Monthly Archives: January 2015

Obama: Deficit down due to the fact of ‘mindless austerity’ implies it is time to go on a spending spree!

**Written by Doug Powers

Just before we commence, in the spirit of bipartisanship, here’s a background soundtrack to signify the Democrat point of see:

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What’s that all about? In situation you hadn’t noticed, content days are here yet again!

Declaring an finish to “mindless austerity,” President Barack Obama called for a surge in government paying Thursday and asked Congress to throw out the sweeping price range cuts both parties agreed to 4 many years in the past when deficits have been spiraling out of management.

Obama’s proposed $ 74 billion in extra investing — about 7 % — would be divided about evenly in between defense packages and the domestic side of the budget. Although he’s sought before to reverse the “sequester” paying cuts, Obama’s pitch in this year’s budget comes with the added oomph of an bettering economy and huge latest declines in federal deficits.

“Hooray! We’re going to hell in a somewhat slower hand basket this yr. Throw in some more excess weight!

Really everything’s not Ok, and Obama knows that, so as a consequence it is never ever as well late to help set up the 2016 Dems’ excuse of “we’d have been even much better off if the GOP-controlled Congress hadn’t blocked all our fantastic jobs programs.”

Here’s a byproduct of our “mindless austerity”:

Bartender, yet another round of Solyndras for everybody! *Hic!*

**Written by Doug Powers

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Selective Insurance coverage Group’s Q4 Revenue Jumps 63% to $41M

Selective Insurance Group in Branchville, New Jersey, reported $ 41.35 million net cash flow for the 2014 4th quarter, a 63 % increase from $ 25.34 million net earnings during the 2013 4th quarter.

The GAAP combined ratio for the 4th quarter was 91.8 %, strengthening from 97.3 % throughout the prior 12 months 4th quarter.

Total net premiums written (NPW) had been $ 433.6 million, a 6 % improve from $ 405.1 million a yr ago. Standard Commercial Lines NPW had been $ 321.4 million, a 6 % improve from $ 300.5 million a 12 months in the past. Standard Individual Lines NPW were $ 67.5 million, a 3 % lower from $ 69.6 million a year ago. Excess and Surplus Lines NPW have been $ 44.6 million, a 28 % improve from $ 35. million a yr in the past.

Favorable prior year statutory reserve development on casualty lines, pre-tax, totaled $ 9. million for the quarter, in contrast to $ 6.5 million a 12 months ago.

Net investment earnings, after tax, was $ 24.5 million, a 6 percent reduce from $ 26.4 million a 12 months ago.

Selective Insurance Group’s Chairman and CEO Gregory E.Murphy explained all 3 insurance segments posted reliable statutory mixed ratios, with regular Industrial
Lines, which represents 76 % of the company’s total premium, creating a statutory mixed ratio of 96 percent. He noted larger normal Business Lines renewal pure pricing that was up 4.7 % for the 4th quarter as effectively as the retention escalating 2 points to 84 percent in the standard Commercial Lines.

In the regular Personal Lines, the business mentioned net premiums written had been down 3 % mainly due to the ongoing strategic non-renewal of dwelling fire enterprise and a reduction in creating monoline property owners, partially offset by renewal pure cost increases of 6.7 %.

Murphy also stated the Extra and Surplus Lines had a really strong quarter with net premiums written up 28 percent due to a 38 percent boost in new business.”We have seen a considerable enhance in our retail agents sending their organization to our common agents following heavy promotion of the line at our yearly street shows,” explained Murphy.

For the full-12 months 2014, net revenue was $ 141.8 million, a 33 % increase from $ 106.4 million a year ago.

The GAAP combined ratio was 95.8 percent for total-yr 2014, bettering from 97.8 % in the course of 2013.

Total NPW for full-12 months 2014 were $ 1.885 billion, a 4 % improve from $ one.810 billion for 2013. Common Business Lines NPW have been $ one.441 billion, a 4 % enhance from 2013. Normal Individual Lines NPW were $ 292.1 million, a 2 percent reduce from 2013. Extra and Surplus Lines NPW have been $ 152.2 million, a sixteen % improve.

Favorable prior year statutory reserve growth on casualty lines, pre-tax, totaled $ 48.5 million for 2014, compared to $ 14.5 million in 2013.

Net investment earnings, after tax, was $ 104.2 million for complete-12 months 21014, in contrast to $ 101.4 million in 2013.

Army Corps Releases Northeast Coastal Flood Threat Management Framework

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday issued a report saying that managing the flooding threat along the North Atlantic coast from events like Superstorm Sandy is anything that has to be completed collaboratively by all levels of government and the private sector.

The Corps issued a framework to support that collaboration as component of a 2-yr review covering 31,000 miles of coastline along the northeastern United States.

Joe Vietri, director of the Corps’ National Organizing Center for Coastal Storm Danger Management, stated, “We’re all going to have to make some tough selections as we move forward.”

The study assessed the states’ coastlines for vulnerabilities and delivers some feasible mitigation strategies, but doesn’t make any company recommendations. It says people choices need to be produced in collaboration.

The states included in the study had been New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The District of Columbia was also was integrated.

The study determined there are 9 locations that warranted further study for their flood risk — the Rhode Island coastline the Connecticut coastline the New York-New Jersey Harbor and tributaries the Back Bays of Nassau County in New York, as nicely as Back Bays in New Jersey the Inland Bays and Bay Coast of Delaware the cities of Baltimore and Norfolk, and the District of Columbia.

The research explained there are a assortment of options that communities can search at, this kind of as how floodplains are utilised and how evacuation strategies are put together. They also must consider how a lot chance is acceptable.

The framework the Corps came up with has 9 actions that include identifying stakeholders, setting goals, analyzing areas of vulnerability, figuring out answers and implementing them, and monitoring how the plans are operating and creating adjustments as necessary.

The Corps explained the framework was 1 that could be utilized in all places, no matter what their specific troubles, and from the local to the state to the regional degree.

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four CAA Companies Broaden By means of M&As

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Austin, Texas-primarily based Mixed Agents of America LLC (CAA) announced that member agencies have expanded their books of enterprise and spots by way of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) above the final 9 months.

Collectively, 4 CAA members have grown their agencies by an estimated $ 38 million in premium.

Mergers and acquisitions completed by 4 CAA member agencies for the duration of the final 9 months:

  • Jan. one, 2015: Garrett Insurance purchased Frantzen, Kaderli & Klier Insurance coverage Agency Inc. primarily based in Fredericksburg, Texas, with an estimated yearly property and casualty volume of $ 6.5 million in premium. The obtain also contains a sizeable rewards guide. Garrett Insurance also obtained Texas Hills Insurance Company the preceding yr in April 2013. Garrett Insurance is based mostly in Kerrville, Texas.
  • June 2, 2014: BRIA Insurance and Chance Consultants bought a private lines book of organizations with an estimated annual premium of $ one.2 million premium from New Mark Insurance, an additional Austin-primarily based company. BRIA is based mostly in Austin, Texas.
  • Could one, 2014: DFB Insurance coverage Group bought the assets of PIA Insurance coverage Agency primarily based in Amarillo, Texas, including 2 different entities over a 4-month period. The acquire incorporated its property/casualty company, and its life and well being enterprise, as well as bringing in Grant Smith and Al Cunningham as partners throughout these transactions. All collectively these acquisitions added an estimated complete of $ 20 million in premium to its guide of company. DFB offered its Austin operations in purchase to concentrate its development in West Texas and the DFW region on July 2014. The DFB Insurance coverage Group total company revenue is about $ 10 million as of December 2014. With offices in Pampa, Amarillo, Borger and Dallas-Fort Well worth, DFB Insurance coverage Group is 1 of the biggest companies in Texas. DFB Insurance coverage Group is headquartered in Pampa, Texas.
  • Could 1, 2014: Keller Leopold Insurance coverage LLC merged with Bridges Insurance coverage, a former CAA member company, incorporating an estimated $ 10 million in premium and together generating an estimated combined premium of $ 50 million.  The Bridges owners became new companion and owners in Keller Leopold Insurance coverage and it increased Keller Leopold’s number of offices to 6 places, all in Western Kansas. Keller Leopold is based mostly in Garden City, Kansas.
  • Supply: CAA
  • CAA Companies Expand By means of Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Combined Agents of America LLC (CAA) announced that member companies have expanded their book of enterprise and places through a substantial quantity of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) above the last 9 months. Together, 4 CAA members have grown their agencies by an estimated $ 38 million in premium.
  • Mergers and acquisitions completed by 4 CAA member agencies throughout the last 9 months:
  • Jan. 1, 2015: Garrett Insurance coverage bought Frantzen, Kaderli & Klier Insurance coverage Company Inc. based in Fredericksburg, Texas, with an estimated annual property and casualty volume of $ 6.5 million in premium. The purchase also involves a sizeable rewards guide. Garrett Insurance coverage also bought Texas Hills Insurance coverage Agency the earlier yr in April 2013. Garrett Insurance coverage is based in Kerrville, Texas.
  • June 2, 2014: BRIA Insurance coverage and Threat Consultants obtained a personalized lines guide of businesses with an estimated yearly premium of $ 1.2 million premium from New Mark Insurance, an additional Austin-based company. BRIA is based mostly in Austin, Texas.
  • Might one, 2014: DFB Insurance Group bought the assets of PIA Insurance Agency primarily based in Amarillo, Texas, such as 2 different entities above a 4-month period. The acquire integrated its house/casualty company, and its daily life and health business, as properly as bringing in Grant Smith and Al Cunningham as partners throughout these transactions. All with each other these acquisitions extra an estimated complete of $ 20 million in premium to its guide of enterprise. DFB offered its Austin operations in order to concentrate its growth in West Texas and the DFW spot on July 2014. The DFB Insurance coverage Group total company revenue is around $ 10 million as of December 2014. With offices in Pampa, Amarillo, Borger and Dallas-Fort Well worth, DFB Insurance Group is one particular of the largest agencies in Texas. DFB Insurance Group is headquartered in Pampa, Texas.
  • Might 1, 2014: Keller Leopold Insurance LLC merged with Bridges Insurance, a former CAA member company, adding an estimated $ 10 million in premium and collectively generating an estimated combined premium of $ 50 million.  The Bridges owners became new partner and owners in Keller Leopold Insurance and it increased Keller Leopold’s variety of offices to 6 locations, all in Western Kansas. Keller Leopold is based in Garden City, Kansas.

Source: CAA

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five.seven Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Northern California Coast

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A reasonable earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.7 struck off the coast of Northern California on Jan. 28.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports the quake shook at one:08 p.m. about 40 miles southwest of Eureka.

Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Workplace explained no harm or injuries were right away reported.

Geological survey spokeswoman Leslie Gordon said the preliminary magnitude of 5.7 could change somewhat.

Men and women reported feeling it as far away as Red Bluff, 159 miles to the east. Several took to Twitter to report the shaking.

Final March, one of the biggest earthquakes to hit California in decades rattled the state’s northern coast, but its depth and distance from shore reduced the affect on land, the place there had been no reports of injuries or injury, scientists and authorities mentioned.

That magnitude-6.8 quake struck March 10 and was centered 50 miles west of Eureka.

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Pelissier Named Spouse at Woodruff-Sawyer in California

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Woodruff-Sawyer & Co. has named Jared Pelissier a spouse and senior vice president in the Southern California workplace.

Pelissier specializes in management liability and cyber liability risks for organizations of all sizes across a assortment of industries.

Considering that joining the firm’s Southern California practice in 2008, Pelissier has been involved in developing and
Pelissier_Jared
implementing enterprise improvement techniques during the Southwestern area.

San Francisco-based Woodruff-Sawyer is an energetic spouse of Assurex Worldwide and International Benefits Ne2rk, and has offices all through California, and in Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii and

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Suge Knight Attacked Ahead of Fatal Hit-and-Run: Lawyer

Hip hop mogul Marion “Suge” Knight’;s attorney says his client was attacked and feared for his lifestyle when he ran more than 2 men in Compton, California, on Thursday, killing one of them.

Attorney Jim Blatt stated Knight did not know he had struck any person following the 2:fifty 5 p.m. incident, but when he heard about the allegations, he “contacted me and asked me to get in touch with the investigating officer to arrange for his surrender.” Knight, 49, is getting held on a murder charge in what authorities are calling a hit-and-run in the parking whole lot of Tam’;s Burgers in Compton, which occurred shortly after a shoot for the NWA biopic, “Straight Outta Compton.” The 1-time head of Death Row Information is being held on $ 2 million bail.

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“There is no question that ‘Suge’; Knight was physically assaulted by 4 guys. They ran to his car. He opened his window on the driver’;s side. They physically punched him grabbed him and experimented with to get him out of the automobile at the very same time they threatened to destroy him,” Blatt said.

The lawyer explained that Knight “had a realistic belief that he was about to be critically harm or killed, accelerated and created an effort to get away.”

Sheriff’;s Homicide Detective Lt. John Corina advised KNBC that the truck Knight was allegedly driving “drove backwards, struck victims, then went forward and struck them yet again as he left.” Terry Carter, 55, was pronounced dead at the hospital and another man was injured, but his issue and identity had been not released.

Blatt went on to say that the investigation in this situation is beginning and that officers “have not interviewed every single witness and are seeking for a video that might have depicted the incident.”

Blatt mentioned he and Knight were cooperating with the investigation and would pass along any witness testimony they discover. “My consumer is hopeful that by way of this police investigation, they will find the video and other witnesses that will exonerate him,” Blatt explained.

Knight has had several run-ins with the law, dating back to the 1990s. He has served a number of years in prison for assault. In 1996, he was driving a auto that was targeted by a drive-by shooting that resulted in the death of rapper Tupac Shakur. In August, Knight was shot numerous instances at a West Hollywood nightclub.

Most recently, in October Knight was charged with robbery for allegedly stealing a paparazzo’;s camera.

IN-DEPTH

Initial published January thirty 2015, twelve:57 PM

Andrew Blankstein

Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western United States, specializing in crime, courts and homeland protection. Blankstein worked at the Los Angeles Occasions above 2 decades, much of that time covering breaking news, law enforcement and the justice method in Southern California the 2 for the paper and latimes.com.

He was component of the crew of journalists that earned the paper Pulitzer Prizes in 1998 for the North Hollywood shootout and in 2004 for the Southern California wildfires. In 2010, he was named a “Distinguished Journalist” by the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Specialist Journalists.

Blankstein graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in background and a secondary emphasis on public law.

He joined NBC News in 2013 and is based in Los Angeles.

… Expand Bio

Networked Names Hayes Vice President in Southern California

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Grass Valley, Calif.-based mostly Ne2rked Insurance Agents has named Phyllis Hayes sales vice president.

Hayes will be the essential level of make contact with for independent agency members in the Los Angeles County, Ventura County, San Fernando Valley and Bakersfield locations. In her new function she will aid companies with maximizing Ne2rked’s providers.


Hayes_Phyllis
Hayes has far more than 20 years of business experience, which includes as an agency owner. Previously, she worked for Farmers Insurance in a revenue management part.

Ne2rked has offices in Northern and Southern California.

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Investigators Say Christmas Tree Fueled Fatal Maryland Mansion Fire

An electrical fire that spread to a 15-foot Christmas tree prompted a blaze that reduced a 16,000-square-foot riverfront mansion close to Maryland’s capital to ruins, killing a couple and 4 of their young grandchildren, investigators explained Wednesday.

The fire ignited combustible material, most likely a tree skirt, and tore via the massive, castle-like construction in the early morning hrs of Jan. 19.

Anne Arundel County Fire Chief Allan Graves stated the tree had been reduce far more than 60 days before the blaze and was in a “great room” of the home with 19-foot ceilings.

“The involvement of the Christmas tree explains the hefty fire problems identified by the initial arriving fire crews,” Graves mentioned.

Investigators on Wednesday recognized the victims as Don and Sandra Pyle and their grandchildren: Charlotte Boone, 8 Wes Boone, 6 Lexi Boone, 8, and Katie Boone, 7. Don Pyle, 56, was chief operating officer of ScienceLogic in Reston, Virginia.

The fire was reported about 3:thirty a.m. Jan. 19 by an alarm-monitoring firm, reporting smoke had been detected within, and a neighbor who spotted flames. The property had smoke detectors, and there was no indication they did not function, stated Deputy Chief Scott Hoglander of the Anne Arundel County fire marshal’s office.

The huge tree fueled the fire, which spread quickly. The 911 phone from a neighbor came inside of 2 minutes of the report to the alarm-monitoring firm.

“I consider it is far more about the actual fuel load of the Christmas tree and the output of energy and heat from that specific fuel load that triggered the rapid fire spread,” Hoglander stated. “It actually had nothing to do with the developing construction itself.”

The investigation identified that a failure in an electrical outlet in the floor that provided power to the tree made heat that ignited anything combustible, possibly a tree skirt, stated Russ Davies, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Division.

Some 85 firefighters from numerous jurisdictions fought the 4-alarm fire, which burned for 3 hrs ahead of it could be contained. Due to the fact there was no hydrant in the area, firefighters shuttled tankers to the internet site and stationed a fire boat at a pier nearby.

Investigators brought in canines to search for bodies and proof, this kind of as accelerants, and performed a lot more than 50 interviews. Bill McMullan, special agent in charge of the Baltimore field office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, stated the investigation concluded the fire was the end result of “a tragic accident that occurred at the totally worst achievable time, while the Pyles and their grandchildren had been sleeping.”

Hoglander declined to mention a particular trigger of death, since officials have not acquired an official report back from the state healthcare examiner’s workplace.

A spokeswoman for the children’s mother and father said that the day before the fire, the doting grandparents bought the kids costumes ahead of taking them to dinner at a medieval-themed restaurant.

Charlotte and Wes Boone were sister and brother. Lexi and Katie have been sisters they had a newborn brother who was residence with his mothers and fathers, Randy and Stacey Boone, the evening of the fire. The cousins’ fathers, Randy and Clint Boone, were the sons of Sandra Pyle, 63. The 4 kids have been students at the Severn School in Severna Park.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Boone family thanked investigators for their function and nicely-wishers for their prayers.

“While the explanation that has been shared with us these days does not carry solace, it does commence us down the extended street to acceptance,” the statement read through.

The Pyles created the home in 2005, 4 years just before the county started requiring sprinkler systems in new properties. Hoglander explained he believes sprinklers would have produced a difference.

“I would say without having a doubt,” he said.

The $ 6 million house once boasted turrets, spiral staircases, lion statues, a sprawling lawn and forested land. All that remains resembles a colonial wreck: a brick wall with windows missing and a mountain of burned debris.

As investigators from the fire division, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the state fire marshal’s office probed the scene, members of the community brought notes and teddy bears for a little memorial just outdoors the property. On brick columns that flanked an iron gate, Christmas decorations have been even now displayed.

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Lawsuit Towards Union Pacific more than Texas Veterans Parade Crash Starts

A freight train that slammed into a parade float 2 years in the past, killing 4 veterans and injuring 16 other people, came within 39 inches of missing the trailer, attorneys for both sides informed a West Texas jury.

A Midland County jury heard opening statements in a lawsuit filed towards Union Pacific Corp. on behalf of 17 plaintiffs, which includes the households of 3 of the 4 veterans killed in the crash at a Midland railroad crossing.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Dickey Grigg informed jurors that had Union Pacific provided greater warning of the train’s approach and had the train traveled at a safer pace, the float would have been risk-free, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.

John Proctor, Union Pacific’s defense attorney, explained a “perfect storm” of factors caused the crash, including Midland police leading the parade floats via red lights, the lack of police lookouts for a train and the failure of float drivers to consider “stop, seem, pay attention,” precautions at the railroad crossing where the crash took place.

“It was a mixture of events that were totally unforeseeable,” Proctor informed the jury.

The very first witnesses presented by the plaintiffs were military comrades of the 3 dead veterans whose families are parties to the lawsuit: Gary Stouffer, William Lubbers and Lawrence Boivin. Every described the support backgrounds of the dead veterans and recalled their encounter of the seconds major up to the crash, the newspaper reported.

The 17 plaintiffs are separate from 26 other people who earlier this month settled their lawsuit towards Union Pacific. The settlement is confidential but Kevin Glasheen, the lawyer who represented families that settled, said at the time the families have been “very pleased.”

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