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We all remember the feeling of our first time at the young and eager age of 16. You didn’t want to rush, so you put on the perfect song and got ready for the ride of your life; you were officially ready to drive for the first time. According to the IIHS, the age of that rite of passage maybe raised for good. Research shows that car crashes are the leading cause of death amongst teens. The young drivers are not giving up the right of this rite so easily. Both they and their parents have expressed how important it is for them to drive. Not only does it take one more responsibility off the parent’s shoulders, teenagers learn to be independent and responsible at a younger age.

Ironically, this urge to increase the driving age to 18, comes at the same time as arguments to lower the drinking age to 18, arise. Even still, researchers say it’s all in the data. More than 5,000 teens die in car crashes in the US. The National Highway Safety Administration found that the rate of fatal and non-fatal crashes is 10 times higher for 16 year olds than it is for 30-59 year olds. New Jersey is the only state that issues licenses at the age of 17 and has seen a lower overall rate of teen deaths due to crashes than in some nearby states that issue licenses at the age of 16. Many countries in Europe also have a driving age of 17 or 18.
Even though many experts and officials see this option as a definite remedy to the high teen-crash fatality rates, they all agree that is not the only option. Instead of increasing the driving age, some states, like Delaware, are opting to make laws stricter, such as requiring teens to log in more driving time with instructors or parents (supervised driving time), banning teens from using cell phones while driving, and imposing stricter driving curfews.

Critics say the attention is being focused on the wrong issue. Studies show that drivers ages 25-34 and 45-64 were just as likely to be involved in alcohol related fatalities as were the 16-20 year old drivers. The bottom line is that instead of the legal age, an issue of driving while intoxicated and speeding should be raised and properly addressed.

Let’s all thank Benjamin Franklin for his attempt to burn fewer candles and economize on sun light. The reliance on candles to illuminate our dark rooms and hours of night is considerably less, if not non-existent, but after WWI, the US started observing Daylight Savings to conserve energy. Not only do we need to change our physical clocks but our biological clocks need adjusting as well. Although there is no concrete reason for the adverse effects of moving the hour hand forward, the bad time some of us may be having is due to the disruption of the circadian rhythm of the human body and changes in sleep pattern. Even the slightest shift, apparently, can throw us off-kilter.

So our energy bills have tiny dents in them and the changes seem to vary from state to state but what of the dents to our cars?  The New England Journal of Medicine says in an article that is becoming increasingly clear that insufficient sleep and disrupted circadian rhythms are a major public health problem. Some of the most major disasters due to sleep deficiency include the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the destruction of the space shuttle, Challenger. If that doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will.

Studies show that the hour of sleep loss increased traffic accidents and increased the risk of them occurring more often. Conversely, a decrease in traffic accidents was reported in the fall season when we gain an hour of sleep.

Insurance Calls will be sponsoring LeadsCon Las Vegas.

The online lead generation conference for vertical media and direct response marketing will be held on March 3rd. The event will be welcoming some of the top buyers, sellers and technology solution providers that are generating leads for the insurance industry. As one of the most important events for lead generation marketing, there will be unlimited opportunities to connect with our peers, prospects and thought leaders in the industry.

Please visit us at our booth #901

‘What’s Walmart, do they sell like wall stuff? — Paris Hilton

On Oct. 10 2014, Wal-Mart made it possible for its patrons and anyone else interested to enroll for Health Insurance via website, phone or physically at a select 2,700 stores across America. The Wal-Mart program entitled “Healthcare Begins Here” came to after teaming up with Directhealth.com, an online health insurance comparison site and agency, to give their shoppers yet another reason to make their one stop shop the obvious choice. The public has the opportunity to compare coverage options and enroll in Medicare plans or public exchange plans created under the Affordable Care Act. Stores are currently staffed with independent insurance agents from Directhealth.com. 

The retail giant is targeting those individuals who are confused by the enrollment process and their health insurance programs. Other than lending a helping hand the greater motive here is to expand their industry beyond food and other basics. Their insurance marketing strategy was made evident in April of 2014 when Wal-Mart teamed up with Autoinsurance.com to make comparing and buying an auto insurance policy possible for their shoppers online.

Since they experienced a drop in sales and less foot traffic in the past few years, Wal-Mart themselves calls these types of marketing strategies a lure for customers to come into the store and continue shopping. On the other hand this is also a step in building their business in the wellness and health-care industry, providing transparency and simplicity to their shoppers when it comes to understanding the new health insurance system.

Open enrollment is until Feb. 15, 2015 and if you’re into a one-stop shopping experience you know where to go.

A purchased or leased vehicle starts depreciating in value once it leaves the car lot. Up to 20% of value can be lost within one year. The amount of a loan, when financing a new car using a minimal down payment, will most likely exceed the market value of the vehicle in it first few years. If your vehicle is evaluated as being totaled by your insurance company, in the event of an accident, they are only liable to cover the current market value of your vehicle. Luckily you have the option of covering the “gap” between what you owe and the current market value of your vehicle with GAP Insurance.

Example:
2012 vehicle cash value: $25,000
Loan balance: $27,000
Payoff without GAP: $25,000  you owe: $2,000
Payoff with GAP: $27,000  you owe: $0

You will most likely be offered GAP Insurance or GAPS at the car dealer but are better off buying the coverage from an insurance agent who can offer it at a better rate. Typically, adding GAP insurance along with collision and comprehension would only increase your rate by about $20 a year.  Requirements involved in purchasing GAP insurance and maximum loss limits for GAP to kick in vary from state to state. The Truth in Lending Act, which promotes the informed use of consumer credit, excludes GAP premiums from financial charges if it was not required by a creditor, premiums were disclosed in writing and the consumer can provide a written request for the coverage.

The annual Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released their top picks for 2015 as a result of their latest survey. The number of vehicles earning the IIHS “Top Safety Pick Plus” has since doubled for 2015. A total of 71 cars have been named a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus. 38 cars have been honored with the “Top Safety Pick” and 33 cars have been awarded “Top Safety Pick Plus” and are considered top tier. Consumers have more to choose from when it comes to the safest vehicles of 2015 and who doesn’t want to feel safe in their vehicles? Parents are among the most concerned when it comes to choosing a car based on safety ratings.

As this is the third consecutive year that the IIHS has used tougher safety measures many car makers have stepped up to the plate and turned around negative ratings that they had received in the past. Honda CR-V and Toyota Prius V are two vehicles that have shown vast improvement in ratings.

The list of 2015 Top Safety Pick Plus vehicles include: Subaru Outback, Subaru XV Crosstrek, Subaru Impreza, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Forester, Acura MDX, Acura TLX. Toyota Prius, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Mercedes-Benz M-Class,  BMW 2 series, Audi A3, Volvo S80, Volvo XC60, Volvo S60, Volvo V60, Chrysler 200, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander, Lexus CT 200H, Lexus RC, Lexus NX, Toyota Camry, Toyota Sienna, Acura RLX, Toyota Highlander, Mazda 3, Mazda 6, Mazda CX-5, Toyota Prius V, Hyundai Genesis, Infiniti Q70, Infiniti Q50

A complete list of Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus vehicles can be found here: www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/TSP-List

The Mountainview based search giant, Google, introduced an auto insurance comparison shopping site in 2012 to the UK. It is now working its way to our market with a 26 US state launch in the works. Apparently the launch hasn’t been easy as the launch date keeps getting pushed back. In any case if you know Google, you know they will succeed and continue to branch outside of their core business. Google is slowly but surely in the process of extending its umbrella to a canopy in order to reach more markets and industries. The comparison shopping site implementation is nothing new to Google as they already have a travel destination compare and book system and commodity price compare system available.

The website that will be available to the American public will give them access to an insurance comparison shopping site. Those who are interested in utilizing the website have the opportunity to compare policies and buy coverage. Some known insurers are already working with the website which includes Dairyland, MetLife and Mercury.

The site will be called Google Compare and host a variety of insurance carriers. While the UK version of the site offers 125 different auto insurance options, the company has been making US insurers aware about the opportunity for two years in an attempt to build onto their roster in time for the launch.

The first availability of the website will be in California and is projected to launch sometime in the first quarter of this year. The other states that include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  Moving forward with this program will most likely push online insurance middlemen already offering this type of business with an unfavorable drop in sales

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