Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Cheaper car insurance rates can now be yours, New Yorkers -- if you drive fewer miles more safely, and agree to attach an electronic monitoring device to your car's dashboard.
It's called usage-based insurance, and it's already in place in dozens of states across the country. It is relatively new to New York, however, and now city officials and the two companies offering it are trumpeting its benefits to boost enrollment.
Under this type of insurance, drivers agree to attach a monitoring device to their car's electrical system. That device relays behavioral information like speed, number of miles driven, time of day the car is used, and how often -- and hard -- the brakes are hit. (The device is not a GPS device, insurers hasten to add.) The data is analyzed and a premium rate computed. Currently, only Progressive and Allstate are offering this type of insurance in New York.
New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said this type of insurance incentivizes good driving. "I think that when people realize they can save real money, and you can save money by driving safely, I think we'll see safer driving and money in the pockets of New Yorkers." She said it makes good financial sense for New Yorkers, who tend to drive less than people in other parts of the country because of the availability of public transit.
Which is a good thing. "There's really a big public policy benefit to a program like this," said Dave Pratt, Progressive’s general manager of usage-based insurance. "If you can save money by driving less, avoiding dangerous times of day and driving more safely, we might actually encourage people not to drive as much, so there wouldn't be quite as much traffic."
Pratt added "we've seen some evidence that being in the program does help people to drive more safely."
The devices also allow users to track their own driving habits via computer.
Allstate and Progress say the program is purely voluntary, and it rewards good behavior without punishing bad. So drivers who routinely speed down the Thruway at 2am won't be slapped with higher premiums. (Or, as Progressive's Flo puts it in a commercial, "before you worry your pretty little heads -- no, your rates can't go up.")
Read more about the usage-based insurance on the NYC DOT's website here.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Thousands of Sandy Victims in New York have been forced to put off repairs to their damaged homes as they wait weeks for insurance checks, according to an investigation by the state's Department of Financial Services.
Friday, December 14, 2012
New flood maps for New Jersey predict water levels to climb several feet higher than previous estimates when major storms strike the state.
Thursday, December 06, 2012
Some New Yorkers say their cars are being towed from Sandy-affected areas without warning, and the city confirms, it’s true.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s taking steps to speed up insurance claims processing after Sandy.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
A consumer group is warning that some people whose homes were damaged or destroyed as a result of Sandy may be denied coverage.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
With another storm on the way, New York State is changing the procedures on home insurance claims following Sandy.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Two guys, the same illness, the same treatment - two very different results.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
It’s a terrific plan, except for the fact that it’s a terrible plan.
Friday, June 15, 2012
As the Supreme Court's decision looms on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Julie Appleby, a reporter for Kaiser Health News, discusses the announcement by three major insurance companies that they will continue to adhere to some provisions of the Obama health reforms regardless of the Court's ruling.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Yesterday, UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, announced that it would keep in place several consumer provisions mandated by the 2010 affordable care act, regardless of whether the statue is upheld by the Supreme Court. Is the company’s plan incredibly generous? Will it change the healthcare playing field?
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
(Billings, MT – YPR) – Montana will soon join about 8 other states where law enforcement can immediately verify whether a driver has liability insurance as required by state laws.
“It’s one more tool in our tool box to make sure people comply with the law,” says Col. Mike Tooley, chief of the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP).
He says the instant verification system will allow troopers out on the highway to know immediately if a motorist has insurance and whether the proof of insurance card is legitimate. “In the past it would be pretty easy to show a card that was maybe manufactured illegally or maybe someone bought insurance and turned right around and cancelled it and still had the card.”
On May 21, 2012, MHP troopers in the southwestern district will begin using the new Montana Insurance Verification System (MTIVS). Soon after, MHP troopers statewide will have access to the system. By late summer or early fall, MTIVS will be available to all Montana law enforcement agencies.
Tooley adds the system will provide a convenience for drivers who have insurance but cannot find proof. If they are given a citation, that driver will have to appear in court to show proof of insurance. A ticket for not having insurance can cost up to $285 for the first offense.
“It’s a common sense tool for Montanans who expect their neighbors to carry insurance, like the law requires,” says Brenda Nordlund, administrator of the state’s Motor Vehicle Division. “They (Montanans) expect that technology will give you the ability to verify insurance without having to fumble through that jockey box.”
Law enforcement official say studies indicate about 85% of Montanans comply with the automotive liability insurance requirement.
State Justice Department officials say Montana joins California Wyoming, Utah, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and Washington, DC in having an instant insurance verification system for law enforcement.
Nordlund says many states have some element of insurance reporting, but it tends to be cumbersome, expensive and quickly outdated.
“When I’ve talked about what Montana is doing, I’ve described us as going from 0 to 60 (MPH) because we’ve never had a reporting system from the insurance companies,” she says. “This is the most streamlined manner of verifying insurance because we’re not going to a database. Our inquiry goes over the web directly to the insurance company to say, ‘confirmed’ or ‘not.’”
The 2009 Montana Legislature authorized MITIVS. The system has an annual cost of about $539,000. Motorists pay for the system through a fee tacked on for a license plate.
Monday, April 23, 2012
The "individual mandate" in President Obama's health-care reform targets the young, healthy and uninsured. Young people, what do you make of the mandate, and how does it affect the way you assess Obama in this election year? Post here or call 212-433-9692 at 10:20!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
All this week, the Supreme Court has heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The centerpiece of President Obama's health care reform legislation — and the focus of the debate at the Court — is the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. The Court won't issue a ruling until June, but if they do declare the mandate unconstitutional, how much of a real difference will it make for you and your health care?
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
A small local insurance company will receive federal loans to serve low-income people in the region who make too much to be on Medicaid, but too little to purchase regular health coverage.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The Obama administration is responding to criticism about its decision to mandate that all insurance providers – even those contracted by Catholic organizations – provide contraception. But New York State has had such a law on its books for a decade. Lois Uttley, Director of the MergerWatch Project and Raising Women’s Voices-NY, discusses how New York’s policy functions.
Monday, December 05, 2011
Insurance companies have paid out more than $52 million in delayed death benefits, in response to an investigation of their practices by New York's Department of Financial Services.