mind-boggling. You have your techniques breaking, you’re trying to handle so a lot of various issues at one particular time. It is undoubtedly a nerve-racking environment.”

The contest, dubbed Operation Cyber Blizzard, pitted 8 teams from mid-Atlantic colleges towards a single another. Incorporating to the mayhem in what is officially known as the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competitors, was a “Red Team” of cyberattackers — cybersecurity specialists enjoying the roles of hackers for a transnational terrorist group aiming to exploit the catastrophe and undermine U.S. national security.


Image: Cybersecurity: Operation Cyber Blizzard competitors hard at work
Wealthy Gardella / NBC Information

Pupil compete at Operation Cyber Blizzard, the National CyberWatch Center’;s 2014 Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC), Saturday, March 29, 2014. At far right is MACCDC Director Lewis Lightner (in striped shirt).

Attracting youthful personal computer wizards to government and corporate services is a growing concern for both sectors, provided the now lengthy series of profitable ne2rk incursions by government-sponsored and freelance hackers. And recent disclosures by Edward Snowden of the U.S. government’s comprehensive electronic spying operations have only extra to those considerations by damaging the reputations of companies like the National Protection Agency and the CIA.

Dickie George, the senior adviser for cybersecurity at Johns Hopkins APL who previously worked for NSA for 41 many years, mentioned the U.S. wants youthful men and women like people in the competitors to turn into “cyberwarriors” for the nation.

“It’s so crucial to this country that the young folks comprehend the cyberthreat and are ready to aid shield the nation,” George mentioned. “Forty many years in the past it was a nuclear weapon, that had a really limited amount of individuals who could wield that sort of electrical power. Today when it is cyber, anybody can.”

George also said NSA officials inform him that Snowden, the former NSA contractor whose disclosures of U.S. intelligence-gathering practices have sent shockwaves all through the U.S. intelligence and cybersecurity communities, hasn’t had the affect on recruiting that some may suppose.

“I wish a lot more men and women could see how excited and how talented this up coming generation of students is,” George said. “The factors they do and the capabilities they have are really phenomenal. “

If that enthusiasm can be measured by energy, the student rivals who spent countless hrs hunched in excess of their laptops in the competition sponsored by the Nationwide CyberWatch Center at Prince George’;s Local community University certainly passed the check.

Shield the ne2rk, fend off attacks

Each and every team was accountable for setting up a ne2rk of emergency initial responders during the disaster, as properly as collecting and reporting to a management center all incoming information, which includes info about the identities and expertise of responders, emergency help assets and deliveries.

They had to do this whilst simultaneously defending their ne2rk, consisting of different servers and systems, from the Red Crew hackers, who produced it clear from the outset that they were taking no prisoners.

“The red cells are going to get in, they’re going to harm you,” the Red Team’s leader warned on the initial day.

More than the program of the competition, the Red Team manufactured excellent on the threat. The hackers managed to entry and disrupt each team’s ne2rk to some degree, such as accessing their supposedly secure passwords and stealing and modifying information.

Helping to even more elevate the students’ blood strain was Dr. Costis Toregas, associate director of the Cyber Security Policy and Research Center at the George Washington University, who played the part of a harried and politically motivated county executive.

Sitting at a desk on an auditorium stage, he demanded info about emergency management efforts in the course of the blizzard situation in briefings with each and every staff, grilling and berating the captains about their progress and failures.

“We have failed to safe the systems appropriately,” one particular crew captain admitted, shoulders slumped.

“The news you are bringing me is not really helpful at all,” replied Toregas, shaking his head.

“We necessary to have more time,” pleaded yet another captain.

“You have got to do much better,” Toregas insisted.

Afterward, the students mentioned the exercising was extreme and reasonable.

“It’s like a puzzle to remedy,” said Kirse, 22, a senior with a double key in laptop science and math at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., who served as the captain of the school’s team. “You know, we’re acquiring in the minds of the hackers, learning how they operate.”

“These are the issues we need to have to be aware of and the modifications we want to make to our personal methods,” said Eileen Hindmon, 39, captain of a team from Radford University in Virginia. “Because this will happen. This situation will take place. It’s just a matter of when.”

“And we’ll be the ones dealing with it,” she extra.

Image: Cybersecurity: Eileen Hindmon/Radford UniversityDaniella Diaz / NBC News

Eileen Hindmon, team captain of the Radford University team, and a fellow group member, huddle on the 2nd day of the competitors.

Casey O’Brien, director of National CyberWatch Center at Prince George’s Neighborhood University, the competition’s lead sponsor, explained the intensity was by style, as the competitors was designed with the idea of offering students with a “pants on fire” experience.

“The competition is made with a lot of unrealistic expectations, unrealistic time frames for deliverables,” he mentioned. “It requires them to make selections with either ambiguous or competing sets of details and they’re below constant attack.”

Cybersecurity professionals advised NBC Information this kind of simulations are essential simply because they prepare college students for the true world at a time when there are as well couple of certified professionals to counter current threats -– let alone people to come.

“There’s an problem with having obtainable workforce in this discipline in this country,” mentioned Lewis Lightner, the competition’s director. “These are college students who are preparing for a occupation in that field and truly in most instances, this is their very first experience.”

Paul Joyal, managing director for the Public Security and Homeland Security Sector of the consulting company NSI and a member of the National Cyberwatch Center’s leadership staff, said the competitors “is trying to offer a path for college students to get access to sensible expertise sets -– such as how do you secure a ne2rk, a router. These sensible experiences have fantastic value.”

The competitors, now in its ninth 12 months, was the brainchild of cybersecurity experts and academics, but it enjoys substantial help from the U.S. government, the U.S. military and military contractors, who use it to observe and recruit.

The Maryland Defense Force, the Maryland Army Nationwide Guard and the U.S. Navy all have been on hand to assistance the competitors and conduct their personal training in laptop ne2rk defenses.

Other sponsors had recruiting tables, like the Division of Homeland Security, the FBI, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, Booz Allen Hamilton, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Goldman Sachs, and Johns Hopkins APL.

“It is a true-word scenario. It could occur.”

The National Protection Agency, NSA, was represented at a table covered with occupation chance literature and NSA promotional magnetic logos.

The FBI’;s senior representative to the U.S. Cyber Command and NSA, Gordon Johnson, also attended and addressed the teams on the first day.

“It is a genuine-word scenario. It could come about,” Johnson explained. “I think they picked a actually great way to challenge you all.”

At the finish of the competitors, Red Crew hackers took to the stage to describe how they wreaked havoc on the students’ teams, teaching them what to appear for the following time they may possibly encounter such circumstances.

When the scores had been tallied, the group from Towson University in Towson, Md., was the winner. It will compete in the national competition April 25-27 in San Antonio, Texas.

Kirse’s Liberty University staff was second. Will what she realized throughout Operation Cyber Blizzard aid her defend the nation’s cyber infrastructure in the future?

“Oh absolutely, totally,” Kirse mentioned. “I imply, just this expertise really type of helps make you understand that sometimes you miss the fundamental items – and that is the place the hackers get in, that’s exactly where they exploit you.”

“This was an extraordinary educational experience,” mentioned Matthew Mickel, staff captain of the Towson University group, for the duration of his team’s acceptance speech from the stage for the duration of the final awards ceremony.

Mickel, 32, previously an undergraduate in religion and classical research and now a graduate student in laptop science, stated he needs to function for the government.

“My dream occupation is to do something that will utilize my capabilities in a way that will give service to the nation, be of services to people and hopefully support men and women be safe.”

Whilst Mickel’s remarks support George’s contention that the Snowden affair has not unduly influenced youthful laptop-savvy college students from in search of government cybersecurity jobs, it did deter some from expressing individual opinions about Snowden or his actions.

When a reporter approached a single staff with such questions, its members looked all around nervously ahead of declining to solution.

“Depending on how I reply that question,” a single crew member explained, on the issue that we not use his title, “it could impact whether or not or not I get a safety clearance.”

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Very first published March 31 2014, 1:fifty 5 PM

State health insurance exchange alters world wide web site to accommodate crush of last-minute customers

California’;s health insurance exchange world wide web website on Monday is underneath such pressure by the crush of last-minute end users that to accommodate a lot more users, exchange officials are removing one particular attribute from the site and logging out candidates if their applications have been completed up to a specified level.

Those individuals are currently being alerted on the web that they can finish their applications by April 15, stated Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California.

Even as Lee on Monday announced that enrollments in health insurance coverage programs have surged previous 1.2 million, he stated the technique “is becoming swamped with massive interest” which is creating the website a lot more sluggish and avoiding accessibility to as numerous new enrollees as achievable.

To allow far more applicants the possibility to enroll by the midnight deadline, Lee said the “Preview Plans” attribute is getting taken down to cost-free up adequate vitality to keep the program operating at a more quickly tempo.

The “Shop and Compare” attribute, which Lee stated delivers the identical details for applicants who are attempting to make a decision which health program greatest fits their demands, will continue to be on the internet website, he explained.

Lee also mentioned that the web web site is currently being monitored so that in the course of large volume times, the internet internet site will cease applications at the “save” juncture of the procedure, and alert candidates that their applications can be finished later on-line, through the phone center, or with the support of a licensed insurance coverage agent or licensed enrollment counselor.

Given that the exchange opened for organization on Oct. 1, Lee mentioned 40 percent of the one.2 million enrollees have signed up for a strategy online themselves.

He mentioned the regular wait time early Monday to enroll at the state’;s 3 contact centers was much more than forty minutes, but much less than an hour.

Some final minute enrollment events also are currently being held all around the state, including 3 on Monday afternoon in the Bay Region. They are becoming held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Dublin Public Library, 200 Civic Plaza, Dublin from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bay Area Rescue Mission (in the Chapel), 123 MacDonald Ave., Richmond and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth St., Suite 290, Oakland.

The following open enrollment time period starts Nov. 15 for insurance plans that will get started on Jan. one, 2015.

Make contact with Tracy Seipel at 408-920-5343. Adhere to her at Twitter.com/taseipel.

Hawaii Driver’s License Lawsuit Gains Fed Assistance

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher | March 31, 2014

The U.S. Department of Justice is supporting a lawsuit alleging Hawaii discriminates towards these who struggle with English since of problems they encounter in acquiring a driver’s license.

The Justice Division on Thursday filed court paperwork saying the allegations are sufficient to proceed with a discrimination declare. The filing says the federal government has a “critical interest” in guaranteeing the Hawaii Division of Transportation offers those with limited English proficiency a “meaningful opportunity” to consider the driver’s license test.

The lawsuit was primarily based on Hawaii providing the exam only in English. Even so, the Transportation Department started supplying the test in twelve other languages last week. Agency spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter says a lot more than a 100 men and women have considering that taken the test in a language other than English.

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NH insurance applicants surge on deadline day

Francesca Latawiec, a struggling professor who jokes that she bags groceries to support her “teaching habit,” stored her sense of humor Monday even after acquiring shut out of the federal health insurance website.

The 57-12 months-previous Barnstead woman received as far as creating an account but wasn’;t in a position to access it. The marketplace assister who was helping her then experimented with to contact a government hotline but could not get via. Latawiec explained she hopes to enroll throughout the grace time period for those who have commenced applications.

“Factors really have not worked it,” she said, laughing. “It would seem like the program is overloaded, which is understandable — it really is the last day. We’;ve been getting difficulties getting in. But I guess I have an account, so I’;m in the queue.”

President Barack Obama’;s administration said a new technical issue temporarily prevented new end users from accessing the method Monday, the deadline for folks to signal up for coverage beneath the health care overhaul law. Early in the day, the healthcare.gov site was out of services for almost 4 hrs as technicians patched a application bug.

Latawiec performs element time as an adjunct professor of ecology and geology at Lakes Area Local community School and bags groceries in Concord to make ends meet. She joked that the second job supports her “educating habit” but turned severe when describing how she relies on a foods pantry for some meals has gone without insurance considering that 2008.

“I spent 10 years in college, I have a master’;s and 2 expert certifications, and I can not afford overall health insurance coverage,” she stated.

Dan Walsh, a marketplace assister with the Foundation for Wholesome Communities, informed Latawiec she very likely would qualify for a subsidized wellness plan that would value about $ 25 per month. But even that would be a struggle, she mentioned.

“It does not sound like a lot of income, but that is a lot of money when you are scrounging for gas (money) and you don’;t even depart your property except if you have to,” she stated. “I detest to say that was as well a lot money for me, but I am here since I’;m afraid of the penalty.”

These who miss Monday’;s deadline threat receiving fined for not getting coverage, but Walsh said Latawiec’;s cash flow may possibly be low adequate to exempt her from the penalty. Depending on her income, she also could be eligible for Medicaid — Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill last week expanding the state’;s plan to cover about 50,000 poor adults by utilizing federal Medicaid income to purchase personal coverage.

New Hampshire has roughly 150,000 uninsured residents. By March one, 21,578 men and women had signed up for insurance through the federal marketplace. That surpassed the Obama’;s administration’;s target of 19,000 for the state for the whole 6-month enrollment period, even though New Hampshire got off to a late commence with consumer outreach.

The enrollment support session that Latawiec attended at New England College was among dozens getting presented around the state Monday. Walsh said he had appointments scheduled all day, and 10 more folks called Monday morning hoping for slots.

“I’;m getting cellphone phone soon after telephone call. It really is really hard to preserve up with, but I am performing my very best,” he said.

Vegas Comic Suing Likens Onstage Leg Injury to Bear Trap

Veteran comedian George Wallace told a Nevada jury that it felt like a bear trap clamped his leg when he injured his Achilles tendon during a stand-up comedy display for a personal audience at a resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

The 61-year-outdated comic in no way cracked a smile as he recalled his vivid inner monologue right after becoming entangled in wiring as he crossed the stage in the course of the show for a corporate group at the Bellagio in December 2007.

“All of a sudden, I imagined I was electrocuted,” he advised  the jury on Friday. “Man, I really don’;t know what a bear trap feels like. But anything went via me from the bottom of my feet to the leading of my head.”

Wallace, who has been doing standup comedy for nearly 40 many years, explained he stored telling jokes and exchanging laughs with members of the HSBC Card Solutions Inc. audience, but leaned on a podium as he delivered presents as planned to a number of individuals. He said he was paid $ thirty,000 for the show.

Although Wallace testified, jurors saw photos of a black speaker console with black wiring coiled about the base, and an picture from the audience of Wallace in the spotlight up coming to a tabletop lectern.

All the whilst, Wallace said, “I was pondering, ‘I cannot walk.’ ”

Wallace’s lawyer, Dominic Gentile, has said he strategies to inquire the jury to award Wallace $ 9 million for his injury and negligence declare.

Bellagio attorneys led by Paul Haire say Wallace voluntarily assumed the danger of damage during his demonstrate, had a pre-current injury and was careless onstage.


Lawsuit
The defense’s presentation is scheduled up coming week.

Wallace testified Thursday that his individual and expert life have been completely affected by his leg damage, and that he’s not in a position to dance or run on stage like he utilized to do.

Wallace followed the sick-fated present at the Bellagio with his regular 10 p.m. overall performance at the Flamingo, in which he lately marked his 10th anniversary.

The jury noticed a video of him in that demonstrate, seated onstage in a swivel chair, playing the scene for laughs as he asked his warm-up performers, MO5AIC, what the audience should be pondering.

“They’re, `Oh, George Wallace is in a wheelchair,’ ” he mentioned. “And they will believe I’m carrying out a joke.”

Some in the audience laughed.

“See, it’s funny to them previously,” Wallace said. “But it ain’t humorous to me. I’m hurtin.’ “

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