IIHS Takes a Dump on Semi-Autonomous Cars, Then Impositions Drivers
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has said it is developing a new rating system to evaluate the existing safeguards found inside vehicles equipped with partial automation. Considering how commonplace advanced driving aids have become, you might be thinking this was long overdue. However, insurers were blindly praising advanced driving suites a few years ago — until they actually started testing them in earnest.
As luck would have it, there’s been mounting research supporting claims modern automotive tech encourages drivers to tune out and become distracted. While this wouldn’t be a big deal if the relevant features all functioned perfectly, the reality is that most are far less effective than advertised and practically all of them run the risk of being completely undone by inclement weather or poor lighting. Confusingly, the IIHS believes the best solution here is to make sure systems constantly monitor the driver to ensure the driver is constantly monitoring the system.
Insurance Refund: Michigan Drivers Getting $400 Per Vehicle Next Spring
Despite being one of the last hero states to not require routine vehicle inspections, Michigan is infamous for boasting the highest auto insurance rates in the whole country. Blame the double-edged sword that is the state’s no-fault insurance scheme, the region’s relatively high number of uninsured motorists, or the general popularity of personal injury lawsuits (an American pastime). Heck, blame the whole insurance industry while you’re at it because it’s the one that managed to become wildly profitable off the concept that you’ll be bankrupted if you don’t pay in.
But don’t blame Michigan’s formerly mandatory unlimited personal injury protection (PIP) requirement that’s been around for decades, because it was done away with in 2019. The previous arrangement required drivers in The Mitten State to purchase unlimited PIP insurance, allotting for those at fault (no-fault insurance schemes be damned) to provide a lifetime of medical benefits to victims. On Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration announced that the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) fund will also be issuing $400 checks to drivers in the spring of 2022 as part of a $5 billion surplus that’s being handed off to insurers.
Hyundai Blue Link Connects Owners and Insurance
Hyundai Blue Link, a connected-car service first offered in 2018, can now be used to save on auto insurance. Hyundai’s usage-based insurance (UBI) program and Driving Score promotes safe, efficient driving habits. Through Verisk, a global data analytic firm, Hyundai drivers can opt-in to share their driving quirks. Receiving substantially lower insurance rates is the hope of most drivers.
Wells Fargo Settles for $386 Million in Auto Insurance Suit
Wells Fargo will reportedly pay customers a minimum of $386 million to settle class-action claims that the bank covertly signed customers up for auto insurance they did not want or need.
Back in the summer of 2017, the bank found itself implicated in widespread auto insurance and mortgage lending abuses. Over a year later, Wells Fargo was slapped with a $1 billion fine from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to settle U.S. investigations into the company’s insurance and mortgage practices.
While the auto insurance plan ended in 2016, roughly 800,000 customers (or 600k by Wells Fargo’s estimates) were believed to be affected by the auto insurance issue over roughly a four-year period. For most, that meant being overcharged for insurance they didn’t need., but some customers ended up with their vehicles repossessed and their credit rating demolished, promoting the class-action suit.
Insurance Companies Are Keeping Tabs on How Often You Use Your Phone Behind the Wheel
With mobile phones now a ubiquitous part of modern-day life, distracted driving has ballooned into a legitimate public safety problem. Alarming studies continue to pour in, with many claiming that driver cell phone use is likely underreported by authorities in crash reports. It’s hard to quantify, especially since nobody wants to admit that their moment of weakness may have contributed to an accident.
Add in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey that found 30 percent of drivers aged 21 to 34 believe texting doesn’t negatively impact their driving, and you’d be forgiven for picking up your keys with sweaty palms.
A new study claims the issue has only gotten worse, with drivers spending more time on their phone than ever before. However, the way the data was acquired is disconcerting in itself. Insurance companies are tapping traffic data startups to monitor people’s phones, and they’re already capable of tracking millions of American devices.
New Lawsuit Alleges Wells Fargo Execs Knew About Auto Insurance Scam for Years
Roughly a year ago, Wells Fargo got itself into hot water over shady business practices relating to widespread auto insurance and mortgage lending abuse. After a lengthy investigation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency eventually suggested Well Fargo pay $1 billion to “resolve” the governmental probes. President Donald Trump then said federal agencies needed to go after the bank hard to set an example. The agencies came back with a consent order saying it was time to pay up.
Despite the insurance issue affecting an estimated 800,000 customers over a four-year period, Wells Fargo seemed able to recover from the scandal and move past it. However, new allegations claim the bank’s leadership was aware customers were probably being overcharged several years before it finally cancelled the program.
Tesla's 'Affordable' Model 3 Costs a Bundle to Insure, Study Claims
The Model 3 was intended to be Tesla’s affordable alternative for the mass market and, for the most part, that’s what it has been. Granted, the automaker did opt to prioritize the production of higher trim levels as a way to maximize profitability. But, given its financial situation, it was an understandable strategy. The Model 3 is still the cheapest way to get into a Tesla. However, it’s not the cheapest vehicle to own — especially when it comes to insurance rates.
Last year, AAA said premiums on Tesla vehicles would likely go up 30 percent after reviewing data from the Highway Loss Data Institute. At the time, Tesla said the analysis was “severely flawed and is not reflective of reality.” But the auto club stated the HLDI’s findings matched its own research, as well as numerous other sources.
“Looking at a much broader set of countrywide data, we saw the same patterns observed in our own data, and that gave us the confidence to change rates,” said Anthony Ptasznik, chief actuary of AAA.
Wells Fargo Fined $1 Billion For Auto Insurance Scandal, Mortgage Misdeeds
Wells Fargo is getting slammed with all kinds of penalties over shady business practices. Currently prohibited from growing its business as investigators look into its practices, the bank has restructured itself after it was implicated in widespread auto insurance and mortgage lending abuse in the summer of 2017. It’s also still coping with an earlier scandal involving local branches opening fake accounts for customers.
Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency suggested Well Fargo pay $1 billion to “resolve” the governmental probes into those issues. That changed today when the bureau filed a consent order announcing it was time for the bank to pay up.
The fine applies to the mortgage lending issues, as well as Wells Fargo’s past practice of charging thousands of auto loan customers for insurance they didn’t need and often didn’t even know about. The move caused some borrowers to default on their loans, resulting in their vehicles being repossessed. The consent order mandates that the bank remediate those customers.
Which Segments Incur the Largest (or Smallest) Insurance Losses?
Insurance may be one of the greatest scams ever pulled on the general public, but it’s a very necessary evil. Right around the time the automobile became popular, people starting crashing them into things. By the 1920s, individual states began requiring drivers to purchase insurance — creating a pooled solution that covered at-fault drivers for damages they might be unable to pay otherwise.
However, not all drivers crash and not all vehicles incur the same costs when they take or deliver a beating. Collision losses might be astronomical for high-end sports cars but comparably moderate for midsize pickup trucks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute recently compiled the loss averages for hundreds of models, grouping them by segments, to establish how lightly-used autos stack up against each other.
Car Dealers Claim Insurers Are Halting Policies Ahead of Hurricane Irma
Florida-area car dealerships are annoyed that insurance companies pulled the plug on policies earlier this week, fearing further hurricane-related payouts as Hurricane Irma approaches the coast. Insurers, including Progressive and Allstate, are reacting to losses incurred in Texas during Hurricane Harvey’s assault last month.
While this is standard practice for some companies, it isn’t a universal trend. State Farm, for example, said it would continue offering coverage until after a national hurricane advisory had been issued.
Wells Fargo to Refund $80 Million of Unnecessary Car Insurance It Forced Onto Customers
Wells Fargo says it will reimburse roughly $80 million to customers erroneously charged for auto collateral protection insurance policies. Customers will be remediated after roughly 800,000 customers were essentially forced to purchase unnecessary auto insurance, despite many of them already having active policies.
The banking and financial services firm reviewed policies started between 2012 and 2017 and identified approximately 570,000 customers who could have been negatively impacted. It plans to issue refunds and other payments as compensation, especially to those who defaulted on their auto loans as a result of being overcharged.
Tesla Motors Annoyed After AAA Raised Insurance Rates on Its Cars
The American Automobile Association thinks Tesla cars should cost more to insure due to abnormally high claim frequencies and expenditures compared to similar vehicles. The group said premiums for Tesla’s Model X and Model S could increase by up to 30 percent, based primarily on data from the Highway Loss Data Institute. “Looking at a much broader set of countrywide data, we saw the same patterns observed in our own data, and that gave us the confidence to change rates,” said Anthony Ptasznik, chief actuary of AAA.
Obviously, Tesla Motors isn’t pleased and is offering a rebuttal before other insurers follow in AAA’s footsteps.
Cities You Might Want to Consider Avoiding on a Winter Road Trip
Boston, the city that gave us both the New Kids On The Block and Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, placed dead last on Allstate’s 2016 America’s Best Drivers List. With the weather in Beantown turning blustery and cold, the Car Talk slogan of “don’t drive like my brother” has become hauntingly sound advice.
However Boston isn’t a singular example of a city with overzealous insurance claimants and certainly isn’t only location about to get hit with seasonally inclement weather. There are plenty of places where you’ll want to look out for other drivers just as much as you will icy patches of road this winter.
With Premiums on the Rise, What's the Truth About Auto Insurance?
To quote Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
You certainly don’t need TTAC to tell you auto insurance premiums are on the rise. You already know rates are trending up, well in excess of inflation. Nonetheless, let’s unpack some of the factors that have the average American now spending more than $100 per month on auto insurance.
More and More Americans Are Abandoning Reason and Handing Their Car to Thieves
In terms of the most basic adult behaviors, not leaving your keys in the car falls right behind feeding yourself without help and going to the bathroom like a big boy. It’s an uncomplicated concept that can be easily adhered to by anyone who has access to hands.
Despite this, one out of every eight vehicles stolen in the U.S. had the keys left inside by a person that society somehow deemed fit to operate a motor vehicle. Common sense is on a steady decline — and it’s a boon for thieves.