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Quick takes

EXCELLENCE: Leavitt Group recently awarded Wheeling-based Fahey-Leavitt Insurance Agency with an “Agency Excellence Award.”

Mike Fahey, local co-owner of the agency, accepted the award during Leavitt Group’s annual conference held this year in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“Being part of Leavitt Group has created unlimited opportunities for our agency, and it is a win-win situation for our customers,” Fahey said. “Their coverages are being reviewed annually by insurance companies that have specific packages in place for specific risks. This partnership allows our agency the opportunity to provide coverage for almost any risk.”

Leavitt Group officials recognized Fahey-Leavitt Insurance Agency’s growth, profitability and customer service when presenting the award.

During the conference, Leavitt Group celebrated its 65th year in business. Dixie Leavitt opened the firm’s first insurance agency in Cedar City, Utah, in 1952. Today, there are 135 locations in 19 states.

Brits retire later: Britain accelerated plans to increase the pension age Wednesday, as rising life expectancy continues to put pressure on the public purse.

Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke announced the change in the House of Commons, pointing out that paying for pensions for longer presents a challenge for the government.

Under the plans, the pension age rises from 67 to 68 during a two-year period starting 2037. Under current rules, the increase had originally been set to take place between 2044 and 2046.

The agency says the number of people over state pension age is expected to grow by a third between 2017 and 2042, from 12.4 million in 2017 to 16.9 million in 2042.

ALPHA MOVES ON: Alpha Natural Resources says it has agreed to convey 280 permits, reclamation equipment, royalty payments and 100 million tons of coal reserves in four states to Lexington Coal Co.

According to Alpha, Lexington will get $204 million at closing and $112 million in installments to help with bonding, reclamation, water treatment and other obligations. The deal, subject to regulatory approvals, applies to holdings in Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The company emerged from bankruptcy reorganization last year.

In West Virginia, it recently sold Green Valley mining assets to Quinwood Coal Co. and sold off its New River Energy natural gas operation to Kinzer Drilling.

Alpha, based in Kingsport, Tenn., plans to open a new underground metallurgical coal mine in Raleigh County targeted to start producing in September.

MEXICAN LAPTOPS: Mexican authorities say the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has instituted heightened security measures for laptops and tablets on U.S.-bound flights from the country.

Mexico’s Transportation Department says in a statement that the measures took effect starting Wednesday for “electronics larger than a cellphone.”

It recommends passengers carry as few of those devices as possible in carry-on bags and advises that such electronics must undergo separate security checks without cases or covers.

Driverless Control: A House panel backed legislation designed to allow automakers to increase the testing of self-driving cars on U.S. roads.

The bill would let automakers deploy up to 100,000 self-driving vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards, a move designed to boost testing of new technology. The current cap for such exemptions is 2,500. The bill would also require manufacturers to report information about all crashes involving the exempted cars and give the transportation secretary authority to halt the exemptions for any manufacturer if a defect is discovered.

From staff and wire reports

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