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 will be delivered every two months. In this week's edition of the RISC eNews Blast:
DATA SECURITY & CYBER RISK
Twitter Says Hackers Compromise 250K Accounts (National Public Radio, 2/2/2013): Twitter announced that hackers may have accessed user names, email addresses and passwords for 250,000 of its more than 200 million active users. Twitter reset the affected passwords and notified affected users.
WSJ Blog: Survey: Companies Exposed Through Rogue Cloud Data (Advisen, 2/1/2013): According to a Symantec survey, some employees are exposing their company’s confidential data by storing it in a Cloud application without working with their IT department on security issues. Education of employees about the hazards is a key risk management tool.
Beyond BYOD (Property Casualty 360, 2/1/2013): If employees are allowed to use their own personal mobile devices for work purposes, the employer should adapt policies that include the following:
• Which devices it will support
• The level of reimbursement it will provide, if any
• Requiring remote location and data lock/wipe functionality
• Which applications will and will not be authorized
The employer must also understand that in exchange for the employee being available after hours, the employee is also likely to engage in personal communications during regular work hours.
IRS Rules Eliminate Way to Cut Health Care Premium Costs (Business Insurance, 1/31/2013): Final Internal Revenue Service rules on the affordability provisions under health care reform will only apply to self-only coverage. Coverage will be considered unaffordable if employees’ premium contribution for coverage exceeds 9.5% of household income. If employer coverage is deemed unaffordable, employers are liable for a $3,000 penalty for each full-time employee whose required premium contribution does not meet the affordability test and receives a premium subsidy to buy coverage through the exchange. The final rules will not apply to family coverage.
Energy Industry Develops Nontoxic Fracking Fluids (Claims Journal, 2/5/2013): Energy companies are attempting to quell concerns about fracking by developing fluids that are nontoxic. Concerns remain, however, about a process that could still cause air pollution and result in large amounts of very salty wastewater.
Salt Mine Rules Melt Under Pressure (StarTribune, 2/4/2013): A township that imposed significant restrictions on the hours of operation of a frac-sand mine within its borders lost both land and tax revenue when the company that operated the mine had it annexed to a city within the township’s borders. The city was willing to permit round the clock operations. This is an example of companies using their economic power to shop for favorable local governments and extract concessions, up to the point of changing the local government that controls their land.
Farmers in Ohio Divided on “Fracking” (The Columbus Dispatch, 2/2/2013): Fracking on farmland in Ohio is an important revenue source that is helping keep family farms alive, but is poses a risk of pollution risk to those same farmlands. The state’s two farming unions are concerned about fracking but have not taken a formal position, instead educating landowners about the right questions to ask before leasing.
Fracking Wastewater Can be Highly Radioactive (Ellwood City Ledger, 1/30/2013): Wastewater from fracking operations can contain radioactive materials from radium, and disposal of that water may expose workers and others to its negative health effects. The Marcellus Shale, an eastern U.S. rock formation that contains mostly untapped natural gas reserves, is believed to be a particularly fertile source of radiation. The Pennsylvania State Department of Environmental Protection has announced its plans to study the effects of radiation in fracking wastewater.
2 Families Suing Over 2011 Pittsburgh Flash Floods (Claims Journal, 2/4/2013): The survivors of victims who drowned in flash flooding in Pittsburgh in 2011 are suing multiple parties, including the city and county, their sewer authorities and a consultant they both use, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The lawsuit claims that the defendants allowed a drowning pool to exist in the location where the deaths occurred. The plaintiffs claim that at least 30 flash floods have stranded vehicles in the same spot since one person was killed and twelve injured in 1951.
PROPERTY & CASUALTY
House Introduces TRIA Extension, but Tough Road Seen for Passage (Property Casualty 360, 2/5/2013): TRIA does not expire until the end of the current Congress, December 31, 2014, but the fight for renewal is expected to be difficult, and renewal is required before expiration to avoid problems with insurance renewals.
Illinois Appellate Court Examines Number of Occurrences and Limits Application of Time-and-Space (Mondaq, 1/29/2013): An Illinois appellate court in Ware, et. Al. v. First Specialty Insurance Corporation declined to apply the “time and space” test adopted by the Illinois Supreme Court in an earlier decision for the purpose of determining the number of “occurrences” The time and space test opened the door to multiple occurrences in situations where ongoing negligence caused multiple injuries over an open-ended period of time. In an action involving the 2003 collapse of a porch, the appellate court rejected the “time and space” test and found that there was only one occurrence because the injuries were caused directly and solely by a discrete event.
States Experience Disparity in Police Fatality Rates as Agencies Target Safety (Governing, 1/31/2013): Law enforcement fatalities fell in 2012 after rising the two previous years. Deaths are significantly more prevalent in some states and even regions than others. Safety training, state laws, and regional culture may all play a role. A clickable map provides statistics for all fifty states.
OTHER TOPICS OF INTEREST
Must Job Hunters Reveal Facebook Passwords? (Seattle Times, 2/2/2013): Senate Bill 5211, recently introduced in the Washington Legislature, would prohibit companies from directly or indirectly demanding passwords to social networking sites as a condition of hiring or continued employment.
Information about NLC-RISC conferences, workshops and regional meetings can be found on our website under the Events tab. Please contact Erin Rian if you have questions. Save the date for the following upcoming conferences and workshops:
Marketing Communications Workshop ~ May 15-16, 2013 in Denver, Colorado at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. Additional details and registration available soon.
2013 NLC-RISC Trustees Conference ~ May 16-18, 2013 in Denver, Colorado at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. Additional details and registration available soon.
2013 NLC-RISC Staff Conference ~ October 21-23, 2013 in Portland, Oregon at The Nines