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How 'Clean" is That Insured's Driving Record?

Posted By Ella Brennan, Thursday, March 28, 2019

from PropertyCasualty360.com

An individual’s driving record is often one of the most important variables in insurers’ rating and underwriting plans. Risky driving behavior is also correlated to a higher frequency of filing a home insurance claim and signals increased mortality rates in life insurance. State Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs) have traditionally been viewed as the ‘gold standard’ by insurers to verify an individual’s driving record; however, MVRs can be expensive. MVRs may also lack conviction activity, which could be “costly” to insurers in terms of missed premium and unidentified risk.

However, combining MVR information with court record data provides a more comprehensive view into a person’s driving record, often filling in the gaps that can be present in MVRs alone. Incorporating court record information into a national driving record solution allows insurers to optimize their expenses, eliminating MVR orders when the driver has no infractions on their record.

Why reliance on state MVRs alone may prove costly

The MVR is administered through a state agency, often called the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV receives and transcribes violation conviction information from the courts. This transcription process of recording convicted traffic and criminal traffic data is usually automated, but lag times, errors and/or omissions can occur, especially in states where manual processes are used. Louisiana is a notable example, where only 28% of violations that were submitted to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles throughout 2016 were posted by year-end.

In addition, MVRs may not include a full history of a person’s driving record. Some states exclude zero or low point tickets, such as low speeding tickets. For example, a person could have multiple DUIs across differing states or counties that will never show, since is treated as a first offense in that particular county. According to TransUnion’s internal research, over half of the guilty DUI convictions found in court records were not on the Texas MVR.

MVRs may also exclude convictions related to out-of-state violations — tickets a person receives while driving in a state other than where they live or maintain a driver’s license. In addition, prior state violations, those received and recorded under a prior driver’s license, may also be inconsistently transferred to the new driving record. Although most states participate in some type of violation sharing (e.g., interstate reciprocity rules, including the Driver’s License Compact), not all states participate consistently.

According to TransUnion production statistics, out-of-state or prior state tickets comprise a significant percentage of all violations, and when combined with inconsistent sharing between states may mean the insurance industry is not getting the full risk profile of any given driver.

During a two-month sampling of TransUnion production transactions, 32% of ratable violations returned were out-of-state. TransUnion’s database contains 6.1 million out-of-state tickets, and some of those are likely not recorded on the resident state MVR. Based on these counts, there may be a potential hidden surcharge of $1 billion from these out-of-state convictions where some interstate reciprocity restrictions exist.

Court records can help

Since MVRs are expensive and can be incomplete, many insurers are turning to a comprehensive solution that includes court records and MVRs. As the pre-cursor to information that flows to the DMV, a database of court records can overcome many of the sharing restrictions and exclusions that may exist with the DMV record.

Not all systems are equal but with advanced matching capabilities, and where court records are available, insurers can have access to advanced solutions that provide the ability to identify violations for drivers, despite changes to their name, address or driver’s license number.

Through a more comprehensive view of a driving record, insurers can improve pricing precision and risk selection, while consumers with truly ‘clean’ driving records can benefit in the form of lower insurance premiums.

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Electric Scooter Popularity Spells Opportunity for Insurers

Posted By Jess Krompier, Wednesday, December 12, 2018

from PropertyCasualty360.com

You can see them coming, zipping this way and that. Perhaps you have even tripped over one or two, casually cast aside on a sidewalk.

Love them or hate them, electric scooters have become the latest rage in on-demand transportation. Known by their brand names ― Bird, Lime and Skip, to name a few ― these motorized scooters are fun, relatively cheap, instantly accessed by app, and now available in more than 60 cities nationwide.

They also are causing quite a stir.

Dangers, lawsuits, negligence, nuisance claims

Scooter-related headlines have not all been positive. In November, Segway Ninebot, a scooter manufacturer, and Lime, a San Francisco-based scooter rental service, exchanged barbs in the press over an apparent battery issue that caused some older model scooters to spontaneously ignite. About 2,000 scooters were pulled from city streets because of the problem, according to Lime.

Also, Bird and Lime made news as defendants in a class action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles. Multiple plaintiffs including scooter riders and pedestrians sued for injuries they claim were the result of gross negligence. Public nuisance is also a subject of the complaint by virtue of scooters being left indiscriminately on sidewalks and streets ― an all too frequent occurrence.

In fact, because scooters are not uniformly parked or docked when not in use, riders seemingly ignore traffic laws at will. Some cities are speaking out through regulation.

The Los Angeles City Council recently approved a new pilot program allowing scooter companies to offer their wares on city sidewalks for at least another year as long as they abide by certain mandates. These include a 15-mile per hour speed limit on all scooters; specified parking and use restrictions; the purchase of operating permits and licenses; and a directive that scooter companies each carry $5 million in commercial general liability insurance.

Covering foreseeable risks

How should insurers adapt to address the liabilities that will inevitably arise from the use of these new devices?

No doubt, Bird, Lime and all the rest must obtain proper coverage. But users, too, may be prime targets for tailored policies, whether they hop on these self-serve scooters for recreation or for commuting purposes. Whoever the insured may be, insurers should familiarize themselves with the types of events that could result in liability due to scooter operation. With that in mind, consider the following.

Predictable scooter risks

An obvious and somewhat predictable outcome of the ever-expanding number of scooters on our roads is an increasing rate of collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. While scooter users must obey traffic laws, it’s common to see riders cruising along city sidewalks and weaving through crowds of pedestrians; a peril in the making, to be sure.

Even when scooters are operated lawfully, their low profile makes them particularly vulnerable to accidents within the flow of traffic; accidents that could result in catastrophic head injury given an inherent issue involving helmets.

Despite laws requiring scooter riders to don helmets, users are often seen speeding to and fro unprotected. This is not surprising. Indeed, the industry has exploded, in part, because of the ease of access and impromptu nature of a quick spin to the store, to campus or between the train station and home. Unfortunately, not many riders carry helmets on the off chance they choose to rent a scooter on any given day.

For their part, scooter companies have attempted to buffer themselves from liability by posting warning screens on their apps instructing riders not to operate the scooters on sidewalks or without a helmet. But these messages may be insufficient.

Should a crash occur and depending upon its circumstances, the scooter company and/or scooter user could be subject to exposure. As the nascent scooter industry expands, insurers would be wise to market products accordingly.

Negotiating geographical boundaries

Some cities and municipalities expressly prohibit scooters within their boundaries. Consider that scooters are allowed in Los Angeles and Santa Monica but have been officially banned in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

But that does not prevent some users from riding into these prohibited territories, and penalties can ensue. The Beverly Hills Police Department is currently enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on scooters that includes impounding them and issuing citations. Plus, scooter companies will be on the hook, at least in the short-term. (Operators may ultimately shift the cost to users).

Forward-thinking insurers can set themselves apart by offering policies that provide coverage against such losses.

Hacking and theft

Next generation scooters are mini computers on wheels. They are generally equipped with GPS trackers as well as QR code sensors that lock and unlock the devices when scanned with riders’ smartphones. Geolocation data is paired with user information stored on phones and carefully tracked by scooter operators.

Consequently, these companies should have cybersecurity measures in place to protect customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Still, in this age, data breaches must be planned for, giving insurers a new category of customer for cyber insurance products.

Theft or loss of actual scooters also is a real possibility. Most rental agreements imposed by scooter operators provide for a fee that puts the onus on the users if a device is lost or stolen.

  • But what if a user successfully disputes such a charge?
  • Who is to say, after all, whether a user is responsible for a scooter that cannot be located?
  • What if the operator’s tracking technology is simply malfunctioning?

Thus, insurers can promote commercial property policies to scooter companies in the event inventory is lost, stolen or even damaged.

The opportunity at hand

Seemingly overnight, motorized electric scooters have populated streets and sidewalks nationwide. While pertinent laws and regulations are quickly changing, these scooters appear here to stay, which presents the insurance space with a fresh opportunity.

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National Safety Board Calls for Standards for Drugged Driving Tests

Posted By Ryan Beene and Adam Levin, Wednesday, October 24, 2018

from InsuranceJournal.com

U.S. transportation safety officials are sounding the alarm on drug-impaired driving, calling for state and federal regulators to do more to tackle the growing problem as states grapple with prescription drug abuse and adopt a more permissive stance on marijuana.

The National Transportation Safety Board has called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to write standards for devices allowing police to test drivers for drugs on the roadside and to give states additional guidance on how to combat drug-impaired driving.

The recommendations came out of the NTSB’s investigation of the 2017 crash in rural Texas that killed 13. The accident was caused by a pickup truck driver who was high on marijuana and an anti-anxiety medication and slammed head-on into a church bus, NTSB found. Video shot by another driver showed the pickup repeatedly veering onto the shoulder and across the double-yellow line for 15 minutes.

“When you use impairing substances, including alcohol, you do gamble, you gamble with lives,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “And that’s what happened.”

While test results for drugs aren’t consistent across jurisdictions — an issue the NTSB is asking safety regulators to address — available evidence shows a substantial increase in drugged-driving deaths as opiate use soars and marijuana has become legal in multiple states.

Out of those drivers who died in accidents in 2006 and were tested for drugs, 30 percent were positive, according to NTSB. That number jumped to 46 percent in 2015. In random roadside testing, more than 22 percent of drivers showed evidence of drug use, according to NHTSA data.

“We really seem to have an epidemic here,” NTSB board member Bruce Landsberg said.

“The pick-up truck driver in this crash made terrible choices with tragic consequences,” Sumwalt said. “But the rising tide of drug-impaired driving did not begin with this driver, and it will not end with him. Law enforcement needs additional tools and advanced training to detect impaired drivers before they crash, regardless of the impairing drug they’re using.”

Police need better training on how to spot drivers who may be impaired and “oral fluid” drug tests that police can use after pulling people over, the NTSB found. The safety agency called on NHTSA, which helps oversee highway safety standards, to create specifications for such a test so it can be applied consistently across states.

NHTSA has been attempting to address the issue. Agency ad campaigns to discourage drunk-driving began addressing drug-impaired driving for the first time in August and the agency has held public meetings on the issue in Seattle, Baltimore and Nashville.

Deputy Administrator Heidi King said earlier this month that, while there’s no uniform national data on the true scope of drugged-driving, the evidence available shows it’s a growing problem. Roadside testing by NHTSA in recent years showed an uptick in drivers with substances in their system, such as marijuana, and a rise of mixing drugs with alcohol.

“There’s not one uniform completely robust collection of information yet, but all of the information supports the need for action,” King said.

Tags:  auto  impaired driving  safety  standards 

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You're Covered

Posted By Hannah Smith, Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Personal Auto Policy Revisions

from PropertyCasualty360.com

Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) is an acknowledged leader in writing policy language to cover property and liability risks. ISO recently released a revised personal auto policy that becomes effective on September 1, 2018.

This revised policy, and the accompanying endorsements, has been specifically crafted to provide for several emerging issues such as keyless entry and flying cars, and it also allows for some higher limits in areas where prices may be rising. These changes were worded specifically to make sure that both the insured and the insurer are protected to the fullest intent of the policy. The following discussion highlights some of the more important changes that ISO enacted in the 2018 version of the Personal Auto Policy (PAP).

Defining coverage options

ISO is awarding altruistic behavior by enacting changes to the public or livery conveyance exclusion, to incorporate an exception to the exclusion for coverage when the insured owns or operates a vehicle or a “your covered auto” while it is being used for volunteer or charitable purposes. This change broadens coverage by allowing an insured to recover for damages that occur while they are using their vehicle for good. The definition of “transportation network platform” used to be included in an endorsement and is now included in the PAP.

New endorsements

We’ve been saying it for decades “where’s my flying car?” The authors of the new version of the PAP have determined that the looming issue of flying cars is becoming too close for their comfort, so they added in a Flying Car Exclusion. The exclusion specifically addresses that there are some unique and unforeseeable risks associated with the emergence of flying cars or roadable aircrafts. The manual indicates that a specialty policy provides better coverage for these vehicles.

Previously the PAP allowed for a basic limit of liability for transportation expenses of $20 per day and up to $600. The authors of the form have determined that inflation and other market influences affect transportation expenses, so they have raised that limit to $30 per day with a maximum limit of $900 per day. The $30 per day limit is generally supported by current trends in the U.S. car rental market.

The new form changes the duties of the insured, now requiring the insured to submit, as often as reasonably required, to recorded statements. This provision has been included in order to help insurers gather information about an insured’s claim. A recorded statement may be taken at a time convenient for both parties; over the phone; allows for increased flexibility, transparency and accountability on behalf of both parties; and could potentially lead to lowered premiums if the increase in insureds’ accountability leads to a decrease in insurance fraud.

We all know how much of a pain it is to lose the key fob to the car, particularly when a replacement costs – on average – about $200. The PAP has a new endorsement allowing for replacement of a key fob if it is lost or stolen and, on a per-vehicle basis, will pay for reasonable expenses incurred for services to access a covered car if the key or key fob for that vehicle is lost or stolen.

With an increasing number of people considering their pets as their “starter children,” the new PAP is very on-trend with its new Pet Injury Coverage endorsement. If an insured is involved in an accident with the family dog in the front seat, the endorsement will provide veterinary expenses or services incurred as a result of bodily injury to the pet. This coverage only applies if at least one covered car is insured for Other Than Collision and Collision Coverages, and the pet is inside a covered car at the time of the loss or injury.

Another new endorsement to the PAP is the Child Restraint System Coverage Endorsement. Car seats can be expensive, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that they be replaced after a collision. With the new ISO endorsement, the replacement cost of a child restraint system would be covered, without a premium payment, in the event of an accident.

These are just the highlights of the newly revised personal auto form. As always, a thorough reading of the form and accompanying manual is necessary to fully understand the changes in coverage, but this article highlights specific areas of interest.

Tags:  auto  insurance 

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Distracted Driving Awareness

Posted By Jayleen R. Heft, Monday, April 23, 2018

from PropertyCasualty360.com, April 2, 2018

Focus on Need for Safe Driving Habits

Don't talk, text or use apps while driving. Put the phone down and just drive

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, as designated by the National Safety Council (NSC), and auto insurers join the national campaign to remind the country that distracted driving crashes can be prevented by modifying driving habits and strengthening auto safety laws.

4.57M people seriously injured in auto crashes in 2017

The NSC reports that motor vehicle deaths surpassed 40,000 for the second consecutive year in 2017. The estimates from the NSC show 4.57 million people were seriously injured in auto crashes.

“Distracted driving — and the ubiquitous use of smartphones behind the wheel — is one of the leading causes for the rise in vehicle crashes nationwide,” said Bob Passmore, assistant vice president of personal lines policy at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

“Advanced technologies have made cars safer than ever in recent years, so it would be logical to think that roadway crashes and deaths would be decreasing. Unfortunately, vehicle crashes and fatalities are rising sharply across the country. And with more people on the roads for spring break and during the warmer months, the potential for distracted driving crashes increases.”

Smartphone use while driving

According to software developer TrueMotion, 92% of drivers use their smartphones while driving, and 71% text while driving. “Too many drivers are still texting, talking, surfing the web, and using social media and apps on their smartphones while driving,” said Passmore.

“Auto safety campaigns like Distracted Driving Awareness Month are important to educate drivers about the risks of distracted driving and encourage them to stop using smartphones and eliminate other distractions while driving,” according to Passmore. “Continued support for the implementation and enforcement of distracted driving laws, which discourage texting while driving and ban handheld cellphone use, also is critical to prevent tragedies.”

Safety is a top issue for auto insurers

“Auto safety is a top issue for auto insurers. We hope the dialogue on distracted driving will continue, and we urge lawmakers and other industry thought leaders to continue addressing the impact of motorist behavior as an important part of the road safety equation,” added Passmore.

7 safe driving tips

Simple modifications to driver behaviors can prevent auto accidents and save lives. PCI offers the following tips for safe driving:

1. Avoid distracted driving. Don’t talk, text or use apps while driving. Put the phone down and just drive. Try to limit other distractions, such as eating or fiddling with controls, and be aware that having more passengers in the car multiplies the opportunity for distraction. Secure pets in the back of the car.

2. Wear your seatbelt. Whether you’re traveling to see friends or family or just running errands, buckle up and drive safely. Seat belts save lives and help prevent injuries. Also, make sure kids are in the proper car or booster seats.

3. Give yourself plenty of time. Plan ahead and allow extra travel time. With more people on the roads over spring break, often driving in unfamiliar territory, the potential for auto crashes increases. Plan routes in advance when traveling to new destinations and be patient.

4. Pay attention to your speed. Observe speed limits, including lower speeds in work zones. Stay focused on the road and be aware of changing traffic patterns caused by construction. Be especially cautious around construction workers. They’re often working close to the highway and at great risk.

5. Beware of crash taxes. Although crash taxes have been banned or limited in several states, many cities, counties and fire districts will charge the at-fault driver for the emergency response costs of a crash. Fees can range from $100 to more than $2,000, and a typical insurance policy does not cover those costs.

6. Have a plan for roadside assistance. If you’re involved in a crash, beware of unscrupulous towing companies. Some towing companies take advantage of drivers after an accident by charging excessive fees and making it difficult for people to retrieve their cars. Have the phone number for your insurer or a roadside assistance program ready.

7. Update your proof of insurance. Before hitting the road, replace any expired insurance identification cards so you can provide current proof of insurance during a traffic stop.

Tags:  auto  distracted  driving  safe driving 

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5 Auto Insurance Trends to Watch in 2018

Posted By Ted Gramer, Monday, April 23, 2018

from CarrierManagement.com, January 4, 2018

Auto insurance is experiencing its most seismic shift since it began over 100 years ago. If 2017 shook up the industry with an increasing number of carriers adopting mobile telematics programs for UBI, 2018 will break the mold.

Carriers will use data to put the customer front and center, focused on creating delightful experiences. UBI 2.0 will enable carriers to create these experiences by leveraging data in unprecedented ways, and a new data-driven claims experience will begin to evolve. The hype around the connected car will continue to be just that—hype. And consumers, insurers and regulators will introduce big new ideas to combat tragic distracted driving trends.

Here’s how we see 2018 unfolding:

The customer will win. Low engagement, poor satisfaction and complicated processes will not survive in the $200 billion U.S. auto insurance market. Consumers have come to expect delightful experiences like they have with Amazon, Google and Apple, and benchmark all company experiences against them. Auto insurance is no exception. Either incumbents will figure it out or new entrants will. In 2018 we’ll see the battle heat up with a focus on the customer experience.

Expect UBI 2.0. The results are in: Driving data is highly predictive, mobile telematics has reduced the barriers to entry, consumers are signing up, and the carriers that started early are winning. Expect carriers to leverage driving data in new and innovative ways that go broader than just price targeting high-value segments. This will include levels of personalization not possible before, using mobile channels to drive customer engagement and loyalty. Carriers that have fallen behind will scramble to catch up.

A massive opportunity in claims will fully emerge. After decades of claims functioning as the old-school, back-office part of the business, carriers are seeing the potential for game-changing impact on the customer experience, expenses and loss costs. In five years, claims will look nothing like it does today. The mosaic will be filled in beginning in 2018.

The hype around connected cars and autonomous vehicles will continue. The key word being hype. The ugly math is that it will still be at least 15 years until connected cars penetrate half the U.S. vehicle fleet. Level 5 autonomy will take even longer. Unfortunately, the auto insurance deck will likely be reshuffled before then. To prepare for the transition, carriers will look to smartphone data to help. It delivers over 70 percent of connected car data, plus distracted driving data. Smartphones also provide new engagement opportunities. And carriers don’t have to wait—more than 85 percent of drivers own one today.

Outrage with distraction will reach a peak. After more than 3,400 thousand lives lost in 2015 alone and countless accidents as a result of smartphone use in cars, consumers, regulators and insurers will step up their games. Laws have generated short-term effects and general awareness campaigns have produced limited results. Smartphone-based efforts, however, have proven to reduce distracted driving by 20 percent. States will also review how they’re collecting and reporting distracted driving data, which has been significantly underreported to date. Expect some big new ideas that tilt the curve.

Tags:  2018  auto  insurance  trends 

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20 Car Crash Tips

Posted By Barry Levy, Monday, April 23, 2018

from PropertyCasualty360.com, March 26, 2018

Things You Should Know After an Accident

Consider yourself lucky — or perhaps overdue — if you’re an adult who has never been in a car accident.

Consider that in 2015 alone, more than 2.4 million people were injured and nearly 35,000 people died in 6.2 million crashes nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It follows that the Insurance Information Institute says the number and severity of automobile accidents has been on an uptick in recent years, and the consumer website carinsurance.com reports that adult drivers in the U.S. will file a car collision claim approximately once every 18 years.

That means the average American will have three or four auto accidents in a lifetime. Consider yourself lucky — or perhaps overdue — if you’re an adult who has never been in a car accident.

Consider that in 2015 alone, more than 2.4 million people were injured and nearly 35,000 people died in 6.2 million crashes nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It follows that the Insurance Information Institute says the number and severity of automobile accidents has been on an uptick in recent years, and the consumer website carinsurance.com reports that adult drivers in the U.S. will file a car collision claim approximately once every 18 years.

That means the average American will have three or four auto accidents in a lifetime. If there is a silver lining, it’s this: Most car collisions aren’t deadly.

Behind the numbers

Here are some additional U.S. car accident statistics include from U.S. DriverKnowledge.com:

  • More than 90 people die in car accidents each day in the U.S.
  • Another three million are injured, with about two million of those experiencing long-term or permanent injuries.
  • Wearing a seatbelt reduces your risk of death by 45% and your risk of serious injury by 50% yet among the total fatal accidents, 48.1% were not wearing a seat belt.
  • The primary causes of accidents which result in a fatality include alcohol, speeding and reckless driving — the primary causes of accidents which do not result in a fatality include distracted driving and driving while fatigued.
  • About nine people each day are killed as a result of distracted driving.
  • You are 23 times as likely to crash if you text while driving.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by a whopping 37%.

What to do following a car accident

Auto accidents are always unexpected, and always stressful. Even if you are a very careful driver, you can still be involved in a car collision. If you are involved in a car accident, there are certain steps you should take to minimize adverse outcomes. Here are eight of them:

  1. To the extent possible, stay calm following your accident. Take a deep breath, check for injuries, and call an ambulance. Even if you think you are “fine,” it is a good idea to either let the ambulance transport you to the hospital or to immediately go see your physician. Accidents cause your body to be flooded with adrenaline, which can mask pain, yet once the adrenaline wears off, you may realize you were injured and you are not fine.
  2. If the accident is minor, and it will not put anyone in jeopardy to do so, move the cars involved in the accident to a safe place. Turn on hazard lights when necessary.
  3. Call the police. Even if your accident is minor, and even if the other party tries to persuade you to just “handle it among yourselves,” don’t skip this step! Without a police report, you may find it extremely difficult to convince your insurance company you were not at fault and to pay for your injuries and damages.
  4. Keep track of all medical expenses, including prescriptions, all doctor bills, chiropractic services, rehabilitative services, etc.
  5. Take photos of the scene of the accident, if you are able, including photos of the damage to both vehicles.
  6. If you are physically able, make notes as soon as possible about the accident. These notes should include the name, phone number, license plate number and insurance information about the other person, as well as witness contact information.
  7. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after your accident. Give your insurance company the basic facts of the accident.
  8. If it turns out that you must file a civil claim to recoup your losses (medical expenses, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, etc.), it can be very helpful to make a list of questions to ask a lawyer after your accident.

What not to do after a car accident

There are also things you should avoid doing after a car accident. These include:

  1. Never admit responsibility for the accident, even if you think it might have been your fault, or even partially your fault. Even saying “I’m sorry” to the other party could potentially be misconstrued as an admission of fault, so avoid saying anything that could sound like you are saying the accident was your fault.
  2. Never sign any document without speaking to an attorney first.
  3. Never agree to allow the insurance company to record your conversation without speaking to an attorney (you are not required by law to allow your conversation to be recorded).
  4. Never, ever leave the scene of the accident, particularly when there are injuries, or you could face criminal charges for hit-and-run.
  5. Never discuss your accident on social media, and, in fact, don’t talk to anyone about the accident other than your own attorney, your own insurance company and the police. Avoid talking to a representative of another insurance company without discussing it with your own insurer and/or your attorney.

Knowledge is power

Taking the right steps after a car accident can help keep you safe, and can ensure you will receive an equitable settlement for your injuries and damages to your vehicle.

Knowing how to handle an automobile collision also can help you and your family remain calm during an otherwise stressful situation.

Consumers also should know that they never have to manage a car accident alone. An experienced auto accident attorney will ensure your rights are protected, and that valuable evidence is not destroyed.

Tags:  accident  auto  insurance  tips 

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1 in 8 U.S. Drivers was Uninsured

Posted By Danielle Ling, Monday, April 23, 2018

from PropertyCausalty360.com, March 13, 2018

When an uninsured driver is at fault in an accident, insured drivers, or their insurance companies, are often left to pay for the resulting physical damage and health costs. As in cases with an underinsured driver, these individuals may not have high enough limits on his or her policy to cover all costs of damage caused.

Findings from a new study raise concerns.

Despite the fact that drivers in 49 states are required to carry car insurance, a new study found that nearly one in eight U.S. drivers was uninsured in 2015, putting insured drivers at greater risk in the event of an auto accident.

The study, directed by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) and co-sponsored by The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. found that 13% of all U.S. motorists were uninsured in 2015, up from 12.3% in 2010 after a seven-year decline.

“The results of the survey sound an alarm,” said Daniel Halsey, president, personal lines, at The Hanover. “Uninsured motorists represent a significant risk to insured drivers. With the average cost of an uninsured motorist claim around $20,000, excluding any physical damage to the vehicle, the best approach is to make sure you have the proper insurance in place to protect yourself in the event of an accident.” 

 To protect themselves against uninsured drivers in the event of an accident, The Hanover suggests customers talk with their independent agents about the following:

  • Do I need uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on my policy? Often, this is a low-cost way to add protection in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
  • How much uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage do I need? Generally, it is a good idea to have the same amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as bodily injury coverage. Be wary of suggestions to reduce or remove this coverage to reduce the premium on a policy.
  • How does uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage work when I have an umbrella policy? Umbrella protection can kick in once auto limits are met. The Hanover offers uninsured/underinsured coverage of up to $2 million on umbrella policies in some states.

Tags:  auto  driver  insurance  uninsured  vehicle 

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5 Fire Safety Tips for Glamping Trailers and Retro RVs

Posted By Joseph Bloom, Sunday, April 22, 2018

from PropertyCasualty360.com

The retrofitting, rebuilding, remodeling, decorating and upgrading of older trailers is growing in popularity throughout the country. Their uniqueness and attractiveness is spreading with a rise of clubs and organizations who display their handiwork during rallies and shows. High-quality workmanship is the norm, and much of the finish craftsmanship is excellent.

These original units have for the most part, been restored with parts and accessories from original trailers, in some cases after years of searching for hard-to-get items. However, some of the acquisitions and re-installations can include now-prohibited items such as propane interior gas lighting, unvented propane space heaters, stove cook tops or range ovens used for comfort or interior space heating.  Since many trailers were originally produced before detector requirements, they may not comply with today’s recommendations.

Defined as luxury camping or glamorous retro camping, “glamping” campers are found throughout the U.S., Australia, Europe, and other parts of the world. Aside from vintage trailers, this trend includes yurts, some tiny houses, tents and others. Occasionally, some of the retro units are paired with vintage towing cars that are often displayed together. An advertisement for one event only allowed vehicles 25 years or older.

Safety standards for trailers

As early as 1940, the National Fire Protection Association had developed a fire prevention standard for trailers. In the 1960s, the Trailer Coach Association evolved into NFPA 501C and is now NFPA 1192 Recreational Vehicles. NFPA 1192 is published and revised by committee action, and proposals are voted on approximately every three years. Inspections occur when units are new, and are handled by the factory, Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and various state governmental organizations.  Manufacturers adhere to this standard for the safety for the purchaser.

The NFPA fire safety standards include requirements to install and maintain safe electrical systems and installations; properly install and maintain smoke detectors, LP-gas detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; fire extinguisher requirements, including placement and location, as well and placards or decals noting auxiliary exits. All of these are for the purpose of life safety and to rapidly get all occupants safely outside in case of a fire.
Unfortunately, retro builders and prospective buyers of used recreational vehicles (RVs) may not be familiar with these safety requirements. At a recent retro RV show displaying over 30 “glamping” units, only one older smoke detector was observed positioned in place among the trailers on display; no other fire safety or warning devices had been installed. NFPA 1192 addresses only new model trailers – the RV code does not apply retroactively to pre-code dates; and the code is voluntary.

Fire dangers in trailers

LP-gas interior lighting appliances were discontinued in the late 1960s or early 1970s, due to carbon monoxide poisoning, injuries and fatal fires that occurred.

Detectors used for most RVs include carbon monoxide (CO), and are now required whenever gas appliances are used inside. LP-gas alarms, also known as propane detectors, are found installed in all newer recreational vehicles, and when properly installed, have a successful record of saving untold lives from fire and explosion.

Smoke detectors are not used in all RVs, and many fire fatalities occur when smoke or combustion products overwhelm victims. Too often, occupants remove detector batteries because the alarm makes noise, or to use them for other purposes.

Most RVs are required to have a secondary means of escape, which is usually a window with special opening hardware. Many of these windows have dedicated opening levers and a permanent label with the word “Exit” in red, one-inch high letters. The owner or seller should demonstrate to the occupants how the latches open and remind them to exit feet first through the windows as safely as possible in case of an emergency.

Reselling trailers

Sales of pre-owned trailers between private parties, frequently imply “buyer beware, as-is” with no warranty. However, if a defective or recalled product is knowingly sold to an unsuspecting buyer and an accident results – there may be some liability to the seller. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may provide information regarding recalls.

A prospective buyer, seller or builder of an older vintage, retro or glamping trailer should be familiar with the in-place safety requirements published by the National Fire Protection Association; notably NFPA 1192 Standard on Recreational Vehicles, NFPA 58 Liquid Petroleum Gas Code, NFPA 70 Electrical Code, NFPA 10 Fire Extinguishers, and articles from various manufacturers and suppliers.

Information on how to maintain these products in accordance with manufacturer’s requirements is available through the manufacturer or retailers. Most camping equipment dealers and repair facilities can assist with the latest requirements for fire safety.

Ins and outs of smoke detectors

Proper installation, periodic inspection and maintenance of safety detectors are a must, and detectors should be tested on a regular basis and replaced as necessary per RV parts manufacturer guidelines. As products have different manufacturers and functions, detector life spans do vary. A general rule of thumb is to check all detector batteries monthly. Some detectors have a five-year lifespan; smoke detectors are generally 10 years. For continued peace of mind, replace batteries when applicable and gently clean with a vacuum to remove dust and cobwebs.

Interior flammability is also important to consider. Light, flashy fuels are generally used for interior wall finishes, including wall coverings and foam cushions, and can allow a fire to spread extremely fast in some cases. Fire tests we have conducted demonstrated an RV can burn to the metal frame in less than 10 minutes; therefore, immediate knowledgeable about exiting is paramount to prevent fatalities or injuries.

The object of camping, glamping or other recreation is to enjoy nature and have peace of mind, which is achieved by having units provide a safe and secure environment.

Since fire detectors significantly reduce the risk of potential fires, injuries and fatalities, and insurance underwriters are interested in preventing such catastrophes, including a few check-off boxes during the insurance application and underwriting process can make it easier for insurers to identify which trailers may have a lower or higher fire risk. Some insurers have also recommended permanently disconnecting potentially dangerous open flame propane fixtures and capping the flow the source as another means to reduce fire risks. Using appliances deemed unsafe for decoration only will further minimize any safety risks.

These suggestions will help protect occupants from heat, fire, poisonous products of combustion or smoke when combined with fire extinguishers and easily identifiable marked auxiliary exits. Insurers, inspectors and owners can collaborate to ensure a safer recreational environment for all.

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