Posts in February 2015

Anthem releases official data breach numbers

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

As many as 8.8 million customers and 18.8 million non-customers were affected by the massive cyberattack suffered earlier this month by Anthem Inc., the health insurer reported Wednesday. It is the first time Anthem has disclosed specific numbers related to the breach, originally believed to have affected 80 million customers.

Anthem, as part of a national network of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, was connected to a database of BCBS customers nationwide, accounting for the significant number of victims who were not direct customers of the insurer.

These estimates quantify the victims whose records were stolen, rather than simply accessed in the breach, Anthem said. Affected information likely includes names, dates of birth, member IB/Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information.

The carrier plans to start mailing letters to its customers, as well as to the affected BCBS customers, by next week. It will offer two years of identity theft repair assistance, credit monitoring, identity theft insurance and fraud detection as recompense, a Reuters report said.

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Underinsured Bruce Jenner faces financial ruin after car crash

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Another precautionary tale on the dangers of underinsurance emerged this week after it was revealed that former Olympian and reality star Bruce Jenner carried just $250,000 of insurance coverage when he caused the February 7 accident that left a 69-year-old woman dead.

Jenner had been driving on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California when a series of collisions led to Jenner’s Cadillac Escalade to barrel into the Lexus driven by Kim Howe, which was sent into the path of an oncoming Hummer H2.

Jenner was able to walk away from the accident, but Howe died on the scene. He stands accused of causing the initial accident that triggered the four-car pileup.

Now, a source close to the investigation revealed to Radar Online that Jenner was carrying a dangerously low amount of insurance coverage—just $250,000, which would not cover his expenses if any of the crash victims or relatives of Howe decides to sue.

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Insurance wins one: Court dismisses Superstorm Sandy-related claims against broker

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Commercial buildings underwater during Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Commercial buildings underwater during Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A federal district court in New York has granted an insurance broker’s motion to dismiss breach of contract, negligence, and consumer protection law claims by a commercial property owner that alleged that its property had been damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

The Case

Prior to Oct. 1, 2012, Long Beach Road Holdings, LLC, sought to obtain a first mortgage from Westchester Bank on commercial property it owned in Island Park, New York. The loan originally was scheduled to close on Oct. 25, 2012.

 

In an Oct. 1, 2012 letter to Long Beach Road Holdings, Westchester Bank notified Long Beach Road Holdings that it was required to purchase flood insurance because the Island Park property had been recategorized as in a flood zone under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

After receiving the letter, Long Beach Road Holdings alleged that it retained Fairmont Insurance Brokers, LTD, to procure flood insurance for Long Beach Road Holdings.

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It’s house fire season: Here are the 8 most common fire hazards in the home

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

A recent fire at a 16,000 square foot mansion on the waterfront in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, took the lives of six people including two grandparents and their four grandchildren. The cause of the fire, according to investigators, was a 16-foot tall Christmas tree that the owners left lit most of the time in the great room of the house. An electrical failure ignited the two-month-old tree, which swiftly fueled the fire in the rest of the house.

The lack of a sprinkler system inside the house or fire hydrants and other water sources near the home made it extremely challenging for fire fighters who responded to the call.

But that is just one example. The cold weather often means that people are spending more time at home and all of this time indoors increases the risks of house fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says there are more than 360,000 home structure fires each year, resulting in about $6-8 billion dollars in damage.

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It's house fire season: Here are the 8 most common fire hazards in the home

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

A recent fire at a 16,000 square foot mansion on the waterfront in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, took the lives of six people including two grandparents and their four grandchildren. The cause of the fire, according to investigators, was a 16-foot tall Christmas tree that the owners left lit most of the time in the great room of the house. An electrical failure ignited the two-month-old tree, which swiftly fueled the fire in the rest of the house.

The lack of a sprinkler system inside the house or fire hydrants and other water sources near the home made it extremely challenging for fire fighters who responded to the call.

But that is just one example. The cold weather often means that people are spending more time at home and all of this time indoors increases the risks of house fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says there are more than 360,000 home structure fires each year, resulting in about $6-8 billion dollars in damage.

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Cost of homeowners insurance claims increases at 2x rate of inflation

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Carriers see increased costs of homeowners claims.

Carriers see increased costs of homeowners claims.

With inflation low for the last 17 years, you would expect the cost of homeowners insurance claims to remain low as well. According to a new report from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), however, the cost of those claims has been increasing at twice the rate of inflation. The study, Trends in Homeowners Insurance Claims, 2015 Edition, found that the average claim payment per insured home across the U.S. rose from $229 in 1197 to $625 in 2011, then fell to $442 in 2013. This was an increase at an average annualized rate of 5% since 1997 while inflation averaged approximately 2.4% during the same period.

As used in the report, an insured home is defined as a house, apartment or condominium, and the term “countrywide” refers to the 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia.

The study looked at the frequency of claims and the average cost—also referred to as the severity—of claims paid by homeowners insurance companies across the country.

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5 signs it’s time to settle a car accident, and 5 that it’s not

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Here are five signs you might consider settling an accident without car insurance, followed by five signs to steer clear of a private settlement.

 

1. The accident is minor.

Only accidents without major damage or injuries should be considered for handling outside the insurance system, says Penny Gusner, a consumer analyst for Insure.com. You might be able to handle it on your own if you scratched a car while backing out of a parking space, for instance, but not if you T-boned a car in an intersection.

If the accident is your fault, get a mechanic’s estimate for repairs first, before you decide for sure to pay out of pocket. Set a limit for how much you’d be willing to pay before getting the insurer involved. You might think you barely dented a car, but hidden damage could lurk under the exterior and cost a bundle to fix.

 

2.

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5 signs it's time to settle a car accident, and 5 that it's not

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Here are five signs you might consider settling an accident without car insurance, followed by five signs to steer clear of a private settlement.

 

1. The accident is minor.

Only accidents without major damage or injuries should be considered for handling outside the insurance system, says Penny Gusner, a consumer analyst for Insure.com. You might be able to handle it on your own if you scratched a car while backing out of a parking space, for instance, but not if you T-boned a car in an intersection.

If the accident is your fault, get a mechanic’s estimate for repairs first, before you decide for sure to pay out of pocket. Set a limit for how much you’d be willing to pay before getting the insurer involved. You might think you barely dented a car, but hidden damage could lurk under the exterior and cost a bundle to fix.

 

2.

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Winter, The Broken Pipe Season

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

burst-pipe2

When the temperatures drop below freezing, water inside pipes can freeze and expand. If water expands too much, it can crack the pipe, and also cause an ice blockage which in turns causes water pressure to increase further down the pipe. The damage often goes unnoticed until the weather warms up and the water thaws–causing pipes to burst.

 

The pipes most at risk are those that are not protected along their entire length by the building insulation or insulation on the actual pipe itself.

 

Here are some warning signs that you may be dealing with a broken pipe:

 

Sounds That Can Indicate Broken Pipes

 

  • Bubbling Noises: When you flush the toilet or use the sink, air that cannot escape to the sewer lines will create a bubbling noise. This can be a sign that there is a pipe broken, and it should be inspected.
  • Whistling Noises: If a pipe gets dented, it can create a segment of pipe that is too small for the volume of water that needs to travel through it and when it does it can emit a whistling sound.
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FEMA in settlement talks over rejected Sandy flood claims

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is working on settling litigation with hundreds of Hurricane Sandy victims who challenged denials or alleged underpayments of flood insurance claims.

Brad Kieserman, deputy associate administrator for insurance at FEMA, disclosed the settlement talks during a break at a hearing in Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court Wednesday over whether an insurer, Wright National Flood Insurance Co., concealed from a homeowner the existence of conflicting reports over damages.

Private insurance companies that work in partnership with FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program have come under scrutiny over allegations that they denied or rejected damage claims based on falsified reports.

About 1,500 cases over flood claims from the 2012 Category 3 hurricane remain pending in New York and New Jersey federal courts. Kieserman said the agency may also look at settlements with homeowners with disputed payments who didn’t sue.

“We are going to consider all of them,” he said.

During the hearing, witnesses testified over the handling of a report for a Long Beach, N.Y.

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Snow, ice and frozen pipes: Are you covered? What homeowners need to know

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

Severe winter leads to fears of roof collapse and frozen pipes
Severe winter leads to fears of roof collapse and frozen pipes

With most of the United States in a deep freeze and record breaking snow totals in New England, homeowners are beginning to feel like the residents of the fictional kingdom of Arendelle, stuck in eternal winter, as in the Disney movie “Frozen.”

If a foot of snow causes your roof to collapse or if extreme cold temperatures cause your pipes to freeze, will your insurance policy cover the damage? It depends on whether your policy provides coverage for named perils or open perils. Here are some key things to know as you review your policy.

The Insurance Services Office (ISO) standard Homeowners forms and the equivalent American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS) forms list the weight of ice, sleet and snow as named perils–which means that damage from the weight of ice, snow or sleet to a building or property contained in a building is covered.

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6 things to understand about commercial umbrella liability insurance

Blog | 0 comments | by maria farfan

An umbrella liability policy provides an insured with an “umbrella” of liability protection over the primarily liability insurance, explain Donald D. Malecki, CPCU, and David D. Thamann, J.D., CPCU, ARM, authors of Commercial General Liability Coverage Guide, 11th Edition.

Most umbrella insurers require you to purchase primary insurance coverage before selling you an umbrella policy—for example, general liability insurance, auto liability insurance, workers compensation or employers liability insurance.

Malecki and Thamann note that an umbrella liability policy, such as ISO commercial umbrella policy, CU 00 01, can provide coverage

This PropertyCasualty360 story is excerpted from:

Related Article Image

 

 

  • over the primary liability insurance carried by the insured in the event that the primary insurance is exhausted by a loss;
  • of liability exposures for which there is no primary insurance; or
  • when the primary policy contains an exclusion that is not similarly excluded under the umbrella policy.

 

1. Individual judgment and individual risk

Umbrella liability insurance policies are largely a matter of the judgment of the insurer, the authors explain, and rating is almost entirely a matter of individual judgment, not only from insurer to insurer, but also varying with the individual risk.

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