End PagePosted On: Feb. 11, 2007 12:00 AM CST
Take a walk on the bouncy side in Philadelphia
Philadelphia may be the latest city on its way to making sidewalks safer for pedestriansby putting a little bounce in their step.
A city official there recently announced a resolution to consider replacing concrete pavement with recycled rubber.
"Rubber sidewalks provide a softer surface in the event of a pedestrian fall," and, "they also help to reduce the number of falls in general because they eliminate the cracks and rises in the sidewalk caused from cold weather and from unearthed tree roots," Councilman Jim Kenney said in a statement.
Preventing accidentsand the costly personal injury lawsuits that often followis one of the top reasons several cities and municipalities around the country are forgoing concrete for rubberized sidewalks, said Dan Joyce, vp of sales and marketing for Rubbersidewalks Inc. in Huntington Beach, Calif.
"We've found an average claim per city is around $50,000 on trip-and-fall claimsÖthey look at those kinds of costs and work it into the cost of installation," Mr. Joyce said.
Hillary, Harry and Louise set to bury the hatchet?
Here's another addition to the always growing politics-makes-strange-bedfellows file.
According to federal election information available at www.opensecrets.org, the political action committee of Washington-based trade group America's Health Insurance Plans donated $3,000 to the 2006 re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Hillary R. Clinton, D-N.Y.
This is the same Hillary Clinton that the Health Insurance Assn. of Americawhich later merged with American Assn. of Health Plans to create AHIPtargeted in its famous "Harry and Louise" advertising campaign in 1993, when then-First Lady Clinton helped husband President Bill Clinton craft his ill-fated plan to provide health insurance to all.
"The industry's giving through our PAC has been very much focused on congressional leaders on our issues," said a spokesman for AHIP about the donation. "We want to work with those leaders and encourage them to stay in Congress because they are getting a much deeper understanding of how our issues work."
Still, there's no word whether Harry and Louise will emerge from retirement to film a spot endorsing Sen. Clinton's presidential bid.
Partner of Mr. Dow & Mr. Jones gets name recognition
When it comes to naming a captive, owners often choose monikers that reflect some element of their business. Hence, American Airlines' parent launched a captive called Avion Assurance Ltd., Ralston Purina's famous logo was reflected in the former Checkerboard Insurance Co. Ltd. and jeweler Cartier owns Diamond Re.
But Dow Jones & Co., which formed a New York-domiciled captive last week, took a different path. Bergstresser Insurance Inc. bears a name of historical significance to the parent of The Wall Street Journal.
Charles Bergstresser was a business partner of reporters Charles Dow and Edward Jones, who founded Dow Jones in 1882 after working for a New York news agency. Mr. Bergstresser, also a reporter, provided the capital to launch their firm. His money kept Dow Jones afloat in the years before it began publishing the Journal in 1889.
The captive will write terrorism coverage. A spokesman for Dow Jones confirmed the captive is named in Mr. Bergstresser's honor.
Jody Wald, captives coordinator in the New York Insurance Department, would not disclose how much coverage the captive is licensed to write.
Prop. 103 advocates line up for fight with the Governator
A consumer advocacy group whose founder spearheaded a ballot initiative that brought landmark property/casualty insurance rate regulation reform to California nearly 20 years ago is turning its attention to health care insurance.
A ballot initiative on health insurance ratesincluding the stop-loss coverage that employers purchase for their self-funded plansis a certainty if California legislators enact Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to cover the state's uninsured without also modifying rate regulation, said Jerry Flanagan, health care policy director for The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
The FTCR is asking state lawmakers to add rate regulation to the governor's plan, because the organization asserts the plan is setting up Californians for potentially significant health insurance cost increases. To curb health care insurance costs, the governor's plan would require that 85% of insurers' premiums represent health care expenses. But Mr. Flanagan, and the FTCR in a letter to the state's top lawmakers, contend that requirement would only drive up health costs by encouraging insurers to pay health care providers more and charge policyholders higher premiums.
Similarly, the state's mandate that all residents purchase auto insurancewith no controls on rateswould have driven up the state's already hefty insurance rates in the late 1980s, Mr. Flanagan said. That fueled voters' passage of the 1988 ballot initiative Proposition 103authored by FTCR founder Harvey Rosenfeldwhich required property/casualty insurers to justify their rates.
Consumer groups say Proposition 103 has saved California insurance buyers billions of dollars, but the insurance industry credits other factors.
If lawmakers approve the governor's plan without rate regulation, "I guarantee you there will be a ballot initiative" on it, Mr. Flanagan said.