Declarations

February 21, 2010

Dumb Fraud

“This ranks as one of the dumbest things.”

—Maryland Judge Michael J. Algeo, who gave a five-year suspended sentence for insurance fraud to Joseph Francis Brooks, 46, of Philadelphia. Brooks admitted that he staged a fake robbery and shot his own cousin as part of an elaborate conspiracy to help the cousin, who was employed by UPS in Maryland, collect on a workers’ compensation insurance policy that was issued by Liberty Mutual.

Arsonist’s Clues

“It disturbs me.”

—York County Police Chief Jim Childs, commenting on the work of a serial arsonist who left behind playing cards and taunting notes for investigators at the scenes of at least five car fires in Central Pennsylvania. The suspect has yet to be caught.

Commerce Settles

“Our office will continue to monitor possible violations of this statute, both to protect consumers, but also to preserve a level playing field for insurance companies.”

—Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, announcing that her office has reached a settlement with the Bay State’s largest auto insurer, Commerce Insurance Co., over its failure to report at-fault auto accident determinations made by the state’s board of appeals. All insurers in the state are required to report that information to a data collection company. Commerce will pay to correct any errors, and will also make a payment of $40,000 to the state.

Gas Pedal Warnings

“When you start to see significant claims activity that indicates that there may be widespread problems with a product, that’s when you go to the NHTSA.”

—Kip Diggs, spokesman for State Farm, which says that it informed a U.S. government regulator of a worrying trend of vehicle-caused accidents involving Toyota automobiles as far back as late 2007. Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles over faulty gas pedals.

Price of Loyalty

“Policyholders are more likely to be loyal to their independent agent than the insurer that writes their policy.”

—Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates, which also finds in a new study that the more personal lines business an agency places with a particular carrier, the more satisfaction the agency reports having with that same carrier.

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