Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Property Insurance Coverage Issues Flow from Kilauea

The photos and videos of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano eruption have been mesmerizing and terrifying. Lava flows with unstoppable power devour homes, cars and anything else in their path. Bright red lava pools churn and bubble and launch scorching hot lava “bombs” high into the air. Towers of ash are propelled miles into the sky. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

2018 Hurricane Season Promises to Pack a Punch

2018’s first named tropical weather system already struck Florida and states near the Gulf of Mexico. Sub-tropical storm Alberto came a full week before the official start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season and serves as an unpleasant reminder of 2017’s devastating storm impact. Last year’s hurricane season was one of the most active and destructive in recorded history, producing seventeen named storms and causing over $250 billion of damage across the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico. And, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (“NOAA”) forecast, this year’s hurricane season could be dangerously similar. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Calif. Landslides Prompt 'Efficient Proximate Cause' Rehash

Mother Nature recently reminded California, as she often does, of how cruel she can be. In December 2017, the state experienced its largest wildfire in history.[1] The wildfire, known as the Thomas Fire, burned more than 281,000 acres in Southern California and destroyed more than 1,000 structures.[2] A month later, California experienced its heaviest rainfall in nearly a year.[3] Experts posit that the heavy rains, coupled with the absence of vegetation from the fires, triggered catastrophic mudflows that killed 21 people and caused significant property damage to homes and infrastructure.[4]

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Hurricane Harvey Flooding Continues to Muddy the Waters

As Texas continues to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the extent of the damage Harvey left in its wake is just now being realized. To date, private insurers have seen more than 670,000 property insurance claims resulting from Harvey.[1] The Texas Department of Insurance reports that insurers have paid out more than $4.5 billion in Harvey claims, with the expected number projected to increase to $15.7 billion by the time all claims are reported and settled.[2] Of these claims, more than 354,000 are residential property claims, and around 37,000 are commercial property.[3]

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Houston’s Floodpains (ahem, Floodplains)

When Hurricane Harvey headed for Houston, Texans braced for an expected large amount of rain and heavy winds. What they did not expect was the catastrophic flooding that took place in the city.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Back to Back Cats

In the last week, there have been several news stories about the recent island-wide power outage in Puerto Rico, the tenuous condition of Puerto Rico’s power grid, and the fact that hurricane season is right around the corner. Last Wednesday, a construction vehicle removing a fallen electrical tower got too close to an energized line and caused an electrical ground fault that led to an island-wide blackout. Luckily, power was not out across the island for long, but the outage once again drew attention to Puerto Rico’s efforts to rebuild following Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico faced difficulties with its power grid even before Hurricane Maria made landfall, but Maria’s high winds and flooding damaged 75 percent of the island’s distribution lines. Despite the progress that has been made since Maria struck, it is clear that Puerto Rico has not fully recovered from Maria’s devastation. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Boom Shift - Chemical Plant Explosion Claims and the Possible Adoption of Corporate Regulation Where Government Regulation is Absent

On the morning of March 15, 2018, a large explosion erupted at the Tri-Chem Industries chemical plant in Cresson, Texas, approximately 25 miles southwest of Fort Worth. The explosion left two workers badly injured and another presumed dead. According to 2017 Hood County records of the company’s chemical inventory, it has been reported that Tri-Chem’s Cresson plant stored chemicals that were toxic, flammable and corrosive yet the company had no emergency response plans in its files.