January 5, 2012
When buying life insurance, don't choose a policy before you understand the financial needs of your beneficiaries. Damon Bates, a vice president at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., says most people's thinking is backwards when it comes to life insurance. They decide on the product they want -- whether it's basic term life insurance, permanent life insurance or a combination -- before they...

December 15, 2011
I am happy to be a resident of one of the best communities in the entire world," a jubilant David Baria said last night at his victory party at Bay St. Louis' 100 Men Hall after his successful bid to succeed long-time state legislator J.P. Compretta as the representative for Mississippi House District 122. Baria, a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Dorothy Wilcox in Hancock County's...
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December 5, 2011
In the insurance world, endorsements have nothing to do with celebrities promoting products, and riders have nothing to do with cowboys. “Endorsement” and “rider” are two interchangeable — and often misunderstood — terms referring to additions to a home insurance policy that alter the policy’s coverage and terms. An endorsement or rider on a home insurance policy can make the difference between...
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December 5, 2011
Home-insurance policies are pretty much the same, and carriers compete on the basis of price and service—right? Believe those two myths and you might wind up paying dearly. Homeowner policies have important differences that can affect whether claims are paid, according to a study scheduled to be published early next year in the University of Chicago Law Review. The problem is that those...

November 28, 2011
Once the last embers of the Fourmile Fire were extinguished, the owners of the 169 burned homes were left with another challenge -- wrangling with their insurance companies. The results of their efforts may serve as a cautionary tale to other homeowners in Boulder County who live in wildfire-prone areas. Nearly two-thirds of Fourmile Fire victims reported being underinsured by an average of more...

November 15, 2011
On November 13, 2008, a firestorm roared across the flanks of the Santa Ynez Mountains and changed many lives in Montecito forever. Lance and Carla Hoffman were enjoying an afternoon together when the fire, still in its infancy, suddenly flared up and over a hillside. The Hoffmans made a desperate race for their car, but the fire overtook them, burning at more than 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. That...

November 14, 2011
The city is set to begin the next improvements to the Crestmoor neighborhood as part of the effort to rebuild the area damaged by the Sept. 9, 2010, PG&E pipeline explosion. Some of the rebuilding work has already taken place to bring the neighborhood some semblance of normalcy, such as filling the 72-foot-long crater left by the explosion on Glenview Drive and reopening the street to traffic...

November 7, 2011
Industry representatives sharply disagreed with two law professors who argued personal lines policies should be posted online where they would be readily available to consumers who wanted to look at them prior to signing onto them. Spokesmen for the American Insurance Association and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies argued that while the idea may sound good, it could make...

November 7, 2011
Local couple fight for their long-term-care insurance. Edwin Goldstein who has been with his long-term-care insurer since 1993 is being asked to reapply because of an alleged missed payment. Goldstein has turned to attorneys, his congressman, and state officials for help. At 83, and eight months after a small stroke that affected his balance and eyesight, Edwin Goldstein is feeling pretty...

November 1, 2011
Reporting from Oakland— For months after the 1991 Oakland hills fire reduced his home to a charred heap, Howard Matis would return from work, then close his eyes and imagine the contents of every drawer, shelf, cupboard and closet of his two-story bungalow. His was one of more than 3,300 single-family homes destroyed by the firestorm, which caused losses in excess of $1.5 billion. And while the...