Fraud Watch: Staged Auto Accidents

In cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has produced new high definition videos showing some of the most common methods of staging motor vehicle accidents to defraud insurance companies.

According to NICB: “Staged traffic accidents are on the rise, endangering the lives and boosting the car insurance rates of innocent drivers who may unwittingly think they’re at fault. Staged accidents are most common in “no-fault” states such as Florida and New York, where the insured stager can collect for bodily injury from their own car insurance company through their personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage.”

“Staged accidents are usually conducted by organized groups that target drivers and vehicles that are likely to be insured. The organizers frequently recruit participants who receive a cash payment to join in the scheme and to claim they were injured in the crash. The organizers then have the medical providers who are in on the scheme bill the auto insurance companies for medical treatments that may be unnecessary and which may or may not be completed.”

Water Week: Boating Safety & Boat Insurance

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, the official start of the summer season, we have two recreational reminders: It’s National Safe Boating Week and Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week. Today, we’ll focus on boating.

The U.S. Coast Guard compiles annual statistics on reported recreational boating accidents. These stats are a compilation of data from the 50 states from reports filed by boat owners. Here are a few boating statistics from 2013:

  • 4,062 boat accidents
  • 560 boat-related deaths
  • 2,620 boat-related injuries
  • $39 million in property damage
  • 4.7 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels
  • 10% fewer deaths and nearly 13% fewer injuries than 2012
  • 77% of the deaths were drownings
  • 84% of drownings involved victims who were not wearing life jackets
  • 8 out of every 10 boaters who drowned were in vessels less than 21 feet in length
  • Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents

What you need to know about boat insurance

Your Homeowners policy might cover small boats such as a small motorboat, canoe, a rowboat, a small sailboat or a kayak – but be aware that coverage may be limited so check with your agent to find out what’s covered and what’s not. For example, liability coverage is typically not included so you would likely need an endorsement.

Bigger, more expensive boats would require a separate policy. The Insurance Information Institute offers a good overview of Boat Insurance along with some safety tips; Bankrate offers 6 things to know about boat insurance

If you are buying a boat for the first time, it’s definitely worth getting the help of an independent agent because there are a lot of coverage variables and considerations that will affect the cost of the coverage and the level of protection. Plus, be sure to look into safe operating courses – it’s a smart idea to help prevent you & your passengers from becoming a statistic. Plus, you may earn a discount on your coverage. The US Coast Guard offers a list Boating Safety Courses as well as many other handy tools and resources at their Boating Safety Resource Center.


How to show the women in your life a little love this week …

May 11-17 is National Women’s Health Week, an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. While there are many important health issues, a key focus of should always be on heart health. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women and nearly one in three American women have high blood pressure. Why not show a little love for your mom, your wife, your sisters or your women friends by encouraging them to schedule a Well Woman visit to get a checkup and to learn more about heart risk? For more on women and heart disease, check out The Heart Truth, a program of the National Institutes of Health. There are many great resources and tools available – why not share some of these important messages and excellent materials with the women in your lives – and also on social media!

10 Years of @TheHeartTruth: Celebrating a Decade of Inspiring Women to Protect their Hearts.

For National Bike Month, here’s the scoop on insurance

NBM 2014May is National Bike Month, time to pull the bicycle out of the garage if you haven’t already. This year, consider participating in the National Bike Challenge — a great way to get connected to other bike-friendly — and bike-curious — folks in your community and across the country. Join the challenge at any time as an individual or form a team. The Challenge runs May 1 to September 30, 2014.

As with any other valuable property, you need to think about protection. The Insurance Information Institute has a short video about insurance coverage basics for your bikes.

“Bicycles are covered under the personal property section of standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. This coverage will reimburse you, minus your deductible, if your bike is stolen or damaged in a fire, hurricane or other disaster listed in your policy.”

For most casual bicyclists, this coverage will likely be be sufficient. Professional bikers and avid hobbyists with high-end bikes may want to add coverage: Bicycle insurance: A rider may want a rider. There are also some specialty insurance programs available in some states. If you have special needs or concerns, we recommend a one-on-one conversation with your independent agent to determine whether your current coverage is good for your needs or if you should have some supplemental coverage.

The Insurance Information Institute also has advice on bicycle safety, including tips for locking and securing your bikes and observing basic safety when riding. They also suggest looking into enrolling in the National Bike Registry.