Compliance Heat Map

The seemingly never-ending breaches of data over the years has prompted most states to enact data privacy breach notification laws. But some states are ahead of others in this initiative. The below map from Imation shows which states are laying down the law when it comes to data breach notification laws and which states completely disregard the need for them.

Here is a breakdown of each state and the specific law that was enacted there. It’s hard to believe that, in 2012, four states remain without such legislation. While the U.S. Congress has enacted breach notification requirements in a number of Acts, data breach concerns are not limited to federal law.

Yosemite Visitors Risk Disease

Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited places in the U.S. with more than 3.7 million people treking to the California hotspot each year. Some of those nature lovers may be at risk for a serious disease, however.

It was recently reported that approximately 1,700 Yosemite visitors who stayed in tent cabins this summer may have been exposed to a deadly rodent-borne virus — a disease that has already claimed the lives of two people.

After learning that a Pennsylvania visitor’s death was caused by hantavirus, Yosemite officials sent emails Monday evening to those who stayed in the “signature tent cabins” in Curry Village between mid-June and late August, said park spokesman Scott Gediman. Letters were sent to visitors whose email addresses were not on record.

The fatality marked the third confirmed case of the rare rodent-borne disease linked to the park. Last week, park officials said a 37-year-old Bay Area man had died and an Inland Empire woman in her 40s was recovering after being exposed to the virus. Park officials believe there may be a fourth case but had yet to receive confirmation Tuesday.

All four stayed separately at the signature tent cabins in June, Gediman said. Officials have traced the outbreak to deer mouse droppings in the area.

Jana McCabe, a Yosemite park ranger, called the hantavirus outbreak “unprecedented.” Though the park dealt with the same type of outbreak in the past (2000 and 2010), neither instance caused a fatality, and since then employees of the park have been trained on proper hantavirus protocol.

Since this most recent outbreak, the park has stepped up its response, implementing “rolling closures” of the cabins for deep cleaning, McCabe said. Crews are tearing down interior walls to look inside and repairing holes where mice could get into the structures. Meanwhile, Yosemite is suffering a reputation setback. As word continues to spread about the deadly hentavirus outbreak, the park will undoubtedly see a drop in tourist attendance.

There have been only 587 documented cases on hentavirus in the U.S. since the virus was indentified in 1993.


Gulf Coast Readies for Hurricane Isaac

Today, tropical storm Isaac became Hurricane Isaac. And the slow-moving storm, with sustained winds over 75 mph, looks to be on a collision course with the Gulf Coast. With many areas — New Orleans chiefly among them — still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, residents and public officials are stressing preparation before the storm strikes, bringing the potential for storm surge of up to 12 feet and up to 20 inches of rain, according to the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service.

The AP video above shows how some are getting ready, which must be welcome news to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who earlier today stressed that people shouldn’t be relieved that the storm is only a category one hurricane. “Do not let this storm lull you into complacency,” said Landrieu. “That would be a terrible mistake.”

One look at the storm’s size should make anyone think twice about taking this lightly.

This was taken by NASA this morning at 10:25 am.

On Twitter, FEMA noted that “FEMA mobile communications units are in Alabama & Mississippi to support #Isaac response efforts of state/local emergency managers” and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien sent out the below image of some Caterpillars “Building a road–last minute- for vehicles to drive over the makeshift levee.”

And, of course, it isn’t just the locals who are battening down the proverbial hatches.

Insurance companies are also making preparations, and some, including the Citizen Property Insurance Corporation, have already received claims from the storm hitting the Florida coast.

The storm leaves insurance companies with $36 billion in potential exposure to residential property, according to CoreLogic. And with New Orleans estimated to be the most expensive of major metro areas to feel the impact of Isaac, CoreLogic estimates the city could feel the affects of $30.44 billion in property damage due to storm surge.

In an interview with Insurance Networking News, Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, said he is confident insurers are prepared.  “…the industry’s claims-paying capacity stands at record-levels, given the relatively few [catastrophe] losses suffered so far in 2012 – $9 billion for tornadoes and thunderstorms this year pales in comparison to the $26 billion incurred last year,” he said.

Some insurance companies, like Allstate, have reduced its homeowners’ exposure in Louisiana since Katrina hit in 2005. According to the Chicago Tribune, Allstate has been hiking rates and reducing exposure in vulnerable areas nationwide.

Hurricane Katrina – the most catastrophic hurricane in U.S. history – caused a total of $46.6 billion in property damage covered by private insurers and $16.1 billion in flood loss. So as Isaac approaches, insurance companies are encouraging policyholders to check their policies and make sure they have adequate coverage.

For the latest developments in New Orleans, you can stay tuned to the live feed of the local Fox affiliate.

Workers Comp in the NFL

Tom Tupa was an NFL punter from 1988 to 2005. His 17-season career with seven teams ended abruptly on August 19, 2005 during a warm-ups for a preseason game. Tupa punted a ball and immediately fell to the ground complaining of back pain. It was the last time he stepped foot on the field as an NFL player.

Football is inherently a violent sport; a game wrought with injuries. Players know this and because of the nature of the game, they are very rarely awarded workers compensation benefits. Tupa, as it was recently proved, is an exception.

Yesterday, Maryland’s high court rejected the idea that football injuries should not be considered accidental because of the rough nature of the sport.

Tupa’s injury happened “out of and in the course of (his) employment,” the Maryland Court of Appeals said in its 16-page opinion.

“He was warming up for a game when he landed awkwardly and thereafter sought immediate medical treatment,” Judge John Eldridge wrote in the opinion. “Ample evidence was presented to show that Tupa suffered a compensable accidental injury during the course of his employment.”

The team and insurers argued that Tupa’s injury was not an accidental personal injury within the meaning of Maryland’s workers’ compensation law. The court rejected that argument.

Just two weeks ago it was another story with a another player, however.

Bruce Matthews played for the NFL with several teams for 19 years before retiring from the sport in 2002. In 2008 he filed a workers comp claim in California, stating that he was injured in various locations throughout the state during his career, but failed to specify which injuries occurred in California.

But the state court wasn’t having it.

“He did not allege any specific injury in California or a need for medical services in California,” the ruling reads. “Matthews likewise did not allege in his complaint before the district court that he suffered any discrete injury in California. Nor has he directed us to anything in the record indicating that he tried to prove injury in California, or any burden on the state’s resources.”

The court noted that employees cannot bargain away state minimum labor standards in arbitration or collective bargaining agreements. But it said that argument does not apply in Matthews’ case, because he did not prove that he has a claim under California workers’ comp law.

In addition to potentially increasing workers comp claims, the NFL also has the issue of lawsuits stemming from player concussions. A fight is currently underway between the league and insurers over who will pay to defend the NFL against lawsuits involving more than 2,400 former players.

The NFL remains in hot water and seems to be hemorrhaging money on legal services. Will the sport become a safer one? Will the league eventually run out of funds. Both are highly unlikely.

Or are they?