Who’s in the driver’s seat? (part 2 of 2)

TruePoint Insurance at Christmas

The Critic’s View

Those opposed to the autonomous car can defend their position by using safety statistics alone.   While self-driving autos may be the thing of the future, the future certainly isn’t now.

Proponents may also have a flawed economic model.  While they argue that eliminating the driver will reduce the cost so dramatically that car ownership will soon be a thing of the past.  Taxi stands will soon be on every corner.

But do we currently have enough taxis, Uber, etc. to meet he need?  How many more will be neededto meet the twice-daily rush hour demand across America? 

Absolutely no way!  In 2012 there were 234,000 taxis in America.  That may be enough to address the required cars in Louisville, Kentucky during rush hour. 

Assume we do develop taxi fleets across the US that will satisfy our needs.  128 Million people in the US  commute to work by car.  Does that means we need to add 127 Million vehicles added to our taxi services?  Sure ride sharing will cut that number significantly, but you are still looking for 60 to 80 million new cars. The vast majority of those will be used only three or four hours a day.  Unused vehicles taking up space in garages and will still be subject to numerous fixed costs.  Costs that will quickly eliminate the 70% saving, and may likely lead to a higher price than today’s model.  What the proponents are missing is that the actual driver cost isn’t 70% of the current transportation cost.  That is unless someone is paying you to set in rush hour traffic!

Besides the safety and cost issues, several more problems need to be addressed.  Of greatest concern our Issues that will significantly impact the safety of driverless vehicles as they age, a broader understanding of the risks associated with computer drivers, and who should we point the finger at when things do go wrong.  Below are just a few examples ssues that concern me:

  • •    Proponents argue that humans are more apt to err.  Lots of stuff including catching the virus of the month can lower our capacity to drive.  Oops, computers get viruses too. 
  •      o         What happens whenthe computer is operating correctly?
  •      o         Could a nation ofdriver-less vehicles be immune to a cyber-attack? 
  • •    Time in when the shop.  My current car has an alert that stays on each winter.  It is related to the car’s ability to burn fuel with a higher alcohol level.  I know that it isn’t hurting anything and when I get it fixed, it is likely to re-occur.  So I wait until spring and it always takes care of itself.  My wife’s last car had a low tire level light that went on and off regularly.  It was caused because a magnet flew off.  I could have spent $85 and crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t happen again or I could visually check my tires if need. 

Will computers use the same logic that I do?  Or will I walk out to the garage one morning to find that my driverless car drove itself to the garage?

  • •    If you don’t see this one coming, then shame on you.  My car is in line waiting for well over an hour to get it’s required quarterly safety and maintenance checkup at the DMV. You think it drove itself there? Of course, it did, but not without you there to pay for your licensing and renewal.  Yes, that will eventually become part of the computer’s program, but what happens if your car fails the inspection.  If you don’t want to pay an outrageous towing bill, then you better be there to drive the car home or to the nearest Computer Diagnostics and Reprogramming Garage.
  • •    I ’ve, and I am going to be late for the most critical meeting ever.  Will the driverless car let me speed?  Better yet, we are out in the country for a Sunday afternoon drive when my wife goes into labor.  How fast will the car go?
  • •    Car insurance.  Who will pay for auto insurance on an autonomous vehicle?  The manufacturer?  That’s what everyone around me seems to think.  But I almost certain they will be wrong.  Sure the manufacturer should be on the hook for flawed programming.  But I will be shocked if the will accept exposure for your lack of maintenance or a slew of other things that you may do or not do that results in an accident. Will there be multiple policies in place to provide auto liability protection.  That certainly doesn’t sound efficient to me.  And that leads to another issue…..
  • •    Data. Do you think the government will mandate that manufacturers provide data storage for your vehicle?  You bet they will, and I am guessing it will be extreme overkill and wind up looking something akin to an airplanes black box. 
  •      o    Data on everywhere you go and when. 
  •      o    But the real issue is whose data is it.  Is it yours’, the manufacturer’s, your car insurance company’s, the police, government, Homeland Security……….
  • •    What will happen if you’re driving done the interstate and solar flares begin to impact your computer and those driving all the other cars that are on the highway?
  • •    Cable or Dish…..dish users know that trying to watch TV during a heavy rainstorm is a waste of time.  How does the driverless car respond to weather, or construction zones, police officers waiving you around blocked roads, flash floods, and so many more obstacles and hazards that are associated with driving?  Maybe these factors have been already accounted for, but these are a few the questions that I will need to have answered before my first ride with HAL. 

When will driver-less cars be available to the masses?

I don’t know the answer to that question.  If it were up to me I would not subject citizens to any unwarranted risk.  Why should we be forced to share the road with autonomous automobiles until they are safer than the average human driver?  

People are dying every day that could be given access to drugs not yet approved by the FDA.  In many cases, these nonapproved drugs represent the only real hope some have.

Why is our government blocking access to the only hope that these desperate people might have?  I don’t know!  But I am sure of this!  If our government continues refusing dying Americans access to hope, then they damn well better be keeping experimental cars that have a record for higher fatalities, off the roads that my kids are driving.

https://www.insuringky.com/blog/whos-in-the-drivers-seat-part-1-of-2/

Insurance

Who’s in the driver’s seat? (Part 1 of 2)

TruePoint Insurance at Christmas
horse and buggy

It started out as “you’re in the saddle.”  Later, as cars replaced horses and buggies, the figure of speech would change to” you’re in the driver’s seat.”  In both cases, the terms were used to acknowledge a person’s authority, that they were in charge or that everything was under control.

There will come a day when neither of these will have meaning to the majority of people.  Whether we are ready or not, we are rapidly moving towards a day where cars will no longer be operated by humans, but instead by computers. 

December of 2018 may soon be remembered as the beginning of the transition to autonomous or driverless cars.  This is the month when Waymo, a Google spinoff, started the first self-driving taxi service.  Operating in the suburbs of Phoenix Waymo One is being met with mixed greetings.

Some envision a transition similar to when we went from the horse and buggy to the horseless carriage.      Others anticipate more sweeping changes.  Not only will we use self-driving vehicles, but the need to own autos will be eliminated.  Their model for the future of auto transportation is driven by estimates that expenses for taxi services will drop by as much as 70% when vehicles no longer require drivers.  With a new abundance of taxis, American consumers will always be within minutes of an autonomous car.  Additional taxi owners will pass on much of their saving to consumers make it impractical to own a car. 

The Proponent’s View

Imagine being able to eliminate standing in line at the DMV to license or register your vehicle.  How about never having to pump gas again, or even better you will never need car insurance again.  There will be no need for maintenance, you no longer make payments for your car loan and parking garages will be a thing of the past.   Aspreviously discussed, fares will plummet, making the option of owning a caruneconomical

This group will also argue the benefits associated when potential human err is no longer part of the equation.  They will conclude that driverless cars will be a safer way to commute.

A War is Brewing

Given the initial results in Phoenix, it’s my guess that those In favor of autonomous vehicles are in the minority.  Reports are common of drivers intentionally trying to cause malfunctions and attempting to force driverless cars off the road.  There have even been reports of guns being pulled on occupants of Waymo vans. Why are these drivers so upset? 

It’s not about protecting the status quo, it’s about protecting our families!

Why aren’t more people upset about the string of deathsrelated to autonomous vehicles.  It hasme concerned and apparently, a lot of folk in Arizona are too.   It would appear that many of us are worried that we are moving too fast.  Better said, that our government is failing to protect us. 

Those in favor of driverless cars will argue that the autonomous auto will cut motor vehicle accidents by 80%, maybe as high as 90%.  The key word being will.  The autonomous car is not ready for primetime.  Given recent results, it’s not even close to being street ready. 

Self-driving cars are over 30 times more deadly than current cars and drivers.  Where is our government that predicts us from everything else?  Obviously not in Arizona!  This is where you will find frustrated citizens that have every right to be upset.  Sure pointing a gun at someone is not a solution, it is just adding to the problem.  But allowing a computer to access the streets of Phoenix is equivalent of playing Russian roulette with two bullets.  Why is this being allowed?   Why aren’t the people being heard?

Insurance

Continue reading part 2 of 2

Tis the season for insurance claims

The holiday season has arrived

What are your least favorite things about the holidays? Don’t get me wrong, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is a wonderful time of year. For many of us in Kentucky, the holiday period ranks right up there with Selection Sunday and the Final Four.

Despite the magic of the holiday season, there is often more Christmas Hassle than there is Cheer! My list of holiday hang-ups is pretty long:

Shopping Risk

     • Shopping
     • Too much Traffic
     • Shopping Malls
     • More Distractions
     • Parking to Shop
     • There is never enough time and       even less during the holidays
     • Shoppers that jaywalk

It’s no wonder that auto accidents increase during the holidays. The last-minute rush for gifts doesn’t mix well with the office parties serving too much holiday cheer.

     • Drive Defensively
     • Avoid extra frustration
     • Manage stress
     • Stay on top changes in the weather
     • And don’t drink and drive

The holidays are also a bad time for home insurance claims. Recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show that:

     • there are 800 home fires each year due to holiday decorations
     • 23 home candle fires each day
          o Over half of all home decoration fires are started by candles
          o The three worst days for candle fires:
                Christmas
                New Year’s Day
                New Year’s Eve
     • There are 471 home fires each day as a result of cooking.
          o The leading cause, almost 1/3rd of all cooking-related fires are a        result of unattended cooking
          o Electric ranges have a higher risk than gas
     • Fireworks: Ten% of all fireworks-related fires occur during the days just before and after New Years
     • Christmas trees can be blamed for 170 home fires each year.

33% of all Christmas tree fires occur in January. How many days are you people leaving your Christmas trees up? There aren’t a lot of hard and fast New Year’s Day traditions at our house. Some years we have cooked cabbage, other years we had black-eyed peas. Cornbread, greens, pork and various other foods have made their way to our New Year’s Day table, all in hopes of good luck for the coming year.

But there is one tradition that we have observed every year that we have been married. The Christmas tree and other decorations come down. No discussion. I’ve seen others that suggest that January 5th or 6th is the proper day to take your tree down as that is the 12th day or the end of the celebration of the birth of Christ.

So if trees are coming down on the 5th or 6th of January how can 33% of all Christmas tree fires occur in January. I am sure that some of you are procrastinating, but I think that the high number of January fires is due to dry trees. Below are my thoughts on how to eliminate homeowner’s insurance claims related to Christmas trees:

  1. Obviously how long you leave your tree up impacts the risk of having a fire. But studies have indicated that you can significantly extend the fresh life of your tree by watering regularly. Daily versus weekly watering may double, triple, even quadruple the moisture content of a tree cut for two months. WATER, WATER, WATER, the more you WATER he longer your tree will remain fresh and safe.
  2. The most important advice to maintain a new Christmas tree is WATER. Water your tree daily my personal opinion is to avoid additives. Just Water. Tap water is fine. And never use the spay on tree fresheners.
  3. When you get home with your tree, cut an inch of the bottom to improve the tree’s ability to take up water.
  4. WATER your tree daily. One quart of water per inch your trees stem diameter
  5. Do not place your tree near a heat source.
  6. It is IMPORTANT TO WATER YOUR TREE DAILY
  7. Do not put your tree in an area that will expose the tree to changes in temperatures. Placing your tree to close to a door that is used regularly will lead to premature dring.
  8. Daily WATERING improves the trees moisture content which will increase the time your tree will be fresh and reduce fire risk.
  9. Turn lights off when you leave the room.
  10. BUT WATER the tree before you leave the room
  11. Keep the tree away from all open flames. Candles, fireplace, kitchen and other equipment that could increase the fire hazard.
  12. I WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF WATERING YOUR TREE REGULARLY. WHEN I SAY REGULARLY, I AM STRONGLY SUGGESTING THAT YOU WATER YOUR TREE DAILY.
  13. Don’t remove the bark even to get the tree to fit in your stand. Buy a bigger stand.
  14. You don’t need a hole in the bottom of your tree to improve water absorption.
  15. Use low heat lights
  16. Don’t overload your circuits.

Great insurance is just the starting point for sound risk management. Taking the extra step to avoid risky situation further reduces your exposure to a financial loss. By reducing the number of car insurance claims and home insurance claims you should also be rewarded with more competitive insurance premiums in the future.


From all of us at TruePoint Insurance,
We wish you a safe and Merry Christmas

Is Your Home Winter Ready? – Part 3

In this part we discuss a different hazard of the winter season.

Fireplace, winter hazardFiring Up A Hearty Loss

Do you own a fireplace, wood-burning stove or portable heater? What about a gas or an electric furnace? If so, you need to take steps to make sure that they are safe and used properly. This should be done well before the arrival of the heating season.

Have your furnace inspected to make sure that it will operate properly in cold weather. Clean filters and vents will go a long way to keep your furnace a source or warmth rather than a cause of a fire loss. An inspection should also make certain that your furnace is not a creating a dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.

Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves should also be inspected and, if necessary, thoroughly cleaned. Creosote, a tar-like byproduct of burning wood, builds up in chimney and stove flues very quickly. Even a single wood-burning season could produce enough buildup to create a fire or severe smoke hazard. Don’t do the inspection yourself. It’s worth the cost to have a professional inspect and clean your fireplace or stove. Also, make sure that you don’t burn softwood or paper. Using anything other than hardwoods exposes your fireplace or stove to quicker creosote buildup (softwood) or more intense heat (paper), which could clog or contribute to cracking a flue or liner.Home fire risk increase in winter

Be very careful with the use of portable heaters. Depending upon the type, they can be prone to malfunction or could be a hazardous source of burns, especially for children. Further, many types can be easily tipped with the combination of heat source and fuels, creating a serious fire hazard.

Finally, make sure you have fire/smoke and carbon monoxide detectors properly installed and in good working order. Test them and put in new batteries. Small expense, big payoff.

As always, insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts one and two of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

            Return to Section 1                                                           Return to Section 2

 

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Is Your Home Winter Ready? – Part 2

In this part we discuss an important legal responsibility created for homeowners by the winter season.

Creating A Clear LiabilityAvoid this insurance claim. Slipping on Sidewalk

Snow doesn’t show favoritism. Instead of conveniently falling onto unused areas, it covers homes, sidewalks, and driveways. As a responsible homeowner, you should arrange to make travel across your property safe. This calls for clearing your walkways of snow and ice. It is also important to clear your property of items such as rakes, shovels, tools, toys and similar items. Remember that it takes only a small amount of snow to hide items that, during clear conditions, are easily seen and avoided. So take time to move such property and make repairs to uneven or cracked pavement.

Keep in mind that clearing walkways (including stairs) is an invitation for pedestrians to use the path. So, once you clear an area, it has to be kept clear and safe, especially from ice. Also, avoid creating piles of snow that can block either a driver’s or a pedestrian’s view. Finally, be sure that your property is safe for children who are enjoying winter. Don’t allow children to slide around without being aware of pedestrians or motorized traffic and don’t let anyone throw snow or ice balls at cars (you could be sued for any accident caused by careless play) related from the use of your property or premises.

Don’t forget the inside of your home. Visitors should be kept safe from harm. Be sure to keep interior stairs and floors clear of the watery remains of melted snow. Keep things dry and consider using mats that provide good traction and an area where folks can clear snow and ice from their shoes or boots.

As always, an insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts one and three of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

                          Return to Section 1                                               Advance to Section 3

 

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Need help finding a good insurance agent?

 If you’re looking for a great insurance agent, it may be wise to take a step back. Before starting your search and ask yourself, what is an InsuranceClosing insurance gaps agent?

Most consumers consider anyone that sells insurance to be an agent. To some degree that is true. But if you look a little closer, you will see that there is a clear distinction. Insurance sales professionals fall into two defined buckets. Insurance salespeople are either agents or brokers. Understanding the differences should be the starting point for insurance consumers.

Classifying agents is based on their relationship to the insurance company. In the strictest sense, to be considered an insurance agent, one must be an employee of the company. These individuals are also referred to as captive agents or exclusive agents. As employees of the insurance company, agents tend to have increased authority.

For the typical insurance consumers, the lines between agents and brokers aren’t clear. Today we often refer to insurance brokers as independent insurance agents. This group represents insurance companies per specific contractual guidelines. As a result, the employee agent is able to write new business with less red tape than the broker.Insurance

The term non-captive agent is often used when referring to insurance brokers. Relative to his captive counterpart, the broker has options.

But, beware. Brokers come in varying degrees of captivity. Some derive a significant amount of their income from one insurance company. In some cases, this occurs because it is a requirement of the insurance company. In these cases, it is not uncommon to see 70 to 80% of the non-captive agents premium with one company. The numbers might go even higher. Some carriers demand exclusivity. If their company has a product that will fit, then the agent cannot show anything else. Under these circumstances, the agent has more in common with the captive agent than the non-captive.

 Other non-captive agents must meet specific goals as required by the carrier. Annual new business requirements, yearly predefined premium targets and more. While a step in the right direction, it will still be challenging to provide trusted advise.

Brokers, independent agents, and non-captive agents, each have the potential to offer options. Regardless of what they are called finding a good Return to TruePoint Home Pageinsurance agent for you is a personal decision. For me the answer is simple. I seek the services of a trusted advisor that can present me with multiple options. While some will laud the benefits of free markets, I insist that it is the number of options and not free markets that truly protect consumers.

Is Your Home Winter Ready? – Part 1

If you live in a climate that includes cold winters, you know the season creates special challenges for homeowners. In this article, we discuss an icy situation.

Ice Damsice dams, winter peril

An ice dam refers to ice that has formed along a roof’s edge. The dam of ice blocks additional water and the pooling water backs up and finds pathways into a home’s interior. This water may cause deterioration and decay to interior wood and plaster, drywall or other insulation materials. Once an ice dam has forced paths into a home, the roof becomes more susceptible to future ice dams and water damage.

Too much heat rising from the home to warm the roof is the most frequent cause of ice dams. The process occurs unevenly with the warmer area at the higher part of the roof melting the snow and then the cooler, lower area, particularly the roof edge, permitting the water to refreeze and then accumulate. Inadequate insulation lets too much heat escape into the attic and this creates a warmer roof. Improper ventilation creates moisture and heat buildup due to the lack of air movement.

How To Detect A Problem

Compare the way the snow is melting from the living area of your home with how snow appears on the roof over an unheated area such as a garage or shed. How does any snow coverage on your roof compare with your neighbors’ homes? Check for icicles. They can be pretty, but heavy icicle buildup means that interior heat is melting a lot of snow and may contribute to ice dams.

How To Prevent Ice Dams

There are a number of ways to help prevent ice dams:

  • Clear excess snow from the roof. However, in order to minimize damage to the roof and roofing, hire a professional to remove the snow.
  • Add rubberized or special roofing adhesives to help prevent pooled water on the roof from finding entry into the home’s interior.
  • Inspect the attic and roof for cracks, holes, or joints that permit warm air to escape to the roof, and seal or repair these areas.
  • Add the recommended amount of insulation to the attic and exterior walls of your home to minimize escaping heat (this also reduces your heating costs).
  • Reduce your home’s thermostat and throw on warmer clothing during extended cold spells.
  • Clear your gutters and downspouts so that water is properly shed off your roof.

As always, an insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts two and three of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

Continue to Section 2

 

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All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.I

Insurance Broker

Insurance TerminologyInsurance sales professionals come in many forms. They go by various names and have different strengths and weaknesses. Agents can be classified by their relationship with the insurance company, the customer or both.

The term insurance agent is used widely by the public. But, the term agent is most often used when referring to an employee of the insurance company.

Insurance broker, independent agent and non-captive insurance agent are often used interchangeably.  Each of these classifications describes insurance sales professionals that represent multiple companies.  The level of autonomy varies significantly between agencies.  The same is true regarding the options that they can present to clients.

Insurance Logically, more options are better.  But your search for a top insurance agent needs to go a few steps further.  In your quest to find the best insurance agent for you, consider the benefits associated with an unbiased agent.  To reveal an insurance agents biases, it might be wise to understand how much of the agency’s premium is placed with their top insurance company.  How about the top three?

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Insurance Agent

Insurance Terminology

 

Insurance professionals come in many forms. They go by various names and have different strengths and weaknesses. Agents can be classified by their relationship with the insurance company, the customer or both.

The term insurance agent is used widely by the public. But, the term agent is most often used when referring to an employee of the insurance company.

Insurance agents are sometimes referred to as exclusive agents or captive agents. These terms stem from the fact that the agents are employees of the insurance company. As a result, they can only sell the products of their employer.

InsuranceWith limited options, captive agents can find themselves at a disadvantage. While independent agents can to other insurance professionals. There is, however, a positive to be captive. As employees of the insurance company, captive or exclusive agents have more authority.

If you are searching for the best insurance agent for your needs be sure to consider the benefits associated with each type.  Or even better, take a little extra time and try both a captive and an independent agent.

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Innkeepers Legal Liability Insurance

Motel Insurance

Innkeepers Legal Liability

At times most of us leave personal belongs under the temporary control or custody of others. These individuals or entities are referred to as a Bailee. Cleaners, jewelers, and parking valets are good examples of Bailees.

Hotel insurance needs in some ways are similar to most other businesses. Commercial Property, Business Auto, Commercial General Liability and Workers Compensation coverages are likely to be somewhat comparable to most others.Hotel Insurance

Insurance for motels and hotels must also address some more unique exposures. When traveling, we may leave property in the care, custody, and control of lodging or other hospitality-related organizations. Hotels, motels, and B&B’s are required by law to have in place coverage for customer belongs. Insurance for the lodging guest can be acquired via an Innkeepers Legal Liability or similar coverage.