Hurt In Accident-News

Hurt In Accident News

Local and national news and law changes regarding auto accidents and insurance coverage. Click here for archived news.


September 2015

Why You Should Always Shop Around for Home and Car Insurance – Palm Beach Post

Driven to Deceive: Life Behind the Counter At Dollar Rent A Car – International Business Times

 

July 2015

South Florida Among Most Expensive Areas for Auto Insurance – Sun-Sentinel


June 2015

Car Insurance Ads: Are We Paying To Entertain Ourselves? – Palm Beach Post

Where You Live Has A  Huge Effect on Car Insurance Rates – Kiplinger


February 2015

Speeders, Drunk Drivers Beware: Moving Violations Will Result in Much Higher Insurance, Report Says, WPTV


December 2014

Will Google, Apple Disrupt Car Insurance – Palm Beach Post
Car insurance industry, meet potential disrupters Google and Apple.

Currently, nearly all mainstream insurers that offer driver monitoring programs use relatively expensive devices that plug into a portal under the dashboard. Usage-based insurance programs, also called telematics, are a small but growing segment of the auto insurance business.


October 2014

Throw Bad PIP Insurance Practices Under Bus, Palm Beach Co. Schools Ask Court – Palm Beach Post
Palm Beach County’s school board is taking Florida’s insurance commissioner to court — and asking a judge to declare part of the state’s Personal Injury Protection auto insurance law or its application unconstitutional.

It’s the latest attack on the state’s beleagured PIP system, which has come under legal challenge from medical providers who say 2012 reforms unfairly shut them out in the name of battling fraud and high costs.

In this case, the school board, representing one of the nation’s 12 largest school districts, contends Florida is getting it wrong with PIP in a way that hurts schools and helps big insurers like State Farm.

“Auto insurers are attempting to shift their obligation to provide no-fault personal injury protection benefits to public entities such as this and other school districts, which are funded entirely by taxpayer money,” said a statement from Alex Sanchez, chief strategic communications and engagement officer for the district.


August 2014

Auto Repair Shops Sue Over Insurance – Orlando Sentinel
Auto-repair shops across the United States – including some in South Florida – are suing insurance companies, claiming they don’t pay enough to adequately repair cars.

“This is a real safety issue,” said Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland. “So many shops are forced to do shortcuts with the money that’s being paid, and insurance companies end up free of liability. We’re just looking for more money to fix the cars right, in a safe and efficient manner.”

Your Credit History Could Be Driving Your Auto Premiums – Wall Street Journal

Got bad credit? You could be paying twice as much for car insurance than if you had top-notch credit—even if your driving record is stellar. And it’s not just a problem for people with bad credit: The outright lack of a credit file also can push you into higher premiums.
Just ask Donald Tonack. Despite a pristine driving record—he and his wife have never had an accident—and years of timely bill payments with zero claims, his insurer raised his premium by 11% a few years ago because, the company told him, he had no credit history.
Mr. Tonack and his wife, residents of Lebanon, Ore., say they’ve always paid for just about everything in cash. “I’ve never made a late payment in my life,” says Mr. Tonack, a 76-year-old retiree and pastor—and a former insurance underwriter. “We were probably the best risk they had on the books.”

A recent study of five large car insurers by WalletHub.com found wide variations in rates quoted online for two hypothetical people, identical except that one had excellent credit and the other had no credit.

 

April 2014

Car Insurers Customers Unfairly Penalized for Shopping Habits, Consumer Groups Say — Palm Beach Post
Sophisticated computer software helps car insurers illegally bump up bills on customers it tags as less likely to switch companies, consumer groups charge in an accusation industry officials dispute.

Whatever the outcome of this flap, it’s a 21st century reminder for consumers to heed some 20th century advice from the Miracles and the Captain and Tennille: Better shop around.

Consumer organizations at a recent meeting of regulators in Orlando said software from a company called “Earnix” mines consumer data to help car insurers figure out who is more likely to tolerate higher premiums and who is less likely to play the field.

It’s called price optimization. The Consumer Federation of America wants state regulators to stop insurers from using such techniques, which it calls illegal because they can result in drivers with the same risk profile being charged different premiums. Every state has laws that say prices must be based on risk and may not unfairly discriminate, but “insurance companies appear to be using these techniques without disclosing that fact to state regulators,” a statement from the consumer group said.

It is not illegal, insists Robert Hartwig, president of the industry-funded Insurance Information Institute in New York. Here’s how he explains it: Insurers submit premiums and regulators approve them based on risk, but the result may be a range for a given set of drivers – say, $500 to $550. Insurers have to decide where to set prices within that range. They can use their own judgment, or complex software.

Florida Supreme Court Refuses To Review PIP Case — NewsPress.com
The Florida Supreme Court denied a petition to review a case involving personal injury protection (PIP) reforms from 2012.

Donovan Brown, counsel for state government relations with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), said in a news release that PCI is pleased with the Florida Supreme Court’s decision.

“Recent evidence reveals implementation of the 2012 PIP reforms led to reduced fraud and suppression of the PIP portion of auto rates, yet certain individuals still sought to put the brakes on the reforms benefiting Florida’s drivers,” the statement continued. “PCI and its members will continue to support full implementation of the PIP reforms for the benefit of consumers.”

The 2012 reforms were made to help curb fraud and lower the cost of PIP insurance. This means that $10,000 is provided for medical emergencies only. Those needing non-emergency treatment have a limit of $2,500, and the reforms exclude massage therapy and acupuncture as treatment options. It also requires claimants to seek treatment within 14 days of an accident.

However, parts of these reforms were ruled unconstitutional before being upheld by the First District Court of Appeal. It was then sent to the Florida Supreme Court, which has now closed the case.

And a recent report shows a decline in Florida’s questionable PIP claims. In 2013, Florida’s questionable PIP claims declined by 7.6 percent from 2012. And for the period 2010 through 2013, Florida’s staged accident questionable claims fell by 61.82 percent, according to a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

 

March 2014

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY VS. ROBIN CURRAN – Florida Supreme Court

This case is before the Court for review of the decision of the Fifth District Court of Appeal, sitting en banc, in State Farm Automobile Insurance Co. v. Curran, 83 So. 3d 793 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011). In its decision the district court ruled upon the following question, which the court certified to be of great public importance:

WHEN AN INSURED BREACHES A [COMPULSORY MEDICAL EXAMINATION] PROVISION IN AN UNINSURED MOTORIST CONTRACT, (IN THE ABSENCE OF CONTRACTUAL LANGUAGE SPECIFYING THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE BREACH) DOES THE INSURED FORFEIT BENEFITS UNDER THE CONTRACT WITHOUT REGARD TO PREJUDICE, OR DOES THE PREJUDICE ANALYSIS DESCRIBED IN BANKERS INSURANCE CO. V. MACIAS, 475 So. 2d 1216, 1218 (Fla. 1985), APPLY? IF PREJUDICE MUST BE CONSIDERED, WHO BEARS THE BURDEN OF PLEADING AND PROVING THAT ISSUE?


February 2014

Tracking Devices Pitch Driver Savings, But Bills Don’t Always Go Down – The Palm Beach Post
Car insurers tout savings up to 30 or even 50 percent if drivers stick a gizmo in the car that tracks driving habits, but company disclosures show it can raise premiums in some cases, and an auto executive’s remarks have stirred unease about what companies monitor and what they do with the data.

Whether the gadget becomes a new pal bragging about your exemplary driving, or a tiny turncoat dropping a digital dime on you, can depend on things many drivers don’t realize insurers watch, surveys show. Example: Driving after midnight if you work the night shift or try to beat the crowds at the 24-hour grocery. Or letting your speed creep up past 80 mph on the freeway, even if you never have an accident or get a ticket.

The queasier implications were highlighted by a Ford executive who remarked at a conference this year, “we know everyone who breaks the law” by speeding, thanks to GPS devices. Jim Farley, Ford’s global vice president of marketing and sales, quickly assured drivers that the car company is not supplying the data to others and doesn’t track it without a driver’s consent.

January 2014

Top 20 Auto Insurers Cut PIP Rates 13.2 Percent, But Don’t Meet 25 Percent Target Under Florida Law – Palm Beach Post

Florida’s top 20 auto insurers cut Personal Injury Protection rates 13.2 percent, below a targeted 25 percent reduction under a law backed by Gov. Rick Scott, state regulators said Wednesday.

In exchange for reducing the PIP benefits insurers have to pay, a 2012 law required insurers to reduce PIP rates 25 percent by Jan. 1, 2014 or say why not.

Twelve of the top 20 carriers increased overall rates since the law passed, records show, though the average reduction in bills was 1.2 percent when weighted by market share, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation calculated. That gives more weight to a 3.3 percent overall rate reduction by State Farm, controlling 17.5 percent of the market, than a 17 percent increase by Esurance (1.2 percent of the market) or 27 percent rate increase by 21st Century Centennial (1.9 percent of the market).

 

Hit and Run and the Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Read our blog on the importance of having uninsured motorist coverage when in a hit and run auto accident.