April 2013

Virginia Tech Institute Links Fatal Car Accidents To Fatigue

Insurance groups released a study earlier this month that suggested daydreaming was responsible for more fatal car accidents than other distractions.  The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute went a step further, and compared driver fatigue with the rate of car accidents.  One of the most unsettling findings of the study is that more crashes are caused by fatigue during the day than at night.

Millions Of Homeowners Received Mortgage Rebate Checks That Bounced

Millions of Americans were subject to improper home foreclosures in the years during and after the recession.  A lawsuit against 13 of the country’s largest mortgage firms was settled earlier this year, which demanded the firms issue rebate checks to the affected homeowners.  But new media reports state that an unknown number of homeowners were unable to cash the checks due to insufficient funds in the company accounts.

Schnucks Warns Millions Of Credit Cards Potentially Exposed To Fraud

Shoppers at the popular supermarket chain Schnucks learned this week they could be the victims of credit card fraud.  The company publicly announced that a data breach exposed dozens of card numbers and expiration dates, which forensic investigators from cyber security firm Mandiant say resulted in fraudulent activity. 

Schnucks was first made aware of the possible breach on March 15, when credit card companies contacted the grocer about fraudulent activity on a dozen cards at one of their locations.  On March 30, Schnucks finally went public with the information.

Florida Senate Unanimously Approves Texting While Driving Ban

The Florida Senate unanimously approved a motion on April 16 to impose a ban on texting while driving.  Senators are confident that the motion will receive universal support in the House of Representatives, which will make Florida the 41st state to impose a strict ban on texting and driving.  While the majority of residents support the ban, critics such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) worry the law could actually increase highway accidents.

Fewer Small Businesses Paying For Employee Healthcare Plans

The number of employee health insurance plans is at an all time low across the US, particularly among small businesses.  Supporters of Obamacare are optimistic the President’s universal plan will provide more Americans with effective coverage.

Life Insurance Companies Accused Of Fraud In Florida

A team of legal experts in Florida is cracking down on life insurance companies neglecting to pay out death benefits.  Lawyers for Total Assets Recovery Services recently launched lawsuits against insurance providers Prudential and MetLife for not conducting thorough investigations to find the survivors of deceased policy holders.

Mortgage Payments Delayed For Homeowners Damaged By Sandy

Homeowners are still rebuilding in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which is a very expensive process.  The repairs are pushing household budgets to the brink, and federal agencies announced this week that homeowners will receive what little relief can be spared.

PayPal Payments Less Successful Than Forecast In Retail Locations

A new agreement between PayPal and Discover Financial Services will place the online payment service in retail stores across the country.  PayPal is a leading provider in the online payment market, but the company’s growth has been slowing.

The agreement with Discover will see PayPal enter over 2 million retail locations across the US as it positions itself to be a leader in the digital wallet market.  Discover will slowly move away from its swipe cards as it develops a special smartphone app to make things easier for people to register PayPal accounts.

Little Reasons Why New Homes Are Popular

Americans are eagerly searching for brand new homes as they take advantage of the housing recovery.  The demand for new instead of resold homes is at an all time high, due in part to the fact that new homes are more energy efficient than their older counterparts.  However, property development groups believe there are many simple reasons people are attracted to new homes that have less to do with money, and more to do with lifestyle.

Low Interest Rates Maintain Home Affordability

The near record low interest rate environment helped more Americans pay their mortgages on time in the final months of 2012.  The average home value also increased over the same period according to Zillow, Inc., a national housing data and research center.

A team of Zillow researchers compared the average affordability of homes in 240 metro areas across the country.  The goal of this research was to measure the amount of monthly income necessary to pay a mortgage, and the average price for a home in comparison to a homeowner’s total annual income.