2 weeks ago

Galveston Capital Tourism and Marketing Review - World Class Museums and More!

Leave the stiff and boring life behind for some excitement and enjoyment in one the of the top travel destination in Texas – Galveston Island. This 32-mile long island offers a wide variety of attractions from sandy beaches, museums, art galleries, theatrical productions to historic homes and mansions.

Spend some “island time” and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, golfing, boat riding, kayaking and surfing. With the help of Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, you can successfully start planning your dream vacation on the island of Galveston.

Historic Island

Galveston is known for their historic past and rich culture and one of the best ways to spend your vacation in the island is by visiting world class museums. Galveston has a wealth of amazing museums that can give you a fun day filled with facts and unique adventures. Some of the best museums in Galveston are the Galveston Children’s Museum, Lone Star Flight Museum and The Bryan Museum.

The Strand District which is considered the heart of the Galveston’s downtown has many restored historic buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Make sure to take a trip on historic mansions including the 1895 Moody Mansion and the Bishop’s Palace built in 1892.

Galveston for Lovers

Whether you are planning a romantic getaway or a picture perfect place for your wedding, Galveston is surely a right choice. Galveston Island has plenty of fabulous wedding venues that can provide everything you need for a romantic wedding by the sea. When it comes to anniversaries, honeymoon or romantic getaways, Galveston Island will surely light up your romance.

Hotels Everywhere

Galveston Island is abundant in hotels, whether you want an extravagant room or just a simple but a clean place to stay for a night, the island has dozens of hotel options that will definitely suit your budget. Most of these hotels are located near the center of the island and major attractions.

Photo Contest for Everyone

#LoveGalveston2017 Photo Contest began last February and will run until April. Those who participated have a chance to win up to $1,000 cash. In addition, the photo submitted in the contest may also be used for marketing purposes in Galveston.

4 weeks ago

Security and Risk Complains Online Fraud: Elbit's Cyberbit Hones Military Technology for Commercial Market

RAANANA, Israel (Reuters) - Israeli defense Electronics Company Elbit Systems forecasts double-digit growth for its Cyberbit business, which is transforming the technology it has long provided for military intelligence to the fast-growing commercial market. Cyberbit took shape after Elbit's $150 million acquisition of the cyber and intelligence unit of Israel's Nice Systems in 2015, blending Nice's technology designed for law enforcement and intelligence agencies with Elbit's military-focused capabilities.

 

Today Cyberbit operates as two companies - one focused on government security and intelligence and subject to Israeli export restrictions, the other catering for the commercial market, mainly financial firms and utilities. Both are headed by Cyberbit Chief Executive Adi Dar.

 

Elbit CEO Bezhalel Machlis described cyber as a major growth engine for the company, which is Israel's largest listed defense company group with revenue of $3.3 billion in 2016. Its Hermes drones, surveillance systems and simulators are top sellers in Europe and South America.

 

While Cyberbit chief Dar would not disclose how much revenue his division generates, he said that cyber sales were growing by "strong double-digits" compared with Elbit's overall growth of 5 percent in 2016. "We expect that pace to continue," he told Reuters.

 

Cyberbit entered the commercial market by developing detection and response systems to protect "endpoints" such as laptops and mobile devices, where it competes with Carbon Black and FireEye of the United States.

Dar said Cyberbit is distinguished from its competitors because it is "playing on both sides of the court" -- meaning it provides technologies that can both carry out cyber-attacks and deliver defense.

 

"We build offensive capabilities for governments," he said. "We know what agents should look for because we are from that world."

 

Cyberbit is competing in a cybersecurity market dominated by the country's biggest tech company Check Point Software and is seeing strong demand for its cyber simulation platforms.

 

These create a virtual network and virtual attacks, helping the public and private sectors train staff to tackle the growing threat.

 

The simulation platforms are seeing strong demand given an increasing shortage for skilled cyberworkers.

 

Globally, 1.8 million cybersecurity positions will be unfilled by 2022, the Center for Cyber Safety and Education estimates.

 

In the coming weeks, the Maryland Range training center will open in Baltimore, using a Cyberbit platform to train workers in protecting critical infrastructure.

 

In February, Cyberbit agreed with Japanese service provider Ni Cybersecurity to launch a training center in Tokyo. Japan estimates it will have a shortage of 200,000 IT security professionals by 2020, when it expects a sharp increase in cyber-attacks around the Tokyo Olympics.

5 months ago

Beware of Contractor Fraud

July 1, 2013 - When storms hit, your home and life can be turned upside down. You’re eager to get your home repaired, but be careful because some contractors aren’t really there to help.

 

Most contractors are reputable business people, but the dishonest ones may try to convince you that you have hail or other damage and need a new roof, even if your roof did not experience any damage at all. Often they won’t even go on the roof to inspect the damage. They’ll explain that everyone in the area was affected by the storm when it is impossible to make that assumption.

 

That means that you may be filing an unnecessary claim and repairing a roof that isn’t damaged. These unscrupulous contractors travel from town to town after a storm occurs and try to take advantage of people who are recovering from a natural disaster.

 

What You Can Do

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) offer the following eight tips to those who are beginning the process of rebuilding disaster-damaged property:

 

1.       Get more than one estimate and don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away.

 

2.      Investigate the track record and references of any contractor you are considering hiring. Look for professionals who have a solid reputation in your community. Use a local, licensed, bonded and insured contractor. You can call your Better Business Bureau for help.

 

3.     Never give anyone a deposit until after you have thoroughly researched a contractor’s background.

 

4.      Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed. Read the fine print of any estimate or agreement before signing. Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms could be added later.

 

5.      Beware of building contractors that encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs. Payments for temporary repairs are covered as part of your total insurance settlement. If you pay a contractor a large sum for a temporary repair job, you may not have enough money for permanent repairs. In most cases, you should be able to make the temporary repairs yourself. Ask your insurance professional for guidance.

 

6.      Ask the contractor to provide a certificate of insurance before any work is started. Demand that contractors carry general liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage.

 

7.     Don’t pay a contractor in full until the work is complete.

 

8.    Do not sign over an insurance settlement check to a contractor.

 

A common scam is for a so-called contractor to convince a homeowner that a large deposit must be provided before repair work can begin, according to the I.I.I. Frequently, the job will be started, but not completed and these con artists are never heard from again. Another fraud scheme is to use inferior materials and perform shoddy work that is not up to code in order to pocket more profit.

 

While these tips are for disaster recovery, they also apply to anyone who is hiring a contractor to do work on a home.

 

Work with Your Insurer

 

If you need suggestions about who to hire or how to rebuild your home, contact your insurer or claims adjuster.

 

Erie Insurance has professional claims adjusters who are trained to assess your property, identify storm damage and prepare an estimate for proper repair. We can also provide recommendations for reliable and licensed contractors in your area. As always, it is your decision on who to use to repair your dwelling. If you need assistance, contact a local ERIE Agent. If you suspect fraud, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.

6 months ago

Mercury Capital Advisors in Singapore - Alan Pardee Quoted in Buyouts

 

It’s always hard for a fledgling private equity firm to raise a debut fund, though LPs for the past few years have been more willing to explore relationships with first timers. This was a product of a strong fundraising environment and LPs flush with capital from distributions looking for returns in new places.

 

Last year, however, that environment changed, and raising a first-time fund became more challenging than it’s been for several years. LPs’ desire for first-time funds is expected to continue to diminish this year.

 

A total of 153 first-time private equity funds closed last year, with aggregate capital of $16.7 billion, according to Preqin. That is the lowest number of first-time funds closed since before 2005, the first year Preqin starting tracking first-timers.

 

For comparison, in 2014, 226 first-time funds closed on an aggregate of $20 billion. In fact, over 200 first-time funds closed in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Peak years for first-time fundraising tracked the overall private equity fundraising market, with 2008 leading the pack with 277 first-time funds closed with an aggregate of $41 billion.

 

Overall private equity fundraising slowed last year to $303.1 billion across 740 funds, Preqin said. That was down from the $333.9 billion across 915 funds in 2014. The peak was in 2007, when 967 funds raised $412.3 billion.

 

Big money

 

Although last year was tough, a few first-time funds enjoyed strong fundraisings. Silversmith Capital Partners, formed by executives from Bain Capital Ventures and Spectrum Equity, closed its debut fund last year on $460 million. Fund I beat its target by 30 percent and closed in just over three months.

 

Another firm that appears to be having a strong first-time fundraising is Gamut Capital Management, a spin-out from Apollo Global Management. Gamut launched in late August with a $750 million target and recently held a first close on about $500 million, according to a person with knowledge of the firm.

 

But that is not the typical experience for many first-timers. OpenGate Capital, which has been around since 2005, has so far raised about $300 million on its first institutional fund, which is capped at $350 million, according to an LP who is familiar with the firm. OpenGate began talking to LPs about the fund in 2014 (it’s not clear when it officially launched.)

 

For OpenGate, one LP who met with the firm wondered about the firm’s ability to invest the larger fund, after many years of investment in smaller deals. A spokeswoman for OpenGate declined to comment.

 

Other concerns LPs have with first-timers include transparency of track record, stability of team and the amount of time the partners have worked together, not to mention whether their stated strategy makes sense.

 

“I’ve never seen a first-time fund that says it’s easy out there; it’s not uncommon to take several years to get a first-time fund raised,” said Andrea Auerbach, managing director at Cambridge Associates.

6 months ago

Attorney General Warns of Holiday Scams Security and Risk Online

Attorney General Warns of Holiday Scams Security and Risk Online

COLUMBUS, Ohio —Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned consumers of scams to avoid this holiday season.

 

“Scams don’t take a break during the holidays, and when people are busy or distracted, they may be more likely to fall for a scam,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We just encourage people to be careful. Take a few minutes to think, and if something doesn’t seem right, don’t do it.”

 

Scams to avoid this holiday season include:

 

Seasonal job scams. Job seekers find an ad for a mystery shopping or package shipping position where they can work from home. They complete an online “interview” over chat or email. Once they’re selected for the job, they receive a check. They’re told to deposit the check and immediately wire a portion of the money somewhere else. Ultimately, the check is returned as counterfeit, and the job seeker loses any money he or she has sent.

 

Package delivery scams. Consumers receive a message saying a package is waiting for them. The “package” turns out to be a phony notice claiming they’ve won millions of dollars but must send money to redeem the prize (In reality, the prize does not exist). In another variation of the scam, consumers receive an email or text message with instructions to click a link for the status of a package delivery. Although the message looks real, it’s a scam designed to trick consumers into clicking on the link and infecting their device with malicious software.

 

Advance-fee loan scams. Consumers apply for a loan online, but they’re told they need to pay a few hundred dollars in advance to secure the loan. They send the money but never receive anything in return.

 

Online shopping scams. Con artists pose as sellers online, taking money for items they never deliver. For example, in the “puppy scam,” consumers find an ad for a puppy on social media or classified ad websites like Craigslist or Hoobly. They pay the “seller” hundreds or thousands of dollars, supposedly to cover shipping fees, crate costs, insurance payments, or veterinary bills, but they never receive anything in return.

 

Charity scams. Con artists pretend to represent real charities, soliciting consumers by phone, online, or outside stores or malls. They make vague, phony claims about supporting a worthwhile cause and collect donations on the spot, but they keep the money for themselves.

 

 

7 months ago

Coalition Against Insurance Fraud: Zero tolerance of fraud?

Coalition Against Insurance Fraud: Zero tolerance of fraud?

Strengthening backbone rewards insurers, customers

 

Zero tolerance is an popular catchphrase for insurers to bandy around. It implies a blanket boycott of dubious claims, the marshaling of an insurer’s full resources at every turn.

 

In practice, zero tolerance is a moving target. Few insurers can assert they contest every dubious claim. Even the most principled insurers decide which claims to challenge, and which to let slide through.

 

Focusing limited staff resources on a complex staged-crash ring that’s stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars might make more sense, from an insurer’s standpoint, than taking on a handful of smaller homeowner claims that prosecutors likely aren’t interested in pursuing.

 

Perhaps paying a $5,000 nuisance claim from a clearly setup fall in a restaurant makes more sense, as an insurer sees it, than spending many times that amount in legals fees to defend against the determined crook’s civil suit. A sympathetic jury could dole out $500,000 to the swindler, who’s faking a convincing limp in court. Just pay off the guy and make his claim go away.

 

That said, one of best business cases for zero tolerance recently was mapped by former CNA chief claims officer George Fay. He writes movingly in the Journal of Insurance Fraud in America.

 

“Most claim denials for fraud result in a lawsuit against the company, no matter how solid your case,” George wrote soon after retiring. “A strong anti-fraud position can earn your insurer a reputation within the criminal underworld for being an undesirable target to try and bilk. This principled stance saves legal fees in the long run.”

 

And helps build customer loyalty: “When you make customers aware of your anti-fraud efforts, they see it for themselves and usually stay with you for life.

 

Zero tolerance also reflects an insurer’s character, from the leadership down through line staff. “An insurer that knowingly pays a fraudulent claim violates its values statement,” George writes. “And certainly the insurer lacks character. The same is true of insurer employees — from the SIU director to claims personnel to adjusters. Character is critical to building the foundation of successful fraud-fighting efforts.”

 

Zero tolerance — strengthen your backbone, stop false claims and reap rewards. George Fay writes an inspiring roadmap. Insurers should study that vision closely — your honest policyholders will be glad you did.

 

About the author: Jim Quiggle is director of communications for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

2 years ago

Richard Isaacs MD - Kaiser health, wellness facility coming to Elk Grove

Richard Isaacs MD - Kaiser health, wellness facility coming to Elk Grove

On June 16, Kaiser Doctors and area leaders broke ground at what will eventually be the new Promenade Medical Office Building in south Elk Grove.

 

The two-story, 67,000- square-foot Kaiser Permanente facility will be designed to focus on matters affecting patients’ mind, body and soul.

 

It will feature a 50-meter outdoor sports track that will be part of a 4,000-square-foot Sports Medicine Center where athletes can be evaluated and rehabilitated.

 

In addition to the sports center, the medical office will also house adult medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, health education, radiology, laboratory and pharmacy services.

 

The building is scheduled to open in late 2011.

 

Elk Grove Mayor Sophia Scherman, Vice Mayor Steve Detrick, city council member Pat Hume, Dr. Richard Isaacs, M.D., and Dr. Lisa Liu, M.D., broke ground where the new facility will be built.

 

“Your presence in Elk Grove means more quality health and wellness for our residents,” Scherman said in a speech before they broke ground.

 

Dr. Isaacs and Dr. Liu also addressed thecrowd.

 

Liu said the building will be “thoughtfully designed” with soothing colors, local artwork and a coffee bistro inside.

 

“We’re committed to making our facility a one-stop shop,” she said.

 

The new office will have a Healthy Living store where members can buy health and wellness equipment.

 

“We’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time,” Isaacs said. “Driving through the community, we’re aware of the economic impact in this area.”

 

Liu echoed that statement in her speech, saying, “I’m sure it won’t be long until this facility is surrounded by retail stores and restaurants.”

 

The building will be adjacent to the vacant Elk Grove Promenade Mall site where construction halted due to developer General Growth Properties undergoing bankruptcy.

 

When Scherman addressed the crowd, she discussed the unfinished mall behind her. “Although there is no set date, the mall will open,” Scherman said; “hopefully, within two years, it will be completed.”

 

Kaiser is thinking about the future, Isaacs said.

 

“We’re really hoping this will stimulate this part of the region,” he said.

 

In the past 10 years, Kaiser has added 30,000 new area patients. This new facility will be able to accommodate the health needs of current and future members.

 

Since 1999, Kaiser began phasing out the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic in construction and implemented more environmentally friendly construction materials in their building designs.

 

The Promenade Medical Office Building will be built so that solar energy panels can be added in the future.