Utility company asks for proof that a $280 million emerald was lost in California wildfire

It's not impossible for an emerald to be valued at $280 million. In 2017, a 794-pound emerald was found in Brazil and valued at $309 million:

However, in the ongoing litigation over the 2018 Camp Fire, PG&E has asked for proof that a married couple really lost a $280 million emerald when their home burned down. Their "Beleza Emerald" was described in court documents as a 500-pound "solid block of black schist and quartz with green crystals."

Aside from the immense value of the emerald, Market Watch notes a few suspicious factors:

While the Camp fire burned hot enough to melt aluminum — which has a melting point of 1,221 degrees Fahrenheit — emeralds start to degrade at temperatures around 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit

A Google search found no record of a "Beleza Emerald."

According to Realtor.com, the house in question was an 8-bedroom, 4,400-square-foot home in Paradise with an estimated value of $586,000 — raising further doubts that it contained a gem worth more than 477 times the price of the house.

In an effort to verify the claim, PG&E has requested proof of ownership such as photos of the emerald, or receipts for security precautions such as temperature control or employment of security personnel. Read the rest

Why haven't cyberinsurers exerted more pressure on companies to be better at security?

For decades, people (including me) have predicted that cyberinsurers might be a way to get companies to take security seriously. After all, insurers have to live in the real world (which is why terrorism insurance is cheap, because terrorism is not a meaningful risk in America), and in the real world, poor security practices destroy peoples' lives, all the time, in wholesale quantities that beggar the imagination. Read the rest

Enjoy this fantastically weak bike accident insurance scam

From Wuhu in China's Anhui province comes one of the best worst insurance scam attempts ever.

(Newsflare) Read the rest

Bossfight: Allstate Insurance enters the Right to Repair fight, loans its lobbyists to fight Apple

The Right to Repair movement got state legislatures to consider more than a dozen Right to Repair bills last year, and have made great strides in the EU and elsewhere, but for every two steps forward they manage, they're forced a step or two back by giant corporate lobbyists, led by Apple, who want to ensure that third parties can't repair products, and that a manufacturer's decision it's time to retire a product from the market won't be challenged by independent repair depots. Read the rest

After #MeToo, whole industries have been blacklisted by insurers for sexual harassment liability coverage

A new report from Betterley Risk Consultants, shared with The Intercept, reveals that many of the world's largest insureres will no longer conside whole industries for "employment practices liability insurance" (EPLI), which covers liability from "sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and other employee claims." Read the rest

Insurer won't pay murdered gunshot victim's family because he didn't disclose his high blood-sugar

In March 2018, Nathan Ganas was murdered in his driveway in Durban, South Africa, during a botched hijacking; now Momentum, the insurer who wrote the 2.4m Rand (USD 170,700) policy on his life, is refusing to pay out because they say he didn't disclose his elevated blood-sugar levels when he took out the policy -- instead, they will refund the premiums Ganas paid during the four years he held the policy. Read the rest

When your dental insurer sends you a "free" Internet of Shit toothbrush

Wolf Richter's dental insurer sent his family a free "smart" toothbrush that records how often and how well you brush, using a set of proprietary consumables to clean your teeth. Read the rest

In an attempt to quantify stupendous risk, cyberinsurers ratchet up premiums, deploy gimmicks

In some ways, there's never been a better time to be an insurer: every business wants cybersecurity insurance, and the market is willing to tolerate crazy annual premium hikes -- 30% a year for the past five years! Read the rest

Equifax was always dirty, it bills the US government for millions, and was repeatedly hacked

Before Equifax changed its name in 1976 -- in the midst of a Congressional investigation and a national scandal -- it was the Retail Credit Company, founded in Atlanta in 1899. Read the rest

Wearing an activity tracker gives insurance companies the data they need to discriminate against people like you

Many insurers offer breaks to people who wear activity trackers that gather data on them; as Cathy "Mathbabe" O'Neil points out, the allegedly "anonymized' data-collection is trivial to re-identify (so this data might be used against you), and, more broadly, the real business model for this data isn't improving your health outcomes -- it's dividing the world into high-risk and low-risk people, so insurers can charge people more. Read the rest

18% of the world's cargo ships are sitting idle

In the aftermath of the 2008 crash, international shipping sank to record lows -- but container ship companies kept on building, turning out some of the biggest ships the seas have ever seen. Read the rest

The Vulnerable 20 Group: coalition of 20 countries threatened by climate change

Reps from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam just gathered in Peru to announce the formation of the "Vulnerable 20" group, a coalition of 20 nations threatened by climate change. Read the rest

Home Depot might pay up to $0.34 in compensation for each of the 53 million credit cards it leaked

In 2014, Home Depot disclosed a security breach of 53 million customer credit cards and 56 million email addresses. This week the company settled a class action lawsuit and agreed to pay as much as $19.5 million in damages and compensation. Read the rest

Health insurance must pay for exoskeletons

An independent review board has ordered an unspecified health insurer in the northeastern USA to reimburse a patient for a $69,500 exoskelton from Rewalk, whose products enable people with spinal cord injuries to walk. Read the rest

Survey of wealthy customers leads insurer to offer "troll insurance"

Chubb's new troll rider on its elite personal insurance package for its wealthiest customers now offers up to £50,000 to cover the cost of counselling, lost income, and professional anti-troll services (forensics, reputation management) for people who are targeted by online harassers. Read the rest

Uh-oh: Cox Cable's insurer won't back them in court against BMG Music

BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. has been trying to enlist Cox Cable as an accomplice in a copyright trolling scheme, demanding that the company pass on copyright infringement notices that accuse users of downloading music and order them to pay large sums of music or face punishing lawsuits. Read the rest

Why health insurance makes no sense

Two doctors have written a really fascinating analysis of the history and economics of health insurance that will make our current U.S. system seem even more ridonculous than it already did. Read the rest

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