The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season officially comes to a close today and as we reflect on what was another active season, hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a recap by the numbers, courtesy of NOAA.
Note to readers: NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s totals include a post-storm upgrade of Tropical Storm Nate to hurricane status, and the addition of a short-lived unnamed tropical storm that formed in early September between Bermuda and Nova Scotia:
1: Irene was the only hurricane to make landfall in the United States in 2011 and the first to do so since Ike struck southeast Texas in 2008.
19: The total number of tropical storms this season, representing the third-highest total (tied with 1887, 1995 and 2010) since records began in 1951.
7: The number of tropical storms that became hurricanes in 2011, including three major hurricanes.
2005: The last year a major hurricane (Category 3, 4, or 5 with top winds of 111mph and greater) hit the U.S.
A few additional facts from other sources:
$4.3 billion: Estimated insured damages caused by Hurricane Irene, according to ISO as of November.
Webroot surveyed 1,215 mobile device users in the U.S. and U.K. and found that 50 percent plan to make their holiday purchases using mobile devices this year — more than double the 22 percent that did so in 2010.
But convenience may come at a cost for those who skip certain measures to secure their devices and personal data.
Webroot also found that only 40 percent of respondents have a security app installed to block threats or remotely lock and locate a lost device, and a surprising 53 percent leave their devices unlocked.
Given that about 90 percent of those holiday travelers (38.2 million people) are expected to be on the road, the highways will be busy. If you happen to be renting a car for your travels, check out tips from the I.I.I. on how to ensure you are properly covered.
To all our readers we wish you safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving.
Is it possible that a remote cyber attack from Russia caused a pump to fail at an Illinois water utility? ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the theory put forward by cyber security expertsÃ‚ cited inÃ‚ numerous media reports.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are said to be investigating the matter, but so far have not confirmed the reports.
According to the Washington Post blog Checkpoint Washington, this cyber attack, if confirmed, would be the first to cause physical damage:
In addition, more than $364.6 million in monetary benefits was obtained for victims of workplace discrimination Ã¢â‚¬“ the highest amount in the CommissionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s history and $45 million more than was recovered in fiscal year 2010.
Ongoing challenging economic conditions as well as changes in employment policies and practices and employeesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ greater awareness of their rights under the law are likely factors in the record numbers.
Despite the record number of charges, the EEOC finished FY 2011 with a 10 percent decrease in its pending charge inventory Ã¢â‚¬“ the first such reduction since 2002.
No news yet on the most frequently filed discrimination charge in FY 2011. In FY 2010, retaliation under all statutes surpassed race as the most frequently filed charge for the first time in the EEOCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s history. Comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics will be available in early 2012.
As weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve reported before, employment practices liability insurance has become a key coverage for businesses, protecting them against claims made by employees, former employees or potential employees.
It covers discrimination (age, sex, race, disability, etc.), wrongful termination of employment, sexual harassment and other employment-related allegations and lawsuits.
Hat tip to Business Insurance for its article on the EEOC figures.
The number of insurance companies in the F500 with active Twitter accounts moved to 21 in 2011 from 20 in 2010, the study found.
Insurance companies continue to rank first among industry sectors with a Facebook account, though the number with corporate Facebook pages dropped to 27 in 2011 from 28 in 2010.
Meanwhile, the number of insurers in the F500 blogging rose to 4 in 2011, up from 3 in 2010.
Overall, the study revealed that 23 percent (114) of the 2011 F500 have corporate public-facing blogs, the same level as in 2010, while 62 percent use Twitter, compared to 60 percent in 2010, and some 58 percent are now on Facebook, an increase of just 2 percent on 2010.
The study notes that the adoption of blogs, Twitter and Facebook in the 2011 F500 appears to have leveled off with no significant change in the past year:
If like me one of the first news headlines you saw this morning was about the life-threatening storm of epic magnitude bearing down on Alaska, you probably wanted to know more, so hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the low-down.
According to the National Weather Service, a major Bering Sea Storm is bearing down on Western Alaska with a mix of strong winds, high seas, blizzard conditions, major coastal flooding, and the potential to cause widespread damage.
This is expected to be one of the most severe Bering Sea storms on record, forecast to have sustained winds of 80 mph over an area the size of Colorado and produce storm surge effects on the Alaskan coast 8 to 10 feet above normal water levels. The Alaskan city of Nome is in its path.
Major differences between the 1974 storm and this storm include the fact that tides were much greater in the 1974 storm. However, sea ice extent is currently much lower than it was in 1974, thus providing no protection along the coast and greater fetch, the NWS says.
OklahomaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s earth-moving activity has scientists puzzled, according to the NYT. It citesÃ‚ a research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey whoÃ‚ notesÃ‚ that since mid-2009 the state has had 10 times more earthquakes than normal:
Earthquakes are not covered under standard U.S. homeowners or business insurance policies, but coverage is available for earthquake damage in the form of a supplemental policy.
Earthquake insurance provides protection from the shaking and cracking that can destroy buildings and personal possessions.
I.I.I. facts and statistics show that California had the highest amount of earthquake premiums in 2009, at $1.6 billion. Virginia, at 23 on the list had $10 million in earthquake premiums, while Oklahoma ranked even lower at 34 with just $4.8 million in earthquake insurance.
As clean-up continues from last weekendÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s early snowstorm in the Northeast, insured losses already have exceeded $25 million, making this event a catastrophe.
PC360 reports that Verisk AnalyticsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Property Claims Service has declared the storm as a catastrophe with insured losses exceeding $25 million in six states: Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Other areas are to be determined.
PC360 notes that claims from winter storms typically come in slowly since damage is normally seen after snow and ice melts, and after the lights come back on.
The WSJ gives an overview of the key Twitter accounts providing flood updates, but it goes on to point out that not everyone is pleased that social media is increasingly the medium of choice for disaster updates.
The comments are interesting given thatÃ‚ a survey from the American Red Cross last year found that web users increasingly rely on social media to seek help in a disaster or emergency, and expect first responders to be listening.
Check out Boston.comÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Big Picture for a series of powerful images of the flood waters that have inundated northern Thailand and now reached Bangkok.