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Here are three of the week’s top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:
Home insurers slow-walk claims
Climate change is fueling intense battles between homeowners and insurance companies, said Erika Fry at Fortune. Iowa, a state that is “relatively inexperienced when it comes to widespread natural disasters,” suffered an estimated $11.5 billion in damage last August from a massive windstorm known as a derecho. But “the state has no licensing requirements for insurance adjusters, meaning just about anyone can do the job of assessing damage for insurers.” A year later, 18,000 claims remain open, and residents say they have become “trapped in a labyrinth of their insurer’s making.” One family thought they had a $1 million homeowners insurance policy through a firm called Benton Mutual Insurance Association. But after the derecho, they discovered a clause slipped into their contract in 2017 stating that Benton would not pay for roof damage “caused by windstorm or hail.”
Regulating digital currencies
SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s wish list for regulating cryptocurrencies fills roughly three broad buckets, said The Economist. “The first relates to what the SEC already does”: monitoring securities. But “among the 1,600 digital tokens with at least $1 million in market capitalization, a fair few” — including Bitcoin and Ether — “probably count as securities and do not follow the rules.” Gensler has asked Congress for more staff to police them. The second bucket involves “new products being brought to market,” including Bitcoin exchange-traded funds. The third bucket “comprises new powers that the SEC will seek from Congress” to better root out crypto trading scams.
Vaccinated-only need apply
“Job postings requiring a COVID-19 vaccine have jumped sharply in the past month,” said Greg Iacurci at CNBC, though the overall numbers remain low. New analysis from the jobs site Indeed found that “the share of listings that require a COVID vaccine were up 34 percent” in early August compared with the previous month. Other job ads that “aren’t specific” and “only ask for vaccination without explicitly mentioning COVID” are up 90 percent. And “they don’t mean the polio vaccine,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, one of the authors of the Indeed analysis. But “the overall number of job posts mandating applicants be vaccinated is still relatively small.” For instance, the requirement was included in just 438 software-development job postings out of every 1 million in July.
This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.