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Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va., Biz Buzz column [Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.]

By Louis Llovio, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Dec. 17--Henrico County-based Affinity Group Underwriters has created an insurance policy dedicated to helping bicyclists who suffer catastrophic injuries in a bike accident.

The policy, which was started three weeks ago and is available in 31 states, including Virginia, is administered by Zurich American Insurance Co., a subsidiary of the global insurance giant Zurich.

Jay Paul, a managing director at Affinity on Cox Road, said the idea behind the policy is to financially help cyclists who suffer serious head injuries or paralysis, as well families of those whose loved ones have been killed.

"What we're trying to do is not insure your bike, but we're insuring your body. It's our contention that your body is worth a whole heck of a lot more than your bike is," he said.

Paul, an avid cyclist, said the idea for the policy came from seeing friends and fellow cyclists who have suffered life-altering injuries, leaving them unable to pay bills or take care of their families.

"What we wanted to be able to do is give these people cash" so they can take care of themselves as costs mount, he said.

Cycling is essentially a safe sport, but, because riders are often exposed to cars and rough terrain, injuries can be pretty severe, Paul said.

Paul partnered with Stephen L. Wyss at Affinity about two years ago, and they began work on creating the policy.

Wyss, a managing director at the firm, said the company's mission is to help create niche insurance products and then work with larger insurance carriers to underwrite them. The company also works to create and manage group insurance plans.

"What we do is pretty unique," he said.

Wyss said Affinity plans to expand the concept to other sports, including equestrian and skiing.

For now, the company is working on getting regulatory approval for the remaining states as well marketing the policy via social media and through cycling organizations.

Specialty insurer Markel Corp. also introduced an insurance line this year designed for bicyclists.

For sale: civic pride

Venture Richmond is showcasing RVA-themed merchandise being sold by area merchants.

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The RVA Merchandise catalog went live last week with information on where shoppers can buy items such as water bottles and wood signs with the RVA logo.

RVA Creates is a campaign created by Venture Richmond and a group of city leaders, advertising professionals and educators to "promote and stimulate Richmond's creativity and make the city a hub for innovative people and businesses."

It was started last year. About 125,000 RVA stickers have been distributed.

Richmond oysters

Rappahannock River Oysters' new restaurant, Rappahannock, has opened in downtown Richmond.

The restaurant, at 322 E. Grace St., is in space formerly occupied by Louisiana Flair, which closed last year.

Rappahannock River Oysters, which is owned by cousins Travis and Ryan Croxton, also operates a shop in Washington and a tasting room, Merroir, at the family's oyster farm.

This is the third upscale restaurant to open on East Grace Street near Richmond CenterStage and area apartments in the past 13 months.

Pasture opened in November 2011 in the former Montaldo's women's clothing shop at 416 E. Grace St. And 525 at the Berry Burk is in the former Berry-Burk & Co. store building at 525 E. Grace St. that opened earlier this year.

Downtown convenience

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven opens its first store in Richmond's financial district downtown this week.

The 3,000-square-foot store, at 101 E. Main St., is set to open Wednesday.

The chain's other "urban walk-up" location is a 2,400-square-foot store on West Main Street next to Virginia Commonwealth University's business school. It opened in 2011.

"The residential population is growing in this part of the city, and the new location will provide a 24-hour service to workers and residents of the area that currently does not exist," said Desi Desormeaux, the chain's area sales representative.

Restaurant coming

Nashville, Tenn.-based Logan's Roadhouse is opening its first Richmond-area restaurant in Chester.

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Construction on the 6,500-square-foot eatery is under way at 2301 W. Hundred Road.

A spokesman said the restaurant is tentatively scheduled to open in mid-January.

Logan's specializes in steaks, burgers, ribs and seafood.

The chain, which has about 220 restaurants in 23 states, has eight locations in Virginia.

The company said the restaurant will employ about 130 people.

Contact Louis Llovio at:

(804) 649-6348

LLLovio@timesdispatch.com

Twitter: @RTDBizBuzz

___

(c)2012 the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.)

Visit the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.) at www.timesdispatch.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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