Hybrid Cars—The Quiet Killer

Wednesday’s Post 12/21/11 –  According to recent studies, hybrid cars may be much safer for its passengers. On the other hand, because of  their weight and reduced noise; pedestrians are unlikely to hear an approaching hybrid increasing chances  and severity of  serious accidents.  From statistics gathered by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) of Virginia, chances of being injured (as passenger) in a crash of a hybrid model are 25% less than that of their non-hybrid counterparts. The group, which is an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, says that weight is a big element in the safety of the car. In general, Hybrids are heavier than a standard compact car. The added weight is because of its battery packs and other parts that are necessary in dual-power systems. A hybrid Honda Accord weighs around 3,600 while a conventional Accord just weighs 3,120 pounds. That’s a 4,500-pound difference.  It is a proven fact that in a collision, the passengers in a larger, heavier car have a greater chance of survival than those in a smaller car. The greater the weight of the car, the less severe the impact would be in the event of an accident.

Auto Insurance Collision Coverage deals with the replacement or restoration of an at-fault or not-fault driver’s car after a  Car Accident. Personal Injury Protection or PIP deals with the medical expenses of the injuries of those involved in a crash regardless of who the driver at-fault is. Medical Payments or Medpay deals with the treatment costs of the insured driver and his passengers when he is the one at-fault. PIP is endorsed in states that have no-fault insurance systems while MedPay is endorsed in tort states. Bodily injury liability coverage insures against medical, hospital, and other expenses for injuries that at-fault drivers cause in an accident. On the other side, the study has also found out that hybrid cars are 20% more likely to be involved in pedestrian crashes, in comparison to conventional cars. Because of the noiseless nature of hybrid cars when operating in electric-only mode, pedestrians are less likely to check left-and-right before crossing the road, fears Matt Moore, Vice President of HLDI.

Between 2004 and 2010, over 25,300 bodily injury liability claims have already been made that are related to hybrid cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is aware of the increased pedestrian risk and is currently addressing ways to reduce the risks.  Ten months ago, the Congress gave the department three years to mandate hybrids and electric models to equip themselves with alert sounds to notify unsuspecting pedestrians.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

 

Low Cost Car Insurance Rates For Hybrids

Are Hybrids Safer; Yes or No?

Sunday’s Post 11.27.11 –  A study from Virginia based Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), notes that hybrid vehicles, which are typically weightier than non-hybrids of similar make, offer better protection for occupants during car crashes. The report revealed that the odds of sustaining serious injury during car accidents are 25 percent lower for hybrid occupants than for passengers in normal automobiles. Nevertheless, hybrids have a higher chance of hitting pedestrians due to their quieter engines.  According to the vice president of HLDI, who co-authored the report, hybrids load gives them an edge over normal automobiles during accidents. Typical hybrid models are roughly 10 percent heavier than standard cars. Extra bulk, from the battery, motor and electronic components; makes them safer than their gasoline counterparts during crashes. Hybrids have the same size as standard fuel vehicles of the same make, but internal components add to their overall weight. For instance, a mid-size Honda Accord sedan weights about 480lbs less, than its exact hybrid counterpart does. A conventional Toyota Highlander on the other hand, weights roughly 4,170lbs, 430lbs less than its hybrid design. In an accident scenario involving two vehicles of different sizes and weight, the bigger, bulkier model has the obvious advantage.  The scope of the study featured over twenty five hybrid and conventional automobile models manufactured from 2003 to 2011. All the car models featured in the study had at least one injury related claim, filed under personal injury protection or Medicare during the same period.

Auto insurance policies with collision coverage compensate both at fault and not at fault drivers, when they run into other vehicles or inanimate objects. The Personal Injury Protection (PIP) part of a car insurance policy settles medical costs for all car crash victims, regardless of who is to blame for the incident. Conversely, medical pay (MedPay) reimburses the cost of treatment for third parties who sustain injuries, whereby the driver is at fault. PIP insurance policies are available in states with no-fault insurance systems, while medical pay is offered in tort states. According to this study, collision related claims were 27 percent lower for hybrids than gasoline cars with similar PIP claims. They were also 25 percent lower than collision related claims with medical payments. Despite of this, hybrids also have their risky side. The study revealed that hybrids are 20 percent more likely to hit pedestrians than normal gasoline vehicles. Since their engines are quieter, pedestrians may fail to hear them approach and react when it is too late. In fact, hybrids are responsible for over 25,000 injury liability claims filed from 2002 to 2010. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association asserts that pedestrian crashes have become more frequent with the advent of hybrids on the road. In the early months of 2011, congress tasked the agency to develop a policy for fitting hybrids and electric cars with alert systems for unwary pedestrians.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

 

Travelers Launches IntelliDrive Mileage-Based Auto Insurance

Friday’s Post 10/28/11 –  Travelers Insurance Company has introduced a money-saving program for its auto insurance policy holders. IntelliDrive, is a mileage- based auto insurance product. This was primarily launched to help low- mileage drivers cut annual vehicle expenses starting with a reasonable price cut of up to five percent immediately upon enrollment. Moreover with an increase in mileage, more cut offs in prices are available for drivers and other patrons. This includes an additional 20 percent discount at renewal given to regular customers depending upon the number of miles driven.

By simply plugging a small electronic device into the customer vehicle, IntelliDrive can measure mileage. It can also provide information on vehicle usage and personal driving reports. These include driving style and environmental impact such as fuel economy and carbon footprint which can help the customer adjust their mode of driving to cut fuel expenses. The information provided by IntelliDrive can then be can be accessed by customers electronically through a secure website.

Another advantage of this application includes optional alerts which can be defined by personal customer settings. These electives on vehicle settings depend on the discretion of the owner and can vary from one customer to another. For example, parents could set up vehicle alerts to notify them via email when the vehicle is driven aggressively, leaves a defined area, exceeds a certain speed limit or is used during an unauthorized driving period. With IntelliDrive, parents can confidently leave vehicles in their homes without the worry of improper vehicle usage by their children. Also customers can watch and improve their driving practices for safer and fuel thrifty trips in the future.

This beneficial insurance product is now available in Illinois, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia. With a visit to a nearby independent insurance agent or by simply contacting Travelers, IntelliDrive can be purchased. The aforementioned discounts and advantages may apply only to certain coverage, limited to certain states and benefits are subject to individual eligibility. InsureDirect.com invites all it’s Travelers Insurance Clients to call us about IntelliDrive.  I am personally looking forward to the product being available in Pennsylvania.

-Mike

 

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

InsureDirect.com offices Shake From Earthquake

On Tuesday August 30, 2011,  a strong earthquake rattled the East Coast of the US starting in the State of Virginia. The earthquake was so strong that it could be felt as far as Pennsylvania and inside the corporate offices of InsureDirect.com in Lansdale, PA which is 35 miles northeast of Philadelphia and all the way to Canada. The earthquake has shaken buildings, delayed flights and trains, and sent confounded workers inside buildings into the streets. Despite its severity, the 5.9 magnitude earthquake had not  injured or taken anyone’s life. Despite this, the Pentagon and the US Capitol, in Washington DC, were briefly evacuated. The states effected were Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

Spokesman; Larry Beach said that the quake could still be felt 83 miles from the epicenter. Larry works at the US Agency for International Development in Washington. 5.5 to 6-magnitude earthquakes have the ability to shake, and bring forth damage to the building; especially when the quake is shallower. Amtrak, in line with the destruction caused by the earthquake, commenced a reduced speed policy between Washington and Baltimore. In addition, track crews are busy checking rails for damage. Two nuclear reactors in Virginia were shut off for safety’s sake; traffic lights, too, have been shut down for a short time after the tremors gradually ended. A spokesman says that three pinnacles from the center tower of the Washington National Cathedral have broken due to the quake.

Due to the intensity of the earthquake, some people living in high-rise building experienced sea sickness during the earthquake due to the shaking motion of the building. The earthquake grounded all flights in John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty Airport for a brief period of time due to the evacuation of Tower Controllers. “I thought I was dizzy and I needed to drink more water,” said the manager of Sportello, Heather Kennaway. He was at first unaware that it was an earthquake which sent him off his feet. Vacationers at Hamptons, one of the highest-rating islands, also felt the tremors. Many grabbed their cell phones to contact loved ones while other began inquiring whether a tsunami was on its way or not.

If you have Homeowners insurance, you should understand your coverage may not cover earthquake damage.  Under normal circumstances you will need to purchase an additional coverage or seperate rider to provide coverage for such perils.  If you have homeowners insurance through another company or broker and you have not been contacted lately to review your coverage – give us a call.  The agents at InsureDirect.com will be happy to review your current Home or Auto Insurance Policy and see if we can save you some money and even increase your coverage.

– Mike

 

Loophole on Health Insurance Exchanges: Authorities to Act

Although InsureDirect.com primarily focuses it’s marketing efforts on Online/Direct Car Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance and Homeowners/Renters Insurance Products; as it’s company’s President and Managing Agent, I feel it’s vital I discuss topics which would be of interest to a broader base of insurance buyers.  This article is a perfect example of this. 

In the latest updates released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the  NAIC urged the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to avoid the loophole giving chances to some nation’s largest insurance companies a regulatory advantage over smaller industry player or competitors. The NAIC further expressed concerns about possible potential consumer implications of the new Multi – State Plans offered through the insurance Exchanges if held to different type of standards. 

Beginning in 2014, OPM is charged with contracting with at least two health plans to be automatically sold on every state’s Exchange as “Multi – State Plans.”  It is very clear that the law clearly intend to have these plans operates on a standard level playing field  where language within the law could allow two sets of rules to cater to large Multi – State plans and to everyone else. However, NAIC is concerned with the provision’s identity that it may unintentionally upset state insurance markets that will take away consumer protections. 

In a letter to OPM signed by NAIC President and Iowa Insurance Commissioner Susan Voss stating “Authorities must take every single serious concern about the potential for market disruption and unfavorable selection that would result negative impact on most consumers and health insurance markets which would arise if Multi – State Plans are allowed to operate under different rules than their competitors.” The letter was co – signed by NAIC President – Elect, Vice President and the Secretary – Treasurer. 

All of the concerns raised by the NAIC are in response to OPM’s request for certain details about the guidelines being develop for Multi – State Plans. The remarks/comments provides further details of potential market disruption on Multi – State Plans to cater exemption on the rules governing other plans offered through an Exchange or the over-all insurance market as a whole. 

They noted that separate rules could threaten plan solvency which may lead to market segmentation, consumer confusion and a loss of consumer protections. Thus, NAIC urged OPM to require Multi – State plans to meet all state laws and regulatory requirements to avoid uncertainties over it. Also, the comments being submitted will explain about the second provisions of the rules on the intentions attached in ensuring a level playing field, that could in contradiction overturned state consumer protection laws if Multi – State plans are being exempt from state regulations. Example if there are plans existing plans in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia or any of the other 44 states in the United States, they are exempted.

Furthermore, the Congress intended for Multi – State plans to adhere on applicable  regulations as the law is written, if OPM want to exempts a plan from applicable state regulations and by extending it will also exempts all other plans both in and out of an Exchange from those same regulations, thus leaving a regulatory vacuüm.

Keep in mind InsureDirect.com represents all 30 major carriers auto and homeowners insurance carriers in the United States.  Regardless if you have a perfect, preferred driving record or if you have accidents, tickets, violation even a DUI/DWI, my agents can help you with one 10 minute call.

-Mike

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