Texas Petro-Chemical Contractor Sued for DisskillDiscrimination

A blood disorder ended in the unlawful firing of 3 laborers at a Texas-based petro-chemical contractor, federal officials say.

the united states Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged in a lawsuit that Signature commercialfacilitiesLLC (SIS) unlawfully fired the trio, who’re brothers, as a result of a blood disorder that runs during their family.

in line with the EEOC’s suit, Drew West and Anthony West were engaged on the Exxon/Mobil refinery in Beaumont, Texas when Sis just tokover a freelance to accomplish mechanical facilitieson the plant. Drew West and Anthony West were hired on SIS’s payroll around December 2011. Both have hemophilia A, a blood disorder that doesn’t impede their performing their jobs, but which requires dearmedicine for treatment should they sustain an on-the-job scrape or injury that causes bleeding.

in line with the professionalject manager who was liable for the Sis figureers on the plant, SIS’s president and vice chairman of operations instructed him to fireside the Drew and Anthony West when they learned how the SIS’s insurance costs mayspike by having the West brothers at the payroll. since the West brothers had a very smartwork history, as evidenced partially by Anthony West earning a professionalmotion and substantial raise during his employment with SIS, the professionalject manager refused to fireside them.

a 3rd West brother, Raymond, who also has hemophilia A, began working for SIS on the Beaumont Exxon/Mobil refinery around January 2013. After the plant manager who refused to fireside the West brothers stopped engaged on the plant in April 2013, SIS upper controladvised the West brothers’ immediate supervisor that if he didn’t fireplacethe brothers, SIS would fireplacehim.

On July 3, 2013, all three West brothers were advised by their direct supervisor thon they were being fired, effective immediately, supposedly as a result of a discount in force, alalthoughno staffrather than the West brothers were laid off on that day.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division (Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00070) after first making an attemptto succeed in a pre-litigation agreementthrough its conciliation process.

The federal agency is looking for an enduring injunction prohibiting Signature commercialfacilitiesfrom accomplishing any future disskilldiscrimination. The EEOC could also be looking forback pay on bepartof the West brothers, and compensatory and punitive damages and other relief at their behalf, including rightful- place instatement to an acceptable position at SIS.

Posted by Insurance - 2018-07-29 at 1:53 PM

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Oklahoma County Settles Suit Over Killing of Unarmed Black Man for $6M

An Oklahoma county can pay $6 millidirectly to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white former sheriff’s reserve deputy, in line with court documents filed on March 9.

Tulsa County commissioners on Feb. 26 approved the agreementwith the estate of Eric Harris, who was fatally shot in a Tulsa street by ex-volunteer deputy Robert Bates during an illegal gun sales sting. Harris was alin a positionbeing restrained by deputies when Bates shot Harris. a part of the incident was captured on a camera mounted in a couple of a deputy’s glasses.


The 76-year-old Bates, who said he confused his stun gun together with his handgun when he shot Harris in April 2015, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter. He was released in October after serving not up to partof his four-year sentence. Bates asked a state appeals court this week to rehear an appeal he lost last month.

“this couldsfinisha multitudeage that neverybody gets away with it,” said Harris’ brother, Andre Harris, in an interview. “i am hoping this (settlement) is a deterrent.”

Guy Fortney, an attorney for Bates, didn’t immediately return a multitudeage looking forcomment at the settlement.

Sheriff Vic Regalado said in a press release he believes the agreement“will permitthe approach to healing to continue for the Harris family, the citizens of Tulsa County and the exertionsing women and men of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.”

Harris family attorney Dan Smolen said Harris’ legacy brings hope for “a fewmeasure of justice and accountability” when a law officer “violates the bests and takes the lifetime of an African-American citizen.”

“Eric’s death, and the professionalfound government corruption uncovered within the wake of his death, served as a major warning cinterested in Tulsa,” Smolen said.


The Harris shooting drew thousands of county residents to petition for a grand jury to speculateigate allegations that Bates was unqualified to operate a deputy but kept at the force as a result of his friendship with indicted ex-Sheriff Stanley Glanz.

Glanz, a fishing buddy of Bates, was indicted in September 2015, accused of failing to release a 200nineinternal report that raised serious concerns about Bates’ skillto do its job.

The memo, which was leaked to reporters within the weeks after Harris was killed, alleged superiors knew Bates did not have enough training but pressured others to seem the opposite direction as a result of the rich insurance executive‘s relationship with the sheriff and closeties to the agency, which come withd donating thousands of greenbacks in cash, carsand gear to the dep..

Glanz eventually pleaded no contest in 2016 to a charge of refemployingto pertype official duty for not freeingthe two00ninetraining memo on Bates and was sentenced to a year of prisontime, which was suspended.

Harris’ death also uncovered a law enforcement agency in disarray.

Consultants hired by the county issued a scathing 238-page report found thon the sheriff’s office suffered from a “system-wide failure of leadership and supervision” and said the agency were in a “perceptible decline” for greater than a decade.

Shortcomings in its reserve deputy program were simplyprobably the most-visible symptomsof hassleinside the agency, it said.

at the same time asAndre Harris told the AP he was glad for a suitetlement, he doubted whether it maytruly improve long-simmering tensions between black residents in Tulsa and the police. Those date to a 1921 race riot by which hundreds of black residents were killed and thousands more injured.

“it isunhappyto mention, but this (settlement) ain’t going to save youthis,” he said. “it mayslow it down, but i don’t believe the connection between law enforcement and African-Americans goes to head afar more than a $6 million settlement.”


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Hornsby Named VP, Business progressionfor Plexas Groupe in Dallas

Illinois-headquartered national insurance brokerage and risk controlconsultancy ,The Plexus Groupe (Plexus), has hired sales executive Wes Hornsby as a vice chairman of commercialDevelopment. Hornsby is predicated in Dallas.

Hornsby brings greater than two decades of sales leadership, business operations experience, and strategic planning technologyacross numerous industries to Plexus. He was most up-to-dately with Aflac, where he adaptedbenefit plans for clients via brokers, self-funded groups, and enrollment/software solution companies. He has also held key sales roles with SurePoint Medical LLC, Rocky Brands Inc., Allstate, and Bayer/Siemens.

Plexus givestechnologyin property and casualty, workerbenefits, corporate retirement plans, non-publiclines insurance, human resources administration/consulting, benefits technology services, and mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, the Plexus Global Network gives clients access to insurance placement in 130 countries around the globe. Plexus has 4offices — Deer Park, Ill. (headquarters), Chicago (Loop), Dallas, and Oklahoma City.

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Texas Mutual Hires Redpoint’s Siddons as VP, Business Development

Austin-based workers’ comp insurer, Texas Mutual Insurance Co., has added Benjamin A. Siddons as vice chairman of commercialdevelopment.

Siddons joins Texas Mutual with greater than 1fiveyears of technologywithin the insurance industry, with seven of these within the workers’ repaymentfield. he’s going to be liable for bringing in new business to Texas Mutual, in addition to developing and that implementing sales strategies to extfinishrevenue and profits.

Siddons most up-to-dately served as president of Redpoint Workers’ Comp (previously Texas Builders Insurance Co. and Hallmark Workers’ Comp), where he oversaw underwriting, marketing and loss control in Texas.

Siddons previously worked for American Physicians Insurance Co. as director of commercialprogressionwhere he helped grow the Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas markets. He also served as a professionalducer for an Austin-based insurance agency.

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Everest Insurance Adds Barge to Central Region Team in Houston

Everest Re Group Ltd. announced today that Sonya Barge has joined the Everest Insurance central region Marketing and Distribution team based in Houston.

Barge shall be liable for strengthening client and trading partner relationships within the central region, particularly with Texas-based insureds and that insurance intermediaries.

Barge most up-to-dately served as an underwriting manager at Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co. in St. Louis, where she was liable for the St. Louis office. previous to her role at Missouri Employers Mutual, Barge worked for Texas Mutual Insurance Co. as a senior manager of underwriting in its Houston regional office. Barge also has held diverseunderwriting and leadership roles at Travelers, Chubb, Atlantic Mutual, and Kemper.

Everest Re Group Ltd. is a Bermuda holding company.

Posted by Insurance - 2018-07-29 at 1:53 PM

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Brown, Keith Promoted at TDECU Insurance Agency in Texas

TDECU Insurance Agency LLC, based in Lake Jackson, Texas, has promoted Brooke Brown and Toni Keith.

With greater than 16 years of expertise, including 4years with TDECU Insurance Agency, Brown will now function the agency’s non-publicLines manager.

In her new position as sales manager of Life and medical insurance, Keith will put almost4decades of insurance induscheck outexperience to work for members.

Founded in 1955, TDECU is a not-for-benefitmonetarycooperative with greater than 275,000 members and over $3.1 billion in assets.

Posted by Insurance - 2018-07-29 at 1:53 PM

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Rubel Joins Myron Steves as Chief Underwriting Officer, Commercial Lines

Houston, Texas-based managing general agent and that insurance wholesaler, Myron F. Steves and Co., has added Greg Rubel as chief underwriting officer, commercial lines.

Rubel will lead the Texas-based company’s commercial lines operations and be a member of the Myron Steves Leadership Team.

Rubel brings greater than 2fiveyears’ experience with prominent insurance carriers to the brand new role. technologyfrom the automobilerier side of the induscheck outwill allowthe corporate to decoratethe buyer experience by analyzing and optimizing processes, maintaining the building blocks for wonderfulcarrier relationships and developing new coursesas demanded by .

Rubel has developed and grown two regional operations within Markel, in addition to a popularbinding operation for Westchester (Chubb) from scratch. His entrepreneurial tendency will serve Myron Steves’ goal of strengthening and growing the corporate’s commercial lines operations.

He also has used his expansive knowledge to offer back to the induscheck outby instructing CE courses and presenting on diversecurhireevent topics to induscheck outgroups.

Posted by Insurance - 2018-07-29 at 1:53 PM

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Texas Insurance Department looking forCandidates for Boards, Committees

The Texas Insurance Department is looking for candidates for vacancies on diverseboards and Committees and boards with members appointed by the Texas Insurance Commissioner include:

popularRequest shapefor Prior Authorization of Prescription Drug Benefits Advisory Committee; openings for fitnessbenefit plan network of professionalviders, fitnesscare provider, and specialty drug provider positions
Texas fitnessReinsurance System Board of Directors; openings for carrier and public positions
Texas Medical LiskillInsurance Underwriting Association Board of Directors
Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association Board of Directors
Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association Board of Directors
Texas WindtyphoonInsurance Association Board of Directors

for more informationrmation and an application, visit the TDI Boards and Committees page.

very wells reserved. This material is probably not published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted by Insurance - 2018-07-29 at 1:53 PM

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a fewHoustonians SpfinishHuge Sums to liftTheir housesAfter Harvey

this newsletter originally appeared within the Texas Tribune.

When Marni Axelrad and her family moved to Houston’s Meyerland neighborhood in 2015, they planned to stick there for years yet to come. They loved the community, and their childrenwere going to grein schools.


Then the floods came.

the two01fiveMemorial Day flood brought 6 inches of water into their newly purchased home. They fixed the wear and moved back in. Then Hurricane Harvey flooded the home with greater than 2 feet of water last summer.

Despite two floods in three years, the family’s not moving. Instead, they recently paid a freelanceor almost$300,000 to raise their 3,350-square-foot spacesix feet off the bottom in order that they do not need to fret concerning the following big storm.

“on the top of the day, we adore our neighborhood,” Axelrad said. “Everything is superb except the flooding. Here, we all know our neighbors, we adore our colleges, it iswith reference to work. We didn’t need to go away.”

Dave Schwartz and Marni Axelrad on their home in Houston on Feb. 23, 2018. the house is being repaired and elevated as a result of importantdamage from Hurricane Harvey, but Schwartz and Axelrad hope to transport back in sometime in March.
Loren Elliott for The Texas Tribune

more and more Houston ownerswho’ve suffered repeated flooding — the town has seen major floods for 3 straight years — have decided to lifttheir homes. And most, like Alexrad and her husband, largely need to pay for the elevatiat themselves. With a mixture in their very own money, insurance funds, a small grant and an SBA loan, the family of fiveis chipping away on the $280,000 elevation bill. They’ve stopped saving money and contributing to their retirement fund to assist repay the brand new debt.

and prefer some of their neighbors, they applied for a Federal Emergency controlAgency grant to lifttheir home after the two01fiveflood but found themselves behind greater than 200 others at the waiting list.


As of December, only 42 families had received those FEMA grants, and simplynine had elevated their housesor begun construction. Those trying to lifttheir housesafter Harvey have two options: get on FEMA’s list and risk flooding again because the y wait or be capable of fund the professionalject themselves.

“We knew thon there can be more grants, but we weren’t willing to place our youngsters through another flood again at the same time aswe waited for one,” Axelrad said.

Elevation and construction company Arkitektura, which elevated Axelrad’s home, estimates the price of elevating the popularspaceat about $7fiveper square foot — or greater than $112,000 for a 1,500-square-foot house. and since families still want to mfinishflood damage within their homes, the general bill can also be even higher.

“the worthis insane,” Axelrad said. “when you are alin a positionspending that more or less money, i feel a large number of individuals would rather simplyknock the spacedown and build a brand new one.”

Axelrad is a pediatric psychologist, and her husband David Schwartz is a pediatric neuropsychologist. Axelrad said it issmartthat they are both PhDs because “it takes one to figure this process out.”

Letters Force difficultDecisions

Since Harvey, symptomshave cropped up left and all the way duringMeyerland, signaling house is set to be lifted.

for thereforeme, elevating is a demand.

houseslike Axelrad’s that sit within the 100-year floodplain but were built before curhireregulations tokeffect are grandfathered and do not want to be elevated unless ownerschoose to rebuild completely. if so, getting as much as code means elevating 18 inches above the bottom flood elevation — the extent to which water is predicted to rise during a flood.

The Houston home of Marni Axelrad and her family being elevated and serviceed on Feb. 21, 2018, after sustaining flood damage during Hurricane Harvey. Loren Elliott for The Texas Tribune

In Harris County, ownerswho received letters from the town stating thon the price of repairing their home would equal or exceed 50 %of its pre-Harvey market pricealso are required to satisfy curhirefloodplain regulations by elevating — or risk being ineligible for flood insurance and future FEMA assistance.

Jamila Johnson, Houston’s floodplain manager, said the town sent out 1,944 “substantial damage” letters to possessersas of early February and plans to sfinishout more.

ownerswho receive these letters can appeal the designation.

After Harvey, Houston Public Works proposed regulations that maydouble the specified elevation for houseswithin the 100-year floodplain to 3 feet above the bottom flood elevation. The Houston townCouncil has scheduled the professionalposal for a March 21 vote.

Johnson said the professionalposed regulations are according to a changing understanding of rainfall patterns within the area.

“We’re seeing bigger rains more often,” Johnson said. “A 500-year event it will be considered a ten0-year event one day, so the town is moving to manage them the similar way. we have seen thon these regulations assistance— even in a goodt as disastrous as Harvey. however they do not work on housesthat are not compliant.”

These new regulations are an attempt both to mitigate future damage and to alleviate one of the maximumpressure that flood-damaged housesplaced on FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Fund. FEMA loss avoidance studies have found that elevating housesis a smartlong-term solution.

One readin Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, interested in how houseselevated after Hurricane Katrina in 200fivehad fared during Hurricane Isaac seven years later. FEMA determined thon the two3 housesstudied — all of that have been elevated employingfederal, state and localfunds — “would were flooded above the completed floor” during Isaac and sustained about $2.2 million in damage.

the houses cost greater than that to lift— $2.4 million, primarily paid through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program — however the report concluded that over the years, the advantages would outweigh the costsas more floods happened. The report also found thon the elevated houseshad uppermarket values, which helped the local tax base.

In Wharton, a Family Prepares to go away

An hour from Meyerland that in Wharton, Randa Langerud watched as her home of 2 decades was demolished by the town a couple of weeks after Harvey — the basicof one0 in her neighborhood to return down.

however they don’t seem to be rebuilding. They’re leaving.

The Wharton home of Randa Langerud before Hurricane Harvey. After five feet of water flooded their home, Langerud and her husband lost everything and their home needed to be demolished since they mayn’t afford to raise. Randa Langerud

“It toknot up to 4hours to demolish two decades of our lives,” Langerud said. “That was as hard as going during the flood itself.”

After Harvey sent fivefeet of floodwater into their home, Langerud and her husband started looking outon their options. Leaving the home on the similar elevation would have sent their insurance skyrocketing to greater than $4,000 a year.

in line with the National Flood Insurance Program, insurance for a house that’s at base flood elevation costs roughly $1,410 per year nationwide, at the same time asinsurance for a house that’s 3 feet above base flood elevation averages $427 per year.

If Langerud and her husband wished to rebuild, the county will require them to boost their home by 8 feet to liftit above the flood zone — which may cost $30,000 before they even started to renovate the internal.

in spite of everything, they felt their only option was to transport elsewhere.

“it is not a rich county, we do not have deep pockets or attention,” Langerud said. “it isreally going to devastate the townbecause such a lot of folksdo not be capable of raise or rebuild.”

with the exception of grants and loans, ownerswith flood insurance can use as much as $30,000 toward elevation costs through Increased Cost of Compliance coverage in the event that they’ve received the substantial damage designation.

Erin Anders stands in front of her family’s home in Houston’s Meyerland neighborhood on Feb. 13, 2018. Anders and her husband, Doug Anders, elevated their home in 2017 previous to Hurricane Harvey, saving it from potentially catastrophic damage. The couple and their two youngstersevacuated employinginflated pool floats because the floodwaters rose across their home. Loren Elliott for The Texas Tribune

despite the fact that ownersreceive FEMA assistance, they face an extended timeline for buying their home elevated, said Arkitektura founder Phillip Contreras, who works on private and FEMA-funded elevation projects.

“a home-owner paying out of pocket can commencethe method in no time, but with FEMA, tlisted here are diffehirerulesand regulations,” Contreras said. “[FEMA’s] only objective is that you simply do not flood again. They’re employingthe bare minimum — the inexpensiveest fabricsas much as code.”

for many who could be capable of pay for it, one big incentive of elevating is preserving their home’s value. Erin Anders, whose historic home within the Meyerland area was designed in 195nineby award-winning architect Arthur Steinberg, said preserving the home was a top priority. Before Hurricane Harvey, her family decided to pay Arkitektura $250,000 to boost the home five feet.

“we wouldbe so much at an merit[financially] at this time if we didn’t raise the home, but once we hadn’t we wouldhave a spacethat wasn’t worth anything,” she said.

Houston-based real estate broker Brandi Downey agreed, saying she’s seen flooded housessell for justthe worth of the los angelesnd they’re sitting on.

“houseswhich are being elevated now have the potential of marketing,” Downey said. “Especially within the newer areas, houseswill sell for approximately whon they sold for before the hurricane. Had they not been elevated, they might’ve needed to sell for lot value.”

But after the added cost of elevating a home, it can well be years before many house owners may be able to damage even if selling their home.

Langerud and her husband live in a FEMA trailer at their property because the y decide where to head next — and the way to pay for all of it. They received the utmaximumquantityof $33,000 through FEMA’s personAssistance Program and are applying for an FHA loan.


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Brown Tapped to Chair Oklahoma Senate Insurance Committee

Oklahoma state Sen. Bill Brown will function the chair of the Senate’s Pensions, Retirement and that insurance Committee for the two018 legislative session.

Other members of the committee are Vice Chair Marty Quinn, Sen. James Leewright, Sen. Lonnie Paxton, Sen. Roland Pederson, Sen. Paul Rosino, Sen. John Sparks and Sen. Kevin Matthews.

the second one Session of Oklahoma’s 56th Legislature convened on Feb. 5, 2018.

Denise Johnson, president and CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, reported that some of the bills the agents’ group shall be following through the session are:

SB124nine(Dahm) – Establishes the professionalcedures for a testimony of Exempt prestigefor staff Compensation
SB1297 (Bergstrom) – concerningmarkets for schoolinsurance.

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