Northwest briefly

OLYMPIA – Allstate Insurance is dropping its earthquake coverage in Washington state, a move that affects more than 40,000 customers.

Instead, Allstate agents will begin offering earthquake coverage through a California firm, Geovera, which specializes in the earthquake field, spokeswoman Caitlin Gorand said Thursday.

The change follows massive damage from recent natural disasters in the United States, particularly last year’s devastating Atlantic hurricane season.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said he hasn’t seen any signs that other companies are backing away from earthquake insurance, but said he intends to survey insurers to determine if a trend is emerging in the state.

Allstate insures more than 245,000 homes, condos and rentals in the state, Gorand said. More than 40,000 of those customers have optional earthquake coverage, and will need to reapply through the new carrier or seek other coverage.

Port of Seattle police have stepped up security in the garage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after a sudden jump in the number of possible car prowls last weekend.

Beginning Monday, officers began finding an unusual number of cars with damage indicating they might have been broken into.

Airport spokesman Bob Parker says 54 such cars were found, and notices were left on them to inform the owners.

So far, 17 of those people have contacted airport officials to confirm their vehicles were broken into.

Parker said the vehicles involved have been almost exclusively Ford Expeditions and F-150s.

He said security has been stepped up with both plainclothes and uniformed officers. He said investigators have identified a possible suspect and are trying to contact that person.

A Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train struck and killed a woman Thursday.

About 3 a.m., a crew saw the woman just north of the pedestrian crossing at Steilacoom Park, blew the horn and slammed on the emergency brake, said Gus Melonas, a BNSF spokesman. The train was unable to stop in time.

The tracks were reopened to trains at 5:30 a.m.

Investigators were trying to determine why the woman was trespassing on the tracks, Melonas said.

A Seattle-area mosque leader who was investigated for possible ties to terrorist groups agreed Thursday to accept an order of removal from the United States, federal officials said.

Immigration Judge Victoria Young ruled in Tacoma that Abrahim Sheikh Mohamed had no legal basis to remain in the United States, according to a news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

During the hearing, Immigration and Customs lawyers presented evidence that Mohamed has Kenyan citizenship. Young ordered him deported to Kenya or, if that cannot be done, to Somalia, the agency said.

Mohamed was an imam of the Abu-Bakr Mosque in Seattle’s Rainier Valley area.

He was arrested Nov. 14 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as he returned from a trip to Dallas. Federal officers said he lied to obtain legal asylum status after coming to the U.S. in 2000.

Associated Press

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