Web Exchange

October 15, 2012

Video Highlights

The Role of Arcing in Fires

Forensic electrical engineer and president of Anderson Engineering Erik Anderson discusses fire cases he sees frequently and explains arcing during Andler & Associates’s annual live burn training seminar.

Good Defense but Higher Severity in Med-Mal Cases

While the frequency of claims filed against medical professionals that are being litigated has generally declined in the past decade, payouts for successful medical professional liability claims have increased. One of the main drivers of the trend toward higher claims payouts is increased selectivity of cases by the plaintiffs’ bar, according to Laurel Byerly, senior vice president for Western Litigation. The company is a third-party administrator that manages medical malpractice claims and litigation for self-insured entities.

Podcasts Highlights

Hurricane Andrew Revisited 20 Years Later

Gary Kerney, assistant vice president of Verisk’s Property Claim Services, discusses Hurricane Andrew 20 years later and how adjuster practices, catastrophe modeling and building codes all changed after the storm.

How to Investigate Lightning Damage to AC Units

Jeff Peters, professional engineer and vice president at Rimkus Consulting Group, provides tips on investigating lightning damage claims involving air conditioning units. He explains the types of strikes, how to determine whether a claim is due to a surge versus lightning, and how to handle the new refrigerant requirements.

In a Reader’s View

Fire Fee Ignites Anger Among California Residents

More than 800,000 rural California residents who own property in wildfire country received bills for a new annual fire-protection fee, rekindling outrage that will likely lead to a lawsuit to overturn the surcharge.

The fee, passed by Democrats in the Legislature and signed by the governor last year, is intended to raise an estimated $84 million in its first year for fire-prevention efforts. The annual charge can run as high as $150 for property owners with a single occupied dwelling.

The fee was imposed on those who own property within the 31 million rural acres covered by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, a responsibility area that includes about one-third of the state.

A recent University of California, Merced, study said climate change, development and changes to the landscape may double the fire risk to rural homes in the next 40 years.

The Associated Press story generated several comments from readers, including the one below:

D Nicholson says: The vast majority of those living within the rural communities in question already pay fire prevention taxes and routinely clear their properties to create defensible space. The greater problem are the huge number of uninhabited lots which are neglected by their owners. … They should be required to clear those properties of debris or face fines for not doing so.

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