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Private Libraries That Inspire
April 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Katy McLaughlin.

Difficult to build and maintain, these elaborate spaces contain the passions and obsessions of their owners. Libraries That Inspire -- These spectacular rooms house the owners’ collections of books, antiques, art and ephemera representing their unique, life-long passions and interests.

Forget the Dewey Decimal System: Entrepreneur and inventor Jay Walker’s 25,000 books, manuscripts, artifacts and objects are organized in his personal 3,600-square-foot library “randomly, by color and height,” he said. When he walks into his library, part of his Ridgefield, Conn., home, the room automatically “wakes up,” glowing with theatrical lighting, music and LED-lit glass panels lining various walkways. He finds items to peruse by a system of memory, chance, and inspiration, he said.

The Walker Library of the History of the Human Imagination is a dramatic example of the rarest of residential amenities: A vast, personal, custom-built repository of intellectual stimuli. In the age of the e-reader, it is a status symbol on par with wearing a Patek Philippe watch when the cellphone already tells the time. For wealthy homeowners, personal libraries provide both a quiet refuge from the world and a playground for their minds—as well as a solution to the challenge of warehousing books from which they cannot bear to part......To create enough shelf space and to counteract the visual heaviness of walls lined with books, private libraries may aim for two or more open stories......The private library is a classic example of a highly personal amenity that is expensive for the builder of a dream home to create and hard to recoup upon resale. .......the library has stimulated new ideas that have translated into an array of inventions and helped him make many new friends.

For some private library owners, especially those who aspire to world-class book collections, the serious expenditure isn’t in the physical structure, but in the contents. “It is not uncommon for collectors at this level to be spending in excess of $1 million a year” on books ......
antiques  antiquities  art  bespoke  books  collectibles  collectors  curation  design  high_net_worth  ideas  inspiration  insurance  Katy_McLaughlin  life_long_learning  personal_libraries  physical_place  owners  passions  shelf_space  status_symbols  uniqueness 
28 days ago by jerryking
Insurance and the gig economy - Your policy is arriving in three minutes
Apr 5th 2018 |

In the longer term insurers face a more fundamental challenge: disintermediation. Airbnb, a platform for booking stays in private homes, has offered a “host guarantee” against theft and vandalism since 2011. Although it works like insurance, no specialist firm is involved. Airbnb makes payouts itself. Curtis Scott of Uber boasts that the firm is “perhaps the most educated purchaser of insurance ever”. It does a lot of the calculations for pricing and underwriting its insurance risk, and has a potential sales platform in the form of its app. For Uber and its peers, the next step could be to expand their gig offerings into insurance.
Airbnb  disintermediation  gig_economy  insurance  freelancing  Uber 
july 2018 by jerryking
How to Prepare, Just in Case You Die Young - WSJ
By Chana R. Schoenberger
March 4, 2018

POWERS OF ATTORNEY and PROXIES
“If you’re worried about passing suddenly or becoming suddenly incapacitated, the legal documents you should have are some sort of health-care advance directive and a living will,” Mr. Kaplan says. A health-care proxy appoints one person, older than age 18, to act on your behalf when making medical decisions. If you don’t have this document signed and something happens to you, your spouse will have the right to make these decisions for you, followed by your adult children and your parents. Make sure to designate a first- and second-choice person to be your proxy, Mr. Kaplan says.

You’ll also want to sign a living will, which lays out your intentions for end-of-life care, such as when to withhold treatment if doctors determine you’re not going to recover, and whether you wish to be an organ donor.
checklists  insurance  estate_planning  howto  dying  end-of-life  unthinkable  wills 
march 2018 by jerryking
What Land Will Be Underwater in 20 Years? Figuring It Out Could Be Lucrative
Feb. 23, 2018 | The New York Times | By Brad Plumer

In Charleston, S.C., where the ports have been expanding to accommodate larger ships sailing through the newly widened Panama Canal, a real-estate developer named Xebec Realty recently went looking for land to build new warehouses and logistics centers.

But first, Xebec had a question: What were the odds that the sites it was considering might be underwater in 10 or 20 years?......Yet detailed information about the city’s climate risks proved surprisingly hard to find. Federal flood maps are based on historical data, and won’t tell you how sea-level rise could exacerbate flooding in the years ahead.....So Xebec turned to a Silicon Valley start-up called Jupiter, which offered to analyze local weather and hydrological data and combine it with climate model projections to assess the potential climate risks Xebec might face in Charleston over the next few decades from things like heavier rainfall, sea level rise or increased storm surge....the reliability of Jupiter's predictive analytics is uncertain....that said, “In economics, information has value if you would make a different decision based on that information,”...... Congress has generally underfunded initiatives such as those at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to incorporate climate change into its federal flood maps.......to get a full picture of flooding risk, you need expertise in weather, but also climate and hydrology and engineering and running complex models on the latest computer hardware,” ... “All of those specialized disciplines are usually heavily siloed within the public sector or the scientific community.”....Jupiter, which acknowledges the uncertainties in climate forecasting, will have to prove that a market exists....flooding and other disasters have led to record losses by insurers.....[Those] losses raised the stakes in terms of trying to get the best possible science on your side when you’re pricing risk,” said John Drzik, president of global risk at Marsh,
climate_change  weather  start_ups  data_driven  forecasting  predictive_analytics  tools  Charleston  South_Carolina  uncertainty  sea-level_rise  floods  commercial_real_estate  adaptability  specificity  catastrophes  catastrophic_risk  unpredictability  coastal  extreme_weather_events  insurance  FEMA  cartography  floodplains  flood-risk  flood-risk_maps  mapping 
february 2018 by jerryking
Tornado-Ravaged Hospital Took Storm-Smart Approach During Rebuild - Risk & Compliance Journal.
Aug 30, 2017 | WSJ | By Ben DiPietro.

...................“Preparation for what these events can be–and belief they can actually happen–is important so you make sure you are preparing for them,” ....trying to undertake whatever is your organizational mission in the midst of a tornado or other devastating event is much harder, given the high emotions and stress that manifests itself at such moments.

“Understand the possibilities and pre-planning will make that go a lot better,”

===============================
As Hurricane Harvey has shown, extreme weather events can devastate a region’s infrastructure. Hospital operator Mercy had its own experience of this in 2011 when a tornado ripped through Joplin, Mo., killing 161 people and destroying its hospital.

Hospital operator Mercy took the lessons it learned from that tornado experience and incorporated them into the design of the new hospital–and also changed the way it plans and prepares for disasters. The new facility reflects a careful risk assessment, as Mercy took into account not only the physical risk of tornadoes but the risks to power supplies and medical supplies.

“We always prepare, always have drills for emergencies, but you never quite can prepare for losing an entire campus,” ....“Now we are preparing for that…it definitely changed the way we look at emergency management.”

** Protecting What Matters Most **
Mercy took the lessons it learned from that devastating weather event and applied them when it was time to build its latest hospital, which was constructed in a way to better withstand tornadoes while providing more secure systems infrastructure and adding backup systems to ensure operations continued unimpeded, ......Even the way medical supplies were stored was changed; instead of storing supplies in the basement, where they were inaccessible in the immediate aftermath of the tornado, they now are kept on each floor so staff don’t need to go hunting around for things they need during an emergency.....“The first priority is to save lives, the second is to minimize damage to the facility,”

** Focus on the Worst **
many companies worry about low-severity, high-frequency events–those things that happen a lot. They instead need to focus more on high-severity events that can cause a company to impair its resilience. “....identify and work on a worst-case scenario and make sure it is understood and the company is financially prepared for it,”

work with its key vendors and suppliers to know what each will do in the face of a disaster or unexpected disruption. “...large companies [should] know their key vendors prior to any major incidents,” ...“Vendors become partners at that time and you need to know people will do what you need them to do.”

A company needs to assess what is most important to its operations, map who their vendors are in those areas and engage them in various loss scenarios .... It should review its insurance policy language against possible weather events, identify any gaps and either revise policies to fill those holes or to at least make sure executives understand what the risks are of leaving those gaps unattended.
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See also :
What to Do Before Disaster Strikes - WSJ.com ☑
September 27, 2005 | WSJ | By GEORGE ANDERS.
start by cataloging what could go wrong. GM, for example, has created "vulnerability maps" that identify more than 100 hazards, ranging from wind damage to embezzlement. Such maps make it easier for managers to focus on areas of greatest risk or gravest peril.
disasters  disaster_preparedness  Hurricane_Harvey  extreme_weather_events  hospitals  tornadoes  design  rebuilding  preparation  emergencies  lessons_learned  worst-case  natural_calamities  anticipating  insurance  vulnerabilities  large_companies  redundancies  business-continuity  thinking_tragically  high-risk  risk-management  isolation  compounded  network_risk  black_swan  beforemath  frequency_and_severity  resilience  improbables  George_Anders  hazards 
september 2017 by jerryking
Insurers must do more to educate Canadians about flood risk - The Globe and Mail
ROB WESSELING
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, May 29, 2017
floods  insurance  Canadian  risks 
may 2017 by jerryking
Flood. Rinse. Repeat: The costly cycle that must end
May 07, 2017 | The Globe and Mail |GLENN MCGILLIVRAY, managing director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Once again, homes located alongside a Canadian river have flooded, affected homeowners are shocked, the local government is wringing its hands, the respective provincial government is ramping up to provide taxpayer-funded disaster assistance and the feds are deploying the Armed Forces.

In Canada, it is the plot of the movie Groundhog Day, or the definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.....First, a homeowner locates next to the river, oftentimes because of the view (meaning a personal choice is being made). Many of these homes are of high value.

Then the snow melts, the ice jams or the rain falls and the flood comes. Often, as is the case now, the rain is characterized by the media as being incredible, far outside the norm. Then a scientific or engineering analysis later shows that what happened was not very exceptional.

These events are not caused by the rain, they are caused by poor land-use decisions, among other public-policy foibles. This is what is meant when some say there are no such things as natural catastrophes, only man-made disasters.

Finally, the province steps in with disaster assistance then seeks reimbursement from the federal government through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements. In any case, whether provincial or federal, taxpayers are left holding the bag.....So what is the root of the problem? Though complex problems have complex causes and complex solutions, one of the causes is that the party making the initial decision to allow construction (usually the local government) is not the party left holding the bag when the flood comes.

Just as homeowners have skin in the game through insurance deductibles and other measures, local governments need a financial disincentive to act in a risky manner. At present, municipalities face far more upside risk than downside risk when it comes to approving building in high-risk hazard zones. When the bailout comes from elsewhere, there is no incentive to make the right decision – the lure of an increased tax base and the desire not to anger local voters is all too great.

Reducing natural disaster losses in Canada means breaking the cycle – taking a link out of the chain of events that leads to losses.

Local governments eager for growth and the tax revenue that goes with it need to hold some significant portion of the downside risk in order to give them pause for thought.
floods  catastrophes  natural_calamities  design  hazards  insurance  public_policy  disasters  relief_recovery_reconstruction  sustainability  municipalities  skin_in_the_game  disincentives  Albert_Einstein  complex_problems  land_uses  moral_hazards  man-made 
may 2017 by jerryking
Cyber Heroes | Ivey Alumni | Ivey Business School
Craig believes that businesses and individuals, even countries, must accept that we live in an “era of compromise.” “You have to understand that somebody already has your sensitive data, likely a former employee,” he says. “Have you rehearsed roles for when that becomes public? Does the CEO know what she needs to say? Does the IT team know what they need to do? Being prepared with an appropriate response to data loss is a leading practice that helps maintain, or even build, an organization’s reputation.”
Ivey  alumni  cyber_security  vulnerabilities  insurance  data_breaches  risks  business-continuity 
march 2017 by jerryking
Celebrity mishaps drive rise of ‘disgrace insurance' | Evernote Web
March 12, 2016| Financial Times | DAVID OAKLEY AND OLIVER RALPH.

"When celebrities are linked with products, you'd expect a [positive] impact on sales," argues Tom Hoad, head of innovation at insurance group Toko marine Kiln. " So when a brand ambassador goes wrong, you can expect a negative impact ons ales. We can insure the lose of profit arising from a celebrity disgrace-type incident"
brands  celebrities  insurance  reputation  endorsements  damage_control  scandals  reputational_risk 
april 2016 by jerryking
Insurers look for new ways to cope with climate change - The Globe and Mail
SHAWN MCCARTHY - GLOBAL ENERGY REPORTER
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015

Institute for Catastrophe Loss Reduction. Speeding up for extreme weather events......World leaders in Paris aren't the only ones trying to come up with a plan for dealing with climate change. Matt Galloway spoke with Gordon McBean. He is a research chair with the Institute for Catastrophe Loss Reduction.
insurance  climate_change  catastrophes  natural_calamities  threats  weather  Intact_Financial  uWaterloo  extremes 
november 2015 by jerryking
Shelters from the storm: Preparing cities for a changing climate – before it’s too late - The Globe and Mail
ALEX BOZIKOVIC
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jul. 17, 2015

Rising sea levels, epic droughts, massive flooding: the effects of climate change are already here. How do we adapt? From the Netherlands to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Alex Bozikovic explores the cutting-edge engineering – and cultural shifts – that could help
New_York_City  climate_change  cities  Hurricane_Sandy  floods  future-proofing  insurance  public_policy  disasters  Dutch  relief_recovery_reconstruction  FEMA  sustainability  natural_calamities  sea-level_rise 
july 2015 by jerryking
Do you need to buy rental-car insurance? - The Globe and Mail
NEIL VORANO
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Oct. 30 2014
insurance  travel  rentals  automobile  CAA 
october 2014 by jerryking
Sotheby's and Christie's Race to Find New Art Collectors - WSJ
By KELLY CROW CONNECT
July 31, 2014

If you're even remotely curious about starting a blue-chip art collection, there's a good chance the world's biggest auction houses already know who you are, and exactly how much you might spend to own a masterpiece. Gone are the days when auctioneers simply mailed sale catalogs to strangers after reading reports of their newfound fortunes. Today, climbing art values and an influx of new international collectors have thrown Sotheby's BID -1.32% and Christie's into a global frenzy of research and genuflection. They've dispatched armies of experts to identify potential bigwigs, and satisfy their ever-expanding art whims.

A third of Sotheby's 1,550 employees are assigned to look after at least 9,000 top collectors, a job that entails everything from researching bidders' financial standing to digging through catalogs for objects that might intrigue them...Behind the scenes, auction houses say they are ferreting out collectors by teaming up with insurers to offer art appraisals. In India, Christie's joined with a luxury hotel chain to tap its Rolodex two years ago, in exchange for giving occasional art lectures at several hotels.
Sotheby's  Christie's  art  collectors  auctions  insurance  art_appraisals  whims  blue-chips 
july 2014 by jerryking
World’s largest asset manager rails against companies’ short-term thinking - The Globe and Mail
BOYD ERMAN
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 23 2014,

...Mr. Fink is worried that the great tide of economic growth is not rising as quickly as it could be because of persistent and pernicious short-term thinking. Everyone from Main Street to Wall Street to Pennsylvania Avenue is too focused on near-term waves to pay attention to what the overall water level is doing.

Blogs, polls, the story of the moment – that is what drives peoples’ thinking, he says. That means investment decisions and political moves are based on what’s happening now, and not long-term goals. The economy will bear the cost of this short-term obsession, and so will investors, Mr. Fink warns. He would like to see big changes in everything from accounting to corporate governance to government spending priorities, to reset the focus on more distant horizons....“We need executives in business to start focusing on what is right in the long run,” ...“Societies are having a hard time, politically and economically, adjusting to the immediacy of information: The 24/7 news cycle, blogs, the instantaneous information. It’s very hard. This is one of the things where we are developing a crisis.”...Mr. Fink is particularly frustrated with the lionization of activist investors in the media. Think Bill Ackman, Carl Icahn and others who push for changes that will lead to an immediate runup in the stock price,....Similarly, he is critical of accounting rules that push insurance companies to invest in shorter-term assets, rather than long-term projects such as infrastructure. “Everything is leading toward an underinvestment in infrastructure and an underinvestment in capital expenditures.”...In 1999, the company went public. It has grown incredibly fast ever since. It manages money for everyone from retail investors to pension plans. During the financial crisis, the U.S. Treasury hired BlackRock to run assets in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the Bank of Greece hired the company to help fix the country’s banking system. (Model for WaudWare?)
BlackRock  Laurence_Fink  asset_management  long-term  Boyd_Erman  Wall_Street  delayed_gratification  thinking  strategic_thinking  Communicating_&_Connecting  CEOs  money_management  shareholder_activism  immediacy  insurance  infrastructure  CAPEX  short-term  short-term_thinking  financial_pornography  pension_funds  underinvestments  noise  pay_attention 
may 2014 by jerryking
Insurance companies see threat in technology - The Globe and Mail
JACQUELINE NELSON
Insurance companies see threat in technology Add to ...
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, May. 21 2014,

Other industry leaders share his worries. Half the global insurance CEOs polled in a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study earlier this year said new market entrants threatened growth prospects, more so than in most other industries.

“The industry, being conservative by nature, has a tough time catching up with consumers’ expectations, which are changing rapidly,” said Charles Brindamour, CEO of Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer, Intact Financial Corp. His main concern is at the distribution level. Insurers are increasingly using social media and websites to target potential customers.

Life insurers such as Manulife Financial Corp. are monitoring the changing ways customers seek insurance.
disruption  insurance  mobile_applications  Google  Facebook  Intact_Financial  challenges 
may 2014 by jerryking
An Overview for the Fresh Produce Industry of Recall Insurance for Food Safety Events
Insurers writing this coverage include Chartis, XL Insurance, Starr, Crum and Forster, Zurich, Lloyd’s, and Caitlin
fresh_produce  insurance  product_recalls  food_safety  law_firms 
march 2014 by jerryking
New software allows insurers to track driving habits and personalize premiums - The Globe and Mail
OMAR EL AKKAD

The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Aug. 19 2013,

The ability to monitor and adapt to the behaviour of individual customers, for example, was part of the rationale for last month’s announcement by Loblaw Cos. Ltd. that it will acquire Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. for $12.4-billion. Shoppers’ Optimum loyalty program will give Loblaw purchasing information on some 10 million customers.
Omar_el_Akkad  telematics  insurance  personalization  massive_data_sets  pattern_recognition  data_mining  sensors  meat_space  SAP  Shoppers  loyalty_management  Loblaws 
january 2014 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Big Data Startup Bought for $930M by ... Monsanto? -
October 2, 2013 Liz Gannes - News - AllThingsD Liz Gannes - News - AllThingsD.

Climate Corporation had built a network of insurance sellers for both crop insurance and weather insurance, and offered Web and mobile tools for farmers so they could make decisions about how to do their work. It has thousands of customers with many millions of acres in the U.S.
Monsanto  Climate_Corporation  Silicon_Valley  analytics  farming  agriculture  crop_insurance  weather  insurance 
january 2014 by jerryking
When data meets agriculture: Monsanto to buy Climate Corp. for $930M — Tech News and Analysis
Oct. 2, 2013 | GigaOM | By Stacey Higginbotham.

Monsanto, the giant agricultural company, says it will acquire data analytics firm the Climate Corp. in a cash deal valued at $930 million. This deal is an obvious extension of data analytics into the world of big agriculture, but it’s also a perfect example of how the combo of data and the internet of things is going to disrupt established industries in a way that traditional computing never could.

Climate Corp offered targeted insurance policies to farmers that incorporated all sorts of data about historical and current agriculture and weather....as climate change disrupts historical weather patterns, this boosts the risks to farmers that weather events might destroy crops, but it also changes the types of crops they should plant. Thus the data analysis that Climate Corp. offers is not only valuable to farmers today, but also to Monsanto as it tries to create crops that will thrive as the climate changes.
data  Monsanto  Climate_Corporation  agriculture  farming  weather  insurance  climate_change  risks  risk-management 
january 2014 by jerryking
Paul Desmarais: The patient empire builder
Oct. 09 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by SOPHIE COUSINEAU AND JACQUELINE NELSON.
obituaries  moguls  Canadian  Quebec  insurance  banking  Paul_Desmarais  Sophie_Cousineau 
november 2013 by jerryking
Why Monsanto Spent $1 Billion on Climate Data - Modern Farmer
By Dan Mitchell on October 2, 2013

Climate Corporation doesn’t limit itself to weather data. As politicians, pundits, and people on the Internet continue to argue over whether climate change is real, the insurance industry has for years been operating under the assumption that it is. So Climate Corporation uses data from major climate-change models — the very ones that are under constant assault by doubters — in its calculations.

Climate Corporation manages an eye-popping 50 terabytes of live data, all at once. Besides climate-change models, data is collected from regular old weather forecasts and histories, soil observations, and other sources. The company collects data from 2.5 million separate locations. Given these numbers, it shouldn’t be surprising that Climate Corporation is basically alone in this market. The barriers to entry are immense.

The company makes use of “machine learning” —a kind of artificial intelligence. That’s the technology behind, for example, determining which of your incoming email messages are spam —except in this case the tech is much, much more sophisticated. Each new bit of data that’s entered into the system — rainfall in Douglas County Nebraska, say, or the average heat index in Louisiana’s Winn Parish —helps it learn, and more accurately forecast what will happen in the future.
Monsanto  Climate_Corporation  weather  crop_insurance  insurance  massive_data_sets  data_driven  machine_learning  artificial_intelligence 
october 2013 by jerryking
The biggest threat to the global economy? The weather -
Sep. 06 | The Globe and Mail |ERIC REGULY

In an interview in Munich, Peter Hoppe, the meteorologist who is head of the reinsurance giant’s georisk unit, said: “Climate change will create security problems because of the migrations it will create.”

Drought is emerging as one of the biggest natural hazards. It has the potential to reshape human landscapes and entire economies, mostly for the worse but sometimes for the better. Canada is less prone to drought than the United States; it could emerge as the world’s emergency breadbasket if the warming trend extends the growing season and the amount of productive agricultural land....Droughts are especially ugly because they sometimes develop gradually, meaning that their potential to cause harm is often ignored, and can last many years. ...The former boss of the World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, was fond of saying that the desperately hungry do one of three things: They riot, they migrate or they die. The Syrian civil war is giving the world an uncomfortable taste of the effects of mass migration. An enormous drought could make that migration look small and its security and economic consequences would be hard to fathom. It appears that no country, rich or poor, has a plan to deal with mass drought and mass migration.
extreme_weather_events  weather  climate_change  insurance  Munich_Re  Eric_Reguly  natural_calamities  droughts  farmland  food  hunger  mass_migrations  agriculture  threats  security_&_intelligence  slowly_moving  geopolitical-risk  global_economy  imperceptible_threats 
september 2013 by jerryking
How satellite imagery helps insurers prepare for disasters - The Globe and Mail
JACQUELINE NELSON

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Jul. 11 2013
insurance  weather 
july 2013 by jerryking
At 88, Former AIG Boss Is Building a New Empire - WSJ.com
July 5, 2013 | WSJ | By LESLIE SCISM.'Hank' Greenberg Is Quietly Building a Fast-Growing Insurance Conglomerate
Second_Acts  insurance  entrepreneur  AIG  Hank_Greenberg  Starr  reinsurance 
july 2013 by jerryking
Down but Not Out: What Is Marsh Worth? - WSJ.com
October 21, 2004

Down but Not Out: What Is Marsh Worth?

By JESSE EISINGER
insurance  valuations  Warren_Buffett  Marsh_&_McLennan 
march 2013 by jerryking
Book Review: The AIG Story - WSJ.com
February 5, 2013 | WSJ | By JAMES FREEMAN.

Insurer to the World
In the 1960s, AIG insured a CIA mission to retrieve a sunken Soviet submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
AIG  insurance  book_reviews  entrepreneur  Hank_Greenberg 
february 2013 by jerryking
Should You Buy Travel Insurance? - NYTimes.com
January 29, 2013, 4:47 pm27 Comments
Should You Buy Travel Insurance?
By SETH KUGEL
Medical
Emergency Evacuation
Travel Protection
Baggage Protection
Accidental Death and Dismemberment
travel  insurance  safety 
january 2013 by jerryking
Dramatic temperature increases could threaten Canadian health, infrastructure - The Globe and Mail
Jan. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail | ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

Canada is getting hotter faster than ever before and at a faster rate than almost any other country. Rain, snow, sleet and hail storms are becoming more erratic. What were once considered exceptional weather patterns – the kind researchers reject to avoid skewing their data – are becoming common....Canada’s infrastructure wasn’t built for this kind of climate. And much of the burden falls on municipal governments, with road, sewer and transit systems that can barely cope with existing weather conditions, let alone future vagaries.

“There’s a very large gap in terms of the current health of municipal infrastructure in Canada and where we should be right now,” said Paul Kovacs, University of Western Ontario economist and executive director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, a group established by Canada’s insurance industry to research the costs of natural disasters and how to mitigate them....The effects of erratic weather patterns became very real for Ontario’s apple farmers last year: An early thaw followed by an unexpected frost wiped out 82 per cent of the province’s crop. Now, the industry – worth about $100-million in Ontario alone – is trying to figure out how to weatherproof itself. Potential fixes are wind breaks, hail nets, frost fans and sunscreen for apples to prevent damage from sunlight and heat. It’s expensive and uncertain, especially when the weather becomes tougher to predict. Leslie Huffman, Ontario’s apple production specialist, is working with the province on evaluating new techniques.
Canada  climate_change  apples  infrastructure  insurance  weather  anomalies  catastrophes  risk-mitigation 
january 2013 by jerryking
Catching the Sights, Not the Bugs - NYTimes.com
By EMILY BRENNAN
Published: December 26, 2012

Q. What should you pack?

A. For any overseas trip, I recommend taking along self-treatment for traveler’s diarrhea — loperamide, known by the brand name Imodium here, and an antibiotic, the most common being ciprofloxacin.

If you’re going to a malarial area, the travel clinic should prescribe you malaria prophylaxis, the most common of which is Malarone, to take during your trip and seven days after it. That will kill off any parasites in your bloodstream, but two milder forms of malaria can continue to multiply in the liver. If you develop an unexplained fever six months, even a year, after your return, go to your doctor.

Other things to pack: Band-Aids and topical antibiotics to treat minor wounds; water purification tablets like Potable Aquaor Coghlan’s or portable filters; sunscreen; and insect repellent with 30 to 50 percent DEET. Hikers should bring a full suture kit. If you’re staying in accommodations that do not have good screens, I recommend getting mosquito nets and clothes impregnated with pyrethrum, a natural insect repellent.
travel  disease  prevention  mens'_health  illness  germs  insurance  malaria  diarrhea  packing  safety 
december 2012 by jerryking
Weather insurance: Agriculture and algorithms
Nov 19th 2012 | | The Economist |by T.R. | BERLIN

Mass suicides are a shocking reminder of a global problem caused by global warming. Farming has always been a gamble, but the growing number of “unusual weather events”, as experts call them, make seeding and harvesting an even riskier business...The Climate Corporation, a start-up based in Silicon Valley, wants to reverse the trend and reduce farmers’ financial risks—by crossing agriculture with the IT industry’s latest trend: big data. The firm is collecting all kinds of information—including on weather patterns, climate trends and soil characteristics—and analyses the data down to an individual field. These insights are then used to offer farmers tailored insurance policies against the damage from extreme weather events....marketing is an equally big challenge for the six-year-old company. Farmers are least likely to be early adopters, especially when it comes to a new product that lives in a computing cloud, admits Mr Friedberg. The Climate Corporation has a website where customers can buy policies online. But it had to learn that selling its insurance to farmers in remote areas is best done through a network of agents.
weather  insurance  algorithms  agriculture  farming  climate_change  financial_risk  Climate_Corporation  Weatherbill 
december 2012 by jerryking
Taking Risk To the Marketplace
March 6, 2000 | Fortune Magazine | By Thomas A. Stewart.

* "You should always value the ability to move and change, because that creates options, and options are valuable,"
* Traditional risk management, with its emphasis on real property and financial events, isn't enough for knowledge companies, whose big risks are intellectual assets, such as brand equity, human capital, innovation, and their network of relationships.
* you have to know what's at risk-- which isn't always easy for intangible assets.
* Each intangible asset has a different risk profile.
*Thinking like a portfolio manager works for risk management as well as for strategy, says Bruce Pasternak, head of the strategic leadership practice at Booz Allen & Hamilton. In either case, adaptability is a cardinal virtue; the top goal is organizational flexibility. All-or-nothing bets like insurance have limited use in protecting cash flows from intangibles because their value is so uncertain, says Anjana Bhattacharee, director of Aporia, a British startup developing tools to manage those risks. Hedging also has problems. Says Bjarni Armannsson, head of the Icelandic Investment Bank in Reykjavik: "It's difficult to find a counterparty for intellectual risks." To hedge against falling gas prices, Enron can sell the risk to someone who fears rising prices, like a utility, but how do you hedge against a loss of expertise or brand equity

* Markets are full of risk, but it turns out that they're a lot safer than rigid structures. Intellectual assets and operations obey no one's command and are subject to discontinuous--i.e., quantum--change. There are four ways to respond to risk: Avoid it, reduce it, transfer it, or accept it. The one thing you can't do, if it's intellectual risk, is tie it up and subdue it.
Thomas_Stewart  risks  risk-management  organizational_flexibility  adaptability  binary_decisionmaking  intellectual_risks  human_capital  insurance  intellectual_assets  brand_equity  intangibles  networks  interconnections  discontinuities  expertise  portfolios  options  portfolio_management  cash_flows  generating_strategic_options  optionality  brittle  antifragility  step_change  counterparties  network_risk 
december 2012 by jerryking
As Coasts Rebuild and U.S. Pays, Repeatedly, the Critics Ask Why - NYTimes.com
By JUSTIN GILLIS and FELICITY BARRINGER
Published: November 18, 2012

Across the nation, tens of billions of tax dollars have been spent on subsidizing coastal reconstruction in the aftermath of storms, usually with little consideration of whether it actually makes sense to keep rebuilding in disaster-prone areas. If history is any guide, a large fraction of the federal money allotted to New York, New Jersey and other states recovering from Hurricane Sandy — an amount that could exceed $30 billion — will be used the same way.

Tax money will go toward putting things back as they were, essentially duplicating the vulnerability that existed before the hurricane.... Lately, scientists, budget-conscious lawmakers and advocacy groups across the political spectrum have argued that these subsidies waste money, put lives at risk and make no sense in an era of changing climate and rising seas.

Some of them contend that reconstruction money should be tightly coupled with requirements that coastal communities begin reducing their vulnerability in the short run and that towns along shorelines facing the largest risks make plans for withdrawal over the long term. ... local governments have tried to use the money to reduce their vulnerability to future disasters, but they complain that they often run into bureaucratic roadblocks with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For instance, after flooding from Hurricane Irene washed out many culverts in Vermont last year, many towns built bigger culverts to handle future floods. But they are still fighting with the agency over reimbursement.

W. Craig Fugate, the agency’s administrator, acknowledged in an interview that “as a nation, we have not yet figured out” how to use federal incentives to improve resiliency and discourage excessive risks.
floods  floodplains  flood-risk  insurance  public_policy  Hurricane_Sandy  disasters  relief_recovery_reconstruction  FEMA  sustainability  sea-level_rise  coastal 
november 2012 by jerryking
Did You Check With Counsel? Attorneys Growing Role In VC
January 1, 2003 | Venture Capital Journal | Interview of John Delaney and Jay Rand by Danielle Fugazy
lawyers  vc  venture_capital  start_ups  funding  interviews  boards_&_directors_&_governance  insurance 
september 2012 by jerryking
A natural fit.
Summer 2001 | LIMRA's MarketFacts Quarterly | by Richard C. Martin
wealth_management  financial_services  high_net_worth  insurance  marketing 
august 2012 by jerryking
Managing Risk In the 21st Century
February 7, 2000 | Fortune | By Thomas A. Stewart.

Take risk management, a responsibility of the treasury function. Most risk managers haven't begun to cope with the real threats 21st-century companies face. Like the drunk in the old joke who looks for his lost keys under the streetlamp because the light is better there, risk management is dealing with visible classes of risk while greater, unmanaged dangers accumulate in the dark.

Risk--let's get this straight upfront--is good. The point of risk management isn't to eliminate it; that would eliminate reward. The point is to manage it--that is, to choose where to place bets, where to hedge bets, and where to avoid betting altogether. Though most risk-management tools--insurance, hedging, diversification, etc.--have to do with reducing loss, the goal is to maximize the gains from the risks you take (alpha? McDerment?)

So where should we look for these new risks?

--Your reputation or brand. When a bad batch of carbon dioxide in Coca-Cola sickened some Belgian children last summer, Coke's European operating income fell about $205 million, and Coca-Cola Enterprises, the bottler, incurred $103 million in costs. What about the cost to brand equity? One highly imperfect proxy: Coke's market capitalization fell $34 billion between June 30 and Sept. 30, 1999.

--Your business model. Asset-free, knowledge-intensive competition is to entrenched business models what the Panzer was to the Maginot Line. MP3s changed the music business more fundamentally than anything since radio. E*Trade, 18 years old, forced Merrill Lynch, 180, to change its way of doing business. Yet the new guys' very nimbleness creates its own risks, which traditional risk management can't help. You can protect the hard assets of a brick-and-mortar mall. Click-and-order stores are much more exposed: Cash flow is just about all they've got.

--Your human capital. The obvious human-capital risk is flight--especially in a tight labor market--but it's only part of a larger, subtler problem. When the CEO intones, "People are our most important asset," he's wrong, even if he's sincere. People are your most important investors. Your stock of human capital matters less than your flow of it. Any turbulence--and is there anything but turbulence these days?--can disrupt the flow, damaging your ability to attract human capital or people's desire to collaborate. Says Thomas Davenport, a partner at Towers Perrin: "Uncertainty is a real enemy of human capital. People rebalance their ROI by cutting back the investment."

--Your intellectual property. Many risks to intellectual property--theft, for example--can be dealt with in obvious, if sometimes onerous, ways. Here's the cutting-edge question: How do you manage risk in the process by which new intellectual property is created? How do you cope with the fact that the safer a given R&D project is, the less likely it is to be a big-money breakthrough? How do you balance the virtues of specialization against those of diversification?

--Your network. No company is an island, entire of itself; odds are your business is embedded in a network you do not control. It's not just that AOL might crash and cost you a few days' sales; your whole business may depend on tangible and intangible assets that belong to outsourcing partners, franchisees, sugar daddies, or standard-setters.
There are a couple of patterns here. First, an ever-greater part of business risk comes from sources your company can't own--people, partners, environments. Second, volatility isn't just a currency or stock market risk anymore. Labor markets, technologies, even business models oscillate at higher frequencies--their behavior more and more resembling that of financial markets.

In those patterns are hints of how to manage intellectual risks--which we'll examine next time.
risk-management  21st._century  risks  Thomas_Stewart  reputation  branding  business_models  financial_markets  talent_management  intellectual_property  networks  human_capital  turbulence  uncertainty  volatility  instability  nimbleness  labour_markets  accelerated_lifecycles  intellectual_assets  e-commerce  external_interaction  talent_flows  cash_flows  network_risk  proxies  specialization  diversification  unknowns  brand_equity  asset-light  insurance  hedging  alpha  Michael_McDerment 
june 2012 by jerryking
Go Ahead, Take a Risk
June 22, 2004 | WSJ | By ADRIAN SLYWOTSKY

What are the risks you should be taking but aren't? Most managers treat risk as an unwanted byproduct of the business. They think narrowly of financial, operating, and hazard risks, such as currency fluctuations, employee fraud, and earthquakes. And they defend themselves through practices like hedging, internal controls, and insurance.

But disruptive strategic risks can be a much larger source of value destruction for a firm. I looked back to the bull market of the 1990s to analyze movements of the Fortune 1000 stocks; even then, before the market collapsed, 10% of stocks lost over one-quarter of their value in a single month, primarily because of strategic-risk events.

The most successful companies do not try to simply minimize strategic risk; they embrace such risk by making prudent bets in their growth-oriented strategies. Strategic risks include not just the obvious, high-probability events that a new ad campaign or new product launch will fail, but other less-obvious risks as well: Customers' priorities will change quickly -- as when baby-boomer parents quickly migrated from station wagons to minivans, catching most automakers off guard. New technology will overtake your product -- as mobile telephony has stolen market share from fixed-line voice. A one-of-a-kind competitor will render your business model obsolete -- as the Wal-Mart tidal wave has washed over mid-range department stores.

Although insurance and hedging can't address strategic risks, there are an array of countermeasures that can, including these three:
1) Smart sequencing for new growth initiatives. Look for incumbents that are moving deliberately, leveraging existing assets and customer relationships to gain the experience, knowledge, and reputation necessary to take the next step with confidence.
2) Proprietary information to reduce the risk of each new initiative. Gather and generate proprietary information that produces a depth of insight into the customer's needs and activities that traditional suppliers cannot match. This will make you a supplier of choice, reducing bidding volatility and allow you to plan with greater certainty.
3) Double betting to minimize the risk of obsolescence. When several versions of a new technology are competing to become the standard, it's impossible to predict which will prevail. So smart managers make double bets. Betting on both Windows and OS/2 positioned Microsoft to be the winner, regardless of which operating system prevailed.

Traditional risk management seeks to contain losses. But that's just one-half of the growth equation. By embracing strategic risk, Cardinal, JCI, and other risk-savvy companies have raised their growth potential in addition to reducing their economic volatility. That's important at a time when aggregate market growth is sluggish: The biggest risk of all is not to take the right growth risks for the business.
leaps_of_faith  Adrian_J._Slywotzky  risk-taking  proprietary  sequencing  scuttlebutt  information  growth  strategic_thinking  Mercer  Oliver_Wyman  product_launches  nonpublic  low_growth  slow_growth  insights  customer_insights  value_destruction  disruption  insurance  new_products  obsolescence  countermeasures  volatility  customer_risk  one-of-a-kind  hedging  overly_cautious  risk-aversion  de-risking  double_betting  risk-management  bull_markets  customer_relationships  dark_data  risk-savvy  internal_controls  financial_risk  risks 
june 2012 by jerryking
Post-AIG, Greenberg Drives On - WSJ.com
June 15, 2007 | WSJ | By LIAM PLEVEN.
Mr. Greenberg: It hasn't changed. C.V. Starr & Co. had four [insurance] agencies. We obviously had to find new companies to represent, which we did -- didn't take very long to do that. We've now started another new general agency, in the health field. Then we have a Lloyd's syndicate that we started, and that syndicate also is represented in China. We're in the midst of forming a life- and general-insurance company in Bermuda.

In Starr International, we have an office in Hong Kong, an office in Shanghai and in Beijing, and [we're opening an office] in Russia.

Russia today is a different country than it was five, 10 years ago. The oil-and-gas revenues have changed the economics in Russia. There's more than a trickle-down effect to a middle class. Moscow's probably the most expensive city in the world. Every time I go there, it's more expensive. I may pitch a tent next time.

We started a commercial-real-estate business. We're looking at a consumer-finance business, and we're looking at a residential-mortgage business. When you start something, you're like a magnet. You attract other opportunities.

The vision I have is that we're going to be partly merchant bank and partly still in insurance. What is a merchant bank? A merchant bank, in my definition, is that you don't always invest to create profit like a private-equity firm and liquidate in five or six years. You may keep it in perpetuity, or you may sell it at some time down the road, five, 10, 15, 20 years. There are very few merchant banks left. Most have a quick trigger. I think we can have a longer-term horizon.
Second_Acts  insurance  entrepreneur  AIG  Hank_Greenberg  commercial_real_estate  merchant_banking  long-term 
june 2012 by jerryking
Build your own insurance company
August 22 2007 | Fortune Small Business | By Jeanne Lee, with Brandi Stewart

Across the nation, small-business owners are already finding captive insurance an attractive alternative to the commercial market. For manufacturers, contractors, and professional-service firms, property and liability insurance has become a pricey and uncontrollable variable - a wild card that can break a small business. Since 2000, when the captive business was mostly geared to self-insuring Fortune 500 companies, the industry has expanded to 27 states and the District of Columbia, and the number of captive insurance companies has more than doubled, to nearly 1,100. Dudley Miles is among the converts. Miles is CEO of J.D. Miles & Sons in Chesapeake, VA. Miles turned to Roof Connect, an alliance of about 75 firms with annual revenues ranging from $2 million to $90 million. By banding together and creating their own insurance company, these business owners hoped to bring predictability back to their profit statements, secure special coverage, and make certain that their insurance would not suddenly disappear. A group creates an insurance company, providing enough capital to cover a set amount of risk. The company then purchases reinsurance to cover losses beyond that amount. Day-to-day management is usually outsourced to a specialized company, called a captive manager. Over time, if there are no large losses, excess reserves can come back to the owners as dividends. Captives are not for every business.
small_business  insurance  product_recalls  owners  Fortune_500 
june 2012 by jerryking
Buyer demand for recall cover exceeds supply
July 28, 2002 | Business Insurance | Sally Roberts.

Risk managers seeking product recall coverage for food and beverages are finding a market with fewer players, smaller capacity and higher prices. The combination of the soft market and an increase in frequency and severity of product recall losses over the past few years - particularly in the meat and poultry industry - has sent many reinsurers and insurers running from the market. As a result, few underwriters remain, which leaves many food and beverage manufacturers and retailers in need of coverage but unable to find adequate limits and prices.
product_recalls  insurance  underwriting  frequency_and_severity 
june 2012 by jerryking
PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE: Product displacement
Apr 9, 2007| The Lawyer | by Trevor Davies,a senior partner at Davies Lavery

The product recall insurance market and issues facing insurers and insureds

Cadbury reportedly made significant but incomplete recoveries from its insurers in relation to the salmonella product recall costs. As a huge and profitable company, Cadbury was presumably better able than many to cope with the financial impact of the uninsured losses. Yet outside certain sectors (notably food and pharmaceuticals) product recall insurance remains less widely purchased than might be expected, despite the fact that the London market has historically provided an expansive range of suitable insurance products.

It would be surprising if the demand for product recall insurance does not grow. Companies looking at product recall insurance should understand that having a product recall strategy ready in advance is a good idea. The existence of such a strategy will directly affect the rating of risk. A company should also have in place systems in advance to record its additional costs in order to support any claim against insurers for such costs.

In short, commercial manufacturers and suppliers should check that they have the appropriate recall cover well in advance of the day they might have to use it so as to avoid being left with egg on their faces.
product_recalls  ProQuest  Cadbury  United_Kingdom  insurance 
june 2012 by jerryking
Managing product recall risks no child's play for toymakers - ProQuest
Managing product recall risks no child's play for toymakers
Wocjik, Joanne. Business Insurance35. 1 (Jan 1, 2001): 3,20.
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Abstract (summary)

"The paucity of product recall cover-age is directly related to what insurers see as one of the most threatening issues today-an out-of-control tort system," said Bob Hartwig, chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute Inc. in New York.

Indeed, "you have an increase in product liability claims whenever you have a product recall," Mattel's Mr. Pinner said.

But neither product liability insurance nor general liability insurance covers the cost of product recall, Mr. Hartwig pointed out. "So you need an additional policy."
Translate Abstract

Toymakers are finding that product recall insurance coverage is both expensive and scarce, and the market is not expected to improve. Despite recall notices, public warnings and removal of toys from store shelves, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that many recalled products that have the potential to injure or kill can still be found in many homes. The CPSC urges parents to take advantage of the "Dangerous Dozen" list of recalled toys. This information campaign is being financed by American International Group Inc.
toys  AIG  CPSC  insurance  Mattel  product_recalls 
june 2012 by jerryking
Thomas and His Washington Friends
October 09, 2007| CFO Magazine | Alix Nyberg Stuart Meanwhile, the market for product-recall insurance has grown by about 25 percent in the last year, according to Bill Harrison, managing director of the crisis-management practice at Aon Corp. Such coverage may be worth a look, given that product liability and property insurance have specific exclusions for recalls. The insurance covers everything from the cost of destroying recalled products to consulting fees for post-recall reengineering. Harrison says that so far premiums have not increased, due to some existing overcapacity in this insurance segment.
product_recalls  insurance  CPSC  Aon 
june 2012 by jerryking
Product Recalls
Posted on August 29, 2007 | Insurance Scrawl | posted by Marc Mayerson.

Policies today routinely seek to exclude the cost of product-recall expense, which can be staggering and life-threatening to a company — both in terms of cost and perhaps more importantly in reputation of the producer.
blogs  law_firms  product_recalls  Mattel  toys  China  insurance  reputation 
june 2012 by jerryking
The Microinsurance Revolution - NYTimes.com
June 6, 2012 | NYT | By TINA ROSENBERG.

Insurance is a peculiar product, unavailable to those who need it most. One group is people likely to make claims — if you want health insurance, for example, best not to be sick. The other underserved group is the poor.

Poor people need insurance more than wealthier people do, because they have no other cushion. Few people are always in a state of poverty. Most are cyclically poor. They work and save, but then something happens and they fall into poverty : a crop failure, a loss of a job, the death of a breadwinner. Often, the trigger for poverty is illness....Insurance offers a safety net, of course, but it is more than that. If you know you are covered, you’ll be more likely to invest in the future. “Your whole capacity to take risks changes,” says Andrew Kuper, president and founder of LeapFrog Investments, which helps to scale up companies worldwide that provide insurance to the underserved. “A daughter can go to school rather than work, the farmer can plant crops that can triple his income. We’re used to thinking of insurance as a safety net, but it’s also a springboard.”
insurance  microfinance  underserved  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  poverty  safety_nets  risk-taking  scaling  risk-preferences  risk-tolerance 
june 2012 by jerryking
How big data will help manage a world of 7 billion people — Cleantech News and Analysis
3. The Climate Corporation. Formerly called WeatherBill, the now renamed Climate Corporation uses big data tools to offer analytics and reports to the agriculture industry, and also sells a weather insurance product to farmers, to help protect them from losses from extreme weather events. The world has seen a rise in extreme weather events, partly do to a change in climate, and farmers can expect more of this unpredictability going forward. Combined with more unpredictable weather, food prices will likely rise as the population grows and usable land becomes constrained, particularly in developing countries.
Weatherbill  Climate_Corporation  massive_data_sets  weather  agriculture  farming  insurance  crop_insurance  climate_change 
may 2012 by jerryking
Insuring against climate : Nature News
22 July 2009 | Nature 460, 442-443 (2009) | doi:10.1038/460442a

News
Insuring against climate

Negotiators push for policies to help weather natural disasters.

Jeff Tollefson
climate_change  farming  insurance  crop_insurance  Ethiopia  natural_calamities 
april 2012 by jerryking
Climate Feedback: A new adaptation tool: climate insurance : Climate Feedback
22 Jul 2009 | 15:54 BST | Posted by Jeff Tollefson.

climate insurance is by no means a magic bullet. But clearly the tools of modern finance could certainly help make poor nations prepare for and respond to all manner of natural disasters big and small.

We explore some of these ideas in this week’s issue of Nature, taking a quick look at how the insurance debate is playing out in the ongoing United Nations climate talks. The upshot is that some kind of insurance mechanism is likely to make it into whatever climate deal is struck in Copenhagen and beyond.

One commonly cited option is index insurance, which is tied to things like rainfall that can be measured objectively. This cuts down on costs by eliminating the need for audits and investigations. In the case of something like crop insurance, moreover, it could put money in the hands of farmers immediately after the rains fail – and before the hunger sets in....Today these programs are being paid for largely by the farmers and nations buying the insurance, but industrialized nations would likely subsidize any insurance program deployed as part of an international climate agreement. The logic is that extreme weather variations – including droughts and heavy storms – are likely to increase in a warmer world, which means that both costs and premiums will rise as well.

A key challenge moving forward is how to scale up programs that benefit the world’s poorest farmers and communities. Dan Osgood, a researcher at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, points out the pilot programs that are under way today have generally been deployed in areas where information – regarding weather, crops and the like – is available. This means it will only get more difficult moving forward....Osgood says the insurance question could also increase pressure on scientists and insurance companies to tease out the long-term impacts of global warming at very local scales.
insurance  crop_insurance  climate_change  natural_calamities  data  farming  poverty  hyperlocal  indices  microtargeting  audits  pilot_programs 
april 2012 by jerryking
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