Business · Uncategorized

Who Really Pays the High Cost of Insurance Fraud?

About a year ago I became the victim of insurance fraud.  Having worked in the insurance industry for over 10 years I knew what to do to protect myself during the incident.  Even so, the claimant will receive money from my insurance company.  The incident was an altercation between my vehicle and a bicyclist.  I was backing out of a parking lot at 2 miles per hour, looking back in both directions.  All of a sudden I heard a thud.  I put on the brakes and looked in my rear view mirror.  I saw a bicyclist standing in back of my car, it was like he came out of nowhere.   My passenger and I got out of the car and made sure he was alright.  There were no obvious signs of injury to him or his bicycle.  He began to complain about his knee, so we offered to call an ambulance.  He declined.  We offered to drive him to the hospital ourselves or to give him a lift home.  He declined.  He did ask for cash for a cab.  That is when we realized we were being scammed.  I asked him to roll up his pant leg so that I could look at his knee.  His knee was covered in visible scabs that were in the healing process.  I took photos.  I also took a photo of his bicycle.

 

Around 2 or 3 days later he called me from the hospital.  He said he was there having his knee examined.  I gave him my insurance information and asked him not to call me again.  I called my insurance company and voiced my concerns about fraid.  A fraud investigator called me and asked for my photos.  He agreed with me that this was fraud.  I also put my bicycle behind my car and ran my front tire into it to see what would happen.  Nothing touched my knee.  At the speed I was going, nothing happened at all.

 

I put the incident out of mind until I got a call shortly before I was to move to California.  My insurance company advised me the claimant had retained an attorney and was suing me for $90,000.  My insurance company offered them my policy limits of $25,000, which his attorney accepted.

 

Although I had ample evidence to prove this was fraud, and the fact that he did not go to the hospital for several days (a way to explain the scabs), my insurance company will be forced to pay $25,000.  While this person may think it is a harmless little scam and an insurance company will pay, who really pays for fraud such as this?  You, that’s who.  I am angry and you should be too.

 

Every time a claim is paid, the cost of that claim is passed on to all of us.  When an insurance company is determining insurance rates, it gathers data of all of the claims for that area to determine what the odds are of having to pay out a claim and what kind of claim.  We then pay based on past events.

 

A Seattle woman had a landlord turn on a neighbor’s outdoor faucet and flood her basement apartment when she told the landlord she could no longer watch her children for free.  The landlord was looking for a quick way to get rid of the tenant.  The landlord then filed a claim with her insurance company to replace the flooring in the basement apartment.  While the landlord may have thought this was a harmless little scam, who really pays for fraud such as this?  You, that’s who.  Just as in auto insurance, the insurance company passes the cost of fraud onto all those who pay for homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.  That in turn gets passed on to the cost of doing business, which sends the price of almost everything we buy upward in a grand domino effect.

 

What can you do if you know of someone committing insurance  fraud?  Visit your state’s Department of Insurance website to learn and gather information on reporting this crime.  Stamping out insurance fraud is one way to keep the cost of insurance and everything else at a lower cost.

 

Religion · Uncategorized

Pinhas

In this week’s Torah parsha Pinhas Moses and Aaron’s son Eleazar are asked to take a census of the Israelite people after God had sent a plague upon the Mideonite people for their trickery against Moses.  This parsha brings to light the importance of census taking, inheritance and land distribution.

The census is taken to determine the size of each tribe and the land is to be distributed based on the number of people of each tribe.  The daughters of Zelophehad came forward before Moses and explained that their father had died in the wilderness and had left no son.  They were brave determined women and asked that they be given a land holding.  Moses brought the case to the Lord, who determined their case just.  They were to be given their father’s share.  The Lord then tells Moses instructions for inheritance of property.

In the United States these practices are still carried on today.  Every 10 years in the US a census is taken.  The results are used for determining how federal funds and other resources are to be distributed based on population numbers.  This practice dates back prior to the Revolutionary War.  Census records can be viewed by the public after a period of 70 years and are available at US National Archive repositories located throughout the country.  These records can be helpful in researching one’s genealogy and family background.

The inheritance practices in Pinhas are also largely in place but can be varied based on ones final will and testament.  The daughters of Zelophehad were the first feminists mentioned in the Torah and modern women can look to their example in standing up for their rights at a time when women are beginning to see a backslide in the progress we have made over the last century.

bicycling · travel · Uncategorized

Everything is Better by Bicycle

After my company transferred me to California’s Inland Empire, I purchased a bicycle as a way to commute to work.  Besides saving me money on car payments, insurance and gas, I get an extra work out each day.  An added bonus is that I can also use my bicycle to explore other areas of southern California.

My first outing was to the beach at Santa Monica.  I began my trip by boarding the Metrolink with my bicycle to Los Angeles.  At Union Station, located in Downtown LA I transferred to the subway at 7th street and boarded the lightrail to Santa Monica.  The lightrail ends about a block from the beach.  As you can imagine, Santa Monica is busy during summertime and there are lanes dedicated just for bicycles down to the pier and Palisades Park.

I chose to explore Palisades Park first before riding down to the beach itself.  The park sits atop a bluff overlooking the beach area.

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Benches, palm trees line long paths throughout the park.  A fence runs along the edge of the bluff where you can lookout over the beach and boardwalk as well as the Santa Monica pier.

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Taco trucks lined the street that runs along side the park. People strolled along enjoying the view, getting a bite to eat and photographing the view. Having a bicycle allowed me to explore more of the park than I would have been able to do on foot, leaving me with enough energy to explore the beach area.

The path in Palisades Park leads to the Santa Monica pier.  There is a ramp down to the pier for pedestrians and bicycles.  Souvenir shops, restaurants and an amusement park can be found on the pier.  A ramp leads down to the boardwalk on the beach.  Once on the boardwalk I rode down to a cafe on the beach where I stopped for a drink.  Many people travel the beach by bicycle allowing one to really expierience the entire beach.

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People leave their bicycles at designated areas and head for the water on foot through the sand, stop and eat at one of the many cafes, rent a surf board to ride the waves or walk with their family to enjoy the scenery.

Santa Monica by bicycle is the only way to go.  By taking the train with my bicycle I avoided LA’s traffic jams and was able to see more of Santa Monica than I would have been able to on foot.  I got some great exercise in without it feeling like exercise.  And I spent time at one of my favorite places, the beach.