Posts in January 2015

Car thieves target idling cars

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

It’s something anyone who lives is a cold climate has probably done–gone outside to turn the car on to defrost and warm up, and then gone back into the house or apartment.

With the cold weather gripping much of the nation, thousands of drivers are starting their cars and leaving them idling for a few minutes while they warm up on these frigid mornings, but police say it’s a bad idea because it creates a crime of opportunity for thieves. Just this month, several dozen cars in six states were stolen as their drivers left them idling in driveways or on the street. Eleven cars were stole in a single morning in Indianapolis earlier this week.

This type of crime usually spikes in the winter months. In St. Louis, 16% more cars were stolen in January 2014 than the previous years. Officials are worried because the crimes usually occur in the mornings when students are waiting for school buses and the thieves will take off at a high rate of speed, endangering anyone in their path.

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Big insurer groups push Senate on cyber security bill

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Thirty-five organizations, including big insurance trade groups, have sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging the quick passage of a cyber security information-sharing bill that also offers them a safe harbor against frivolous lawsuits.

“Cybersecurity is a top priority of our associations and members,” says the letter on U.S. Chamber of Commerce letterhead, sent Tuesday. “Recent cyber incidents underscore the need for legislation to help businesses improve their awareness of cyber threats and to enhance their protection and response capabilities.”

The letter adds, “Above all, we need Congress to send a bill to the president that gives businesses legal certainty that they have safe harbor against frivolous lawsuits when voluntarily sharing and receiving threat indicators and counter measures in real time and taking action to mitigate cyberattacks.”

It states such legislation should also offer protections related to public disclosure, regulatory and antitrust matters “to increase the timely exchange of information among public and private entities.”

It adds that the legislation should safeguard privacy and civil liberties as well.

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Organized Family Insurance Ring Busted in Southern California

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Detectives from the California Department of Insurance’s insurance fraud enforcement division arrested 15 Los Angeles area residents Thursday morning for allegedly staging auto collisions and filing more than $500,000 in fraudulent claims.

Four suspects are still being sought, and an additional 10 suspects are arranging to surrender.

Edwin Bautista, 41, of Sylmar and Luis Bautista, 32, of Pacoima, believed to be the ring leaders of an organized family insurance fraud crime ring were arrested Thursday with 13 others at various Southern California locations and taken into custody without incident, according to authorities. All were booked into Los Angeles County Jail.

The Bautista brothers, along with 27 accomplices, allegedly led a family crime ring filing 18 fraudulent auto insurance claims over a two-year period totaling more than $500,000.

According to investigators, the suspects intentionally crashed cars and then coached accomplices on how to fake injuries and file fraudulent insurance claims to get cash payments from insurers for bodily injuries and property damage.

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Driving Miss Crazy: The most common forms of aggressive driving

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Your alarm didn’t go off so you are running late to work, you have an emergency you need to get to, there was an accident on the road that put you behind in your whole day; for most, aggressive driving is the answer to all of these problems. It is human nature to think that driving fast enough will give us back the time we need. However, aggressive driving has the potential to do just the opposite.

According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA), a vehicle-related injury occurs every 14 seconds in the U.S. The Insurance Information Institute reports that aggressive driving behaviors were involved in 51.9% of fatal crashes in 2012.

This kind of driving is no doubt dangerous, but drivers can’t seem to get enough. While there are lots of ways to be aggressive on the road, the Insurance Information Institute finds certain mannerisms happen most often according to 2012 fatal crash data.

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Commercial P&C market takes a step back as premium pricing dips in Q4

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Premium pricing for the commercial P&C market was slightly lower in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the latest quarterly Commercial P/C Market Index Survey by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

Overall large, medium and small accounts declined by 0.7% on average compared to a small increase of 0.1% in the third quarter of 2014.

While the average pricing drop is slight for accounts of all sizes, large accounts experienced the largest drop in pricing, the survey shows. On average, large accounts experienced a drop of -2.2%, while medium accounts dropped -0.9%.

For small accounts, however, prices rose slightly in the last quarter of 2014, with a 1.1% increase.

“Changes weren’t particularly dramatic last quarter and capacity remained ample for good accounts and new business — very similar to what we saw in the previous quarter,” said Ken A. Crerar, president and CEO of The Council. “Congress’ dithering over TRIA reauthorization caused some unease in that market, but the passage of the TRIA extension should settle those concerns.”

Survey results indicated that most brokers reported no significant change in the market in the fourth quarter, although results varied somewhat by line, region and loss experience.

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Commercial P&C market takes a step back as premium pricing dips in Q4

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Premium pricing for the commercial P&C market was slightly lower in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the latest quarterly Commercial P/C Market Index Survey by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

Overall large, medium and small accounts declined by 0.7% on average compared to a small increase of 0.1% in the third quarter of 2014.

While the average pricing drop is slight for accounts of all sizes, large accounts experienced the largest drop in pricing, the survey shows. On average, large accounts experienced a drop of -2.2%, while medium accounts dropped -0.9%.

For small accounts, however, prices rose slightly in the last quarter of 2014, with a 1.1% increase.

“Changes weren’t particularly dramatic last quarter and capacity remained ample for good accounts and new business — very similar to what we saw in the previous quarter,” said Ken A. Crerar, president and CEO of The Council. “Congress’ dithering over TRIA reauthorization caused some unease in that market, but the passage of the TRIA extension should settle those concerns.”

Survey results indicated that most brokers reported no significant change in the market in the fourth quarter, although results varied somewhat by line, region and loss experience.

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Workers’ compensation challenges in the transportation industry

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

It has been said that trucking is the lifeblood of America’s economy.  Trucks are constantly transporting raw materials and goods for manufacture, assembly, or further distribution. The American Trucking Association states that over-the-road transporters deliver 100 percent of consumer goods in the nation and approximately 70 percent of freight tonnage transported domestically.  There are also smaller trucks that travel local routes to deliver the products we have all grown to expect.

The wide geographic dispersion of truck drivers and other professionals who travel extensively for their jobs presents specific challenges that make advance planning essential for employers in the transportation industry. Here are some of those challenges, as well as steps employers should take to overcome some of them. The recommendations do not include Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements, which must also be considered. While we will focus on the trucking industry for this article, the same issues and principles apply for fleet operations or for any organization where employees travel extensively.

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The most expensive states to file an auto claim

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Filing even a single auto insurance claim of $2,000 or more leads to an average premium increase of 41%, a new analysis from insuranceQuotes.com and Quadrant Information Services revealed this week.

The annual report analyzed the change in monthly auto premiums for a hypothetical 45-year-old married female driver who is employed, has an excellent credit score, has no lapse in coverage and has never filed an auto insurance claim. Researchers considered claims in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for bodily injury, property damage and comprehensive incidents.

The results?

Relying on National Association of Insurance Commissioners data pegging the average cost of an auto insurance premium in the US at $815, an increase of 41% would mean a $335 spike in a policyholder’s insurance bill—generally limited to claims in which the driver is at fault.

Filing a second claim means an even more costly premium increase of 93%.

Residents in some states could pay even more.

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Daily Market Update

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Toronto price gap between condos and houses widens
Last year saw the gap between the cost of condos and houses in Toronto widen to a record high last year. While supply of new condos increased the demand for the limited stocks of detached houses saw buyers battling to make deals. Data from RealNet Canada and the Building Industry and Land Development Association shows that average house prices (including townhouses) rose to $705,814 last year, up 8 per cent from the year before; condos averaged $454,476, up 4 per cent. In December the gap between the average cost of a house and a condo reached a record high of 16 per cent, more than $251,000. George Carras of RealNet told The Globe and Mail that “Living in a ground-oriented home is really becoming further and further out of reach.” Read the full story.

Boost to affordability in Calgary
Those trying to afford a new home in Calgary have been given a boost by developer Partners Development Group which has offered 10 per cent of the homes in one of its latest condo buildings to Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation.

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Progressive security holes put 2 million at risk

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Insurance producers selling personal auto policies through a major national insurer may want to reach out to clients this week after it was revealed that the carrier’s optional usage-based insurance devices are at risk.

Telematics devices offered by Progressive Insurance, called “Snapshot” dongles, boast dozens of security flaws that could be exploited by hackers.

According to Corey Thuen, a security researcher at Digital Bond Labs, Progressive’s Snapshot device is perilously insecure and vulnerable to remote cyber attacks that could be dangerous for drivers. Thuen suggested that the insurance giant does “nothing to encrypt or otherwise protect the information [it] collects,” and as such, “it would be possible to intercept data passed between the dongles and the insurance providers’ servers.”

“The firmware running on the dongle is minimal and insecure,” Thuen told Forbes. “Basically, it uses no security technologies whatsoever. What happens if Progressive’s servers are compromised? An attacker who controls that dongle has full control of the vehicle.”

Thuen, who investigated Snapshot’s security by reverse-engineering one of the devices, concluded that the technology used by an estimated two million insurance customers is “highly troubling” and vulnerable to attack.

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Daily Market Update

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Lawyer says courts are equipped to handle cyber risks
The growing risk from cyber threats is higher on the agendas of governments and businesses than ever before but the judiciary may have some catching up to do. While hacking and other methods of compromising data are a big part of the online risk there is also the matter of cyber-bullying. This is not just the domain of school children, adults can be perpetrators and victims too. Kenneth A Linzer of law firm Hobart Linzer, writing for techcrunch.com says that the use of apps and services that allow users anonymity make it hard for cyber-bullies to be identified, especially without the co-operation of the courts. Internet service providers are not usually able to hand over information about users without a court order, due to privacy laws. The process of getting courts to order identification of a user can be cumbersome and lengthy, which only adds to the stress of the victim.

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