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Terrorism Risk Insurance Program: Renewed and Restructured

April 6, 2015 Comments off

Terrorism Risk Insurance Program: Renewed and Restructured
Source: Insurance Information Institute
From blog post:

The April 2013 Boston bombing may have marked the first successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the September 11, 2001 tragedy, but terrorism on a global scale is increasing.

Yesterday’s attack by the Al-Shabaab terror group at a university in Kenya and a recent attack by gunmen targeting foreign tourists at the Bardo museum in Tunisia point to the persistent nature of the terrorist threat.

Groups connected with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State committed close to 200 attacks per year between 2007 and 2010, a number that grew by more than 200 percent, to about 600 attacks in 2013, according to the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland.

Latest threats to U.S. targets include calls by Al-Shabaab for attacks on shopping malls.

And a recent intelligence assessment circulated by the Department of Homeland Security focused on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.

On January 12, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015.

A new I.I.I. white paper, Terrorism Risk Insurance Program: Renewed and Restructured, takes us through each of more than eight distinct layers of taxpayer protection provided under TRIA’s renewed structure.

Over 61,000 U.S. Bridges Need Structural Repair, New Analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation Data Finds

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Over 61,000 U.S. Bridges Need Structural Repair, New Analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation Data Finds
Source: American Road & Transportation Builders Association

An analysis of the recently-released 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) National Bridge Inventory database finds good news and bad news when it comes to the most heavily traveled U.S. bridges. The good news is that there are over 2,000 fewer structurally deficient structures than there were in 2013. The bad news is that it means more than 61,000 structurally deficient bridges are still in need of significant repair. And it is a problem that hits close to home.

The analysis of the federal government data, conducted by American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, shows cars, trucks and school buses cross the nation’s 61,064 structurally compromised bridges 215 million times every day. Not surprisingly, the most heavily traveled are on the Interstate Highway System, which carries the bulk of truck traffic and passenger vehicles.

The bridge problem could get a whole lot worse soon, Black warns. The federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is the source of 52 percent of highway and bridge capital investments made annually by state governments. The HTF has suffered five revenue shortfalls between 2008 and 2014, and has been bailed out with nearly $65 billion in revenues from the General Fund just to preserve existing investment levels. The latest extension of federal highway and transit funding through the HTF expires on May 31, absent congressional action. Nearly a dozen states so far have canceled or delayed road and bridge projects because of the continued uncertainty over the trust fund situation. ARTBA expects that number to increase as the deadline nears.

Brewers Association: Top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S.

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S.
Source: Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers—today released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 42 were craft brewing companies1.

“The companies on this list include the vanguard of the craft industry,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “They are exposing new beer lovers to craft, opening new markets and creating opportunities for the entire category. As they continue to grow, so will the availability of innovative and high-quality beers produced for all to enjoy.”

See also: Brewers Association Reports Annual Growth Figures for Small and Independent Brewers

ABA Report: Farm Banks Well Positioned for 2015

March 26, 2015 Comments off

ABA Report: Farm Banks Well Positioned for 2015
Source: American Bankers Association

Farm banks significantly increased agricultural lending by 13.6 percent in 2014 and held $94.6 billion in farm loans at the end of the year, according to the American Bankers Association’s annual Farm Bank Performance Report.

Asset quality continued to improve at the nation’s 2,036 farm banks as non-performing loans declined to pre-recession levels. ABA defines farm banks as banks whose ratio of domestic farm loans to total domestic loans is greater than or equal to the industry average.

“The agricultural economy may be faced with headwinds in 2015, but farm banks are well positioned to continue serving the needs of farmers and ranchers across the country,” said Brittany Dengler, ABA senior research manager, economic policy and research. “Banks hold nearly half of all farm loans and will remain an important source of ag credit.”

See also: 10 Financial Tips for America’s Young and Beginning Farmers

PJM Interconnection Economic Analysis of the EPA Clean Power Plan Proposal

March 24, 2015 Comments off

PJM Interconnection Economic Analysis of the EPA Clean Power Plan Proposal (PDF)
Source: PJM Interconnection

At the request of the Organization of PJM States, Inc., PJM Interconnection has analyzed potential economic impacts on electric power generation in the PJM footprint resulting from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The plan, proposed by EPA in June 2014, seeks a 30-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels). PJM does not take positions for or against pending regulations but does provide independent expert analysis on the potential economic and reliability impacts of proposed regulatory rules and legislation.

The Organization of PJM States, which represents state utility regulators in the region served by PJM, requested analyses of several scenarios including a comparison of regional compliance versus state-by-state compliance. PJM included additional scenarios with different assumptions in the analysis to provide modeled results covering a wide range of possible outcomes. In total PJM analyzed 17 distinct scenarios – each was evaluated with and without the implementation of the Clean Power Plan. The scenarios covered varying combinations and levels of renewable resources, energy efficiency, natural gas prices, nuclear generation and new entry of natural gas combined-cycle resources.

High-level insights from the economic analysis include:

• Fossil steam unit retirements (coal, oil and gas) probably will occur gradually. As the CO2 emission limits decline over time, the financial positions of high-emitting resources should become increasingly less favorable, with lower-emitting resources displacing them more often in the competitive energy market.
• Electricity production costs are likely to increase with compliance because larger amounts of higher-cost, cleaner generation will be used to meet emissions targets.
• The price of natural gas likely will be a primary driver of the cost of reducing CO2 emissions if natural gas combined-cycle units become a significant source of replacement generation for coal and other fossil steam units.
• Adding more energy efficiency and renewable energy and retaining more nuclear generation would likely lead to lower CO2 prices; this could result in fewer megawatts of fossil steam resources at risk of retirement because lower CO2 prices may reduce the financial stress on fossil steam resources under this scenario.
• State-by-state compliance options, compared to regional compliance options, likely would result in higher compliance costs for most PJM states. This is because there are fewer low-cost options available within state boundaries than across the entire region. However, results will vary by state given differing state targets and generation mixes. PJM modeled regional versus individual state compliance only under a mass-based approach.
• State-by-state compliance options would increase the amount of capacity at risk for retirement because some states likely would face higher CO2 prices in an individual compliance approach.

See also: State-Level Detail (PDF)
See also: FAQs (PDF)

Gaming Careers: Gateway to the Middle Class

March 24, 2015 Comments off

Gaming Careers: Gateway to the Middle Class
Source: Oxford Economics/American Gaming Association

This new report produced by Oxford Economics in partnership with the American Gaming association explores how the United States’ casino gaming industry creates jobs and opportunities, promotes educational opportunitites, and supports the middle class.

free registration required2

How Millennials Get News: Inside the Habits of America’s First Digital Generation

March 17, 2015 Comments off

How Millennials Get News: Inside the Habits of America’s First Digital Generation
Source: Media Insight Project (American Press Institute and AP-NORC Center)

For years, researchers and social critics have worried that the newest generation of American adults is less interested in news than those who grew up in the pre-digital age.

Much of the concern has come from data that suggest adults age 18-34—so-called Millennials—do not visit news sites, read print newspapers, watch television news, or seek out news in great numbers. This generation, instead, spends more time on social networks, often on mobile devices. The worry is that Millennials’ awareness of the world, as a result, is narrow, their discovery of events is incidental and passive, and that news is just one of many random elements in a social feed.

A new comprehensive study that looks closely at how people learn about the world on these different devices and platforms finds that this newest generation of American adults is anything but “newsless,” passive, or civically uninterested.

This study extends the work from the Media Insight Project’s 2014 Personal News Cycle to provide a deeper investigation of the news and information habits of Millennials age 18-34. It included two components — a quantitative survey of Millennials nationwide and qualitative interviews and follow-up exercises with small friend groups of Millennials in Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco and Oakland, California; and at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The researchers sought to supplement the quantitative survey research with a qualitative component to obtain a deeper understanding of Millennials’ online lives and news consumption habits.

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