October 28, 2016

The terms "Big Data", "Data Mining" and "Price Optimization" are all the buzz in insurance circles and among state insurance regulators.  They, non-profit consumer advocates, the private bar and the Federal Insurance Office are all diving in to whether the massive amount of personal data that's now available to insurance companies is tipping the scales away from the bests interests of consumers and the healthy spread of risk.

Insurers used to pick from 90 rating classifications such as your driving record, address, age and vehicle. Now they can pick from thousands of them....

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October 14, 2016

Today began with a 7:30 briefing call hosted by the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance, of which United Policyholders is a member.  This "can-do" coalition seeks to make flood insurance affordable and available through the National Flood Insurance Program.  They are aware of parallel efforts to bring flood coverage back into home policies and stimulate the growth of a private flood insurance market.  But their current focus is on improving the NFIP so it can be a more financially viable "take all comers" source of financial protection for homeowners who want to...

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July 10, 2016

UP and the consumer advocate community have been fighting for decades against mandatory arbitration wording in banking and other commercial contracts that force people to use private binding arbitration instead of public courts to resolve disputes.  Although some health insurance and most commercial property policies contain mandatory arbitration clauses, you won't find them in home insurance policies and UP is working to keep it that way.  

As soon as we heard about a new Texas Farm Bureau home insurance policy under review that dangles a...

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July 8, 2016

Flash floods are doubly devastating because they often hit areas that had not been classified as flood risk zones.  Because most people only buy flood insurance if they're in a zone where mortgage lenders by law make them buy it, flash flood victims rarely have flood insurance.  

Standard home policies exclude flood damage.  Insurance adjusters are trained to tell flood victims that from the get-go.  That bad news hits hard.  Most people feel the double blast of the pain of their loss and the news it's not covered.  While the owner is scrambling to...

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May 18, 2016

I had the privilege of working with Gail Hillebrand in the early 90's when she was a Senior Attorney in Consumers Union's West Coast regional office.  Our offices were in the same building, and I was representing Voter Revolt (the predecessor to Consumer Watchdog) in implementing Proposition 103.  Gail is in the top tier of informed and...

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