'Death Master' disaster is no benefit to life insurance beneficiaries

Electronic money State insurance regulators are touting the $17 million settlement they negotiated with Prudential in January as "an important step" in getting life insurers to cough up the estimated $1 billion they owe to life insurance beneficiaries. It's a step, all right, but in the wrong direction. This settlement gives the states which sign on - seven so far, including California - a small amount of money, but even that pittance will ultimately be divided by at least 20 states, the number which need to sign on for the deal to be approved. And since the money goes straight into state coffers, beneficiaries will never benefit. Facing fraud charges But Prudential will. The legal lingo in the agreement says nice things about the second largest domestic life insurer, at a time when it and the biggest, MetLife, face class action lawsuits charging them with fraud. And, thanks to a federal foul-up, the settlement may accomplish nothing at all. Life insurers got in trouble last year when Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty learned that they had been using a Social Security database called the "Death Master File" to stop annuity payments when they learned that those policyholders had died. Death Master is… (continue reading......)

Rough roads: the 6 worst places to get into a car accident

Dalton Highway Nobody wants to get into an accident, but over the course of a lifetime, many of us will have at least one fender bender. While an accident can be a hassle, most of us will simply call the police and a tow truck and begin the auto insurance claims process. Unfortunately, there are places where having a collision is much more complicated. Here are the six worst roads to get into an accident. 1. The Loneliest Road, Nevada This stretch of U.S. Highway 50 runs from Ely to Fernly in Nevada. It covers 287 miles and passes through nine small towns with just a few gas pumps. The Loneliest Road was given its nickname by Life magazine in 1986 and AAA warns motorists "not to drive there unless they're confident in their survival skills." You can literally drive for hours without passing another vehicle, so if you are in a collision it will be awhile before the police arrive to take your accident report. If you decide to drive this road, plan ahead and carry the proper supplies. 2. U.S. Interstate 70 in Utah I-70 runs from Cove Fort, Utah across the country and ends near Baltimore, Md. While the… (continue reading......)

7 worst natural disasters of the 21st century

Wreckage from Hurricane Katrina Natural disasters have the ability to affect many people, not only through the physical destruction they cause, but also through injury, homelessness and even death. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan last week remind us that Mother Nature can be extremely destructive. Here we list the seven worst natural catastrophes of the 21st century. There have been many more natural disasters since the start of the millennium, but these seven were the most severe given their cost, the injuries inflicted and the lives they claimed. Catastrophe statistics are from the Insurance Information Institute (III). 7. Hurricane Katrina Date: August 2005 Location: Louisiana, Mississippi, as well as other areas of the Southern United States Fatalities: 1,300 Total losses/insured losses: $125 billion/$62.2 billion Indelible media footage of people waiting to be rescued from rooftops as turbulent water continued to rise around them made Hurricane Katrina one of the most unforgettable natural disasters in recent American history. Today, an ongoing effort to rebuild New Orleans keeps Hurricane Katrina at the forefront of American minds. The hurricane itself claimed 1,300 lives, but property damage was far more substantial. Total economic losses are calculated at $125 billion, and insured losses amount to $62.2 billion, according… (continue reading......)

Spending spree: 8 hard-to-insure luxury items

Finding the proper insurance for your spending spree may prove difficult Luxury items motivate some of us to work hard, in the hope that we'll be able to purchase the expensive merchandise one day, and they could be the reason some lottery winners end up broke a few years after buying their winning tickets. If you find yourself in a position to own one or all of these luxury items, just keep in mind that costs of these goods continue even after the initial purchase. No matter how you end up with the wealth to buy any one of these products, you'll want to protect your high-end merchandise with insurance. Whether you're the agent or the policyholder, hard-to-insure luxury goods presents a number of insurance challenges. 1. Seabreacher X The Seabreacher X makes for a pretty cool over-water/underwater vehicle. The submersible watercraft looks like a giant stainless steel shark bolting up out of the water. The watercraft can reach speeds of 50 mph on top of the water, and when this sweet submersible dips beneath the surface, it is capable of travel speeds of 25 mph. The Seabeacher X allows two people to enjoy the deep blue sea without making compromises to comfort and features an onboard stereo system with an… (continue reading......)

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