Thursday, October 06, 2022

February 4, 2020  -Jamaicans have been warned to expect property insurance rates to rise by 10-15 per cent this year because of “increasingly destructive Atlantic hurricane seasons in recent years”, even though the island itself has been spared the wrath of killer storms.

The caution was issued yesterday afternoon by the Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ), whose executive director, Orville Johnson, cited the Caribbean’s increased risk rating as a defining factor behind the impending hike, which is likely to bump up mortgage payments.

The rise in fees will reinforce the growing concern over climate change and the dangers it poses to small island states that are at greater risk of vulnerability to planet Earth’s temperamental swings, with record temperature highs, testing tempests, and brutal floods.

Harvey, Irma and Maria were among the most destructive Atlantic hurricanes on record, delivering a body blow to the insurance industry in 2017 with losses topping US$90 billion. Swirling storms have ping-ponged from the eastern to the northern Caribbean, carrying death and destruction in their wake, but Jamaica has in recent years escaped their wrath.

Last year, Hurricane Dorian, the most powerful storm to make landfall in the Caribbean, decimated The Bahamas, causing dozens of deaths and a US$8-billion wipeout to the economy.

Johnson said that Caribbean insurers subscribe to a common reinsurance pool, which has translated to Jamaica’s fling with fortune failing to insulate the island from the financial headwinds that have troubled the industry.

“International reinsurers are increasing their cost of coverage to the region in order to recover prior years’ losses, forcing local companies to also increase insurance rates,” the insurance sector leader highlighted in a press statement yesterday.

Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday afternoon, Johnson explained that a significant amount of insurance premiums – just over 50 per cent – is channelled into buying reinsurance coverage in the major catastrophes.

“We are exposed – there’s no question about it. With climate change being a factor, hurricanes are getting more intense and we just had a bout of an earthquake, so we have those double catastrophes that we are exposed to,” he said.

Johnson’s conservative estimate of 20 per cent property insurance compliance among residences here indicates that thousands of Jamaicans are at risk of losing their homes with no hope of recovery. Mortgages have the greatest power of compulsion, because of insurers’ determination to protect their investment.

“What you find is that when people take mortgages out, they insure their houses because they have to, but outside of that, there is a reluctance of persons to insure. Those persons who have paid for their houses, sometimes they feel no pressure to insure,” Johnson told The Gleaner.

The IAJ executive director said that mortgagors will not have the option of withdrawing when the hikes take effect, but noted that rates would differ in a competitive market among the 11 local general insurance companies that have membership in the association. Its other seven members trade in life insurance.

Of note, some of the local insurance agents have operations in Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands and The Bahamas, among other countries in the region.

Johnson bemoaned Jamaica’s blasé culture of property, life and health insurance – all of which are estimated to be below 30 per cent.

“People tend to be insurance averse for various reasons - cost factors, trust factors, sceptical or perhaps they are just risk takers,” he said, adding that locals have often chosen to ride their luck believing that “everything will be all right”.

SXM Radio Online


September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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