February 2013

Higher Federal Taxes Will Change How People Use Their Rebates

Tax season is a divisive time for American workers.  Some people feel overburdened by the stress of the season, while others eagerly anticipate their rebates.  However, recent changes to federal tax laws have lowered the amount workers can expect in a rebate, and have also adjusted how people plan to use their tax returns.

Oklahoma Insurance Agents Responsible For Higher Health Insurance Rates

According to investigative journalists in Oklahoma, the state rejected an online health insurance exchange due to lobbying from insurance agents and brokers.  Under the new federal health insurance program, insurance agents and brokers will become obsolete as Americans gain the knowledge and the freedom to select adequate healthcare coverage under Obamacare.

New DOJ Charges Against Banks Attempt To Correct Past Mistakes

The US Justice Department declared a new policy to charge bank executives in cases of fraud.  The Department’s Criminal Division says recently laid charges send a message to Wall Street without putting American jobs in jeopardy.  Critics have long argued that looking out for banks isn’t part of the department’s mandate.

Sandy Relief Organization Charged With Fraud

The operators of a Superstorm Sandy relief organization have angered donors and potential recipients of financial aid.  The New Jersey Attorney General’s office says The Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation has violated the state’s charity laws by using donations for personal expenditures.  The state has launched a lawsuit to rectify the situation.

Cost Of Driving Record Checks Affects Car Insurance Rates

It is common knowledge that drivers are rewarded with lower car insurance premiums as they gain experience and maintain a clean driving record.  A recent online study on driving record checks partially explains why experienced drivers pay less for coverage, and why tickets for older drivers generally go unnoticed by insurers.

Protecting Co-Signers From Student Loan Debts

A record number of Americans have acquired massive student loans to pay for higher education.  Attorneys and financial advisors encourage students to acquire life insurance following graduation as a cautious preparation for an unexpected tragedy.  Private student loan balances aren’t usually erased upon death, and those left behind are responsible for the outstanding debts.

Low Vacancy Rates Indicate Renewed Strength In Housing

There are fewer unoccupied homes in the US in part due to young Americans leaving the family nest to make a living on their own.  As a result, the number of vacant homes on the market has decreased to a level not seen since before the recession.  Real estate economists project that as more Americans get back to work, vacancy rates will continue to decline.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Under Suspicion Of Fraud

Rental car drivers are complaining about suspicious charges from Enterprise Rent-a-Car.  Several drivers say they were deliberately served false charges, and were then issued threats from Enterprise that the outstanding bills would be turned over to collection agencies without prompt payment.  The complaints have made recent headlines in part due to a similar investigation against Budget Rent-a-Car in Canada.

Stranded Carnival Cruise Ship Leads To Travel Insurance Inquiries

A Carnival Triumph cruise ship was left stranded in the Gulf of Mexico last week, after what investigators say was an engine malfunction.  The incident has increased inquiries about travel insurance, which travel agents advise vacationers to obtain before leaving for a trip.

The incident occurred on February 10 when the ship suddenly stopped in the middle of the ocean.  Initially the crew was unable to determine what caused the power failure, and passengers quickly grew restless.  Over 4,200 people onboard were left without power or running water for five days.

In Gratitude A Soldier Receives A Specially Designed Home

Laura Sellinger is one of the brave soldiers who put her life on the line in Iraq expecting nothing more than the opportunity to serve her country.  Returning from duty with a brain injury, she was asked to attend the International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas in January.  Organizers of the event surprised Laura with a gift she had never expected – the gift of homeownership.