It is estimated cybercriminals already possess personal data on more than half of adults in the US, which prompts Lou Harvey of financial-services market researchers Dalbar to claim better authentication is the primary defense. Harvey says current authentication practices that use passwords, PINs and Social Security numbers will not suffice, and notes, "The threat [has changed] from the inconvenience of data loss to the economic impact of the loss of personal wealth."
Despite the Trump administration's anti-regulatory stance, individual agencies are developing plans to introduce a raft of regulations that will affect advisors in the year ahead, writes columnist Mark Schoeff Jr. He runs through the list of regulations advisors should expect.
FL DNT TXT N DRV, a coalition including groups in the insurance sector, law enforcement, health care and business, are calling for Florida lawmakers to approve legislation that would make texting while driving a primary offense. PCI's Logan McFaddin said it is "mind-boggling" that Florida has yet to enact tougher measures against distracted driving.
Advancements in vehicle-safety technology are making repairs more costly, and they could have the same effect on auto insurance rates, experts say. However, "when the reduction in the crash risk associated with any advanced driver-assistance system is greater than the increased repair costs, then insurance premiums will likely go down," said Matt Moore of the Highway Loss Data Institute at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
A man who prosecutors say was the ringleader of a $1 million insurance fraud scheme in which mobile homes, vehicles, houses and apartments in Virginia and Florida were burned has received a 40-year federal prison sentence. Subjecting policyholders to scrutiny is difficult amid the fast pace of sales, and antitrust laws limit how much information insurers can share, although the National Insurance Crime Bureau can be a resource when fraud is suspected, said NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi.
A winter storm brought blizzard conditions to many parts of the central US on Sunday, with dangerous blowing snow prompting the closure of part of Interstate 70 in Colorado. The storm also led to the cancellation of about 200 flights at Denver International Airport and dropped as much as 20 inches of snow on Utah's Wasatch Mountains.
A study identifies 16 natural disasters costing insured and uninsured losses of at least $1 billion each in 2017, a total that matches 2011's record. Adam Smith, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, notes that the estimates don't include costs related to health care and loss of life and "should be considered conservative with respect to what is truly lost."
Houston's Clear Lake neighborhood managed to evade the worst of Hurricane Harvey's flooding, possibly due to a water detention effort being funded through a voter-approved $28 million bond. The project, which is 80% done and scheduled for completion in 2021, is converting a former golf course to a greenway with detention ponds that can hold 500 million gallons of rainwater.
The government shutdown has interrupted efforts to further postpone the so-called Cadillac tax, with a 40% rate for the highest-cost employer health insurance plans. "[T]he legislative effort to delay the harmful effects of the Cadillac tax will resume when the government reopens," said NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux.
The life insurance industry has aimed its mobile efforts mostly at agents and distributors, and an Aite Group survey of life insurers found 80% of respondents lack a mobile app for consumers. The time frame for life insurance policies is longer than those for property/casualty policies, and life insurers, therefore, should view mobile as a channel for engagement rather than sales, said Samantha Chow of Aite Group.
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