Latest Insurance Reforms Leaving Motorcyclists Vulnerable

As the four-door sedan struck Dave Ramirez on July 5, 2002, little did he and his wife, driving north to Traverse City know that their journey will be cut short. Their plan to spend the long weekend holiday with their friends ended up being in the hospital after the crash. Dave and his wife were riding in their custom-painted Harley Davidson when this mishap happened. Both of them were admitted to the nearby hospital where they required extensive medical care, not to mention the months of in-home nursing.

All this resulted in a staggering $1 million bill combined, but their medical bills were covered, thanks to their auto insurance policy of the respective driver who was the main culprit. But that was in 2002. Fast forward to 2019, and motorcyclists are worried that the new insurance reforms will not provide such benefits anymore.

According to the new law, there is a significant drive down in the auto insurance rates, which was supposedly one of the highest in the nation. The new policies will allow motorcyclists to buy insurances that come only with limited personal injury protection benefits. Republican-led Legislature pushed for this law, and it was eventually taken up by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who signed it after considering the possibility of accidents in the city.

This insurance law will revoke the lifetime coverage guarantee for motorists who are involved in car accidents. Instead, their medical coverage decisions will be taken by the auto driver responsible for the crash. As per the reports of the Michigan State Police, there were over 2100 motorists who were injured in 2018 and more than 134 died in such crashes. Sadly, most of these accidents involved more than two vehicles.

According to Steve Sinas, a highly experienced estate planning lawyer, the new law cripples motorcyclists from controlling their destiny while riding. They will not be able to claim their deserved no-fault claims anymore. This will totally depend on the random nature of the accident and if the other vehicles involved in the crash has lifetime no-fault coverage or not.

While the motorists are literally being thrown down under the bus with this reform, supporters acknowledge that although this law is challenging, the main focus here is to cut down the insurance costs of the auto drivers. Since many people complain regarding the rise of auto insurance prices, this law comes as a necessary evil that leaves people divided in their opinions.

New Insurance Law in Florida Takes Effect On July 1

Over a hundred new laws made their way through the Florida House of Representatives and were implemented on July 1, 2019. One of those new laws overturned a controversial insurance rule that governed how insurance benefits are allocated to various parties and beneficiaries. The new law, HB 7065, will provide new definitions for several insurance terms like “assignment agreement.”

It will also revise old requirements for how insurance agreements were executed, and may change the validity of agreements already in place. In addition, even the effects of those agreements might change with the new law.

Insurers are now required by the new law to report new data about previously paid claims by January 30, 2022. One of the more controversial aspects of the law will allow insurers to reevaluate the way they assign benefits, or prohibit them altogether depending on the conditions. 

Another controversial measure of the old law was struck down, which will allow attorneys to potentially collect more in fees by implementing a new revenue structure dependent on overall awards after litigation is won. 

Barry Gilway, CEO of Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp had this to say: “This is a consumer protection measure, not just in terms of impacting the overall premium they have to pay, but also giving them some protections they didn’t have before.”

These protections are the result of a battle fought for seven years between insurance companies and those advocating for change because of rising costs of all types of insurance coverage even as that coverage has diminished. 

According to Gilway’s Insurance Corp, customers who have policies already in place will likely see relaxed rates soon enough, as the savings from the new provisions are expected to be passed down. Then again, that sounds a lot like “trickle-down” economics, and we all know how that concept actually plays out when put in practice.

Gilway’s organization experienced a lot of abuse as a result of former policies where AOB lawsuits are particularly popular, the rates of which have risen out of control over the last decade. That led the organization to ask for a shocking 97% increase in its overall rates for 2019. 

If you are in the midst of insurance litigation in North Miami, then you might want to speak to a defense attorney about your situation. 

How Much Power Does Robert Mueller Have In The Russian Collusion Investigation?

It seems that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion between the Russian government and the Trump administration to swing the results of the 2016 election is finally drawing to a close, and both Democrats and Republicans are somehow in agreement (on occasion) that things aren’t looking so great for President Trump.

With the possibility of impeachment growing more likely by the day, we’re all wondering: How much power does Special Counsel Robert Mueller have when it comes to the prosecution of crimes he found to have occurred during his investigation?

At the least, Trump will likely be indicted on charges for the violation of campaign finance laws. According to recent documents from the investigation, Michael Cohen was directed by Trump, and with Trump’s complete knowledge, to make payments to at least two women who accused him of sexual misconduct during the campaign. Hush money is a big no-no in the world of politics.

In these documents, Trump was referred to as “Individual-1”.

More telling is that Mueller made a sentencing recommendation in regards to Cohen’s crimes based on his (eventual) willing participation in providing evidence that could eventually be used to burn Trump. Could he do the same when it comes time to feed Trump to the wolves of American judgment?

There are a number of individuals who believe such indictments could might only occur after Trump vacates the Oval Office, but there is always the possibility that our representatives could try to oust him sooner than that with impeachment. Should we find ourselves in front of our televisions on such a day, it will be up to Congress to decide whether or not Trump has committed an impeachable offense. Unfortunately, they get to decide if his law-breaking antics during the 2016 campaign meet the definition of “impeachable offense.”

Because a two-thirds majority is required and the Senate is currently controlled by Republicans, an acquittal seems likely in such a case.

We don’t know how far the Mueller investigation probed into the Russian-Trump affair during the 2016 election, nor do we know how far they intend to press the matter once the investigation is complete. Even if the investigation finds that Trump committed these crimes and others, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will attempt to prosecute him. After all, we already know that our president is a criminal. We already know he has broken laws. We haven’t done anything about it yet. Sadly, we might not ever.

What Is Reinsurance Litigation And When Is It Applied?

Whether or not you think that insurance is the devil’s work, it’s a fundamental component of business in the real world. Without it we’d be lost, and some of us would find ourselves in financial turmoil. Insurance provides us with an added layer of security for situations in which we risk liability, such as owning a car or a home, by transferring the greater share of responsibility to the company if something goes terribly wrong.

But what is reinsurance?

Well, it’s the same principle. That’s the short answer. When an insurance company decides to go through with an especially risky venture, it might want more protection for your policy.

The policyholder pays a premium in order to buy insurance, that premium usually representing either a small fraction of the risk, or something that will add up to a large portion of the risk when paid over years and years. Normally the insurer takes 100 percent of the risk outside of that premium. On occasion an insurer will not be comfortable with that level of risk.

It’s on these occasions that an insurance company will opt to “reinsure” the original policy through an outside reinsurer. The reinsurer will be given part of the premium paid by the policyholder in direct proportion to the amount of risk the insurer wants to take, whether it’s 30 percent, 50 percent, 70 percent, etc.

If the worst happens, and the claim costs must be paid to the policyholder, then the insurer pays 100 percent. After the claim is paid, the insurer can follow up by requesting reimbursement in the percentage agreed upon with the reinsurer. Reinsurance is just insurance for your insurer. It’s that simple.

One type of reinsurance is called facultative coverage. This policy is an added layer of protection when an insurance provider covers an individual for a single risk in a single contract. Additional risks require additional contracts.

Another common type is called a reinsurance treaty. This policy covers any number of risks based on a period of elapsed time. An example of this is when life insurance isn’t calculated when someone is estate planning.

An excess-of-loss reinsurance policy is considered non-proportional coverage, and this type of policy is put into place when the reinsurer agrees to cover costs only when they go beyond whatever the original insurance company’s retained limit was set at. This coverage mostly applies to acts of god during substantially costly events.

Flood Insurance In The Wake of Hurricane Florence

The good news is that South Carolina is the second-highest insured state in regards to flood insurance with 65% of properties in a flood zone having insurance. The bad news North Carolina, the state the suffered the most flooding, only 35% of the homes in a flood zone have insurance.

Hurricane Florance parked itself on North Carolina bringing 90mph winds, storm surges, and flash floods.

The one thing that Hurricane Harvey taught residents of the United States is that flood insurance is important. Since the devastation in Midland and Odessa, Texas and Louisianna, over 145,000 new policies were written. But federal officials state that there are too many Americans that do not have flood insurance simply because most property insurance doesn’t offer it. Floor insurance is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency aka FEMA.

The issue is that many Americans who should have flood insurance aren’t in a flood zone and aren’t mandated to have it. And who would opt for extra insurance when they aren’t mandated by FEMA, especially when the area they lived in hasn’t been flooded in several years.

Data has shown in the past 5 years that North Carolina and South Carolina that residents with insurance have dropped 3% and 6% respectively.

Fortunately for FEMA, when Hurricane Florence hit it was downgraded to a Category 1 Hurricane the amount of damage is less severe than originally thought. Since Hurricane Katrina, FEMA has been shelling out billions of above what they collect in premiums. In fact, Hurricane Harvey and Irma caused FEMA to reach it’s max borrowing limit at $30.5 billion. In order to renew the flood insurance program, Congress forgave FEMA’s $16 billion in debt.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

It seems silly to pay even more for car insurance than you already do, but sometimes a small monetary increase to your bill can ultimately help you save thousands. If you are involved in a car accident have you wondered what would happen to you if the other car owner doesn’t have insurance? This is where uninsured motorist coverage comes into play, according to http://thompsonlawtx.com/

Uninsured motorist coverage is only used when the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough liability coverage or doesn’t have any.

In every state except New Hampshire for some reason and in Washington DC, it’s illegal to operate a car without insurance but surprisingly 1 out of 8 drivers were uninsured in 2012. And just because a driver has insurance doesn’t mean they have liability insurance. If you are involved in a car accident and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage and the person at fault doesn’t have insurance, you will need to pay out of your own pocket for property damage and medical expenses.

There are two types of uninsured motorist coverage:

  • UMBI: uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage covers medical expenses, lost wages and injury-related expenses for you and your passengers
  • UMPD: uninsured motorist property damage covers exactly what it sounds like property damage to your car

There are twenty-two states/districts that require you to have uninsured motorist coverage:

  1. Connecticut
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Illinois
  4. Kansas
  5. Maine
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusettes
  8. Minnesota
  9. Missouri
  10. Nebraska
  11. New Hampshire
  12. New Jersey
  13. New York
  14. North Carolina
  15. North Dakota
  16. Oregon
  17. South Carolina
  18. South Dakota
  19. Vermont
  20. Virginia
  21. West Virginia
  22. Wisconsin

If you do not live in any of these states it is still highly recommended to purchase this insurance to make sure that you are protected in the event of an accident.

Why Is Car Insurance So Expensive For Teens?

Driving is perhaps the most ubiquitous adult skill, yet it is learned much later on in life than most other skills. Naturally, as a child cannot be trusted to safely drive a motor vehicle. Thus, in most states, teenagers obtain a drivers permit at the age of 16. This permit allows them to drive with another legal adult in the car. In this case, a legal adult is anyone holding a driver’s license that is over the age of 21. Then, at the age of 17, the teen becomes eligible to take a driver’s road test. If they fail, they can try again. If they pass, that permit is upgraded to a license — allowing them to travel anywhere on their own. For many, this entails purchasing a car, or using a relatives vehicle to commute. Although this is an exciting time, it can come with many unforeseen difficulties. Car insurance is one such difficulty for many.

Teen Car Insurance

Although it is common knowledge that car insurance is pricier for teen drivers, many don’t realize just how much more it costs. On average, for the teen driver car insurance costs $2,267 a year. For adults, this figure is less than half, priced at just $815 per yer. There are a variety of reasons for this astronomical difference in price. To insurance companies, these reasons seem entirely justified. However, teens and their parents may feel differently on this issue.

Why So Expensive?

There are a multitude of reasons that teen car insurance is more expensive than car insurance for adults. Primarily, these have to do with safety and risk analysis. Below is a list of reasons of why car insurance is so expensive for teens:

  • Young drivers have no record
  • Young drivers have less experience
  • Young drivers are more likely to become distracted
  • Young drivers are more likely to be reckless
  • Young drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident
  • Young drivers pose a financial risk

Although most of these reasons are relatively self-explanatory, let’s take a bit more of an in-depth look at the ones that aren’t. Insurance companies use your driving record to see how safe a driver you are, and adjust your quote based on past accidents/claims. Without a record, their quote will have to be on the higher end. Furthermore, young drivers are likely to become distracted by cell phones, loud music, and other things while driving. This poses a danger to the driver and a risk to the insurance company. Lastly, according to years of statistical analysis, younger drivers are more likely to get in an accident. This may be due to inexperience, distraction, speeding, or simply poor choices. Thus, the above reasons all contribute to higher insurance costs for teen drivers. If you stay safe and responsible, in a few years these costs should drastically decrease!

 

 

What Is Liquor Liability Insurance?

Liquor Liability Insurance otherwise known as dram shop liability insurance is an insurance policy that business who sell/serve alcohol are required to obtain.

When a business decides to serve or sell alcohol there are associated risks involved:

  • selling alcohol to an already intoxicated customer
  • contributing to the over-toxication of a customer
  • serving alcohol to a minor

What is Covered Under Liquor Liability Insurance?

In the event that any of these things occur, that is not sufficient to file a liquor liability claim. However, if any accidents or injuries to the consumer, minor or an unrelated third party that caused by the aforementioned three events then the business might be held liable. This is the reason why these businesses are required to have this type of insurance to protect their business from these claims.

Claims can include bodily harm, mental harm, legal defense costs, property damage, and coverage over misdemeanors and felonies like assault and battery, and sexual assault.

What does Liquor Liability Cost?

Liquor liability insurance can be extremely expensive depending on what state the business is located.

The following factors are taken into consideration when determining the cost of your liquor liability insurance:

  • Types of alcohol sold
  • Hours of operation and closing time
  • Food versus alcohol receipts (if applicable)
  • Square footage of bar or restaurant
  • Average price of drinks
  • Happy hours and drink specials
  • Entertainment venue, live music, and karaoke
  • Bouncers and Door Keepers
  • State where business is located
  • Server training and certifications

There are reports that in some states, such as Iowa, where they are calling for reform to help lower the price of insurance because a lot of business have trouble finding carriers to take on such a liability without having to pay a high premium per month.

Each state has their liquor liability laws so it’s very important to know what they are. Here’s a directory on where you can find the laws mandated by your state: https://www.legalbeer.com/liquor-laws-by-state

Life Insurance After Suicide

Generally speaking, life insurance is rather easy to interpret as far as its name goes. A policy is meant to ensure the financial security of loved ones upon a person’s passing. However, while the literal definition is rather easy to understand, the ability to collect life insurance can actually be a tedious and exhausting process. Depending on the circumstances of a loved one’s death, investigations could tie up a beneficiary’s money for some time. We’ve all seen the news stories (or even television shows) featuring heinous murders that occurred due to a want of money through a life insurance policy. Life insurance policies surrounded by suicide cases could have similar complications, though even in matters that involve no underhanded schemes, receiving your money as a beneficiary could still prove difficult under certain circumstances.

There are two specific clauses that need to be taken into consideration when dealing with life insurance policies, specifically as they pertain to suicide cases. The first one aptly named the “suicide clause,” states that no insurer will pay benefits out to beneficiaries if it is proven that the insured committed suicide within two years after taking out the policy. This clause also states that should the insured individual replace an old policy with a new one – regardless of how much time has passed in the interim – the effective time frame for the suicide clause resets to zero and another two-year cycle begins for the new policy.

Obviously, this is meant to protect insurers from paying out massive insurance policies to beneficiaries of those who commit suicide in so short a time after the policy is taken out. Much like the life insurance fraud schemes that are sensationalized even more through various Hollywood films, there are very likely existing cases of desperate parents looking for an easy way to set their kids up for a better life than they may already have, among other conditions.

The other clause that ties into suicides and the life insurance policies potentially attached to them is the “contestability clause.” This clause concerns the non-disclosure of certain conditions of hopeful policyholders, predominantly the likes of smoking, drinking and other health conditions. Generally speaking, this does not exclude mental health. With depression (and mental health in general) being as serious of an issue as it is in today’s world and mental health concerns leading to several thousand cases of suicide each year, the contestability clause applies just as strongly as the suicide clause. If non-disclosure can be proven in an attempt to collect on a life insurance policy, the insurer will not likely pay benefits. Of course, being honest about your conditions is noble and preferred, but the bottom line, unfortunately, is that it will hurt your chances of being eligible for a life insurance policy as well.

As serious as the entire concept of suicide is in modern society, the bitter reality is that, despite whatever reasons may have applied to such tragedy, it could very well extend past an individual’s death. However, this is hardly the norm regarding even suicide cases involving a life insurance policy. According to a statistic from insurancequotes.org, 99% of all (yes, all) life insurance policies end with full benefits paid out.

Life Insurance As A Part Of Estate Planning

We all like to fantasize about immortality: we’re invincible in those dreams, and every once in awhile we act the part in our daily lives. Although this remains the truth for most of us, the responsible ones have still put considerable time and money into planning for the future. Who will have control over the estate when you’re not able to do so yourself? What will happen to your assets after you’re gone? In order to retain control while you have the chance, now is the time to answer these questions–even if you’re still young.

Estate planning in the event of your death is not an easy process, nor should it be one. This is about your life and everything you’ve built. While your estate planning attorney goes over the ins and outs of the documents you might consider drawing up, and explains the probate process that you’re helping prepare your family for, he or she might also suggest obtaining a life insurance policy if that’s something you haven’t done already.

Even if you haven’t procured the services of an estate planning lawyer already, you’ve probably been offered the benefit of life insurance at some point in your life. Did you take it when you were first offered? The answer is all too often a resounding “no.” If that’s the case, then a good lawyer might be able to persuade you on behalf of your family. Because you now have the proper legal advice to act upon, you’ll have the added benefit of knowing exactly how much money your family can expect to see based on specific policies, and you’ll know how it might be used in the event of your death.

Without this advice, most of us decide whether or not to buy life insurance as if we were flipping a coin. After all, why spend the money if the benefit isn’t something we’ll ever experience ourselves? Most people who’ve lost a loved one without any financial support can answer that question easily enough, and hopefully you’ll never have to do the same.

When you purchase a policy, there are only a few things to keep in mind. Your lawyer will help you with everything. Who are your beneficiaries? Where are the relevant documents and policies held? These are questions that should be asked during the estate planning phase. Be sure that your potential heirs have as much information as is appropriate. Let them know that you have a policy under which they’re listed. They might also benefit from knowing specific details about the policy, such as the number, the insurer, the value, and any possible date of expiration.

Contact information is also important in order for an insurer to get in touch with a beneficiary in the event that the beneficiary either wasn’t aware of your death, or didn’t know who to contact on their own. With access to this information, your beneficiaries will likely have access to the benefit funds sooner than they would otherwise.

There are a number of circumstances that can change in life, and these can all have an effect on estate planning. Did you get divorced? Did you get married? Did you receive an inheritance of your own? Did you win the lotto? All of these factors are important when considering how to manage your affairs. Be sure that your financial and legal advisors are kept aware and up to date of these key life events.