September 2013

Allstate Expands Drivewise Telematics Program

Allstate rolled out its Drivewise technology program in three more states in September, bringing the total number to 22. Kentucky, Montana, and Ohio residents can now reap the benefits of lower auto insurance premiums by having their driving habits monitored via an on-board telematics device. 

Allstate expects the program to be available in most of the country by the end of the year. The insurer has been aggressively rolling out the new technology in the U.S., and customers receive a 10 percent discount just for entering the program and installing the monitoring device.

Pending Home Sales Dip

Higher mortgage rates took some steam out of the housing market last summer, according to new sales data.

Americans signed fewer contracts for previously owned homes in July and August, with the pending home sales index falling 1.4 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

Mortgage rates hit their highest level in two years in August, making homes less affordable for buyers.


Weekly Round-Up: September 28

Key stories from the week that was.

Markets were mixed this week, as housing data came in stronger than expected but wrangling in Washington over the debt ceiling continued. In Colorado, residents surveyed the flood damage and many are consulting their home and auto insurance policies.

Legislative Tussle Continues Over Debt Ceiling, Obamacare

Democrats and Republicans continue to duke it out in Washington this week over the debt ceiling and the Affordable Care Act. It’s a high-stakes contest which could shut down the government as soon as Monday. 

House Republicans are refusing to increase the debt limit unless Democrats delay the implementation of the new national health care law, known as "Obamacare." Failure to raise the national debt means the Treasury will run out of funds by September 30, resulting in a government shutdown, and, worse still, a possible default on U.S. debt payments.


U.S. New Home Sales Gap Higher In August

Sales of new homes in the U.S. surged in August, surprising economists and defying the specter of higher mortgage rates.

Figures released by the Commerce Department show new home sales rose 7.9 percent last month, after slumping 14.1 percent in July. Surging house sales suggest rumors of the housing recovery’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. The rebound comes after the best six months for sales of previously occupied homes in more than five years, and the highest reading on homebuilder confidence in more than eight years.


Colorado Flood Victims Focus On House, Auto Insurance

With the recovery effort in Colorado now underway, weary residents are surveying the flood wreckage and figuring out next steps. At the top of their minds: insurance.

Thousands of Coloradans face sickening property damage as a result of the flooding, but many simply don’t have the insurance coverage to fund the repairs. FEMA reported earlier in the week that only 22,000 homeowners have flood insurance in Colorado, a state with more than 2.2 million residents.

Chase Axes Joint Credit Cards

Chase customers seeking to open a credit card account with someone else will soon be out of luck, even if that person is their spouse. The bank is pulling the plug on joint cards in order to “simplify” the menu of products it offers, according to a spokesperson. 

The move might not sit well with married couples, who often have joint credit card accounts. Joint cardholders are equally liable for the debts on the account, and have equal authority to modify the account as they wish. 


Dealership Implicated in Auto Insurance Fraud Case

Don’t let your car salesman buy your auto insurance for you. That’s the takeaway from a legal battle raging in Louisiana.

Jasmine Goudeau purchased a Toyota Corolla from Ray Brant Toyota last December, after she received dealer financing and, she was told, a month’s worth of auto insurance for the vehicle. Goudeau drove off the lot thinking she had scored a great deal on her new wheels, but the warm and fuzzy feeling didn’t last long – less than a month after her big purchase, she was involved in a car accident. 

Americans Reduce Credit Card Debt

U.S. consumers cut back on their credit card spending for the second straight month, according to a report by the Federal Reserve. The decline in credit card use suggests Americans remain cautious about their economic prospects and wary of taking on too much debt. 


Many Colorado Residents Without Flood Insurance

As the floodwaters recede in Colorado, many residents are breathing a sigh of relief that they can finally return to their homes. But some Coloradans are dismayed to learn that their house insurance policies don’t cover flooding, and government programs probably won’t cover the damage either.

“It’s really a heartbreaking situation for these people,” said Eric Weedin, an insurance agent in Larimer County, one of the hardest hit places in the state. “A lot of people don’t have assets or the savings to repair their house.”