PRIMA RiskWatch
Jan. 2, 2014

How to keep a big government project from exploding on the launchpad
Governing
When it comes to launching a big, controversial government program, first impressions are everything. As we saw with the ill-fated rollout in the 1990s of California's electricity deregulation and of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act a decade earlier, sometimes a big government initiative can never recover from a poor launch. It remains to be seen whether HealthCare.gov, as well as a few of the states' Affordable Care Act health-insurance exchanges, will recover from their own launchpad struggles.More

Fight to bring storm shelters to schools heads to Oklahoma Supreme Court
KFOR-TV
A fight to build more storm shelters in schools heads to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. During oral arguments on Dec. 18, organizers of Take Shelter Oklahoma argued that the state attorney general derailed the process by writing biased ballot language. The group hopes to spend $500 million to build storm shelters in schools around the state — Organizers failed to collect the 160,000 signatures needed in 90 days to put the ballot before voters. More

Hoboken, NJ wants to be the next urban flood protection model
Claims Journal
This city was nearly swallowed by the Hudson River during Superstorm Sandy last year. Three of its electrical substations and most of its firehouses flooded, businesses and homes were submerged, and people were trapped in high-rises because elevators didn’t work and lobbies were under water. Now, more than a year after the storm, Hoboken is looking to become a national flood mitigation model. Its mayor has become an advocate for better planning and more funding for flood-prone urban areas, and for changing national flood insurance and relief regulations to better reflect the realities of city life.More

Suffering public health departments putting people at risk
Governing
After years of cutting public health, states are falling behind on vaccinating their residents and guarding against the possibility of disease outbreaks, food-borne illness and other threats, a new study concluded. The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation rated states on 10 measures, including public health spending in recent years, the percentage of their populations receiving vaccinations for preventable diseases, how recently they’ve tested their emergency plans, whether they have the capacity to handle a surge in testing and whether they require medical facilities to report infections that arise from patients during their treatment. More

NY approves Esurance telematics app to prevent teen texting while driving
Property Casualty 360
The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) approved an Esurance program that allows policyholders to install a free device in their cars that prevents teens from texting or calling while driving. Under the voluntary program, policyholders can use the device along with an Esurance app installed on their teen driver’s phone to block specific cell-phone activities when the car is moving, such as text, email, application usage and phone calls to any number except 911.More

Staying safe at school: Ohio district's plan for threats, focus on students' mental health
The Suburbanite
Louisville City Schools Superintendent Steve Milano said he can assure parents the district takes every precaution possible to keep kids safe — from putting cameras at building entrances to practicing lock-down drills with students. But what he can't do, he said, is promise parents their children won't be harmed at school. "I don't know if I can guarantee any child's safety anymore," Milano said.More

NYC requires flu vaccine in city preschools and daycares
CNN
The New York City Board of Health unanimously approved a recent mandate requiring all children under five enrolled in city-licensed preschools and day cares to receive the flu vaccine. It is one of outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg's final health initiatives, which the New York City Department of Health proposed to the Board of Health in September. The flu vaccine will be added to the seven other vaccines children under five are required to get, including measles, whooping cough and chicken pox. More

American Red Cross offers winter storm safety tips
The St. James Leader-Journal
Winter has arrived in the mid-Missouri area and the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter wants to remind the community how to stay safe. “Winter storms can bring a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain. It’s important to be prepared ahead of the storm — and know what to do during it as well,” said Dave Griffith, chapter executive director. “It’s always a good idea to have emergency supplies for your entire household at home and in your car, because you never know what may happen.” More