US commercial insurance prices flat in Q4 | Regulatory easing could extend to workplace-safety rules, unions say | Human factor often the ticket to major cybersecurity breaches
March 16, 2017
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Surety & Insurance Market Trends
US commercial insurance prices flat in Q4
US commercial insurance prices rose by less than 1% for the fifth consecutive quarter during the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Willis Towers Watson's Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey. Price changes "were slightly negative for large accounts and slightly positive for small and midmarket accounts," according to the firm.
Carrier Management online (3/13), (3/13) 
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On the Radar Screen
Regulatory easing could extend to workplace-safety rules, unions say
The Trump administration plans to curtail regulations, and unions and safety advocates say the rollback could include worker-safety provisions. Measures facing delays include electronic submission of accident data to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, while other rules could be eliminated.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (3/13) 
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Human factor often the ticket to major cybersecurity breaches
Many hackers focus on what they perceive -- and what experience shows -- is the most vulnerable point in a company's computer network: the people who use it. Just one employee and one unwary moment can be enough to open a costly security breach, say experts, who are calling for risk managers to devote more attention to the problem.
Risk & Insurance magazine (3/2017) 
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Construction Contract Terms & Conditions
Liquidated damages can be avoided with exact contract language
Contractual terms must be clear to avoid liquidated damages stemming from construction projects, particularly in the areas of default, right-to-cure, termination and breach rights, Audrey Kwak writes. Old Colony Construction LLC v. Town of Southington illustrates this point, as the Connecticut Supreme Court affirmed an earlier decision in favor of the town's ability to recover liquidated damages after terminating the contractor's contract for convenience.
Engineering News-Record (3/8) 
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Protocols & Procedures
Employer protection requirements vary by construction job type
Concrete barriers that provide a buffer between drivers and workers, along with 360-degree lighting, can offer valuable protection at roadside construction sites, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Meanwhile, employers may be expected to provide monitoring equipment, security guards and other protections during construction in high-crime areas, according to attorney Glenn Monk.
Construction Dive (3/14) 
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Construction & Insurance Case Law
Conn. Supreme Court clarifies independent contractor status
Independent contractors can retain their status within Connecticut even if they only work with one company, according to a recent clarification from the Connecticut Supreme Court. The ABC Test will be applied in such cases to determine independent contractor status, including factors such as whether the contractor has a place of business separate from the employer and whether the employer also employs or subcontracts other parties. & Goodwin (3/14) 
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Ill. court rules on additional insured coverage case
A recent Illinois court case reviewed whether insurers are required to defend additional insured parties when named insureds are not listed as defendants in a suit. In Pekin Ins. Co. v. Centex Homes, the Illinois Appellate Court Circuit affirmed a previous ruling that Centex Real Estate was not an additional insured for the policy, but it ruled that the contract did include the work performed by contractor McGreal at the time of a worker's injury. Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP (3/14) 
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Court: Miller Act doesn't apply to bond for tribal project
A federal court has ruled a payment bond issued for a Cherokee Nation construction project is not a Miller Act bond. The court says the project is not public work under federal law because it is on land owned by an Oklahoma county, rather than the federal government, and because the tribe initiated the project.
Constructlaw blog (3/9) 
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Project Focus
New construction risky for hotel market
New construction risky for hotel market
(Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
STR Global suggests that new construction will increase hotel capacity, but ultimately damage the market. Researchers expect people to spend a record 1.2 billion room nights in US hotels in 2017, while new construction will bring the national available room nights to 1.8 billion.
National Real Estate Investor online (3/12) 
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Idleness is the beginning of all vice, the crown of all virtues.
Franz Kafka,
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