News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Dec. 28, 2015

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) News Analysis: China tackles housing glut to arrest growth slowdown – Xinhua | Englishnewscn

2) Four Men Arrested After Insurance Scam

3) Floods in Paraguay force 70,000 residents to evacuate | Toronto Sun

4) Tax Extenders Signed into Law! What to Do BEFORE 12/31

5) Storms in US South kill 11, Mississippi declares emergency | Reuters

6) New report determines whether it's better to buy or rent in 11 Colorado counties – Denver Business Journal

7) Defying Fed hike, 30-year mortgage rate slips to 3.96 pct. – WFMJcom Youngstown-Warren Ohio

8) Tiny housing a growing trend in Canadian real estate – Business – CBC News

9) Ordinance proposal allows "accessory dwelling" on properties | WyomingNewscom

10) 2015 totals show North Texas real estate market is near an all-time high | Dallas Morning News

11) Biggest Sacramento commercial real estate deals of 2015 – Sacramento Business Journal

12) 13 real estate projects will shape metro Des Moines in 2016

13) Switzerland to vote on banning banks from creating money – Telegraph

14) Lower Jobless Claims Don't Point to Robust Labor Market – NASDAQcom

15) Yanis Varoufakis talks again, insults everybody — POLITICO

16) Florida is ground zero for alternative flood insurance program | TBOcom and The Tampa Tribune

17) The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here | Rolling Stone

18) Finland's basic income experiment — can it work? – Agenda – The World Economic Forum

19) Why haven't low oil prices delivered a bigger boost to growth? – Agenda – The World Economic Forum

20) Portland deal OKs higher rent for some affordable apartments — and eviction payouts | The Seattle Times

21) Oil Bankruptcies Reach Highest Quarterly Level Since Recession – Bloomberg Business

22) Commerzbank sues BNY Mellon, Wells Fargo, HSBC over mortgage losses | Reuters

23) The Sneaky Way Austerity Got Sold to the Public Like Snake Oil | Institute for New Economic Thinking

24) Keiser Report: Why Not People's Quantitative Easing? (Winter Why Nots, E853) – YouTube

25) Floods of biblical proportions leave cities, towns and villages under water | Environment | The Guardian

26) Christmas crisis: bushfire strikes Victorian tourist towns | The Australian

27) Over 100,000 flee flooding in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay | Reuters

28) Video Shows Frightening Scale of SoCal Gas Leak | Natural Gas | Rewire | KCET

29) Fed rate hike | US real estate confidence

30) Cronyism Causes the Worst Kind of Inequality – Bloomberg View

31) A Powerful Intellectual Stumbling Block: The Belief that the Market Can Only Be Failed

32) Obama The Job-Killer – The New York Times

33) 7 Upgrades Tenants Seek When Searching for a Rental

34) In Sweden, a Cash-Free Future Nears – The New York Times

35) Dutch city plans to pay citizens a 'basic income', and Greens say it could work in the UK | World news | The Guardian

36) Dating historic activity at Oso site shows recurring major landslides | UW Today

37) Alabama Couple Sues Hoverboard Makers Over House Fire

38) Florida Seeks Information on String of Jacksonville Arsons

39) Crime Free Association Website, Crime Free Programs, International Crime Free Association

40) Chinese megacity has more people than Canada, Argentina, Australia – Business Insider

41) Oil Slump Weighing On North Dakota Housing Market – CBS Minnesota

42) Strong Tornadoes Strike Texas | ALERT™ :: Event Summary

  1.    News Analysis: China tackles housing glut to arrest growth slowdown – Xinhua | English.news.cn

    China will continue to actively destock its massive property inventory over concerns that the ailing housing market could derail the economy.

    "Obsolete restrictive measures [in the property market] will be revoked," said the statement, without specifying which "restrictive measures" it was referring to.

    … There are around 300 million migrant workers but most are denied "hukou" (official residence status). In addition to housing rights, a hukou gives the holder equal employment rights and social security services, and their children are allowed to be enrolled in city schools.

    The strange thing is how they got themselves into such mess in the first place.

    Add your comment.


  2.    Four Men Arrested After Insurance Scam

    They told her they were from her insurance company.

    After they claimed to fix her roof, the men demanded $9,600.00.

    Add your comment.


  3.    Floods in Paraguay force 70,000 residents to evacuate | Toronto Sun

    ASUNCION, Paraguay — Flooding caused by heavy rains has forced the evacuation of more than 70,000 people in Paraguay.

    Add your comment.


  4.    Tax Extenders Signed into Law! What to Do BEFORE 12/31

    Amanda Han:

    Breaking news! The President has signed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH) into law, and we finally know the fate of tax extenders for the 2015 tax year. However, even better than that is that these great credits and deductions have also been extended through 2016, and some have even been made permanent. Let's look at a few of the extenders that may benefit you as a real estate investor.

    Add your comment.


  5.    Storms in U.S. South kill 11, Mississippi declares emergency | Reuters

    Not very happy holidays for these folks.

    The storm system packed high winds and triggered more than 20 tornadoes in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Michigan on Wednesday, authorities said.

    A large tornado tore a 100-mile (160-km) path through northern Mississippi, demolishing or heavily damaging more than 100 homes and other buildings before plowing into western Tennessee, authorities said.

    Add your comment.


  6.    New report determines whether it's better to buy or rent in 11 Colorado counties – Denver Business Journal

    "Renters in 2016 will be caught between a bit of a rock and a hard place, with rents becoming less affordable as they rise faster than wages, but home prices rising even faster than rents," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

    Add your comment.


  7.    Defying Fed hike, 30-year mortgage rate slips to 3.96 pct. – WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

    Here's that theme again.

    Becketti said a few additional modest Fed rate hikes won't likely have much effect on longer-term rates until the central bank starts reducing the huge portfolio of bonds it accumulated during and after the Great Recession.

    The Fed's bond purchases were intended to lower longer-term loan rates to try to stimulate borrowing and spending and energize the economy. The Fed ended its bond purchases last year as the U.S. economy strengthened. But it has yet to begin selling the bonds, which would tend to nudge up longer-term rates.

    Fed Chair Janet Yellen has signaled that the Fed is in no hurry to start reducing its portfolio of bonds – one reason long-term mortgage rates could remain low for a while.

    Add your comment.


  8.    Tiny housing a growing trend in Canadian real estate – Business – CBC News

    Nine years ago, Thelma Fayle swapped her 4,000 square-foot home in a rural area of Victoria for a house measuring only nine feet wide on the inside.

    … "furniture that's like a swiss army knife" — such as shelving units and beds that fold into the walls.

    In my view, more apartments need to come with better and more flexible built-ins.

    Add your comment.


  9.    Ordinance proposal allows "accessory dwelling" on properties | WyomingNews.com

    We're seeing more and more of this around the country.

    CHEYENNE – A proposed ordinance moving through the Cheyenne City Council may help take pressure off the city's tight housing market and allow property owners to make some extra cash.

    If approved, the law would allow more homeowners to establish "accessory dwelling units" on their property – an encompassing term that includes basement apartments, garage apartments or apartments in facilities like carriage houses.

    Add your comment.


  10.    2015 totals show North Texas real estate market is near an all-time high | Dallas Morning News

    The modest interest rate increases just enacted by the Federal Reserve won't be enough to pull down North Texas' hot property markets. Neither will the energy industry slowdown caused by oil price declines.

    But together those factors are a drag on the local economy. Job growth has already subsided from last year's record level.

    Add your comment.


  11.    Biggest Sacramento commercial real estate deals of 2015 – Sacramento Business Journal

    Outside investors scooping up multifamily properties here almost feels like a cliché at this point. But as long as rents keep rising, companies like Kennedy Wilson will keep buying, as the firm did by picking up Slate Creek at Johnson Ranch in a deal worth $100 million. Observers and experts believe Sacramento has entered an unprecedented period for capital chasing multifamily properties, with no end in sight.

    Add your comment.


  12.    13 real estate projects will shape metro Des Moines in 2016

    Construction crews around metro Des Moines shouldn't expect a lot of downtime in 2016.

    Real estate developers are bullish about the year ahead, with new apartments, offices, hotels, commercial buildings and housing developments planned throughout the region.

    Add your comment.


  13.    Switzerland to vote on banning banks from creating money – Telegraph

    I support this endeavor.

    If successful, the sovereign money bill would give the Swiss National Bank a monopoly on physical and electronic money creation, "while the decision concerning how new money is introduced into the economy would reside with the government," says Vollgeld.

    … economists have been more supportive of the idea of "sovereign money" as a way to stabilise the economy and prevent excess credit growth.

    Iceland – which saw its bloated banking system collapse in spectacular fashion in 2008 – has also touted an abolition of private money creation and an end to fractional reserve banking.

    If you read much on this subject, you'll run into some MMT economists putting it down for all sorts of specious and spurious reasons.

    You might see L. Randall Wray saying that the same thing can be accomplished by a zero interest rate policy.

    Well, the thing about that is that a ZIRP is easily reversible; so, no, the same thing could not be accomplished at all via a ZIRP. The object of the sovereign-money movement or the debt-free money movement, as it is commonly referred to in the US, is the permanent democratization of the money.

    Currently, bankers are the ones who mostly decide where the money will go. They typically channel it in ways that have continued the process of income and wealth increase and accumulation into the hands of the most financially elite in the world.

    What the debt-free-money movement intends, at least its progressive wing, which is becoming its dominant wing, is for the money to be created by the democratic process and channeled into what is termed the Main Street economy rather than the Wall Street economy.

    The only issue with the plan that the opposition raises that has ever had any merit whatsoever has been whether currency creation could be such that there won't be any damaging price inflation.

    The answer to that lies in the way the laws are written and enforced.

    I have issued a broad outline. I've left it broad on purpose. "Monetary-and-Banking-Reform Platform for The United States": http://propertypak.com/introduction-home  /articles/monetary-and-banking-reform-p latform-for-the-united-states/

    Let me also address another of Randy Wray's ostensible peccadillos. He goes on and on about how all currency is debt. He says this because of double-entry accounting. He says that the government has a balance sheet and that the currency is balanced: an asset and corresponding liability. Honestly, the only reason for such accounting is because the government issues bonds when the currency is created. Take the borrowing out of the equation, and (are you ready for it?) the liability disappears like magic. Well, it may seem like magic to Randy, but it's just plain old single-entry bookkeeping.

    Randy also goes to great lengths to say that because people will honor the US dollar, it's therefore inherently debt. Honestly (again), people honored goats before there was "money." In fact, goats were money in that sense. Goats are born as debt? Hardly.

    Please, don't fall for, or waste your time trying to fend off, such nonsense. L. Randall Wray is interesting and knowledgeable but has some sort of ideological or other hang-up about this movement to democratize the currency. He'll spend hours contorting semantics even while if you read completely through his statements on it, he really has no substantial objection to what people are calling "sovereign money" in Europe.

    Add your comment.


  14.    Lower Jobless Claims Don't Point to Robust Labor Market – NASDAQ.com

    The following is exactly what I was thinking the first time I read that claims are down.

    Eric Morat:

    The fewest Americans since 1973 will seek new unemployment benefits this year, but that doesn't mean the labor market is back to full health.

    … a larger portion of those newly laid off isn't seeking benefits.

    Initial claims are seen as a proxy for layoffs, but other separation measures show that layoffs have plateaued, or even increased this year. …

    Claims readings could be distorted because a smaller share of those laid off are applying for benefits. The share of laid off workers seeking benefits has fallen this year to just above 50%, according to the National Employment Law Project, a group that advocates for the unemployed.

    The application rate typically declines as expansions age, but the current pace is the lowest in 15 years.

    Add your comment.


  15.    Yanis Varoufakis talks again, insults everybody — POLITICO

    If the truth is insulting, the problem isn't with the truth or with its messenger but with the one who's insulted directly or for someone else.

    We aren't talking about a lack of civility or politeness or not understanding or appreciating sensibilities. We're talking about the global economy and people hell-bent to keep the masses down for no other reason than the greed of those Yanis terms psychopaths and their masters, the plutocrats.

    Obviously, they're still very afraid of Yanis because he's only gotten better at hammering with the truth.

    Add your comment.


  16.    Florida is ground zero for alternative flood insurance program | TBO.com and The Tampa Tribune

    Private insurers retreated from the flood market after massive and expensive floods plagued communities along the Mississippi River in the 1960s. A handful of private insurers have written flood policies in the state, with certain conditions, and largely backed by huge surplus lines providers such as Lloyd's of London.

    But advances in flood mapping, risk data and computer modeling have made it easier for insurers to assess the actual likelihood of flood damage. …

    "There's no doubt that changes are afoot," said Locke Burt, chairman and president of Security First Insurance Co. in Ormond Beach and a former state senator. "With Biggert-Waters, the U.S. Congress clearly expressed a long-term goal of reducing the role of the federal government in the flood business. You can argue about how long that's going to take, and what form that's going to end up in, but I don't think that consensus is going to change."

    Okay, let's be really realistic here.

    First, modeling is still in its infancy; and, on top of that, it's facing rapidly changing climate where there are unknown unknowns that will pop up.

    Second, this issue of national flood insurance is very similar to the Fannie and Freddie issue in mortgages.

    There are people in the insurance industry who simply want market share that is now in the hands of government. At the same time, there are those who do not automatically believe that private enterprise can do everything governments can do and do it better. That's because there are pluses and minuses with deregulation and with privatization.

    So, watch this issue as it unfolds; and watch the weather and climate unfold too in unexpected ways that could leave private flood insurers facing claims regarding which, they just shouldn't have gambled. Who will backstop it?

    That said, the insurance industry is one that shares the risks and associated costs, which is a good thing. Let's just make the best policy decisions based upon the most realistic understanding, including what we don't know that we don't know.

    Add your comment.


  17.    The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here | Rolling Stone

    Rolling Stone magazine is a mixed bag of good and bad reporting.

    Please overlook the seemingly obligatory swear word in the first paragraph. They think it's hip.

    Anyway, Eric Holthaus has written a good overview of the huge risks humanity is taking right now by burning so much carbon.

    We should stop it and at the same time, enhance the world's soil (the smartest and cheapest solution) to capture more and more carbon.

    Historians may look to 2015 as the year when sh_t really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state's Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.

    That's only the tip of the iceberg of what the article covers. So, I recommend you read it and share it around. It's all about risk management, even though it didn't mention the term expressly.

    Add your comment.


  18.    Finland's basic income experiment — can it work? – Agenda – The World Economic Forum

    I covered this before, but this one has a few additional and helpful details.

    The Canadian town of Dauphin experimented with a stipend programme from 1974 to 1979. It is true that a drop in working hours occurred, but there was also an increase in the time men spent in education and the amount of maternity leave women took.

    A Ugandan scheme for the unemployed also resulted in an increase of workng hours by 17% while earnings increased by 38%.

    In the United States, however, the 1968 negative tax experiment came to a different conclusion. A negative income tax could not provide an income benefit comparable to welfare and create incentive for work "as long as the median income remains within striking distance of the poverty line".

    We're still needing a great deal of info on this.

    Most importantly though is that as technology and automation continue advancing, there simply will be less and less need for humans to work. As humanity, we'll simply need to start treating everyone as deserving regardless of "work."

    I think that will be a great day! I doubt it will mean that we humans become lazy, etc., but rather the exact opposite.

    It will truly free all of us up for the first time in the history (and prehistory) of our species.

    Add your comment.


  19.    Why haven't low oil prices delivered a bigger boost to growth? – Agenda – The World Economic Forum

    This article by Ken Rogoff fits very well with what I was writing early on when oil prices were first falling. I was saying than that the fall will cut both ways and that it may hurt more than some think, particularly Stanley Fischer, Vice Chair of the Fed. However, that was before the dramatic changes in fracking technology that came online so quickly, which is something that Stanley Fischer also was not anticipating when he said that falling prices would help considerably more than hurt (the US economy).

    Add your comment.


  20.    Portland deal OKs higher rent for some affordable apartments — and eviction payouts | Real Estate | The Seattle Times

    A housing compromise is expected to allow some rent hikes for a Portland affordable-housing complex, with a promise to pay low-income renters $7,500 if they are evicted.

    My questions are, where will those who are evicted go and what about the old and/or infirmed?

    If there is other affordable housing that will be readily available and if there will be special help for the old and for the infirmed, then the deal is more reasonable.

    Add your comment.


  21.    Oil Bankruptcies Reach Highest Quarterly Level Since Recession – Bloomberg Business

    If we factor out the environmental positives, for one, here are the negatives.

    Add your comment.


  22.    Commerzbank sues BNY Mellon, Wells Fargo, HSBC over mortgage losses | Reuters

    Commerzbank AG has sued four banks in the United States, claiming that they failed to properly monitor billions of dollars in toxic mortgage-backed securities acquired by the German lender before the 2008 financial crisis.

    Add your comment.


  23.    The Sneaky Way Austerity Got Sold to the Public Like Snake Oil | Institute for New Economic Thinking

    Lynn Parramore:

    Even the name of this tool, the "cyclically adjusted budget," carries an aura of respect. It diverts our attention. We don't question it. It creates a barrier between the individual and the political realm: it undermines democratic participation itself. This obscure theory validates, with its authority, a big economic mistake that sounds like common sense but is actually snake oil — the notion that the federal government budget is like a household budget. Actually, it isn't. Your household doesn't collect taxes. It doesn't print money. It works very differently, yet the nonsense that it should behave exactly like a household budget gets repeated by politicians and policymakers who really just want to squeeze ordinary people.

    Orsola Costantini is Senior Economist at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. http://ineteconomics.org/community/exper ts/ocostantini

    Add your comment.


  24.    Keiser Report: Why Not People's Quantitative Easing? (Winter Why Nots, E853) – YouTube

    Steve Keen makes it very clear. He may have turned Max into a progressive. Max had decidedly libertarian leanings the last I watched the show quite a bit ago. Stacy always seemed quite open to various ideas and appears to have a good grasp.

    In this special Winter Why Not? episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert talk to Professor Steve Keen about solutions to our unpayable debts, including: basic income, a People's Quantitative Easing and a global debt jubilee. Professor Keen explains why a modern debt jubilee could please both debtors and creditors, savers and spenders.

    Add your comment.


  25.    Floods of biblical proportions leave cities, towns and villages under water | Environment | The Guardian

    The Environment Agency said that, in anticipation of the floods, 85% of the country's temporary flood barriers had been sent to Cumbria, where rainfall had smashed records earlier this month and where yesterday's storm was expected to hit.

    However, the deluge was unleashed slightly to the south. "Lancashire is experiencing the rainfall expected in Cumbria and a further 50mm to 80mm may fall in the next six to nine hours," police said.

    Add your comment.


  26.    Christmas crisis: bushfire strikes Victorian tourist towns | The Australian

    More than a hundred homes have been lost in an out-of-control blaze that is predicted to burn along Victoria's surf coast for weeks.

    Despite the efforts of 500 firefighters, 29 trucks and 13 aircraft on Saturday, a total of 116 homes had been destroyed.

    "It's been an exceptionally dry year with the El Nino event, and the worst fire conditions will probably be seen in January and February, and that's why we're working really hard to consolidate this fire now."

    Add your comment.


  27.    Over 100,000 flee flooding in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay | Reuters

    More than 100,000 people have had to evacuate from their homes in the bordering areas of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina due to severe flooding in the wake of heavy summer rains brought on by El Niño, authorities said on Saturday.

    … exacerbated by Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    Add your comment.


  28.    Video Shows Frightening Scale of SoCal Gas Leak | Natural Gas | Rewire | KCET

    Around 2,100 households have been temporarily relocated as a result of the leak, and SoCal Gas agreed this week it would find temporary housing for another 2,600 affected families. The company agreed to make sure pets were taken care of, and to provide additional security for vacated neighborhoods.

    "I hate seeing SoCalGas' pollution billowing over my home and community. Knowing this gas leak has been polluting us since October and won't stop until March, if then, makes it clear there's only one way to keep us healthy and safe now and in the future," said Matt Pakucko, President of Save Porter Ranch.

    Add your comment.


  29.    Fed rate hike | U.S. real estate confidence

    America CEO Brian Moynihan doesn't agree with Stumpf. "If you see rates rise, you'll see the mortgage market slow down," Moynihan said at same event earlier this month, before the Federal Reserve raised rates. At still the same event, Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman noted that most interest-rate hikes have typically resulted in an uptick in home prices. "Twenty-five out of 26 times when interest rates went up, home prices went up," Schwarzman said.

    Add your comment.


  30.    Cronyism Causes the Worst Kind of Inequality – Bloomberg View

    Noah Smith:

    Higher inequality has been associated with lower growth. But as with all correlations, we should be very careful about interpreting this as causation.

    Putting it politely: wrong.

    Add your comment.


  31.    A Powerful Intellectual Stumbling Block: The Belief that the Market Can Only Be Failed

    Brad DeLong:

    When you think about it, this analogy makes no sense at all.

    Who has to think about it?

    … the rest of us will never convince John Taylor and company.

    Arguments that central banks are doing the best they can in a horrible situation require entertaining the possibility that markets are not perfect and can fail.

    But John Taylor knows that. That's the part you don't seem to understand, Brad. John Taylor's brand of "capitalism" is of, by, and for the rich, which is actually capitalism no matter what anarchistic spin is put on it.

    Add your comment.


  32.    Obama The Job-Killer – The New York Times

    Sometimes a graph is worth a thousand words.

    Paul Krugman:

    Given the GOP field's collective decision to go for Bushonomics squared, it seemed like a good time to update this chart.

    Don't blame the public sector for the Great Recession either. It was the private sector forcing through reckless deregulations that caused it for sure.

    Add your comment.


  33.    7 Upgrades Tenants Seek When Searching for a Rental

    Not bad, Hilary Catton, but I'll add a shower, a bathroom ventilator fan, a real exhaust hood for the stove, and … (well, who couldn't go on and on). Solar anyone? How about electric charging for my car? Okay, okay, I'll stop.

    Add your comment.


  34.    In Sweden, a Cash-Free Future Nears – The New York Times

    The future is here. Cash is a buggy whip.

    Add your comment.


  35.    Dutch city plans to pay citizens a 'basic income', and Greens say it could work in the UK | World news | The Guardian

    So, it's an old idea, but the Internet is what's making it happen. The word gets around, and it gets to be repeated and repeated and commented upon so that it's really debated. The issue is harder for the elitists to censor.

    HOW IT WORKS
    • A "basic income", first proposed by Thomas Paine is an income unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, without any means test or requirement to work.
    • It is paid irrespective of any income from other sources.
    • It is paid without requiring the performance of any work or the willingness to accept a job.
    • Advocates say it will allow people to genuinely choose what sort of employment they take, and to retrain when they wish.
    • Its proponents also claim that a basic income scheme is one of the most simple benefits models, and will reduce all the bureaucracy surrounding the welfare state, making it less complex and much cheaper to administer.

    It will also deal with the coming automation that will definitely replace workers of all types right up to and including the very top of the income and wealth pyramid.

    Great leveling will happen.

    Add your comment.


  36.    Dating historic activity at Oso site shows recurring major landslides | UW Today

    "This was well known as an area of hillslope instability, but the question was: 'Were the larger slides thousands of years old, or hundreds of years old?"' co-author Alison Duvall, an assistant professor of earth and space sciences, said in a news release. "Now we can say that many of them are hundreds of years old."

    Considering the wetter weather, which increases the likelihood of slides, this research comes none too soon.

    Add your comment.


  37.    Alabama Couple Sues Hoverboard Makers Over House Fire

    Do you allow your tenants to have these at any of your properties? You might want to immediately ban them. Make sure you make the reason perfectly clear. You might want to also make clear that storing them in a vehicle on the premises is also not allowed.

    You can later lift the ban on newer boards that don't have the fire issue (once those are available).

    An Alabama couple has filed suit blaming a popular Christmas toy for a fire that badly damaged their home near Huntsville.

    The lawsuit filed Dec. 22 by Judge and George Gregory claims battery-powered hoverboards caught fire on Nov. 23, causing extensive damage but no injuries.

    Add your comment.


  38.    Florida Seeks Information on String of Jacksonville Arsons

    The Florida State Fire Marshal's Office is looking for information about a string of arsons that occurred early the morning of December 8th, 2015, in Jacksonville, Fla. Around 3:00 a.m., a porch surveillance camera captured an image of the suspect ….

    Add your comment.


  39.    Crime Free Association Website, Crime Free Programs, International Crime Free Association

    The Crime Free Programs are innovative, law enforcement based crime prevention solutions designed to help keep illegal activity off rental property. There are currently nine Crime Free Programs being offered. The Crime Free Programs were successfully developed at the Mesa Arizona Police Department in 1992. The International Crime Free Programs have spread to nearly 2,000 cities in 48 U.S. States, 5 Canadian Provinces, Mexico, England, Finland, Nigeria, and Puerto Rico.

    Add your comment.


  40.    Chinese megacity has more people than Canada, Argentina, Australia – Business Insider

    China's Pearl River Delta is swallowing up nearby cities.

    As the largest urban area in the world, the region features a population of roughly 42 million housed inside a 2,700-square-mile perimeter.

    Add your comment.


  41.    Oil Slump Weighing On North Dakota Housing Market – CBS Minnesota

    There's a dark side to those delightfully low gas prices: Housing markets are slumping in communities that were recently flush from the U.S. shale oil fracking boom.

    Home sales are down sharply this year in North Dakota and the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa. Home sales have also slowed in El Paso, and, more recently, in Houston.

    In Houston, sales began to decline in October, and the median home price has fallen for two months in a row following 41 consecutive months of price increases.

    Still, Houston's economy isn't nearly as reliant on oil as it was in the 1980s, when the city grappled with a slump in oil prices and a savings and loan crisis.

    While some markets in Texas are slowing, the statewide figures still show overall home sales accelerating and prices rising. The big Texas markets of Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin have hardly been affected at all, according to RealtyTrac figures, partly because those markets have diverse economies that are less reliant on energy.

    That could change if oil prices continue to fall, say, into the $20-a-barrel range, Gaines said.

    Add your comment.


  42.    Strong Tornadoes Strike Texas | ALERT™ :: Event Summary

    Terrible situation:

    A huge storm system impacted the United States from New Mexico to Michigan and Georgia over the Christmas holiday weekend, delivering tornadoes, flash floods, blizzards, hail, and freezing rain. North Texas was hit by at least nine tornadoes on Saturday, December 26, most of them concentrated in the vicinity of Dallas, the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the country. At least 11 people have been killed in that area and according to local officials, as many as 1,450 homes may have been damaged or destroyed.

    … all it takes is a single powerful tornado hitting a populated area to cause extreme damage.

    Add your comment.


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We do not necessarily fact checked the contents of every linked article or page, etc.

If we were to conclude any part or parts of our industry are in violation of fundamental fairness and the legal standards of a state or states, we'd address the issue through proper, legal channels. We trust you understand.

The laws that tie our tongues, so to speak, are designed to keep the public from losing confidence in the industry and the regulatory system overseeing it. Insurance commissioners around the country work very hard to analyze rates and to not allow the industry to be damaged by bad rate-settings and changes in coverages. The proper way for people in the industry to deal with such matters is by adhering to the laws, rules, and regulations of the applicable states and within industry associations where such matters may be discussed in private without giving the industry unnecessary black eyes. Ethics is very high on the list in the insurance industry, and we don't want to lose the people's trust. That said, the industry is not perfect; but what industry is?

For our part, we believe in strong regulations and strong regulators.

We welcome your comments and ask you to keep in mind that we cannot and will not reply in any way or ways where any insurance commissioner could rightly say we've violated the law of the given state.

We are allowed to share rating-bureau data/reports and industry-consultant opinions but make clear here that those opinions are theirs and do not necessarily reflect our position.

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