The RISC eNews Blast is intended to provide relevant and timely news information from a number of sources to member pool staff. If you see articles in the journals, email and sources you subscribe to that may be of interest to the RISC membership, please feel free to forward them to Erin Rian for inclusion in the eNews Blast. The eNews Blast will be delivered weekly, and the RISC Report newsletter will be delivered every two months.
In this week's edition of the RISC eNews Blast:
DATA SECURITY & CYBER RISK
Cyber Criminals Target Mobile Users, Social Media (Sidney Morning Herald, 2/8/2013): The Australian Federal Police cyber crime operations warn that social networking sites are being used by cyber criminals to steal money. Failure to use virus protection on mobile devices leads to increased infection with malware, a serious problem because many people are now banking using mobile devices. Another potential risk is "buy, swap and sell sites" into which users may log using their Facebook accounts. In a BYOD work environment, this could lead to compromise of an employer's information as well as the employee's.
HEALTH CARE & EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
California Lacks Doctors to Meet Federal Health Law’s Demand (Governing, 2/11/2013): The State of California is facing a major obstacle in extending coverage to millions under the federal health care reform law – there aren’t enough doctors to treat a crush of newly insured patients. Lawmakers are working on proposals that would fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare, such as allowing physician assistants to treat more patients and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices.
NY Town Sued for Banning 'Frack' Talk at Meetings (Wall Street Journal, 2/12/2013): The town board in Sanford, New York has been sued by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy for banning further public comment on fracking at town meetings. The board says that it has already allowed hours of public comment on the issue, and citizens are still allowed to submit written comments. The lawsuit claims the ban violates the public’s right to free speech. Others respond that the Open Meetings Law requires that the public be able to attend board meetings but does not require that they be allowed to speak. Fracking is a very divisive issue in the town, as it is in many other New York municipalities, pitting those with economic interests in drilling (including a local official) against other landowners who oppose drilling. This is another example of how a local government governing body can be squeezed between powerful opposing interests whose differences will not be ultimately resolved without litigation.
Pa. Legal Bills Exceed $550,000 in Dispute over Shale Drilling Law (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/11/2013): The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Public Utility Commission have amassed over $550,000 in outside legal bills in defending litigation brought against the state by a group of western Pennsylvania towns over state drilling laws. Seven municipalities and two other parties sued the state over a new statute that they say limits the extent to which they can protect residents by adopting zoning rules that affect shale drilling. The attorneys representing the municipalities are working pro bono, and say that the costs so far would amount to several thousand dollars.
Southern Tier Landowners Say They'll Sue if State Misses Fracking Deadline (Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, 2/8/2013): A group of pro-drilling landowners in New York plans to sue the state of New York if its Department of Environmental Conservation does not release its fracking regulations by February 27. If not released by that date, the regulations expire. The class action lawsuit would assert an illegal taking of property without just compensation under the Fifth Amendment.
WCRI Releases National Medical Cost Containment Strategy Guide (PRWeb, 2/11/2013): The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute has released an update as of January 2013, which provides information about workers’ compensation cost containment initiatives employed by 51 jurisdictions. This publication could be useful for pools interested in exploring possible strategies for their own states.
NCCI Research in the Aging Workforce and Workers Comp (NCCI, 1/4/2013): The NCCI has released a report on the potential adverse impact of an aging workforce on workers’ compensation experience. Among the findings are that all groups of workers from age 35 to 64 have similar frequency of injury and loss costs per worker. Differences in the leading types of injury between younger and older workers affects severity, and the higher wages of older workers contribute to their higher indemnity costs. A link to the full study is available on this page.
OTHER TOPICS OF INTEREST
CoreNet Global Survey Finds Companies Are Updating Workplace Strategies in Response to Hurricane Sandy (GlobeNewsWire, 2/11/2013): Companies in the Northeast are revising their business continuity strategies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to include more remote work/telework. Pools may want to consider how the ability to work offsite in an emergency might enable them to continue to serve their members in the aftermath of disasters, or even following a routine emergency like a fire.
The National Flood Insurance Program: Status and Remaining Issues for Congress (Congressional Research Service, 2/6/2013): The Congressional Research Service has issued a comprehensive report on the future of flood insurance in the U.S., which may be of interest to pools that provide their members with flood insurance.
Climate Change & Insurance: Existential Threat—or Extraordinary Opportunity? (Property Casualty 360, 2/5/2013): Some approaches to flourishing in the wake of climate change are adequate pricing, single year contracts, constructing buildings to withstand hazards and locating them outside of obvious hazard zones, expanding environmental damage coverage in recognition of increased exposure arising from hazard events, offering coverage that will fund green rebuilding, and helping clients insure to limits that represent their actual risk.