January 2013

US Senate At Last Approves Sandy Relief Aid

The US Senate has finally approved $50 billion in relief funding for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.  Lawmakers in the hard-hit states are furious that Washington took so long to approve the funding.  Several members of Congress noted the hypocrisy of passing relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 11 days, while delaying aid for Sandy victims for 91 days.

Unemployment Crisis Leaves Thousands of Rhode Island Workers Without Benefits

A Rhode Island investigation revealed that the state’s unemployment insurance system could be broken.  Massive layoffs during and after the recession have left thousands of Rhode Islanders reliant on unemployment benefits; however, the checks are weeks and in some cases months behind schedule.  People have called the Department of Labor and Training (DLT) seeking answers but have been unable to get through, and without the money have fallen behind on their bills.

Online Scam Targeted Underwater Homeowners

Three Californian scammers have been arrested for allegedly crafting a mortgage fraud scheme that scammed homeowners out of thousands of dollars.  California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris says the suspects advertised their plans on a series of websites now seized by the authorities, and face charges of theft, forgery, and falsifying documents.

California Woman Suffers Brain Injury Abroad Without Travel Insurance

A visit to Canada has left one San Francisco woman fighting for her life with serious brain injuries.  Courtney Canter collapsed down a long flight of stairs, and her doctors placed her in an induced coma for three weeks.  Though doctors are optimistic she is improving and could soon return home to California, Courtney is without travel insurance and is racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Defense Officials Strengthen Cyber Security for Banks

In December it was reported that US banks had spent months preparing for potential cyberterrorist attacks.  Defense officials believe the Iranian government is sponsoring Russian cyber mafia groups who target US banks.  To date the groups have done little more than disrupt bank websites for a few hours, but officials warn the so-called ‘Project Blitzkrieg’ could without warning, cause a more devastating security breach.

Women Will Pay More for Long Term Care Insurance

Long term care insurance is taking a step back from gender equality.  The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) says unisex insurance rates are coming to an end because women are far more likely than men to need long term care.  As a result, the AALTCI is encouraging women to lock in a low long term care insurance rate before the increase occurs.

Kentucky Attorney General Launches Lawsuit Against MERS

The Attorney General of Kentucky filed a lawsuit on January 23 against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, or MERS.  AG Jack Conway says MERS is an electronic “ghost” used by mortgage firms to transfer ownership of mortgages among themselves in order to avoid paying state transfer fees.  Conway alleges this practice robs states of tax revenue, and leaves homeowners without a clear understanding of who actually owns their mortgage.

Illinois Counties Report Higher Home Sales Activity

The state of Illinois has seen significant improvements in housing across most counties in the past year.  Will County is part of the Chicago metropolitan area, and reported the highest volume of home sales activity since before the start of the recession.  Realtors aren’t expecting home prices to return to pre-recession values, but are cautiously optimistic that a recovery is underway.

Insurance Agents Agree On Least Expensive 2013 Cars to Insure

Several price comparison websites recently compared the cost to insure a variety of 2013 model year cars, and found larger crossovers cost less to insure than small luxury vehicles. 

President Obama’s Inaugural Address Praises Healthcare

Four years ago, history was made when Barack Obama took the oath of office to become President of the United States, and yesterday he took that oath for the second time.  The President also gave a speech that many pundits say was unapologetically liberal in its endorsement of health insurance and its combative tone toward Republicans.