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Summer Journal

Volume 29, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Nation’s Second Largest Restoration Firm Continues to Expand National Presence

WHEELING, Ill. – Response Team 1 has expanded and strengthened its nationwide presence through the acquisition of one national and two regional property restoration firms, and securing significant investment support from Nautic Partners, LLC based in Providence, R.I. Response Team 1 is the nation’s second largest property restoration company serving 30 states from 49 locations.

The companies purchased by Response Team 1 are Venturi Restoration, Philadelphia; Emergency Reconstruction, Raleigh, N.C.; and JFS Construction Group, Van Nuys, Calif. Each provides a wide range of property restoration services, often in response to weather events and other disasters.

Venturi Restoration is a national restoration and remediation firm serving the multifamily industry from 17 offices in 15 states located throughout the United States. Emergency Reconstruction is a property restoration company serving Raleigh, N.C. and Fayetteville, N.C. JFS Construction provides residential and commercial restoration services in the southern California region.

“Our strategy is to expand our national presence and solidify our position as a leading property restoration and multifamily renovation company in the country,” said John M. Goense, Chairman and CEO of Response Team 1. “The addition of these premier restoration and renovation firms to our best-in-class group of operating companies meets that goal and raises the bar in terms of operating excellence in additional markets.

“Each company will retain its leadership and commitment to service that has positioned them as leaders in their respective markets, while operating under the Response Team 1 brand,” added Goense. “This collaborative relationship will enhance their abilities to deliver high-quality services to their clients.”

The Nautic investment complements those from Response Team 1 founders Goense and Erik Bloom, Vice Chairman.Nautic Partners is a private equity firm focused on investments in middle market companies across a range of industries that includes healthcare, industrial products, and outsourced services.

“The investment by Nautic supports our continued and rapid growth as we continue to acquire premier restoration and remediation firms across the country,” said Goense.

With its resources and capabilities, Response Team 1 has the capacity and expertise to quickly restore any single family residence or large commercial building, or renovate any multifamily property coast-to-coast.

Response Team 1 was named to the Inc. Magazine 500 list as one of the fastest growing companies in America in 2015. The firm captured the 352nd slot in the ranking, making the Top 500 for the second consecutive year.

About Venturi Restoration

Venturi Restoration is a full service national restoration and remediation company with 17 locations operating in 15 states. More information is available at http://www.venturiclean.com/.

About Emergency Reconstruction

Emergency Reconstruction is a Raleigh, N.C.-based total solutions property restoration company. Additional information is available at http://emergencyreconstruction.com/

About JFS Construction Group

Based in Van Nuys, Calif., JFS Construction Group, Inc. specializes in residential and commercial restoration services. For more information about JFS Construction Group visit http://www.jfsconstruction.com/.

About Response Team 1

Response Team 1 is an award-winning national leader in the commercial and residential property restoration, disaster loss recovery and multifamily renovation industries. We are committed to getting life back to normal quickly and correctly for our customers. With decades of experience in quickly responding to large commercial and residential losses and community weather events, Response Team 1 serves the continental U.S. from 49 strategic locations. More information is available at www.responseteam1.com.

The explosions at the Port of Tianjin, China could ultimately become one of the largest man-made insurance loss events worldwide ever recorded, according to Swiss Re sigma.

Based on Swiss Re’s latest estimates, the total insured property loss of the Tianjin explosions is likely to be around USD 2.5 billion to USD 3.5 billion, making it the largest man-made insured loss event in Asia ever recorded.

Tianjin currently ranks as the third largest man-made insured global loss (in 2015 dollars), behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and the 1988 Piper Alpha oil rig disaster.



Wednesday, 30 March 2016 00:00

Top Board and C-Suite Risks for 2016

Regulatory changes, economic conditions and cyberthreats are the top concerns of board members and company executives this year, according to a new enterprise risk management survey. U.S.-based companies listed several operational risks as top concerns, while non-U.S. companies listed only one, cyberthreat, as a major concern, according to the report, Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2016, by North Carolina State’s ERM Initiative and Protiviti.

Overall, companies see the current business environment as riskier than in 2015, but not as risky as 2014. With increased inquiries and added concerns about risk from boards of directors and company executives, respondents indicated they will be investing more in risk management this year. “More organizations are realizing that additional risk management sophistication is warranted given the fast pace in which complex risks are emerging,” the study found.

Boards of directors rated only one strategic risk among their top five concerns, with the remaining falling into macroeconomic and operational risk categories. CEOs, on the other hand, saw strategic risks as three out of their top five issues.
According to the study:



CyrusOne recently pulled off one of the biggest data center wins of 2016, buying in a sale-leaseback transaction CME Group’s state-of-the-art data center to expand and offer colocation services in the red-hot Chicago market.

CyrusOne has enterprise DNA and Midwest roots going back to originally being spun-out of Cincinnati Bell.

During its 2016 Investor Day presentation earlier this month, the company rolled out a bold plan to double its enterprise value from $4 billion today to $8 billion by 2020.



Wednesday, 30 March 2016 00:00

Outrageous Compliance

This series of articles is an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek look at the serious business of risk management and compliance and the lack of scientific rigor dressed up in charts and graphs, which have an appearance of legitimacy, but tell us little about risks.

First of all, let me say that risk management and compliance are important functions and deserve to be taken as seriously as any other discipline in business and government to ensure efficient operational outcomes.  My point in these articles is to point out where many firms diverge from serious risk management into the realm of mystery cloaked as rigor.



(TNS) — Parts of southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma have as high a probability of damaging earthquakes this year as parts of California, according to a new study released Monday by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey.

It’s the first time the USGS has created a map to identify potential ground-shaking hazards from both human-induced and natural earthquakes — and it places a target for highest probability on a region spreading out from central Oklahoma and reaching into several counties in Kansas.

“The chance of having (a damaging earthquake) is 5 to 12 percent per year in north-central Oklahoma and southern Kansas,” the study states, “similar to the chance of damage caused by natural earthquakes at sites in parts of California.”



(TNS) — With two rivers running through it, the Gulf of Mexico abutting it and hurricanes occasionally thrashing it, Southeast Texas is familiar with the type of flooding that overcame Deweyville two weeks ago.

With one known exception, the towns and cities that have been flooded out over more than a century — think Bridge City and Sabine Pass but also Port Arthur, Galveston, Orange, Beaumont and even Groves — have always rebuilt.

The one town that didn't was a 19th Century settlement of about 10 families called Aurora, located where Port Arthur now sits.

"They took apart their houses and they moved to Beaumont," Sarah Bellian, curator of the Museum of the Gulf Coast, said of the Aurora families. "They said, 'There's no way we can live here.'"



Wednesday, 30 March 2016 00:00

In Defense of the Private Cloud

The enterprise has been getting a lot of conflicting information when it comes to the cloud. More often than not, the kind of cloud that fits the bill is exactly what the provider has to offer.

But since the cloud is more about the workload it is intended to support than the technology or architecture it sits upon, every type of cloud will provide nominal, middling or optimal functionality depending on its use case.

A case in point is the private cloud, which has gotten its fair share of bad press for not being as scalable, cost-effective or simple to build and manage as the public cloud. And yet, as Tesora CEO Ken Rugg noted on DZone recently, building cloud architectures on your own infrastructure offers unique advantages nonetheless. For one thing, it is difficult to move large amounts of data from in-house resources to the cloud, so if you want to keep processing close to data and still reap the benefits of a flexible architecture, then the private cloud is the best way to go. At the same time, your private cloud can be built around the specific security, governance and compliance requirements of your workloads, rather than the more generic approaches found on public resources.



Whether an organization is backing up data locally, or working with an external provider, security must be an integral part of the backup process. Most organizations go to great lengths to protect their data. Creating a backup process that is potentially insecure could completely undermine such an organization’s security efforts.

There are countless steps that an organization could take to improve the security around backing up data, but most fall into three best practices.

The first of these best practices is to control access to backup resources. A good backup solution should support Role Based Access Control (RBAC). An RBAC mechanism allows administrators to grant backup operators the ability to perform specific tasks, without giving them full access to the entire backup system. A backup application’s access control mechanism should also perform audit logging of all backup and recovery related activities.

- See more at: http://blogs.ironmountain.com/2016/service-lines/data-backup-and-recovery/dont-compromise-security-when-backing-up-data/#sthash.sh9gy0qY.dpuf
Permabit CEO explains inevitable impact of cloud and software-driven architectures on storage suppliers – and on end users who rely on them

CAMBRIDGE, Mass – Enterprises will need to make difficult choices about data center infrastructures as changing technology and business models impact storage and networking, according to experts at Permabit Technology Corporation, the leader in storage efficiency and data reduction technology.  

As organizations move more data to the cloud, hybrid cloud and hyper-scale cloud providers will make massive share gains, fueling adoption of white-box compute and open-source software for storage, computing, and networking. Tom Cook, Permabit CEO, believes the branded storage vendor business is in a permanent state of decline, requiring end users to make long-view decisions today. 

“Flashy startups and storage incumbents are engaged in a race to solve what is essentially yesterday’s problem by building better, faster and cheaper on-premise disk arrays,” said Cook. “Buyers must beware of the disruptive impact cloud adoption is having on those vendors’ market share and profitability.”

Cook advises midsize and large storage consumers to heed the following factors that will inevitably influence their future purchases: 

White Box is Winning
Hybrid cloud and software-driven environments are a goldmine for standards-based, commodity-class white boxes for compute, networking and storage. The reliability and features that branded vendors traditionally offered are instead delivered through commodity component redundancy and intelligent software, while inexpensive flash devices yield performance and efficiency. Since enterprise-shared storage can be built from unbranded commodity components, it’s easy to compare acquisition costs from different suppliers – and the branded vendors won’t come out on top. White-box vendors operate at 10 percent margins versus the 55 percent margin of branded vendors. As branded vendors lose sales, their R&D suffers, and they will struggle to bring new-and-improved products to market. 

Cost Structures are Changing
Moving data to the cloud changes compute, networking, and storage costs from a capital expense to an operating expense. Converged and hyper-converged architectures orchestrated by more capable, feature-rich software can use hybrid cloud seamlessly, so data is migrated offsite regularly. Budgeting for “hardware refresh” becomes passé as specialized platforms are no longer needed.

Support and Maintenance Dollars are Shifting
When the real innovation is in software, not hardware, and cloud data centers deliver enterprise-class QoS, software systems become mission-critical and so does their support and maintenance. The quality and performance of open source software keeps raising the bar and its business value continues to go up. Users will siphon budget away from keeping their hardware running to keeping software in tip-top shape. 

The Storage Admin’s Influence is Declining
As branded vendors lose their influence on decision-making, their incumbency advantage disappears, and purchasing relationships change. Storage admins, storage managers, and other storage-specific personnel may find they also lose influence on the overall data center budget when compute, networking, and storage is consolidated into one entity and capacity is no longer the biggest line item. 

The Wealth Is Shared
As the stock of branded storage vendors wanes, it’s not just one industry sector that will wax. Rather, a whole ecosystem of hardware suppliers, software suppliers, open-source support organizations, managed service providers, and hyper-scale providers like Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Google all stand to gain. Vendors like these that can capitalize on value-add applications and services like analytics to subsidize free or near-free storage will further drive critical apps and data to the cloud. In the long run, cloud and software-driven architectures deliver cost, scale, and agility advantages, all of which benefit the end user. 

“There’s no denying the cloud business model is winning, driving the economic transformation of infrastructure,” said Cook. “With hybrid cloud gaining share, the branded storage business is under severe pressure, and legacy players are in a fight for survival.” 
About Permabit
Permabit pioneers the development of data reduction software that provides data deduplication, compression, and thin provisioning. Our innovative products enable storage OEMs, ODMs, Cloud Service Providers, and Software-Defined Storage Vendors to get to market quickly with solutions that cut effective cost, accelerate performance, and gain competitive advantage. Just as server virtualization revolutionized the economics of compute, Permabit software is transforming the economics of storage today.

Permabit is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts with operations in California, Korea and Japan. For more information, visit www.permabit.com
The 2016 Annual Claims Report from HVAC Investigators arms insurance carriers with powerful information designed to help understand HVAC Claim Trends

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – HVAC Investigators, the nation's leading provider of HVAC and refrigeration damage assessments, today announced that it has released its much anticipated 2016 Annual Claims Report.  This year's report clearly demonstrates that the complexity of HVAC claims - from current government regulations, equipment price fluctuations, and regional labor rates to limited parts availability - has made it all but impossible for carriers to accurately and predictably settle claims without consulting third party experts. Included data illustrates how the help of a cost-effective, third party technical expert can save carriers millions of dollars in settlement overpayments each year by helping carriers develop an effective claims handling strategy.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160329/348918
Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160329/348917LOGO

Distributed to insurance carriers nationwide to help them strengthen their understanding of current industry trends related to HVAC insurance claims, the HVAC Investigators Annual Claims Report examines data for both onsite inspections and desktop reviews of residential, commercial and large loss claims in all 50 states. The report reviews, in detail, tens of thousands of actual claims assigned to HVAC Investigators by many of the nation's top carriers. Sparking impactful conversations about indemnity reserves, the data included affords property and casualty insurance carriers an opportunity to analyze current HVAC statistics. With the report's real-world statistics on reported vs. actual cause of loss, frequency of claims by system type and brand, and age of system by type, insurance carriers are equipped with significant information for establishing accurate indemnity reserves and underwriting policies on HVAC equipment.

In addition to the data insurance carriers have come to rely on HVAC Investigators to publish each year, this year's report introduces a new section devoted to how federal regulations are impacting claims. "From keeping our customers up-to-date on new regulations to taking a fresh look at statistics, this report is an inside look at how HVAC trends impact the property claims industry - giving carriers key information to make the process easier for their adjusters and policyholders," commented Reza Nikrooz, VP of Claims. The report will be made immediately available to insurance claim professionals. To request your copy, please click here or email info@hvaci.com.

HVAC Investigators is the nation's leading provider of HVAC and refrigeration damage assessments.  Our prompt inspections and actionable reports help insurance carriers settle HVAC claims more efficiently and with a higher degree of accuracy.  If you'd like more information about our services or to submit an assignment, please visit hvaci.com, email info@hvaci.com, or contact us by phone at (888) 407-5224.