Regulator: Calif. may not determine whether utility liable in wildfires | GM reaches $120M settlement over ignition-switch claims | Las Vegas shooting spurs workers' comp claims from off-duty Calif. deputies
October 20, 2017
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Regulator: Calif. may not determine whether utility liable in wildfires
The chairman of the California Public Utilities Commission says wildfires might have destroyed evidence that would help determine whether electrical equipment belonging to Pacific Gas and Electric helped spark recent wildfires in Northern California. Morgan Stanley said PG&E could face some liability for damages even if an investigation finds no negligence on the utility's part.
Bloomberg (free registration) (10/19) 
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Industry News
GM reaches $120M settlement over ignition-switch claims
General Motors has agreed to a $120 million settlement of claims related to faulty ignition switches, on top of the $2.5 billion it has already paid in settlements and fines over the issue. The ignition-switch defect has been linked to 124 deaths and 275 injuries, and it led to the recall of 2.7 million GM vehicles in 2014.
Detroit Free Press (10/19),  Reuters (10/19) 
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Las Vegas shooting spurs workers' comp claims from off-duty Calif. deputies
Las Vegas shooting spurs workers' comp claims from off-duty Calif. deputies
(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers' compensation claims have been filed by four off-duty Orange County, Calif., sheriff's deputies who were injured during the Las Vegas mass shooting this month. The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs says that public policy recommends that off-duty officers "utilize their specialized training in the protection of life and property," even when out of state.
Business Insurance (tiered subscription model) (10/19) 
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Catastrophic Risk
Puerto Rico continues to struggle after Hurricane Maria
One month after the deadly Hurricane Maria caused widespread destruction in Puerto Rico, many residents are still struggling without power or water. Some officials say a slow federal response to the disaster and a lack of preparedness for the worst-case scenario have hindered recovery progress.
Miami Herald (tiered subscription model)/Center for Investigative Journalism (10/19) 
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15-year-old boy faces charges in Ore. wildfire
Prosecutors have filed misdemeanor charges against a 15-year-old boy from Washington state in connection with the 48,000-acre Eagle Creek Fire in Oregon. The boy, whose name is not being released, is accused of throwing a firecracker into a canyon and thereby starting the fire, which has cost more than $19.2 million to fight.
Jefferson Public Radio (Ashland, Ore.) (10/19) 
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Insurers, reinsurers continue assessing natural-disaster losses
Costs resulting from Mexico's recent earthquakes and hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria could total $95 billion for the insurance industry, Swiss Re said. Insured losses from this month's California wildfires, meanwhile, are at $1.05 billion, according to a preliminary estimate by the state Department of Insurance.
The Associated Press (10/20),  Reuters (10/19),  National Public Radio (10/19) 
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Cyberwatch
Don't impede federal cybersecurity efforts, Mattis tells lawmakers
Defense Secretary James Mattis has sent a letter requesting that Congress discontinue work on legislation under which the US would notify foreign governments of US efforts to eradicate certain cyberthreats. "The nature of cyberattacks is ever evolving, and we need to maintain our ability to take decisive action against this increasingly dangerous threat," the letter says.
Reuters (10/18) 
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Policy and Law
Bill would provide $100M toward wildfire prevention
A bill introduced by senators from Washington, Oregon and Idaho would make $100 million available for rural wildfire-prevention projects, such as forest thinning and controlled burns. A recent disaster-relief bill provided $577 million for battling wildfires.
The Associated Press (10/19) 
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