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A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the Louisville and Jefferson County area until 9:00 a.m. Friday. While accumulations are expected to be small, periods of heavy snow are expected. Temperatures are expected to drop and icy roads are likely. Wind is also expected to create blowing snow and white out conditions. Travel may be hazardous.
Posted on December 13th, 2011 No comments
A new analysis of previous studies regarding crash risk due to cell phone use may have overestimated the risk a new report shows.
“In the new report, Richard A. Young of Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit finds that two influential studies on the subject might have overestimated the risk. The problem has to do with the studies’ methods. Both studies — a 1997 study from Canada, and one done in Australia in 2005 — were “case-crossover” studies. The researchers recruited people who had been in a crash, and then used their billing records to compare their cellphone use around the time of the crash with their cell use during the same time period the week before (called a “control window”).
But the issue with that is that people may not have been driving during that entire control window. Such “part-time” driving would necessarily cut the odds of having a crash (and possibly reduce people’s cell use) during the control window — and make it seem like cellphone use is a bigger crash risk than it is.
If that information were applied to the two earlier studies, Young estimates, the crash risk tied to cellphone use would have been statistically insignificant. That’s far lower than the studies’ original conclusions: that cellphone use while driving raises the risk of crashing four-fold.
But that doesn’t mean you should feel free to chat and text away at the wheel, according to Fernando Wilson, an assistant professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. A number of other studies, using designs other than case-crossover, have suggested that cellphone use — and particularly texting — is hazardous on the road, Wilson told Reuters Health.
“In wider policy, I don’t think this study is going to change the conversation about distracted driving,” Wilson said. “Most of the conventional thinking is that we need to do something to reduce it.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 450,000 Americans were injured in crashes linked to distracted driving in 2009. Another 5,500 were killed.”
You can read the entire article here.
Posted on December 5th, 2011 No comments
Subaru of America is recalling three of its car models and Honda Motor Corp. is recalling some models of motorcycles due to faulty brakes.
In some motorcycle model years from 2001-2012, a defect in the secondary master brake cylinder causes a drag that can lead to a crash or fire. Honda has reported 26 complaints. No indication on whether any injury crashes resulted. Read the MSN article here.
Posted on November 2nd, 2011 No comments
US News just reported on findings by the American Journal of Public Health that revealed that women who wore seatbelts were more likely then men who wore seatbelts to be injured in car wrecks. The report only looked at cars from 1998 to 2008, so newer cars may not provide the same results.
According to the report women were 47% m0re likely to be injured then men. However, men were still more likely to die in a crash. The reason? Experts believe that women’s smaller size makes them more vulnerable due to their seating position and interaction with the safety restraints.
While newer safety technology may or may not reduce these findings, the fact remains that both men and women will continue to be injured in car wrecks. The fact that cars are safer, doesn’t eliminate all injuries. That’s because the dynamics of car wrecks still involve an intolerable amount of stress to the human body. The human body simply is not designed to undergo impacts such as those in car wrecks.
Cars are a relatively recent industrial phenomenon. The fact that cars have drastically improved in both design and safety does not remove the fact that a collision causes significant stress and force to the human body. While seatbelts, headrests, and airbags have reduced the chance of the human body impacting hard stationary object in cars, they have not reduced the force at which the human body travels before it hits the restraint.
Safety features are a good thing and they continue to reduce the likelihood that someone in a car wreck will be seriously injured or killed. However, that does not necessarily mean that they prevent all injuries. Don’t be surprised if studies continue to show that injuries and deaths continue to occur in car wrecks no matter what safety features are involved. Unfortunately, for women who are generally smaller then men, their size and muscle build may make them more likely to be injured in a car wreck, even while wearing a seatbelt.
Posted on September 12th, 2011 No comments
USA Today posts an article on data compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) pursuant to the recently passed health care law, showing the denial rates for health insurance. Using this data a Government Accountability Office study of 459 insurers published earlier this year found an average of 19% of applicants nationally were denied coverage. The study showed a wide range of denial rates. A quarter of insurers had denial rates of 15% or below and a quarter had rates of 40% or higher.
The article noted that a House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation into four large for-profit insurers last year found that the denial rates have steadily increased from 11.9% in 2007 to 15.3% in 2009. The companies reviewed were Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint.
The article quotes Kentucky resident Amanda Hite who says she felt “really healthy” when she applied recently for health insurance. But Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield denied her, because she had seen a chiropractor a few months earlier for a sore back and later had visited an emergency room because of back pain. Hite’s case isn’t unusual. Many of the plans offered by Anthem Blue Cross in Kentucky reject about one in five applicants, according to data provided by insurers to the HHS. Rival insurers in the state have even higher denial rates: Humana rejects 26% to 39% of applications in Kentucky, while UnitedHealthcare denies 38% to 43%.
This is yet another example of how insurance companies seek to avoid risk. Health insurance companies only want to insure healthy people who don’t use their benefits. Car insurance companies only want to insure people who don’t get into accidents. The difference? Well, most states require insurance companies to offer minimum car insurance, while also requiring all drivers to have this minimum insurance. Health insurance companies for the most part were not so obligated. However, the recent Health Care Law bans health insurance companies from denying coverage for health reasons starting in 2014.
Insurance companies are in the risk business. The more risk a person has, the more premiums that person will pay to offset the risk the insurance company takes on by insuring that person. Mandatory insurance requirements favor consumers, because they inherently spread the risk among a larger group of people, while denying insurance companies the luxury of cherry picking only those consumers who carry the lowest risk.
Posted on September 7th, 2011 No comments
By now we’ve all seen the commercials where some catastrophe befalls an insurance customer for a national insurance company. Surprisingly, the customer is not too worried. They sing a little jingle about “good neighbors” and poof! an insurance representative shows up to handle the situation. This representative calls the person by name and tells them not to worry, they will handle whatever problem has presented itself.
The commercial is meant to give the viewer the impression that if you have insurance with this particular insurance company that any problems you might have will be met by a known, friendly, and helpful insurance agent. This scenario couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Consider a typical situation when you first buy car insurance. You go to a local insurance agent and request insurance for your car. You might have had a previous relationship with this agent over many years. He is a representative of the insurance company. The agent’s job is to take down some information, have you fill out the necessary paperwork, and submit your application, along with your first month’s premium to the insurance company. He then receives compensation in the form of commissions based on each application he submits that is later approved by the insurance company. Your interaction with an insurance agent is likely to be very pleasant. Does this commercial show anything remotely similar?
Now consider a typical situation when you file a claim against an insurance company after some type of loss, such as a car crash. This might be your insurance company or somebody else’s. You get a call from the insurance company adjuster who says he will be handling your claim. It is doubtful you have ever met this person before. Unlike the agent who is an independent representative of the insurance company, the adjuster is an employee. He is paid a salary by the insurance company. His job is to get information about your claim, review the damage (called adjusting), and then offer to settle your claim. Your interaction with an insurance adjuster isn’t likely to be as pleasant. But, the commercial comes a lot closer to showing this scenario doesn’t it?
The purpose of the commercial is to make you identify with something about insurance that you like, such as your insurance agent, while giving you the impression that your agent is involved in the claims process. Well, they aren’t. The unknown, potentially adverse, and likely biased insurance adjuster is.
The insurance agent facilitates your purchase of insurance with the insurance company. The adjuster is the insurance company. The insurance adjuster’s job is not to facilitate anything, but to make sure the insurance company doesn’t pay out anything unless it has to, and only then as a little as possible. Insurance companies don’t make money paying out claims.
But what if you disagree with the adjuster about the value of your claim? What if you believe the adjuster is improperly delaying or denying your claim? What if you think the adjuster is being unfair? What if you think the adjuster has undervalued your car, or other property? Do you think the insurance company is acting like a good neighbor then?
Don’t be fooled by commercials or catchy jingles. Insurance companies are in business to make money. They do not make money by paying out more on claims than they take in on premiums. Adjusters know this. The next time you suffer a casualty loss or turn in an insurance claim, remember no amount of catchy singing is going to make your dealing with the insurance company pleasant. When you ask an insurance company to settle your claim remember good neighbors are hard to find.