Deaths From Injuries, Including Car Crashes, Rising Among Youth

CNN published an article earlier this month about the fact that after years of decline, the injury death rate among people in the United States ages 10 to 19 is rising. The CNN article was based a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report found auto injuries to be one of the leading causes of death.

Below are some highlights from the article:

  • The rise in deaths is attributable to injury-related deaths, such as traffic accident fatalities, drug overdoses, homicides and suicides, as opposed to illness.
     
  • Among 10- to 19-year-olds around the world, road traffic injuries were the leading cause of death in 2015.
     
  • Motor vehicle traffic fatalities accounted for 62% of these unintentional injury deaths.
     
  • The new report was based on data from death certificates filed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between 1999 and 2016.

Check out the full article for more information on the study: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/01/health/youth-injury-death-rate-cdc-study/index.html

We feel this study highlights the importance of practicing safe driving, as well as the need for our lawmakers to dedicate time and money to creating and enforcing legislation that will support safety on the road. Things like driver-training courses, putting down our phones while we drive, and new laws that address road safety are critical.

Car Insurance Price Comparison Sites May Share Your Personal Data

This article published on CNN Money, is an interesting read and illustrates why it's important to get insurance quotes through an agent or a reputable carrier.

The article explains, "Increasingly, sites that offer you car insurance quotes or price comparisons can snag the extensive personal information you provide and pass it on to insurance carriers, agents or industry organizations, even without your consent."

Often these comparison sites also sell your personal information to third parties; allowing them to build a customer profile of you for things beyond insurance.

Check out the full article for tips on how to avoid unknowingly sharing your personal data while obtaining an insurance quote.

http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/12/pf/auto-insurance-data-collection/index.html

Clearsurance Ranks Erie Among Top 10 Best Insurance Companies In 2018 For Home And Auto

Clearsurance, an independent community where insurance customers share their individual feedback on auto, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance, has recently ranked Erie among the top 10 best insurance companies in 2018 for both home and auto.

Erie ranked 5th out of 10 among auto insurers, and 2nd out of 10 among the home insurers included.

Check out the full articles here: https://clearsurance.com/best-car-insurance-2018https://clearsurance.com/best-home-insurance-2018.

And here are the results as displayed on Clearsurance:

Source: https://clearsurance.com/best-car-insuranc...

Distracted Drivers Are Costing Insurers Big Money

By: William Forbes

CNN posted an article today on how Arity, a unit of Allstate insurance, is developing a technology to track smartphone use in cars. The hope is that Allstate will be able to tell when drivers are actively using their phones while operating a vehicle. And, at some future point, Allstate may use the information to determine car insurance rates. 

It's an interesting article, but the most shocking and fascinating points, to me, were in Arity's research. The article says, "Arity analyzed data from 160 million trips by hundreds of thousands of Allstate drivers. What it found confirmed research showing that drivers on their phones are more dangerous."

Using claims data, Arity found that distracted drivers are costing insurers 160% more than drivers focused on the road. The research confirmed that distracted drivers are more likely to get into an accident and these crashes tend to be more severe.

In fact, Arity recommends drivers put their phones into airplane mode before heading out in the car.

Distracted driving is a topic we at Forbes Insurance Agency have posted about in the past, and will continue to shout about. The effects of distracted driving and using your phone while you drive are now being studied by multiple agencies, and they are all saying the same thing - this behavior is causing more accidents, more fatalities, and more expensive claims for insurers.

Here is a link to the full CNN article, titled, "Do you text and drive? Your car insurance may go up," http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/24/technology/texting-and-driving-distracted/index.html.

Here are links to some of our past blog posts on this topic:

  1. Smartphones Are Killing Americans: https://forbes-insurance.com/forbesinsuranceblog/2017/11/1/smartphones-are-killing-americans
  2. Why Are Car Insurance Prices Rising? https://forbes-insurance.com/forbesinsuranceblog/2017/6/7/why-are-car-insurance-prices-rising
  3. Claims Increase The Cost Of Insurance: https://forbes-insurance.com/forbesinsuranceblog/2017/3/8/claims-increase-the-cost-of-insurance
  4. Pennsylvania Passes Daniel's Law - Stricter Penalties For Texting And Driving: https://forbes-insurance.com/forbesinsuranceblog/2016/11/8/pennsylvania-passes-daniels-law-stricter-penalties-for-texting-and-driving

How To Prevent (And Fix) Frozen Pipes

By: William Forbes

Erie Insurance published a helpful article on its blog, ErieSense, on how to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter, and what to do if it happens.

I am re-posting the tips below. But, I wanted to highlight one of the most important things the article mentions. If your pipes do freeze, call a plumber to help you thaw them safely and avoid further damage to your home.

It may seem intuitive, but it's worth reminding folks they do not have to handle this situation on their own - call a professional to help you winterize your pipes, or thaw them, if you've run into that problem.

Here are Erie's steps for preventing frozen pipes:

  • Drain water from pipes that are likely to freeze. This includes your swimming pool and sprinkler water supply lines. 
  • Disconnect any hoses from the outside of your home, drain the hoses and store them in the garage. Make sure to close the indoor valves supplying these outdoor access points.
  • Insulate the area around vents and light fixtures. This helps prevent heat from escaping into the attic.
  • Seal any wall cracks. Be sure to pay careful attention to the areas around utility service lines.
  • Open kitchen cabinets. This allows the warm air to circulate around the pipes. 
  • Keep the garage doors closed to protect water lines.
  • Allow your faucets to drip cold water on the coldest days. The movement will make it harder for the water to freeze. 
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Never let it fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave your home.
  • Ensure you have proper seals on all doors and windows. 
  • Place a 60-watt bulb in areas where you’re concerned about pipes freezing. Make sure there are no combustible materials near the bulb.
  • Take swift action if the pipes located inside an exterior wall are freezing. Cut a hole in the wall toward the inside of the house to expose those pipes to warmer air.

Check out Erie's full blog post for signs that your pipes are frozen and tips for thawing them yourself: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/frozen-water-pipe-prevention.

Erie Auto Insurance "Xtras"

By: Nicole Vattimo

Erie insurance is a terrific company that is constantly receiving industry recognition for its claims and customer satisfaction. But, we at Forbes Insurance wanted to take a minute to shout-out Erie for the ways it helps clients through superior coverage offerings. The following coverages are standard in Erie personal auto policies, while not all are automatically offered by other carriers.

Check out Erie's blog, "Understanding Auto Insurance: ERIE 'Xtras,'" for more on the below included coverages:

  1. Road Trip Coverage - Erie offers up to $75 per passenger in the vehicle for travel expenses if you don’t reach your destination and aren’t close to home.
     
  2. Pet Protection - If your pet is hurt in a covered accident while riding in your car, Erie will help cover the vet treatment costs up to $500 per pet (up to two pets, with a total limit of $1,000).
     
  3. Locksmith - If you lock your keys in your car and carry comprehensive or collision coverage, Erie will reimburse you up to $75 for the cost of locksmith services on your insured car.
     
  4. New Car Addition - Erie gives you 7 days to add a new vehicle to your policy, so if you forget initially, it's okay. Just be sure to contact your agent within 7 days so you have the proper coverage.
     
  5. Personal Items - If personal items are damaged in a car accident, Erie gives you up to $350 toward your personal items not covered by other insurance.

For any questions about your exact coverages, always feel free to contact your Erie agent.

Source: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/underst...

The Benefits Of Having An Insurance Agent

While purchasing insurance online can be convenient, there are true benefits to working with an agent, in-person for your insurance needs. Agents are required to have industry licenses and complete continuing education; meaning that when you need guidance and advice, they are equipped to give it. Their industry knowledge can help with everything from choosing the appropriate coverages, to navigating the claims process.

Technology is great, but sometimes having a real person to guide you is better.

Smartphones Are Killing Americans

By: Nicole Vattimo

Here is a very interesting article, originally published on Bloomberg, that discusses the surge in U.S. traffic fatalities and how they are linked to smartphone use, but are not being properly reported as such. The article, "Smartphones are killing Americans, but nobody’s counting," states that over the past two years, traffic fatalities have increased by 14.4 percent.

"In 2016 alone, more than 100 people died every day in or near vehicles in America, the first time the country has passed that grim toll in a decade," the article reports.

The problem is that many of these fatalities are not being attributed to distraction or mobile-phone use. Why is that an issue? Well, because regulators are not getting an accurate picture of just how dangerous cell phones are for drivers, and how many accidents they are actually causing. Without solid evidence (think numbers and stats) to indicate how many accidents are caused by cell-phone use behind the wheel, lawmakers and regulators can not push for new and improved laws or safety features.

The article talks about how cell-phone use has changed too; how actual calls are not happening as often as texting and social media. But, I would take it one step further and suggest that using our phones for music in our cars is another distraction. My family has Apple Music, which does sync with my car's stereo, but many times to change playlists, I find I have to look at my phone.

Additionally, have you seen the technology packed into most cars today?! Most new cars have touch screens, which, in my opinion, are tricky to use while driving, that can display: music options, navigation, car diagnostics, movies, and more. It's insane how many distractions are built right into the car stereo today.

Take a read of the full article here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/smartphones-are-killing-americans-but-nobody%E2%80%99s-counting/ar-AAtQOp7?li=BBnb7Kz

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/...

Zombies Have Bad Days Too

Check out Erie's latest blockbuster...and it's perfect for the season. Have a wonderful Fall and a Happy Halloween from all of us here at Forbes Insurance.

With all the buzz around the new season of AMC's The Walking Dead, what if a literal zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow? While it's highly unlikely that zombies will really take over, it's good to know that insurance is there to protect you when things go wrong, like a telephone pole falling on your house or your TV getting fried by an electrical surge.

Erie Launches Teen Driver-Safety Initiative Called Shift

By: Nicole Vattimo

Shift is Erie's initiative to help inform teens about safe driving and get them engaged through safe driving pledges, completing challenges, creating and sharing content through the program's website, and referring friends to the contest.

Shift began on Sept. 11, and Erie recently reported more than 1,000 students are participating, representing schools across Erie's footprint. The primary goal of the program is to communicate important facts to help keep teens safe. Check out Erie's graphic below for some of these staggering statistics.

And, if you're interested in learning more about the initiative, visit jointheshift.org.

 Photo Credit: Erie Insurance

Photo Credit: Erie Insurance

Why You Should Consider Life Insurance If You Own A Business

By: William Forbes

We have a quote printed on the wall of our office from financial guru, Suze Orman, which says, "If a child, a spouse, a life partner, or a parent depends on you and your income, you need life insurance." This quote sums up pretty perfectly why you would need life insurance on a personal level. But, what about the people who depend on you in a business capacity?

Are you the owner of a business, or are you a partner in a business? If yes, then you have people who depend on you for the success of the business and their financial livelihood.

When a key member of a business passes, it can mean a few things for his/her family, as well as for the other employees: the sale of the business, the retention of the business, or liquidation of the business. The point here is to avoid liquidation, as it often results in a below market value.

There are several types of life insurance policies that can be beneficial for business use and to help prevent a company's liquidation upon the passing of an owner or key employee:

  1. Buy and Sell Policy. In a sole proprietorship, this policy is designed to allow competent associates of the deceased to purchase the business, using life insurance for funding. This means that if anything ever happened to you as the owner, your associates would have the proper funding needed to purchase the business and keep it running. Or, alternatively, your family would have the funds needed to keep the company running through a proper sale process.
     
  2. Cross Purchase Plan. In a partnership, each partner would purchase a buy and sell agreement on the others, naming himself as the beneficiary and the others as insureds. This would give each partner the proper funding to purchase a set share of the deceased partner's interest.
     
  3. Key Person. Most often used by corporations, here a business owner would take a life insurance policy out on a key employee (think CEO or other top executive). If the key employee ever died, the company would be the beneficiary of the policy, which would provide funding while a replacement was being trained.

These are just a few examples of using a life insurance policy to protect your business. For more information on these and other options, talk to our agency. Life insurance can provide needed security for more than just your immediate family members.

Lane-Departure And Blind-Spot Technology In Cars Are Reducing Accidents Says IIHS

By: Nicole Vattimo

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) recently published findings that indicate lane-departure and blind-spot warnings in cars are effectively reducing accidents. Here are some highlights from the report:

  • Lane-departure warnings lower rates of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes of all severity by 11 percent.
     
  • Lane-departure warnings lower the rates of injury in these types of crashes by 21 percent.
     
  • The IIHS feels the above results are modest; perhaps because many drivers turn off lane-departure functionality in their vehicles.
     
  • If all passenger vehicles had been equipped with lane-departure warning, nearly 85,000 police-reported crashes and more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented in 2015.
     
  • Blind-spot detection lowers the rate of all lane-change crashes by 14 percent and the rate of lane-change crashes with injuries by 23 percent.
     
  • Police reports include information on the circumstances of a crash, making it possible to look specifically at the types of crashes that particular technologies are designed to address.

Take a read of the full report for more information about these findings and how the studies were conducted: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/stay-within-the-lines-lane-departure-warning-blind-spot-detection-help-drivers-avoid-trouble