December 2014

Protect The Holiday Homestead From Going Up In Flames

People may not associate winter as a common time of the year for home fires.  But public safety officials and home insurance agents say the holidays are one of the busiest times of years for fires and fire related insurance claims.

AllState Insurance studied the statistical rise in fire insurance claims during the holiday season.  According to the findings, the amount of home fires rises approximately 12 percent between mid November, ahead of the Thanksgiving long weekend, and mid January after the holidays wrap up for another year.

California Insurer Raises Rates As High As 20 Percent

California’s Insurance Commissioner is fuming at one of the state’s largest insurance providers over excessive rate hikes.  The premiums were charged to over 5,000 small businesses, and reportedly cost employers and their employees over $23.5 million in extreme rate hikes.

Dave Jones says Aetna Inc. imposed rate hikes as high as 20 percent on some businesses.  The state believed a 2.6 percent hike was justifiable for the estimated 64,000 Californian employees that depend on coverage from the third largest private insurer in the state.

Staples Confirms New Credit Card Data Breach

After a year of newsworthy credit card data breaches, Americans were preparing for another announcement over the holidays.  The Black Friday shopping weekend in 2013 launched the first of many data breaches as point of sale terminals at Target were victimized by sophisticated malware.


Merry Mortgage Free Christmas For One New York Family

It was a very Merry Christmas for one family living in New York.  A simple envelope was given by a son to his parents, who opened the envelope to find a check that was large enough to cover the remainder of their mortgage.

Would You Trust Google Or Apple To Lower Car Insurance Rates?

Usage based car insurance is a growing industry across the US.  These types of programs are called telematics, and use data collected from analyzing people’s driving habits to help provide more affordable car insurance rates.

Insurers recognized the value behind telematics, and some companies even created their own UBI driving monitors.  However, those companies could lose a significant amount of data to technology giants Google and Apple.

Wall Street Rallies Off Holiday Gift From The Fed

Many Americans spent much of the final quarter in 2014 worried about their fiscal plans for the future.  This concern was perhaps no clearer than on Wall Street, where stocks slid to triple digit losses per day as oil prices plummeted, and the Federal Reserve prepared to outline a plan for interest rates.

Americans May Now Use Their Own Credit Cards In Cuba

President Obama made a major announcement earlier this month by confirming the US will begin rebuilding a relationship with Cuba.  The island nation has been subjected to US sanctions for decades, and no American embassy has existed on the island since President John F Kennedy closed the former complex in 1961.


Will Falling Oil Prices Save You Money On A Mortgage?

Falling oil prices are providing significant relief for drivers at the gas pumps, a trend that is expected to continue in the first quarter of 2015.  But the lower price of oil may provide another indirect form of relief through lower mortgage rates.

Oil prices have been falling all year, and entered a freefall since the end of the summer.  Coincidentally, 30 year fixed mortgage rates were posted at an average of 4.06 percent last week.  The Mortgage Bankers Association says the 30 year plan is the lowest posted rate in 18 months.

Auto Insurance Commercial Star Growing 7 Stories Tall

One of the most well known auto insurance companies in the northwest is hoping to become even more prolific in 2015.  Vern Fonk Insurance is building a 7 story sign in the town of Kennewick in southeastern Washington that will project the face of the company’s popular commercials.

Be Careful Who You Trust With Your Medicaid Account

The Affordable Care Act helped reshape the health insurance marketplace by providing millions of uninsured Americans options for affordable coverage.  Millions of people embraced the new option to acquire affordable health insurance, but there are several front organizations promising cheap or free coverage to scam unsuspecting victims, especially seniors.