23 Feb, 2024
2 mins read

Agents Gauge State Farm’s Exit from Home Insurance Market

With State Farm’s announcement that it will stop writing new home, business and casualty insurance in California, some LA agents anticipate that it will change the process of home sales, while others take a wait-and-see approach.

The state‘s largest insurance company cited “historic increases in construction costs outpacing inflation, rapidly growing catastrophe exposure and a challenging reinsurance market” as reasons to cease writing new policies in California. The state has had a series of devastating wildfires in recent summers.

For potential homebuyers, insurance is critical because lenders require it to protect their collateral before approving a loan.

Dedree Hoyt, who handles home sales in Los Angeles and Ventura counties for Keller Williams Exclusive Properties, said she anticipates insurance prices would drive up, which would nix deals for those prospective homebuyers who wouldn’t be able to absorb the extra costs.

She also forecast that agents will have to move faster and be more organized.

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“A week before we closed escrow, we would make sure the buyer had enacted an insurance policy,” Hoyt said of the way the business had been conducted until recently. “But the minute it goes into escrow, we’re going to have to get that insurance policy put in place.”

She also forecasts that State Farm’s announcement is not a problem — yet. “If the other insurance companies follow State Farm, then we have a problem. Now it’s more of a glitch,” she said.

Mortgage broker Mark Cohen said that State Farm’s pullback might have a short-term effect because it will be harder to get homeowner insurance. Cohen is CEO of Cohen Financial Group in Beverly Hills.

“Over time, State Farm’s void will be absorbed by the market. There are other insurers,” he said. “Since there’s less competition, insurance probably will be more expensive.”


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NY immigrants need legal services, healthcare, advocates say

ALBANY — Immigration advocates want more from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to address the rights of people seeking shelter in New York amid an ongoing influx from the southern border and war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Ukraine.

Hochul’s proposal mainly extends funding to existing programs, such as those run by the state‘s Office of New Americans, that provide free legal and employment services for asylum-seekers, and refugee resettlement programs, which partners with nonprofits statewide to house refugees.

Programs that provide employment training and help with job placement will also receive more funding, according to the 278-page briefing book that accompanied Hochul’s State of the State speech on Tuesday.

But her plans didn’t address the major reforms that advocates have championed heading into the legislative session: a statewide right to legal representation for people facing deportation.

The bill backed by the New York Immigration Coalition would make New York the first state in the nation to ensure immigrants have a lawyer when undergoing frequent labyrinthine immigration court proceedings. Because those courts deal with civil cases, people are not guaranteed a lawyer the same way they would be in a criminal court.

“When they go into these proceedings, ordinary folks are up against a government-trained attorney whose sole purpose is to get them out of the country,” said Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the coalition.

According to a 2018 analysis published in the Fordham Law Review, undetained asylum-seeking immigrants with a lawyer won in 74 percent of their cases, while those without a lawyer won only 13 percent of their cases.

State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, who represents parts of Queens with high concentrations of undocumented immigrants, is sponsoring what’s been called the Access to Representation Act. “We want to take advantage of immigrant labour, but when it comes to defending

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2 mins read

Arizona Republican lost lawsuit over attorney general race

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has thrown out Republican Abraham Hamadeh’s challenge of election results in his race against Democrat Kris Mayes for Arizona attorney general, concluding that Hamadeh didn’t prove the errors in vote counting that he had alleged.

The ruling on Friday by Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen came after Hamadeh’s attorney, Tim La Sota, acknowledged his client had not gained enough votes during his litigation to change the outcome of the race. Mayes finished 511 votes ahead of Hamadeh out of 2.5 million in one of the closest elections in state history.

“You haven’t met the burden,” Jantzen told La Sota shortly before ruling against Hamadeh.

As part of the litigation, the parties in the case were allowed to inspect a sample of 2,300 ballots. Through the inspection, Hamadeh said he gained a net six votes, while Mayes maintained he netted three votes.

“If you extrapolate the numbers, they are not going to get us to 511 votes if you take the sample we have,” said La Sota, who had pushed for a larger sample size.

Hamadeh, whose race is the subject of a separate automatic recount conducted by the state due to the close results, complained in a tweet about election operations in Maricopa County and said his team “will await the results of the count before deciding our next steps.”

Andrew Gaona, an attorney representing Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, said the lawsuit was a “spectacular waste of everyone’s time.”

Under the Arizona law, Hamadeh faced the high bar of proving not just that election officials wronged but that he would have won without their misconduct.

In his lawsuit he alleged that problems with printers in Maricopa County led to a series of issues that disenfranchised voters. He also alleges his race was

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Sarpy County resident tapped to run Legal Aid of Nebraska

Legal Aid of Nebraska announced its new executive director, who’ll take the reins of the largest statewide nonprofit civil legal aid provider in Nebraska on Oct. 10.

Laurie Heer Dale, a resident of north-central Sarpy County, had been the director of the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project, where she helped attorneys provide volunteer services to state residents.

“Her experience, knowledge, and passion to ensure equal justice for all Nebraskans will continue to move our already strong organization forward as we enter our 60th year of service,” Legal Aid of Nebraska’s board president Amy Van Horne said in a release.

Heer Dale previously worked for Legal Aid of Nebraska as director of client and community engagement services, director of access, managing attorney for AccessLine and coordinator of the private attorney involvement program. She started her legal career with the nonprofit in 2002 and is a graduate of the Creighton University School of Law.

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“Providing access to legal assistance and representation is essential to ensuring fairness and justice for low-income individuals and families. Legal Aid is here to make that happen across our state,” Heer Dale said in a release.

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2 mins read

California launches abortion services website listings clinics, financial aid, travel and lodging

SACRAMENTO — California launched a publicly funded website on Tuesday to promote the state’s abortion services, listing clinics, linking to financial help for travel and lodging and letting teenagers in other states know they don’t need their parents permission to get an abortion in the state.

The website is part of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pledge to make California a sanctuary for women seeking abortions now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade – the landmark 1973 decision that said states could not ban abortion.

The state budget includes $200 million to strengthen access to abortion in California, including money to build a website promoting the state’s abortion services. That website went live on Tuesday, following an announcement from Newsom.

“Abortion is legal, safe and accessible here in California – whether or not you live here, know that we have your back,” Newsom said in a news release.

The website – abortion.ca.gov – includes information on different types of abortion and how to get one. The site has sections dedicated to people who live outside of California and immigrants who are living in the country without legal permission, saying federal policies keep immigration officials away from health care facilities.

There’s a map showing the location of 166 abortion clinics statewide. People can click to see an entire map, or they can enter a city and get a list of clinics nearby. It says people who live in California might be able to get abortion medication by mail, foregoing the need to visit a clinic.

Anti-abortion advocates have lamented the use of public funds to boost such services, arguing that California has a myriad of other problems more deserving of public funding. But they haven’t been able to stop it in a state that is dominated by

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2 mins read

US attorneys side with NJ on Waterfront Commission withdrawal

Attorneys from the US Justice Department have sided with New Jersey in a dispute with New York over the future of the controversial Waterfront Commission, which monitors hiring and criminal activity at the ports, according to a brief filed with the US Supreme Court this week.

A cargo ship makes it's way under the Bayonne Bridge so it could be unloaded in Port Elizabeth or Port Newark.  It is part of the Arthur Kill, a water passage between Staten Island, NY and industrial New Jersey is an area where an attempt at balance is sought between industrial commerce, recreation and the preservation of nature.

A cargo ship makes it’s way under the Bayonne Bridge so it could be unloaded in Port Elizabeth or Port Newark. It is part of the Arthur Kill, a water passage between Staten Island, NY and industrial New Jersey is an area where an attempt at balance is sought between industrial commerce, recreation and the preservation of nature.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he is “thrilled” about the brief and is confident this will bolster the Garden State’s case that it can withdraw from the bisstate commission without consent from New York, according to a statement released Monday. Murphy reiterated the state’s belief that the commission, which was formed in 1953, is “outdated and inefficient” and “has become an impediment to economic growth.”

The US attorneys who wrote to the court, led by Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, said New York’s arguments in court documents are “mistaken” and “internally inconsistent,” adding that New Jersey should be able to leave without New York’s consent because it enables ” each State to exercise its full sovereign authority.”

Additional motions and responses from the two states are expected to be filed to the Supreme Court through November.

New Jersey began the process of withdrawing from the Waterfront Commission in 2018 as some state lawmakers made the case that the commission was no longer necessary to police the ports and instead the New Jersey state police could take over that work, particularly with 80% of port activity taking place in New Jersey.

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