Agents support MS moving to auto insurance verification system

Agents support MS moving to auto insurance verification system – WLOX.com – The News for South Mississippi

College football countdown | No. 65: Louisiana-Monroe

Welcome to the club, Louisiana-Monroe. By winning eight games last season, including a memorable overtime victory against Arkansas in the opener, the Warhawks earned their first postseason berth as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision. With ULM now in the club, 120 of the 125 FBS programs have reached the postseason.

The remaining five programs have an excuse: Massachusetts, South Alabama, Texas State and Texas-San Antonio only joined the FBS in 2012; Georgia State enlists in 2013. ULM, on the other hand, christened its football program in 1951 and joined the FBS in 1994 – and then failed to notch a winning record until last season.

ULM has joined the club. Now its time to leave another: ULM is one of eight FBS schools to have reached the postseason yet never won a bowl game, joining Akron, Buffalo, UAB, Western Kentucky, Kent State, Western Michigan and Ball State. Thats next on coach Todd Berrys to-do list.

NO. 125 TO NO. 1: College football countdown

LAST YEARS PREDICTION

Im far from sold on the Warhawks scoring enough points to survive this schedule, let alone make a run towards bowl play and a conference championship. Begin with an offensive line still rounding into form, one that will continue to improve on a weekly basis but remains, as of today, far too insecure in pass protection. And if the line struggles protecting the quarterback, look for Browning to again struggle with his own bouts of inconsistency. If that happens, the Warhawks will have no chance of unseating the top slice of the Sun Belt. The Warhawks get the following teams on the road: the Red Wolves, Golden Panthers, Hilltoppers, Arkansas and Auburn. Baylor and ULL come to Monroe. With this schedule, a defense in transition and an offense short on answers, I cant see how ULM finally cracks into bowl play.

2012 RECAP

— In a nutshell: ULM might have collapsed late, losing three of four to end the year, but that does not detract in any way from the Warhawks finest season as a member of the FBS. It was unforgettable, from the overtime win against Arkansas through the 4-0 start in Sun Belt play; by the end of October, ULM had already matched its previous high-water mark for wins on the FBS level. So what happened in November and December? ULM simply wasnt a match for SBC leaders like Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State, losing to that pair by a combined 38 points, and couldnt hold a candle to Ohios offensive potency in the Independence Bowl. Nevertheless: ULM reached the Independence Bowl. It was a banner season.

— High point: The win against Arkansas. It was the springboard for ULMs successful season; it was also the moment the Razorbacks realized the 2012 campaign was not going to match its expectations – and yes, it was the season opener. The Warhawks would beat a pair of bowl-eligible teams in Middle Tennessee State (31-17) and Western Kentucky (43-42) and hang very tight in close losses to Auburn and Baylor.

— Low point: Losses to ULL and the Red Wolves. Though the team was drastically improved, injuries prevented ULM from contending with these conference frontrunners. Dont blame the offense, which did an adequate job in both losses – and was hampered by ULLs ability to control the time of possession; blame the Warhawks defense for coming up short.

— Tidbit: ULM won five games in a row from Sept. 29 through Oct. 27. This winning streak was the programs longest since winning five in a row in 1993, one year before it joined the FBS. In all, this single winning streak accounted for as many or more victories than ULM notched in every season in the FBS but two: 2007 and 2009.

— Tidbit (comebacks edition): ULM won two games last season when trailing by at least 21 points. Against Arkansas, the Warhawks trailed 28-7 with six minutes left in the third quarter. Against WKU, the Warhawks trailed 28-7 with four minutes left in the first half. ULM won both games in overtime, one of four games it took to extra frames on the year.

FORMER PLAYERS IN THE NFL

— 3: WR Brent Leonard (New Orleans), TE Keavon Milton (New Orleans), DE Aaron Morgan (Tampa Bay).

ARBITRARY TOP FIVE LIST

— Cabinet members from the College of William amp; Mary

1. Thomas Jefferson
2. James Monroe
3. James Marshall
4. Henry Clay
5. Edmund Randolph

COACHING

— Todd Berry (Tulsa 83), 17-20 after three seasons at Louisiana-Monroe. Berry has steadily turned the Warhawks into a Sun Belt contender and a bowl team, leading the program out of a decade-plus in the wilderness and into a spot as one of the most exciting teams in college football. Last fall, ULM reached the postseason for the first time as a member of the FBS; in addition, the Warhawks beat Arkansas, took Auburn to overtime and lost by merely five points to Baylor.

This is Berrys second turn as a head coach on the FBS level, joining a disastrous four-year stint at Army, where he went 5-34 from 2000-3. His first Army team – the Cadets were a member of Conference USA at this point, not an FBS independent – went 1-10; he followed that season with a 3-8 mark in 2001 and a 1-11 mark in 2002. Army opted to fire Berry after the Cadets opened the 2003 season with six straight losses, a year they finished with an FBS-record 13 defeats. He spent the six years prior to being hired at ULM remaking his reputation as a solid offensive coordinator; this rebranding began with a two-year stint in Monroe, when he helped the Warhawks to a shared Sun Belt championship in 2005.

He also brought experience as a head coach in the FCS back to Monroe: Berry was the coach at Illinois State from 1996-99, helping the perennial cellar-dweller land its first conference title since 1950 in his final season. As an assistant, Berry has also served as the offensive coordinator at East Carolina (1992-95) and UNLV (2007-9), holding assistant head coach duties over his three years under Mike Sanford with the Rebels. Berry is an offensive-first coach, which does make it ironic that his first two teams with the Warhawks won games on defense. Last fall, however, Berrys offense took a huge step forward – so its not surprising that ULM turned in its finest season as a member of the FBS. Berrys second turn as an FBS coach has gone far, far better.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

— Offense: Senior quarterback Kolton Browning had his long-awaited breakthrough in 2012, reversing the sour taste of an up-and-down sophomore campaign by posting one of the finest seasons by a quarterback in program history. The lovely totals: Browning threw for 3,049 yards with a .638 completion percentage, tossing 29 touchdowns against 10 interceptions; he added a team-best 488 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground; and did so despite missing all of one game and part of another – the losses to Arkansas State and ULL, unsurprisingly. It was obvious from the start, when Browning flummoxed Arkansas SEC defense, that the light turned on for the senior during the offseason. So what does he do for an encore? Oh, just more of the same. Browning enters 2013 as no worse than the second-best quarterback in the SBC, depending on how you feel about ULLs Terrance Broadway, and one of the top dual-threat options on the non-automatically qualifying level. Turning Browning into an all-conference quarterback has been one of Berrys top accomplishments.

Senior Kolton Browning is one of college footballs most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks.(Photo: Jim Cowsert, USA TODAY Sports)

Mobile apps legal for auto insurance proof

ALBANY — Albany real estate agent Heidi Wills is counting on never having to use her smartphone for insurance identification. Still, she won’t hesitate to use it if the need arises.

Wills, who works for RE/Max Integrity, has taken advantage of a new law that allows drivers to use electronic proof of auto insurance when they are stopped by police.

“Thankfully, I haven’t had to use it yet, but I do have an app on my phone that lets me access it quickly,” Wills said.

The Legislature sent a bill allowing the electronic option to Gov. John Kitzhaber, who signed it into law on May 14. A similar law is on the books in 23 other states.

Wills said she has had her app for about a month. The software provides Wills with not just car insurance proof but all her insurance information. Virtually all insurance companies offer an application that can be used for proof.

“My whole account is at my fingertips,” Wills said. “It’s a pop-up menu, and I click once and it’s there.”

According to Mike Allen of Nationwide Insurance in Albany, the law is good for drivers and police.

“It should help cut the time an officer has to deal with drivers during a stop,” he said. “The app can avoid a lot of problems that could come up if, say, a driver forgets his paper copy.”

Allen said the apps give a live view of the most up-to-date information concerning an account’s status.

“The time it can potentially save can keep officers on the road for those who need them,” Allen said.

However, Sgt. Jerry Drum of the Albany Police Department said the app is really more of a time-saver for drivers.

“I’ve encountered it a couple of times,” he said. “I haven’t noticed any significant time saving.”

Drum said he believes the opportunity for fraud is still the same with the apps.

“It seems it could be faked just as easily, but it’s the wave of the future,” he said.

Drivers can opt to use traditional paper insurance cards, and Wills believes many will have both.

“I have my regular card in the car,” she said. “But we have four cars on one policy, so the app is pretty useful.”

Drum said everyone should keep their card as backup, noting that it could be a problem if the phone is dead.

Keeping phones charged could save those using the app a hefty fine for failure to provide proof of insurance.

Most of the drivers who have shown an interest in the electronic proof are 40 or under. Older drivers haven’t embraced the idea as much, according to Allen.

“The smartphone culture is going for it, but you would expect that,” Allen said. “With the new drivers it will be more popular, I assume.”

Wills said speed is the biggest asset. It takes only seconds for her to access the information. She also likes the convenience.

“I keep my insurance card in my glove box, and I think most people do as well. Sometimes it’s not that easy to find,” she said.

According to the law, the use of an application to provide proof of insurance doesn’t give law enforcement officers the right to search an electronic device for additional information.

Allen said the law gives insurance companies a chance to enhance service for their customers.

“Customers demand what we do, and this is another convenience we can provide,” Allen said. “It’s technology that helps us both.”

Meanwhile, Wills said it’s the convenience that most impresses her — although she added she’s happy she hasn’t had the chance yet to test the app in a real encounter with law enforcement.

“I haven’t had that opportunity,” she said. “And I’m fine with that.”

Everything you need to know about rental car insurance

Renting a car? Buying the over-the-counter insurance that rental car companies sell could be the dumbest move youve made all day. That is, unless it’s the smartest.

The question is, are you covered? Too many travelers have no idea, and its in that cone of uncertainty that the rental car companies are able to pounce and profit.

If you dont know, for example, what your liability coverage your own auto insurance policy provides, or whether or not your credit card is any use in times of rental car trouble, then why, the agent will be asking you, would you want to drive off the lot without peace of mind? Why indeed.

Trouble is, peace of mind doesnt come cheap. Think hundreds of dollars added to your weekly rental costs, which are already skyrocketing, as competition goes all but extinct in the more-consolidated-than-ever rental car industry. Its war, and youve got to be ready to do battle. Were here to help.

Are you the owner of a car?

Yes? Great. Then you probably have an insurance policy. Youll say this to the guy behind the counter. Hell counter with: Do you know if your coverage is adequate? Are you going to be stuck with a huge deductible? Theyll throw it all at you. And if you cant answer the questions confidently, suddenly, youll be wondering: Hey! Maybe I should be buying the insurance here, because, really, what if something happens and Im not covered? Stop. Stop it right now. Before you leave home, examine your policy documents or call your insurance provider and ask.

Questions like: Am I covered for damage, theft and loss of use? Liability for injury to others (personal and property) while in the rental car? Personal effects if stolen or damaged? How screwed am I, as regards deductibles and such, if I find myself in any trouble related to the above? You should know the answers to all of these questions.

Coverage through your credit card? Maybe. Probably not.

Too many people think that their auto insurance policy plus their credit card coverage benefits equals all set. Again – maybe you are, maybe youre not. Have you read the documents? Too many renters learn the hard way that what most cards provide is secondary coverage, meant only to bulk up your auto insurance policy, paying out after that has been exhausted. Your Visa card, for example, can be a great asset, but if you dont follow all their rules (the coverage may be invalid if you rent a mid-size car in Cincinnati on a Tuesday when its raining), the very thing you think is going to keep you out of trouble might end up leaving you in a world of hurt.

Across the board, its wrong (really, really wrong) to assume that one size of coverage fits all card brands. Some higher-end Mastercards might be great, for example. Others card levels may offer little protection. Examine each card document carefully. Finally, note that credit cards tend to mostly offer collision, damage and theft coverage, if they offer anything at all – personal liability (hitting a pedestrian, crashing into a store front, or injuring drivers in another car) and personal effects are generally your problem. Again: Read.

So youve got nothing.

Say you go over both your auto insurance policy and your credit card documents, hundreds of time. Say you now fully accept that rental car-wise, youre less than protected. Dont just wing it – winging it can lead to all kinds of trouble, such as you being stuck with a bill for thousands of dollars or a huge jury award. Besides upgrading your credit card to something more useful and bulking up on your auto insurance you can also sign up for primary coverage with a third party (but again, this will only be coverage for damage to the rental car, it’s not personal liability coverage).

What is this primary coverage with a third party?

Simply: It is a separate policy that protects you when you rent cars. Maybe you are protected with your credit card and your auto insurance policy, but if you get into an accident and have primary coverage elsewhere, you can leave your insurer out of the loop entirely, avoiding any potential rate increases. American Express cardholders can purchase a Premium Rental Car Protection policy for less than the cost of one days damage waiver in many destinations. For $24.95 per rental period of up to 42 days — $17.95 if you live in California – youve got $100,000 in coverage for damage and theft, plus $100,000 of Accidental Death or Dismemberment coverage, $15,000 for excess medical expenses and up to $5,000 for personal property loss.

The real deal here? No deductible. Nada. Its a good policy. Best of all, it kicks in automatically when you begin your rental using that card. When you do, youll be surprised at how easy it is to stop agents in their tracks – most know about the policy. Tell them youve got it and theyll generally understand that theyre dealing with someone who has come prepared.

But what about liability?

As long as any accidents involve just you and, say, a lamppost, youre now well and truly protected. Bump into a billionaire in a supermarket parking lot, however, and you may not be adequately protected, liability-wise. Many drivers lack the proper liability protection, often assuming that that theyre safe, hiding behind their homeowners or renters policies. More than once, after hearing about all the coverage weve got, the rental car agent has asked the question, What about liability?

While rental car companies are required to build basic liability protection into their rates, they wont tell you this. Generally, youre going to be fine in a fender bender situation, but if you find yourself in some horrible scenario where you can be sued for lots of money, then make sure you are covered (if you’re a high net worth individual, you probably have an umbrella liability policy, which should be enough, but check with your agent).

For those that are not covered, the agent will be happy to sell you Supplemental Liability Protection, often quite reasonably priced at about $10 per day. Then again, liability protection isnt something you should be sorting out on the fly with some kid at the Enterprise counter – this is a matter for your insurance broker.

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and founder of the low-airfare listing site Airfarewatchdog.com.

Simple ways older drivers can save on auto insurance

Are your auto insurance premiums too high? You may be paying too much because you haven’t done anything to lower the cost of your premiums. Check out these money-saving tips.

o Comparison shop. You don’t need to stay with the same insurance company forever. Prices vary from company to company. Just be sure you discuss the identical coverage with each company representative.

o Combine policies with one carrier. You may save money if you insure all your vehicles on a single policy.

o Consider asking about higher deductibles. In some cases, if you increase your deductible, you could lower your premiums.

o Take an AARP Driver Safety course. It teaches valuable defensive driving techniques and provides a refresher about the rules of the road. Completion of the course could result in a multi-year discount from your auto insurance company.

o Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage.

o Take advantage of low-mileage discounts for drivers who put fewer miles on their vehicles each year.

o Ask about car-safety discounts. Some insurers give discounts for air bags, automatic safety belts, anti-lock brakes, and more. daytime running lights, or even an approved alarm system.

By following these tips, you’ll be in the driver’s seat when it comes to auto insurance premiums.

Will the Skins take QB Sanchez at 13?

Will the Skins take QB Sanchez at 13?

Written by dcprosportsreport on . Posted in Uncategorized

North Louisiana’s ‘Kimble Ring’ pleads guilty to auto insurance fraud scheme


Deal of the Day: CSD Credit Union Auto Loans at 1.49%

Searching for great interest rates can be difficult, and this is especially true when it comes to car loans. Gone are the days of low rates enticing prospective car shoppers onto the lots. Of course, this is not to say that there arent good auto loan deals to be found. Members of CSD Credit Union should be fully aware of the great auto loan rate that their financial institution offers. Its current rate of 1.49% APR on all new auto loans should be more than enough to bring car shoppers out of the woodwork once more.

CSD Credit Union Auto Loan Terms and Conditions

The auto loan rate of 1.49% APR is available on new or used vehicles with a model year of 2013 or older, with a term of up to 30 months. Members can borrow up to three times on the same collateral, with a minimum individual borrowing amount of $1,000. Actual rates might vary based on factors such as the borrowers capacity to pay, credit history or the vehicles loan-to-value ratio.

About CSD Credit Union

Auto Insurance Claims Satisfaction: Stable Overall Despite Near-Term Declines

July 19, 2013

Theres been much discussion recently about the importance of the claims experience — the need for insight, interactivity and personalization across multiple channels. However, the findings of JD Powers 2013 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study-Wave 3 indicate that transaction proficiency still is the most important factor in policyholder satisfaction when it comes to auto insurance claims — especially in the wake of disasters such as Superstorm Sandy.

According to JD Power, satisfaction with the auto claims experience held steady in the second quarter of 2013, compared with the first quarter. However, small improvements in satisfaction with repairable claims were offset by significant declines in satisfaction among total loss-claimants. The marketing information services company suggested in a summary of the study results that the declines may be due to the impact of more claims filed in the Mid-Atlantic region after damages from Superstorm Sandy at the end of October 2012 and a noreaster storm in February 2013.

[Inside the Sandy Claims Response: From the Front Lines]

The study, based on 3,009 responses from auto insurance customers who settled a claim within the past six months, reveals that overall claimant satisfaction has edged up by 2 points to 852 on a 1,000-point scale in Wave 3, compared with 850 in Wave 2 of the study(January – March 2013). In the same period out-of-pocket expenses for repairable claims, such as the deductible and vehicle rental, reportedly dropped to an average of $461 vs. $499 in Wave 2. At the same time, JDPower reports, out-of pocket expenses for total loss increased slightly to an average of $600 in Wave 3 from $592 in Wave 2.

While overall satisfaction is up 2 points overall, and satisfaction in four of the six factors is also up from Wave 2, satisfaction with the appraisal process among total loss claimants declines by 25 points, said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at JD Power, in a press release.

For total loss vehicles, satisfaction with the claims process has declined by a significant 57 points in the Mid-Atlantic region, which was devastated by major storm events. In that region, satisfaction with the appraisal process declines by 71 points, and satisfaction with the settlement process declines by 76 points, said Bowler.

Underscoring the importance of speed and efficiency in shaping policyholder attitudes, the Wave 3 study found that claimants wait an average of 2.8 days for an insurance appraisal of repairable vehicles — nearly the same as in Wave 2 (3.1 days). However, according to JDPower, the appraisal process for total loss vehicles took longer than in Wave 2 — averaging 4.8 days, up from 4.2 days.

The study also found it took an average of 5.3 days in Wave 3 to provide claims settlement terms for vehicles that could be repaired — slightly shorter than 5.8 days in Wave 2. However, the time needed to provide settlement terms for total loss claims rose in Wave 3 to an average of 12.3 days from 10.5 days in Wave 2.

Receiving settlement payments also took considerably longer for total loss claims in Wave 3 than in Wave 2. In Wave 3, receiving a settlement averaged 20.9 days, up by 4.3 days from 16.6 days in Wave 2. However, the time it takes to receive a settlement payment for repairable claims was almost unchanged–14.5 days in Wave 3, compared with 14.1 days in Wave 2.

These findings notwithstanding, insurers should not discount the importance of the overall claims experience in managing their claims operations, according to Bowler. Our findings highlight how important it is for insurers to efficiently manage their customers through the appraisal process. There are more than 70% of auto insurance claimants who had some form of interaction with their insurer related to an appraisal. Among these claimants, overall satisfaction is 30 points higher than among those who did not interact with their insurer or agent, he said in the study overview.

[How to Build a Modern Claims Experience]

Local Lenders Remain Conservative with Auto Loans

The car business is absolutely fantastic right now.

Alvin Dvorak says its because of several reasons.

Were in a very booming economy here in Bismarck and Mandan. Things are really good here. I think one thing that makes us unique here at Dvorak Motors is that were not a new car franchise. We sell pre-owned, pre-loved vehicles, and people are just really taking advantage of good deals right now.

Despite the growth in sales, Bismarck and Mandan lenders have remained conservative with prospective auto-loan candidates.

We still follow sound underwriting loans and, to be honest,we havent compromised at all in that regard. And yet, were seeing a lot more volume from direct and indirect dealers than we have ever before. The volume is definitely up, says Gordy Rauser, Capital Credit Union.

For those who may have sub-prime credit, its important to know what lenders are really looking at.

We are going to look at loan to values of the units that theyre financing, ensuring that they have the right equity into it, says Rauser.

Even though local lenders are being more conservative with granting loans, its still a good time to purchase a vehicle.

The lenders are also being very aggressive, not just with qualifications on finance people, but with the rates as well. Interest rates have never been so low. So consequently, you can buy more car and have a lesser payment than you might have been able to three or four years ago, says Rauser.

Bob Kupper says a lot of sub-prime candidates will come to a dealership looking for a used car; however, that might not be the best option for everyone with scarred credit.

It makes sense for them to buy a GM-certified or a Subaru-certified car, or brand new.

Across the country, lenders are being more generous with loans than they have been since the recession. And yet again, Bismarck and Mandan are breaking an economic trend.