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Reasons Why You Should Consider Earthquake Protection for Your Home

Earthquake insurance is surprisingly affordable now. Deductibles are now lower than ever, 2 ½ %! There has not been major movement on the San Andreas Fault for over 159 years. Seismologists say the San Andreas fault is locked and loaded, ready to go off.   When this fault erupts it will certainly cause other faults to erupt as well. If your home is near or around a fault it could be disastrous. The reason for purchasing earthquake protection is that your homes equity will be protected. The more equity you have in your home, the more it makes sense to protect it from the resulting damage of an earthquake. In 1994, our agency paid out over $500 million in earthquake losses for the Northridge earthquake. Our agency at that time had many condominium homeowner associations and single family homes insured. Our agency client participation with earthquake coverage was about 91% in 1994. Today, 2016 our average client participation rate with earthquake coverage is only about 42%. In 1994, when those homeowner clients and condominium board members called to ask if they had earthquake and how the coverage would work, they were very pleased to find out they were fully covered and their homes and condos would be restored 100%, subject to their deductible. Their deductible was generally absorbed in the overall payout because some things were not deemed “important” to fix but yet they received a check for these items. So all and all, earthquake insurance saved our clients $500 million! That’s half of a billion dollars of earthquake payout for our clients in 1994! It is interesting to note that the San Andreas fault has not ruptured in over 159 years. Seismologists say it is “locked and loaded” and models suggest a history of major tectonic plate movement at 130 year intervals. One could conclude that the San Andreas fault is 29 years overdue for a major shift. When it finally does rupture, we do not know what the damage will be but we do know it will be significant. We also know, it will surely trigger several other faults in California cities and neighborhoods. So it makes good sense that the more equity you have in your home to get an earthquake proposal from your professional Western Gold agent. They can help you determine how much earthquake coverage you need and vary the price accordingly with the deductible. We can make it affordable, we can make your deductible manageable for you. Wouldn’t it be better to be protected against this inevitable, catastrophic event than have your home red tagged with your only hope from FEMA? We are here to help, we have great advice, we have great experience, we have all the companies. With our agents help and advice, you can custom design your own earthquake policy, amount of coverage and deductibles that are determined by you, with a price that’s affordable and manageable.    

Demand for Liability Insurance to Rise Again:

View this article online: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2014/09/15/340428.htm Demand for Liability Insurance to Rise Again: Swiss Re Claims severity and demand for liability insurance will increase as economic growth accelerates and because of technological, social and regulatory changes, according to a new report from Swiss Re. Cyber risk, hydrofracking and autonomous cars will likely be among the drivers of liability claims in years ahead. Liability claims have been below trend in the weak economic growth environment of recent years, boosting insurers’ profitability despite declining prices. But their capital strength and underwriting expertise are competitive advantages for casualty insurers, says the insurer’s latest sigma study, “Liability claims trends: emerging risks and rebounding drivers.” New Risks Emerging A number of technological, social, and regulatory changes will drive liability claims in the near future. Cyber risk and the liability from emerging technologies, such as hydrofracking and autonomous cars, may become more prominent in claims. Tort reform has dampened claims severity in some markets, but the effects were a one-off benefit and will no longer suppress claims growth to the same degree, according to the report. Insurers are also concerned about the potential for risk accumulation, in which the insured losses from one event affect multiple companies, countries, industries or lines of business. “With global ever-increasing interconnectivity – via cyber links and supply chains – the risk of casualty catastrophes is rising,” says Jayne Plunkett, Swiss Re’s head of Casualty. Claims Growth Due to economic and social factors such as low inflation, low wage growth, tort reform, and improvements in medical care costs, liability claims have been lower-than-expected since 2008.  Over the long term, claims growth typically outpaces economic growth and the expectation is for a return to this more normal growth path, which in turn will push up demand for liability insurance. Figure 1: General liability claims incurred as a % of GDP *Net claims incurred; Germany, France and Italy are direct claims incurred. Source: Swiss Re Economic Research & Consulting Redundant claims reserves from prior-year claims have been another factor supporting insurers’ profitability in recent years. However, a pick-up in liability claims growth will drain reserves, and an accelerated depletion of reserves in the case of severe claims could erode the profitability of existing books of business. Liability risks are challenging to underwrite and price due to their long-tail nature, which often results in claims being settled many years after business is written. Insurers need to take advantage of their underwriting expertise to improve pricing. Likewise, they must maintain capital strength to manage the long-tail nature of the business and the rising claims costs, such as those from the growing litigation funding industry. Big Data, Modeling Insurers need to innovate to capture market opportunities. With Big Data and forward-looking models, insurers can perform statistical analysis to better understand the key drivers of risks. Predictive models can anticipate future outcomes under relatively stable conditions, and forward-looking models reflect the cause-effect chain of liability losses. “Insurers today have more data available than ever before,” said Thomas Holzheu, one of the authors of the report. “They can use this to better understand complex relationships between observable risk drivers of claims frequency and severity, and to maintain underwriting quality.”  Source: Swiss Re

Desktop Hurricane Tool Shows Storm Risk in Neighborhoods

When a hurricane comes ashore, there are so many dangers: tree-snapping winds, torrential downpours and even tornadoes spawned by the tempest itself. But it’s the wall of water that tropical systems push onto land, known as storm surge, that tops the list. “Storm surge has historically taken the most lives,” Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, said by telephone yesterday. For the estimated 22 million Americans living in hurricane- prone coastal areas the question is: Am I at risk? A new online tool released by the hurricane center this week should provide some of the answers. Overlays showing water heights from hurricanes of varying power are projected on a U.S. map that users can scroll down into to show street-by-street detail. Hurricanes come in different sizes and follow unique paths, so the tool isn’t a prediction of exactly what will happen if a Category 3 storm hits Southampton, Long Island. It does show that people living there may want to consider their options. The same is true for people in any of the other places that face the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The maps also show neighborhoods that are behind levees, which can be vulnerable, as New Orleans was in Katrina, if they should break because of a storm. “It is a valuable tool for showing who is at risk and who needs to be putting together a personal or family or business plan for evacuation,” Knabb said. “I hope the big result is that people realize they are vulnerable to storm surge and that they put together a plan now.” Insurance Coverage As recent years bear out, there is no region that is safe from a strike. The last hurricane to hit Florida was Wilma in 2005, Knabb said. Since then, the Northeast has been hit by Irene and Sandy as well as a number of near misses. People in the Northeast may be more aware of storms in recent years than those living in Florida and along the Gulf coast, two areas that have been hit the most since records began in 1851. Eight storms have formed during this year’s Atlantic season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The 30-year average calls for 12 storms with winds of at least 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour. Evacuation Calls Regardless of what the map indicates, Knabb stressed that people need to heed evacuation calls. Emergency managers take a lot more than just storm surge into consideration when they advise people to leave their homes and businesses. Tropical systems regularly cause deluges of fresh water flooding far behind where they come ashore, as did Tropical Storm Irene when it inundated Vermont in 2011. Sandy dropped three feet of snow, closing roads and knocking out power, throughout the Appalachians in 2012. Hurricanes and tropical storms touch off tornadoes, collapse buildings and can hurl debris through the air like missiles. Danger comes in a lot of different forms in a hurricane. The biggest of them is now measurable on your desktop. Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Californians urged to prepare before the next big one hits

Understanding your risks and mitigation needs offers the best protection SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, more than 10 million Californians will participate in the largest disaster preparedness event ever when they drop, cover and hold on. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is reminding Californians to prepare before the next earthquake hits with a few simple steps that can save your life and help you recover from disaster. “You have the opportunity to prepare for the next disaster today, and make recovering easier,” said Commissioner Jones. “In observance of the Great ShakeOut I urge all Californians to make a preparedness plan and practice it. Before the next big one hits, make sure you take a few simple steps to mitigate your risk of injury and loss.” Californians know it’s not if but when the next earthquake will hit. Even a small or moderate temblor can cause significant damage. The magnitude 6.0 quake that struck Napa on August 24 is a good reminder that residents need to take steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and their belongings by making sure they have the coverage they need and they take simple, inexpensive mitigation steps. Standard homeowners insurance does not provide coverage for earthquake damage. Earthquake insurance must be purchased separately and is typically designed as a catastrophic policy to cover tens of thousands of dollars in structural damage. The majority of quakes are moderate and cause damage and injury when furniture and belongings tumble and break. For about $100, the average person can protect themselves and their family by using Velcro appliance and furniture straps, cabinet latches and quake putty to secure those items that fall and break during a quake.

10 Deadliest Driving Distractions

Distracted driving endangers not only those behind the wheel but also their passengers, fellow road occupants and pedestrians. ln fact, drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to  injure themselves, a statistic that has led to them being banned in 11 states. The consequences of distracted driving can also be tragic. Teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction was cited. Although texting while driving (TWD) poses an enormous crash risk, with young adults listed as the most notorious offenders, it surprisingly did not claim the top spot on the insureds list. 10. Smoking-related (includes smoking, lighting up, putting ashes in tray) Of the more than 65,000 people killed in car crashes over the past two years, one in 10 crashes involved at least one distracted driver, according to police report data. Data from 2010 and 2011 police reports listed the majority of drivers who were distracted as “generally distracted” or “lost in thought.” Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely, When reviewing law enforcement officers’ notes in crash reports involving at least one fatality, it was found that 1 percent cited smoking, including gestures related to lighting up and putting ashes in the car’s tray. 9. Moving objects (pets or insects) Dog owners know the perils of an agitated or overexcited Fido all too well. About 1 percent of police reports alluded to “moving objects.” This data on distraction is based largely on police officers’ judgment at the time of the crash-and because some people may be reluctant to admit being distracted when interviewed by police after a crash-the numbers are difficult to verify.  These numbers may, in fact, under-represent the seriousness and prevalence of driving distractions overall. The data is nevertheless meaningful, because unlike surveys in which consumers self-report the types of distracted behaviors they engage in, the data is based on actual police reports concerning fatal crashes. 8. Using other device or controls integral to the vehicle Virtually any activity that can take your eyes off the road for even a split-second can put the driver and others in jeopardy. Seemingly innocent behaviors, such as adjusting rearview mirrors, seats, or using an OEM navigation system accounted for another 1 percent of fatal distractions. 7. Adjusting audio or climate controls Two percent of distracted drivers admitted that switching radio stations or adjusting the stereo volume or vehicle temperature led to a fatal mistake. 6. Eating or drinking Using one’s car as a moving restaurant is risky business as well. Another two percent of distracted drivers were either eating or drinking when the fatal crash occurred. A morning pit stop at Starbucks or a local coffee shop can avoid this careless, unnecessary risk. 5. Using or reaching for device brought into vehicle, such as navigational device or headphones Drivers who reached for their GPS device or headphones accounted for around two percent as well. 4. Other occupants (talking with or looking at other people in the car) Friends made bad company for 5 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes. 3. Outside person, object or event (such as rubbernecking) It’s difficult to resist temptation to gawk at off-road drama or post-wreck cleanup, but 7 percent of the distracted drivers in the report should have.  Parents’ advice to “keep your eyes on the wheel” at all times should carry through adulthood. 2. Gell phone use (talking, listening, dialing, texting) A slew of legislation has been aimed to deter operating a cell phone while driving. At least 11 states in addition to D.C. have banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Text messaging while driving (TWD) specifically is one of the most dangerous distractions and is illegal in 39 states plus D.C. Many young adult drivers erroneously believe they can safely TWD, but the numbers indicate otherwise. This offense accounted for 12 percent of fatal driving distractions.  The national epidemic has also sparked a “driving while intoxicated” public awareness campaign, after studies revealed that TWD is about six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. The NHTSA has also likened TWD to driving “after consuming four beers.” Other sobering statistics suggest TWD causes 1,600,000 accidents per year (National Safety Council); 30,000 injuries per year (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study); and 1 1 teen deaths in the U.S. each day (lns. lnstitute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts). 1. Generally distracted or “lost in thought” Detaching from reality can prove useful when recharging creative energies or simply taking a respite from a hectic day. However,doing so while driving can be fatal. Driving “in a fog” or seemingly on autopilot is, above all, the riskiest driving behavior cited  According to the insurer, daydreamers accounted for a whopping 62 percent of distracted drivers involved in road fatalities.

The Parameters of Flood Insurance

Wading Through Mud, Rising Lakes and the 45-Days Rule April 1 5, 201 3, By Christine Barlow, PropertyCasualty360.com Spring thaws take place in late February through early April; tornado season began on April 1st; and hurricane and wildfire season both commence on June 1st. That makes late spring and early summer “disaster season,” for lack of a better term. Tornados and wildfires, however, do not cause the coverage issues that spring floods and hurricanes do. With water, flood becomes the issue. No matter how many advertisements FEMA runs or how much advice agents provide, there are always people running uninsured because they opted out of purchasing flood insurance. For those who did purchase flood insurance, as in any insurance policy, certain parameters must be met in order for coverage to apply. Let’s look at some of those parameters. Aside from defining “you” and “your” as most insurance policies do, the flood policy first defines “flood.” lt is easy for people to think that water in the basement and around the house constitutes a flood; however, there are specific parameters that must be met. A flood is defined as a temporary condition where two or more acres or two or more properties are partially or completely inundated by overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, or mudflow. This means that while an insured who surveys water in the yard and the basement may believe that his property has been “flooded,” an accurate diagnosis to determine coverage applicability relies on other factors. According to the flood policy, the aforementioned insured has not experienced flooding unless the neighbor’s property is inundated at Ieast partially as well. Thus, the insured may well be uninsured because his property is not technically flooded as defined in the flood policy, as well as because water is exctuded in the homeowners’form. Homeowners’ insurance exclusions include flood, surface water, waves, tides, tidal water, and other sources. What about Mud? Mudflow is defined as “a river of liquid and flowing mud on the sudaces of normally dry land, such as when earth is carried by a current of water.” This does not include landslides, slope failures, or a saturated soil mass moving by liquidity down a slope, all of which are actually earth movements. There must truly be a river of mud. Flood waters must have accumulated dirt along the way to form mud, similar to a volcanic lahar, which is a moving fluid mass composed of water and volcanic debris. Mudflow is covered, whereas landslides, slope failures, and saturated masses are not. Another key definition is that of direct physical loss by or from flood. This is damage to property caused directly by a flood, and there must be evidence of physical changes to the property. lndirect damage is not covered. A subsequent fire or theft of property because of damage from the flood is not covered by the flood policy, either. Unlike the homeowners’ policy, the flood policy does not provide coverage for structures other than a detached garage. Therefore, sheds, gazebos, swimming pools are not covered by flood insurance. Additions to the dwelling may be covered, however, as long as they attach to and contact the dwelling by means of a rigid exterior wall, a solid load-bearing interior wall, a stairway, elevated walkway, or roof. Because water is so powerful, smaller non-attached structures can easily be washed away, so there is no coverage for them. The “45 Days” Rule Personal property is covered for up to 45 days from flood if it has to be relocated to protect it from flood or imminent damage from flood. Because this is a flood policy, it is not going to expand coverage beyond flood when property is moved elsewhere. During hurricane season, however, it is possible that a second hurricane could come through before the insured has resettled into the original home, and the personal property could be damaged past 45 days. At this point, there would be no coverage for that loss. Payment is only for 45 days from the date of the first flood. Only $1,000 is paid for the expenses for moving the property, not the property itself. This must be read carefully lest the insured receive only $1,000 for the property when the value of the property is due; it is the expense of moving and storing the property that is limited to $1,000. Rising Lake Waters The flood policy contains a unique section regarding continuous lake flooding. lf the building has been flooded by rising lake waters for 90 continuous days or more and it appears relatively certain that the flooding will continue there are provisions for paying the claim before the loss is completed. The amount of damage the building will sustain must be equal to the policy limits plus deductible or the maximum payable amount under the policy for any one building, and the insured must agree to make no further claim, not seek renewal of the policy, not apply for additional flood insurance for property at the described location and to not seek a premium refund then the provider will pay the loss. This allows the insured to begin moving on instead of waiting for the house to be totally destroyed before filing a claim and receiving funds. Of course, these are just some of the unique features of the flood policy; it is specially tailored for one type of loss, flood, and it is written accordingly. Similar in some ways to the homeowners’ policy but different in others, flood insurance provides much-needed coverage when an insured is aware of his exposure and purchases the proper coverage.

California Governor Signs Bill

Earthquake Insurance Information Bill Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 2064, a bill aimed at changing the way Californians learn about earthquake insurance for their homes. Under California law, insurers that sell residential property insurance also must offer earthquake coverage to their policyholders. The current notice is the only required offer of earthquake insurance that policyholders ever get and hasn’t changed for 30 years. AB 2064, authored by Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, makes updates and improvements to the wording and contents of the mandatory offer of earthquake insurance. The bill also will require insurance companies that offer earthquake coverage from the California Earthquake Authority to send an additional communication every year that describes current CEA policy and coverage choices. “This bill should improve the low take-up rate by using clearer, more consumer-friendly language in mandatory notices,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “ Along with revising the mandatory notice, AB 2064 will allow the CEA through its participating insurers to provide additional up-to-date earthquake information to their policyholders, including the 8 million Californians without earthquake insurance. “This additional communication will consistently help educate residents about earthquake risk and CEA product options,” CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy said in a statement. “With AB 2064’s innovations, more people will get more information about earthquakes, seismic risk, and sensible options for earthquake insurance.” The updated notice will replace outdated, confusing language, and will bring new opportunities for financial preparedness for earthquakes, according to CEA. The updated mandatory offer/notice and the annual CEA outreach message will come into effect in January 2016.

Copper Theft on the Rise

Copper Theft on the Rise Protect your property from this dangerous crime. Your rating:Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 It’s one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, and it’s not what you might expect. When your air conditioning unit is stolen, it’s not for the unit, but for its copper coils and pipes that thieves can sell to recycling companies and scrap yards. According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tracks incidents of copper, aluminum, nickel, stainless steel and scrap iron theft, 25,083 claims were filed from 2009 to 2012, an 81 percent increase compared to their 2008 report. In fact, the Department of Energy says copper theft alone causes nearly $1 billion in losses to U.S. businesses each year; 96 percent of claims in recent years have been for copper theft. Copper theft is lucrative enough that thieves will look for it anywhere: electrical power stations, vacant or foreclosed homes, even construction sites. (On a Utah highway, thieves recently managed to take six miles of copper wire.) And while it would seem that metal theft would slow after the recession and the rise in commodity prices eased, experts say that has not been the case. In fact, the demand for copper from developing nations such as China and India is creating an increasing international copper trade that thieves are exploiting, the FBI reports. Copper is particularly valuable as scrap because it is used for everything from plumbing to electronics. Danger of metal theft  Metal thievery isn’t just inconvenient, it’s also dangerous. According to a brief prepared by the FBI Criminal Intelligence Section, thefts have also resulted in: The failure of five tornado sirens in the Jackson, Miss. area to warn residents of an approaching tornado, because copper thieves stripped the sirens’ copper wiring; and $10 million in losses experienced by farmers in Pinal County, Ariz. when copper thieves stripped their irrigation wells and pumps. States including California, Nevada, Kansas and Washington have passed laws to crack down on the theft by mandating that recycling yards record copper purchases and codify copper materials with serial numbers for tracking, but tightening the restrictions on scrap dealers doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. Protect your property  “We have long recognized the vulnerability of construction sites to theft and vandalism,” says James King, field technical manager in CPI appraisal and loss prevention at Chubb. “We provide our clients with a comprehensive checklist of loss prevention tips, recognizing that our target market homes tend to make extensive use of copper in plumbing, wiring, gutters and roof flashings.” To that extent, homeowners can take the same precautions as business owners do to protect the metal around their property. At high-value sites, King’s team also recommends security guards on-site to act as deterrents. Scott Spencer, Chubb’s worldwide appraisal manager, suggests these other precautions around your home: Increase or consider motion-activated lighting outside your home and include lighting on fixtures like AC units. Consider a locking air conditioner cage that will protect your compressor. Secure any equipment you might use in your garage or in an outbuilding where possible, and use a perimeter security system with motion detectors. Mark any metals around your property with your name or another identifier using engraving equipment. Make sure that access to under your home, where copper piping is typically run, is secure. This is especially important in seasonal and elevated homes. Remove trees or ladders that thieves could use to gain access to your home, and trim or install lighting around landscaping that could allow criminals to hide around your property. Speak to your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate insurance for metal theft. Consider taking a visual inventory of the exterior of your property, much as you would for valuables you keep inside your home.

Storage Facility Know-How

Storage Facility Know-How What to ask and confirm before storing your possessions. Your rating:Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 Give it 1/5 Give it 2/5 Give it 3/5 Give it 4/5 Give it 5/5 Click a star to add your rating, with 5 stars being highest and 1 star being lowest. Total self-storage space in the U.S. is approximately 2.3 billion square feet, representing more than 78 square miles of space—or three times the size of Manhattan. That’s according to the Self Storage Association (SSA), the official trade organization of the self-storage industry. At some point in your life, you will likely need a short-term or long-term storage facility. The SSA says there’s so much space—with 7.3 square feet of self-storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation—that it would be physically possible for every American to stand at the same time under the total canopy of self-storage roofing. Now that you know the scope of storage space options, here are a few things to consider if you plan to use one of these facilities. Of course, security should be top of mind. The SSA has a set of safety guidelines for its members, but not every storage facility is created equal. A storage facility should protect your valuables against theft or damage. Facility operators should also share with you their plan for securing your items and their contingency plans for emergency situations. Also consult with your insurance advisor to make sure that you have adequate coverage between your personal insurance plan and the policies many storage facilities cover. Here are the most critical security questions to ask before signing a contract at your new storage facility: Does the facility have managers that live on-site or close enough to provide additional security during off hours? Are there plenty of surveillance cameras on the property, and are they high enough resolution to see pertinent details, like facial features or license plates? Make sure video systems are digital—which typically has higher resolutions and also is more likely to carry archives. How are the storage units actually secured? Clearly, only you should have the keys or code to your storage unit, but check to see what kinds of locks they use. Disk locks are generally considered more secure than padlocks or combination locks. And determine whether individual units are alarmed, or if there’s only a single alarm system (less secure). How safe is the neighborhood? You can check the local crime rate and research with the local police precinct about crimes committed in the area—or at the storage facility. Even if the facility itself is a secure as Fort Knox, you may not feel comfortable accessing it if it is in an unsafe neighborhood. And though security is a priority, mini-storage users should keep fire protection at the location, plus exposure to general flooding and the facility’s evacuation plans top of mind. Since a facility’s contents are subject to the exclusions and limitations of a homeowners policy, customers should seek out a climate-controlled unit to protect against mold. Flood damage would likely not be covered by your policy. The SSA provides its membership—which comprises most facility owners—guidelines for developing safety procedures. And you’re within your rights to ask about their security and safety features. Managers should be able to tell you how they are equipped against fire and water damage, about their pest control program, and even about their strategies for biological and chemical attacks. Of course, you’ll want to check to see how your homeowners insurance covers your items in a self-storage facility, or if the storage facility provides additional insurance—and what that covers. Chubb’s Worldwide Appraisal Manager Scott Spencer advises those who intend to store more delicate items, such as classic cars or fine art, find a specialized storage facility that offers state-of-the-art climate control, expertise and added security.

Drivers in California Must Give Bikes 3-Foot Buffer September 17, 2014 -Insurance Journal Californians will now need to take extra care to steer clear of cyclists. Under statewide regulations taking effect Tuesday, drivers must give bikes a buffer zone of at least 3 feet while passing. A word from our sponsor: Catlin US offers specialty insurance and reinsurance products to our US and Latin American client base. Both our underwriters and claims staff have extensive knowledge and experience in their target markets and focus on delivering customized and innovative solutions with a high level of service. Cited violators will face a fine of $35, which could turn into $220 if a collision occurs in the buffer zone. California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Edgar Figueroa told the Los Angeles Times that officers will be watching cars and cyclists and have been trained to gauge distances by sight during their training. Cyclists may legally use a full traffic lane on California roads but must follow the same laws as cars, including stopping at red lights and stop signs. California is the 24th states to enact the 3-foot passing law. Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.