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Green power usage climbs among major U.S. corporations

green_lightbulbWith over 600 U.S. companies now using green power resources to meet their electricity needs, companies today are becoming more aware about limiting their carbon footprint. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Power Partnership (GPP) released its latest report last month, listing a wide variety of U.S. organizations from across the country who meet 100 percent of their electricity needs from green power. The list includes both large public and private-sector organizations – from The World Bank Group (wind) and Intel Corporation (biogas, solar and wind) to the National Hockey League (wind), Pearson (geothermal) and the Empire State Building (wind). All together, these companies used a total of nearly 12 billion kilowatt-hours of green power last year– that’s enough energy to eliminate CO2 emissions from the electricity use of over 1 million average American homes each year. Qualification standards for companies participating in the GPP are set based on the percentage of electricity the organization uses from green power sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biogas. Each company’s qualifying percentage is set based on its total annual energy use. Since 2001, over 1,300 organizations have joined the GPP. Read more…

Personal Security: Making your life and your family more secure

August 5, 2014 Leave a comment

home-securityDespite taking obvious pre-cautions to avoid crimes like break-ins or theft, many people fail to recognize the level of exposure they face when it comes to these risks. The issue is especially concerning for high net-worth individuals and families of extreme wealth, who often have more accounts, larger credit lines and several people handling their personal information and assets.

Still, it’s easy for someone living an affluent lifestyle to feel overly confident about their safety and forget that they may be a prime target. Therefore, the best means of defense requires reducing those opportunities and lessening your attractiveness as a target.

Below is a list of relatively simple steps to take to improve your overall safety in two areas that are often overlooked: home security and cyber security: Read more…

GAAP vs. IFRS laws: Is convergence on the horizon?

global_revenueFollowing a May 28th conference between two of the world’s largest accounting regulatory agencies, members from both groups issued new joint standard they hoped would help smooth out discrepancies between the U.S.’s Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the International Finance Reporting Standards (IFRS). While the leaders aimed to create a middle ground that combined the GAAP’s specific protocols (there are currently over 100 specific rules for various transactions and industries) with the IFRS’s broader scope of regulations, SEC officials remain skeptical about the success of a global set of accounting standards. Reports say the new global rules would aim to make it harder for companies to lie about their revenues to investors, and would take effect in 2017. Read more…

Mounting claims expenses bring changes to MLI policies

ProfessionalLiabilityIn the last two years, Management Liability Insurers have shifted their underwriting guidelines for privately-held organizations by  increasing rates, retention levels and a reduction in coverage and total limits offered. Wage and hour defense cost sub-limits have also been reduced or removed entirely, and some carriers are not renewing policies based on industry, asset size of risk, financial condition and loss experience.

While there are still Management Liability Insurers willing to write these accounts, the marketplace appears to be reaching a point where this capacity will no longer be utilized to offer terms that the industry has become accustomed to seeing in recent years.

Why is this happening?
Based on conversations with several Management Liability Insurers, there are several reasons:  Read more…

As TRIA expiration lingers, work comp carriers show their own “go forward” strategy

capitol_wc2Amid growing concern over TRIA/TRIPRA’s expiration on 12/31/14 and the government’s long-term commitment to a Federal  Backstop program, many Worker’s Compensation carriers have are thinking ahead when it comes to renewals and securing new business.

When Congress extended TRIA in 2007, it also revised the definition of “acts of terrorism” to include domestic terrorism. Domestic Terrorism has three components:

  • All acts of terrorism outside the scope of the Act or the Foreign Terrorism Premium with an aggregate workers compensation losses in excess of $50 million.
  • Earthquake: The shaking and vibration at the surface of the earth resulting from underground movement along a fault plane or from volcanic activity where aggregate workers compensation losses from the single event are in excess of $50 million.
  • Catastrophic Industrial Accident: Any single event resulting in aggregate workers compensation losses in excess of $50 million.

Read more…

SEC to FINRA: Toughen up standards, penalty fines are too low

wall_street_fineFINRA, the Financial Industry Regulation Authority, came under fire recently to toughen its sanctions and enforcement actions against financial firms and Wall Street executives. The Wall Street journal recently reported that during a 5 year period through 2013, FINRA trailed the SEC in the number of fines issued against financial firms and individuals. The report found that compared to the SEC, which imposed fines of $1million or more 259 times through 2013, FINRA issued only 55, an average of less than once per month. The analysis also showed that the SEC’s largest penalties reached upwards of $300 million, while FINRA’s fines amounted to just $12 million. Following the report, SEC commissioners urged FINRA employees to update and strengthen the standards used to determine financial punishments against Wall Street wrongdoers. Penalties must have a significant impact and send a strong enough message, the commissioners said, to hold perpetrators responsible and discourage unlawful actions. Read more…

New EU med device legislation targets safety, improved coordination

In an effort to re-vamp medial device regulations, the European Commission (EC), the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, unveiled new legislation aimed at strengthening the safety of products and better coordination between the Commission and it’s Member States. While the European Union’s (EU) lenient product regulations often make it the first market for new medical devices, a 2012 scandal involving defective breast implants from a French manufacturer prompted the EC to re-examine it’s standards. While some safety measures have been successfully implemented since the scandal, EC officials felt the need for further action, acknowledging that “some key improvements . . . require a reinforced legal basis.” In response, the EC has developed a new action plan introducing several changes to the laws in order to improve product safety and consumer confidence. Earlier this month, the Employment, Social Policy, Health Read more…

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