March 10, 2008

Teenage Deaths

“We saw a clear tipping point between ages 12 and 14, where child passengers became much more likely to die in a crash than their younger counterparts. … Long before these children ever receive a learner’s permit, they begin to exhibit a pattern that looks more like the high fatality rates we see for teen drivers.”

—Flaura Koplin-Winston, M.D., Ph.D., founder and co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP comments on a recent study that says child passengers, ages 12 to 16, are more likely to die in a car crash than younger children. The study was released in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. This study said that the risk increases with each teenage year. The study was conducted as part of an on-going research collaboration between The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance Cos. Researchers examined 45,560 crashes involving 8- to 17-year-old passengers. Between 2000 and 2005, 9,807 passengers in this group died in crashes. Of the nearly 10,000 passenger deaths studied by the CHOP researchers, more than half (54.4 percent) were riding with a driver under age 20; nearly two-thirds were unrestrained; and more than three-quarters of the crashes occurred on roads with posted speed limits above 45-miles- per-hour. Alcohol was also a factor in one-fifth of the fatal crashes.

Source: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Fresh Look

“I think we need someone from the outside to come in to take a fresh look. … I don’t think that can be done with anyone in the current management of WSI.”

—North Dakota State Rep. Rick Berg, R-Fargo, said that the interim director of the Workforce Safety and Insurance agency needs to go. North Dakota’s House Republican majority leader says the state’s troubled workers’ compensation agency needs to replace its interim chief executive with an experienced outside manager. John Halvorson, the chief of employer services at Workforce Safety and Insurance, has been the agency’s acting director since former chief executive Sandy Blunt was forced out last December. Berg said that Halvorson should be replaced as the interim director with “someone that has credibility and the confidence of the public.” He declined to suggest who that should be.

Stocks Are Not Cheap

“From a common-sense standpoint right now, we’re in a recession … though the U.S. economy has not yet recorded two straight quarters of declining gross domestic product, a traditional indicator of recession.”

—Warren Buffett says the U.S. economy is in recession and that “stocks are not cheap.” Speaking on CNBC television recently, Buffett also said he is no longer offering to guarantee $800 million of municipal bonds backed by MBIA Inc., Ambac Financial Group Inc. and FGIC Corp, three large bond insurers. He said, though, that the environment is “nothing like ’73 or ’74 yet,” referring to a deep economic downturn also marked by rising oil prices and falling stocks. Buffett said investors should not rule out the possibility of a significant economic downturn. On Feb. 29, Buffett’s insurance and investment company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reported an 18 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit.

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Insurance Journal West March 10, 2008
March 10, 2008
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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