What was at stake in the ruling for Washington state

What was at stake in the ruling for Washington state

Earlier this month, we put out a report detailing what was at stake for Washington state -- down to the county level -- if the Affordable Care Act was thrown out by the Supreme Court.

The upshot was that more than 800,000 Washingtonians stand to get coverage through the Medicaid expansion OR to get subsidies to help them and their families pay for private insurance.

In addition, the report details the reforms, most of them largely unnoticed by the average person, that have already taken effect. Among these: Young adults can now stay on their parents' health coverage up to age 26, kids can't be denied insurance because they're sick, small businesses get tax rebates if they provide health coverage for workers, no caps on lifetime benefits, etc.

The most significant reforms will take place in 2014, including the state's new health care exchange, an online marketplace to shop for and compare insurance -- as well as a way for lower- and middle-income families to get substantial help paying for it.

The full report is at http://www.insurance.wa.gov/legislative/reports/Whats-at-stake.pdf.
Kreidler reaction to Supreme Court upholding health care reform law

Kreidler reaction to Supreme Court upholding health care reform law

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler expressed great relief with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act and said Washington state is now well ahead of most states in reforming its health care system.

Many reforms are currently in place, but key benefits and programs take effect in 2014, including Washington’s new Health Exchange, federal subsidies to help 477,000 people afford health insurance, an expansion of Medicaid for 328,000 poor childless adults and the ban on insurance companies from denying people coverage if they’re sick.

“I’m very pleased the Supreme Court chose to uphold the Affordable Care Act,” said Kreidler. “We’ve been busy for two years now implementing the reforms and have made great progress, but there’s a lot left to do before 2014. With the court decision out of the way, we can continue our focus on where it should be – bringing relief to families struggling to find quality, affordable health insurance.”

The millions of Washington state consumers benefitting from the Affordable Care Act’s early reforms include:

  • More than 2.4 million people who no longer face lifetime caps on their health benefits.
  • More than 52,000 young adults up to age 26 who have stayed on their parents’ health plans.
  • More than 1.2 million people who now have coverage for preventive care with no co-pays or deductibles.
  • More than 60,000 people in Medicare who have saved hundreds on their prescription drugs.

Washington state also leveraged millions in federal funds available under the Affordable Care Act to create:

  • Public access to health insurance rate requests. 
  • A new marketplace in Washington state for health insurance in 2014 – called an exchange – where people can shop for health plans, compare their options and apply for subsidies.
  • A temporary health insurance program (PCIP-WA) for people with pre-existing health conditions.

“The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but it moves us in the right direction and is the only meaningful reform that’s passed in decades,” said Kreidler. “The debate was clearly contentious, and I’m grateful to have it behind us. But, now it’s time to focus on the work ahead – more than a million uninsured people in our state are counting on us.”
Trial Adjournments

Trial Adjournments

Graham v. Vandersloot, 2012 ONCA 60 (C.A.)

In this case, litigation had proceeded at a leisurely pace since 2005. Trial had previously been adjourned when plaintiff's counsel erroneously advised the plaintiff had been in a second accident. Even though a trial date had been selected in 2009, the plaintiff did not arrange medical examinations until shortly before the trial was scheduled to occur in 2010. The plaintiff then sought a six month adjournment, which was denied.  She appealed the decision.

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal. It held that a key factor was that liability was admitted. Fading memories were less a concern where the primary evidence would be expert opinions. In addition, the defendant would not suffer non-compensable prejudice if a six month adjournment was granted. The failure of plaintiff's counsel to advance the litigation was not to be held against the plaintiff.

Many of the changes to the Rules in 2010 were aimed at ensuring that cases move efficiently through the system and it would seem that late requests for adjournments should generally be avoided. The Graham decision seems to suggest, however, that courts will be generous in granting adjournments to ensure cases are determined on their merits, especially where liability is not an issue.
Cease and desist order issued against Lenovo

Cease and desist order issued against Lenovo

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has issued a cease-and-desist order against computer maker Lenovo, barring the company from continuing to sell illegal service contracts in Washington state.

From May 2008 to May 2012, Lenovo (United States) Inc. is believed to have sold $153,415 worth of service contracts in the state. The plans, which covered repair or replacement of damaged Lenovo products, can only be sold to Washington residents by a licensed insurer or a registered service contract provider. Lenovo is neither.

Kreidler also ordered the company to mail a copy of the cease-and-desist order to all its Washington customers within 10 days.

Nothing in the order prevents the company from fulfilling the terms of the service contracts or from issuing a refund, if requested.

The company’s unauthorized sale of service contracts was initially disclosed by Lenovo itself when it applied for registration as a service contract provider in April 2011. At that point, the company said, it had already sold 855 contracts for $90,630.

When Kreidler’s staff reviewing the application sought more information, the company failed to respond, and later withdrew its application (December 2011). Lenovo later said it had sold a total of 1,327 contracts worth $153,415 to Washingtonians (May 2012).

The company has a right to demand a hearing. The order takes effect immediately.


Diabetes and Health

In this modern world human are suffering from so many diseases and humans are invent those diseases prevention ways. Now in the world most seems disease is Diabetic. Here some overview of diabetics.

What is Diabetes? 

Diabetes is a lifelong (chronic) disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes is an action area the bulk of glucose in your blood is too aerial because the anatomy cannot use it properly. This is because your pancreas does not produce any insulin, or not enough, to advice glucose access your body’s beef or the insulin that is produced does not job appropriately (known as insulin resistance).


Statistics about Diabetes in USA and UK

2.9 million people are diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 850,000 bodies who accept the action but don’t know it.
From National Diabetes Fact Sheet 2011 (released January 26, 2011) Total: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.
Diagnosed: 18.8 million people
Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people
Prediabetes: 79 million people

Types of Diabetes

There are three types of diabetes are seen usually. Those are
Diabetes Type 1
Diabetes Type 2
Gestational diabetes

Symptoms of Diabetes (generally)

People can generally accept diabetes and be absolutely unaware. The principal acumen for this is that the symptoms, aback apparent on their own, assume harmless. However, the beforehand diabetes is diagnosed the greater the affairs are that austere complications, which can aftereffect from accepting diabetes, can be avoided.

Here is a list of the best accepted diabetes symptoms:

Urination frequently
Do you mark how many times you are expending in toilet? If you are expanding more times frequently then you have to alert there is too much sugar (glucose) in your blood which will urinate more often. Your insulin is not working properly or your body cannot produce so much insulin to filter the glucose. The kidneys will take water from your blood in order to reduce the glucose - which in turn fills up your bladder.

Unbalanced thirst
Unbalanced thirst will appear when you are urinating mare than usual. Your body will need more liquid or water to replace the lost liquid. So you will feel thirsty and drink more than usual

Extreme hunger
The insulin of your blood is not working properly, or is not there at all, and your cells are not getting their energy, your body may react by trying to find more energy from foods. Then you will become hungry.

Gaining weight
This might be the result of extreme hunger.

Abnormal weight loss
This is the common symptoms among people with Diabetes Type 1. As your body is not making insulin it will seek out another energy source (the cells aren't receiving glucose). Muscle tissue and fat will be broken down for energy. As Type 1 is of a more sudden onset and Type 2 is much more gradual, weight loss is more noticeable with Type 1.

Improved fatigue
If the insulin is not working properly, or is not there at all, glucose will not be entering your cells and provided that them with energy. This will make you feel tired and lacking energy.

Bad temper
Bad temper will appear for lack of energy.

Distorted vision
Distorted vision can be appearing in your eyes. This can be caused by tissue being pulled from your eye lenses. This affects your eyes capacity to focus. With proper treatment this can be treating. There are brutal cases where blindness or expanded vision problems can occur.

Injured wounds will take more to recover
Your injured wounds will take more time to recover. When there is more sugar (glucose) in your body, its capacity to cure can be damaged.

Skin or toadstool infections appear
Skin or toadstool infections will appear in your body.  When there is more sugar in your blood, its ability to recover from infections is affected. Women with diabetes find it especially difficult to recover from bladder and vaginal infections.

Scratchy skin
A feeling of scratchy on your skin is sometimes a symptom of diabetes.

Gums are red or puffy
If your gums are warm, red or puffy this could be a sign of diabetes.

Gums pull away from teeth
Your teeth could become loose as the gums pull away from them.

Regular gum disease or infection
As well as the previous gum symptoms, you may experience more regular gum disease or gum infections.

Sexual dysfunction
If you are over 50 aged and experience frequent or constant sexual dysfunction (erectile dysfunction), it could be a symptom of diabetes.

Deadness or itchy in your feet and hands
Deadness or itchy will appear in your feet and hands especially. Too much sugar in your blood will damaged your nerves, as could the little blood vessels that feed those nerves.

Diagnosis of diabetes

Diabetes can generally be detected by accustomed out a urine test, which finds out whether balance glucose is present. This is commonly backed up by a claret test, which measures claret glucose levels and can affirm if the account of your affection is diabetes.

If you are afraid that you may accept some of the aloft symptoms, you are recommended to allocation to your Doctor or an able bloom professional.

Dark Circles & Bags

Dark Circles & Bags and your Eyes

The area of Eye is so much sensitive & soft in human body. Men & Women all are looks more beautiful with their eyes. Taking less care in those eyes u seems so bad or older. The skin around the eyes, both upper eyelids and the lower is the most sensitive and delicate face. Since the skin in this area is very thin, is very susceptible to darken, get out wrinkles and bags.

Dark circlse

The Causes for Dark Circles and Bags in the Eyes

Unfortunately dark circles and puffiness around the eyes not only make you look tired and ill, but will also make you look older aged. Dark circles sometimes stain may occur in grayish, bluish or reddish. Both can be caused by temporary or transitional situations such as:
  • Do not sleep properly in one night.
  • Having a bad sleeping position makes it difficult to appropriately broadcast aqueous through the anatomy and causes it to accrue in assorted genitalia of one actuality beneath the eyes.
  • Not drinking abundant liquids or eating, overeating, aliment alkali causing aqueous assimilation charcoal one of the places breadth the breadth is placed beneath the eyes.
  • Using some types of cosmetics (especially the actual chemicals) in the eye breadth which can account bark allergies and swelling.
  • Eyes too Algieba tar can abrade the aerial bark about which makes veins arresting that breadth are taken.
However, there are permanent dark circles that appear in someolder people orthose who have a genetic tendency, as a result of the weakness of the muscles of the eyelids and causes the skinto slide downward folds or bags. 

How to relief from Dark circles & Bags

Unfortunately dark circles and puffiness around the eyes not only make you look tired and ill, but will also make you look older. When it comes to solving the problem of the annoying dark circles and bags under the eyes, the most expensive one we imagine specialize cosmetic treatments and creams.

But here are some natural ways to combat this problem. And although these methods do not help the total elimination of dark circles, at least help control and prevent the situation from getting worse.

Some tips to relief from Dark circles and Bags:

Tips #1:

Uses green tea bag as a home remedy for dark circles and bags. Develop compresses relaxing with 2 tea bags which should be immersed in a cup with hot water. Then remove and let the tea bags cool. Dip two cotton balls in the tea and apply to closed eyelids for 10 to 15 minutes.

Dark circles

Tips # 2: 

Use Potato as home remedy. Wash a medium potato, remove the potato skin and cut a few thin slices of eye size. Place on each eyelid closed and keep it in this position ten minutes.

Tips # 3: 

Put half cucumber oil in the refrigerator and make it cool, cut into slices and apply on your closed eyes for 10 minutes. Cucumber has cooling properties that help to fade dark circles with ease.

Dark circles

Tips #4: 

Another variant of this home remedy is to dip concealer slices cucumber 1/2 cup cold milk, drain and place a little above the eyes, at least for 10 minutes. It will help you to removing your eyes tiredness and stain.

Tips # 5: 

Almond oil and rose petals helps you as a home remedy for Eyes dark circles & bags. Place a handful of fresh rose petals in a bowl and cover with almond oil. And filter plug, after 24 hours, the oil to another flask. Soak two cotton balls with this oil, spread on the lids and let set for 30 minutes. Finally, remove with another piece of cotton.
Dark circles

Tips # 6: 

Cook and apple and mash with her when she is tender. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Apply with a clean cloth, a little on each eyelid closed for a few minutes.

Tips # 7: 

Apply for 5 minutes, on eyelids cold compresses which is highly recommended in cases of red circles, because the cold stimulates circulation and, in turn, contracts the vessels blood facilitating the disappearance of this color.

Tips # 8: 

Develop a decongestant cream. This requires colocar50 grams of lanolin in a bowl in a double boiler. Stir with a wooden spoon and when melted lanolin, anadir25 grams of wheat germ oil. Put the liquid in an airtight jar and add 30 drops of the essence of apricot. Mix and apply on the area where the circles are formed in a circular motion.

Suggestions to avoid Dark Circles & Bags:

  • Avoid massaging the eyes. 
  • Rest your back for even submission of fluids.
  • Avoid extravagances, especially, insomnia.
  • Decrease salt intake, because it allows the storage and, consequently, plays a role in the development of bags under the face.

  • Wear sunglasses in case of extreme light to the eye lid muscle tissue work less.
  • Eat every day, going on a fast, some clean parsley for several weeks which inhibits bloat.
  • Take one pills everyday of supplement K which has the ability to claim the capillary surfaces, avoiding them to expand.
Theft charges for medical worker who submitted $4 million in bogus bills, sometimes claiming to be a doc

Theft charges for medical worker who submitted $4 million in bogus bills, sometimes claiming to be a doc

We're going to post a news release soon about this case:

A medical worker submitted at least $4.1 million in bogus bills to insurers, sometimes while falsely claiming to be a doctor or physician’s assistant, has pleaded guilty to theft.

Kenneth R. Welling, 45, of Lake Forest Park, pleaded guilty Thursday in King County Superior Court. The charges -- all of which are felonies -- include one count of first-degree theft and six counts of second-degree theft.

“This was a pretty audacious scam,” said state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “We were tipped off to it when a patient contacted us, saying that Welling billed her insurer $89,000 for six surgeries that never happened.”

Welling is a registered surgical technologist and sole proprietor of Shoreline, Wash.-based Alpine Surgical Services. His license allows him to perform tasks like preparing supplies and instruments, passing them to the surgeon and preparing basic sterile packs and trays. But after patients had procedures done, he would often submit large bills with codes listing himself as a doctor or physician’s assistant. He is neither.

Kreidler’s investigators also found numerous instances in which Welling billed for surgeries that never happened. Sometimes he would include post-operative reports, listing himself as the surgeon.

No evidence was found to indicate that Welling was playing an improper role in actual medical care. The fraud involved billing.

“As far as we could tell, the only time he pretended to be a doctor was when he submitted bills,” said Kreidler.

In one woman’s case, Welling billed $140,323 as assisting surgeon for nine surgeries that never took place. Over a five-year period, he billed another woman’s insurer 107 times for 51 different surgeries, listing himself as the primary doctor. Hospital records show she’d only had surgery twice.

From 2004 through 2011, according to medical records obtained by Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit, Welling billed five insurance companies at least $4.1 million for services he did not provide. He was paid $461,000.

“Part of the reason he got away with this for so long is that he’d rarely challenge an insurer who paid little or nothing,” said Kreidler. “He’d just send them the bills and hope they’d pay.”

The investigation also showed that some patients were complaining to their insurers.

“I am angry!” one woman wrote to her insurance company in 2011. “Here is yet another fraudulent claim. Can’t you people help me to stop this? I never had surgery on Aug. 27, 2009. I never met or had anything to do with Ken Welling.”

A sentencing date is expected to be scheduled soon.
Kreidler statement on Regence's proposed 14.7 percent rate hike

Kreidler statement on Regence's proposed 14.7 percent rate hike

Regence BlueShield, one of Washington state's largest health insurers, is proposing an average 14.7 percent hike in premiums for its customers who buy coverage on their own.

Even with that increase, the company says it would also face a loss of $4.5 million from its surplus, which currently exceeds $1 billion.

Here's state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler's statement on the proposal:

“We’ve just received this request. It will undergo a rigorous review by our actuaries.

“Regence contends that even with this increase, it would lose $4.5 million from the company’s surplus. To put that in perspective, that’s less than half of 1 percent of the company’s $1 billion surplus.

“In fact, Regence could continue to lose $4.5 million annually for the next 220 years and it would still have a surplus.

“A similar request by a sister company, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, sought a 6.4 percent increase, starting August 1, 2012. But after our review and objections, it withdrew the request today. Any future rate request will face the same thorough scrutiny.”
Subrogated Claim not Barred by Lease Provision

Subrogated Claim not Barred by Lease Provision

Designer Collection Sales Inc. v. 161 Spadina Inc., [2012] O.J. No. 2026 (S.C.J.)

In the commercial context, it is common for lease agreements to have clauses that transfer risk from the landlord to the tenant. The Superior Court of Justice recently considered whether such a clause absolves a landlord from a property damage claim by the tenant.

In this case the plaintiff company sued its landlord after water damage occurred due to a broken pipe. The plaintiff recovered more than $600,000 under its insurance policy for the damage. The insurer then brought a subrogated claim to recover the sums it paid out.

Under the contract between the parties, the plaintiff was required to take out a liability policy. The contract contained the following provision:

The Landlord is not liable for any damage to the Tenant's property or for any injury to any person in or coming to or from the Premises, however caused, and the Tenant agrees to indemnify the Landlord against the financial consequences of any such liability. In this regard, the Tenant shall purchase and maintain public liability insurance in the amount of no less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) and shall provide proof of this insurance to the Landlord on request.

The landlord brought a motion for summary judgment arguing that the effect of the clause was to transfer the risk of damage or loss to the plaintiff, even if it was due to the landlord’s fault or neglect. The plaintiff argued that the clause was intended to relate to risks covered by public liability rather than property insurance.

Justice Duncan summarized the case law as follows:

[19] The decisions that have been rendered establish this principle: contractual language may create an overwhelming obstacle to recovery against a negligent party whether the claim is asserted directly or on a subrogated basis. An action will fail to the extent a lease expressly or by necessary implication obligates the innocent party to obtain insurance which covers the risk and claims in issue.

The Court dismissed the motion on the basis that there was insufficient evidence regarding whether the parties meant to forfeit the right to sue. Justice Duncan held that merely agreeing to obtain liability insurance did not necessarily mean the plaintiff was agreeing not to sue especially given that property insurance is not the same as liability insurance. There had to be an underlying contractual obligation in the lease that insulated the landlord from liability.

Blood Pressure

 Know about Blood Pressure

You can accept high blood pressure or hypertension and still feel good. This is because high blood pressure has no affection so you can see or feel. But high blood pressure sometimes alleged "the bashful murderer" is an austere bloom problem.  High blood pressure can account stroke, affection disease, eyes problems or branch failure. High blood pressure is controlled by changes in lifestyle and medications.

What does blood pressure means

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against artery walls. When a doctor takes blood pressure, the result of the reading is recorded as two numbers. The first number, called systolic pressure, measures the pressure while the heart beats. The second number, called diastolic pressure, measures the pressure while the heart relaxes between beats. Normal blood pressure is a systolic blood pressure less than 120 pulses, and a diastolic below 80.

Have You High Blood Pressure

An acceptable acumen to accept approved visits with your doctor for an analysis is blood pressure. Your doctor will acquaint you that your blood pressure is high if the account has been 140/90 or added in two or added checkups. He or she may ask that your blood pressure at home at altered times of day. If the pressure remains high, your doctor may advance medicine, changes in diet and exercise.

How We Understand Blood Pressure Condition
Normal blood pressure
Less than 120
Less than 80
High Blood Pressure (stage 1)
140 or more
90 or more
Pre hypertension (stage 2)
Between 120-139
Between 80-89
Isolated systolic hypertension
140 or more
Less than 90

You may have Prehypertension if your blood pressure is only slightly above normal, for example the first number (systolic) is between 120 and 139 or the second number (diastolic) is between 80 and 89. Prehypertension can put you at risk of developing high blood pressure. Your doctor may want you to make changes in your daily habits to try to lower the blood pressure level.

blood pressure

What to Do When the First Number Is High?

In older adults, the first number (systolic) often is 140 ό higher, but the second number (diastolic) is less than 90. This problem is called isolated systolic hypertension. Isolated systolic hypertension is the most common type of high blood pressure in older people and can cause serious health problems. The treatment is the same as the treatment for high blood pressure regularly. If your systolic pressure is 140 or higher, ask your doctor how to lower.

Some Things Cannot Be Changed

Anyone can develop high blood pressure. However, some people are more likely to develop due to factors that cannot be changed. These may be:
Age: The likelihood of having high blood pressure increases with age.
Genre: Before 55 years of age, men are more likely to have high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.
Family history: High blood pressure tends to run in some families.
Race: African Americans are at increased risk for high blood pressure.

How We Can Control High Blood Pressure

More than half of people in the United States with over 60 years, and nearly three quarters of those 70 years or older have high blood pressure. The good news is that high blood pressure can be controlled in most people. For starters, there are many things you can do to change your lifestyle to prevent high blood pressure, including:

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight increases your risk for high blood pressure. Ask your doctor if you need to lose weight.

Exercise every day: Moderate exercise can reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Consult your doctor before starting an exercise plan if you have a chronic health problem or if you are over 50 years old and has been idle.
blood pressure & exercise

Maintain a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products may help lower blood pressure. Ask your doctor about following a healthy diet.

Eat less salt: Many Americans eat more salt (sodium) than they need. Most of the salt comes from processed foods (such as soups and baked goods). A low-salt diet may help lower your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about how eating less salt.

Drink less alcohol: Drinking alcohol can affect your blood pressure. Most men should not drink more than two drinks per day. Women should not drink more than one drink per day.
Do not smoke: Smoking increases the risk of developing high blood pressure and heart problems. If you smoke, quit.

Manage stress: People react to stress in different ways. In some people, stress causes blood pressure to rise. Talk to your doctor about how to control stress levels. Exercise and sleep well at night can help.
blood pressure & yoga

If these changes to your lifestyle do not control their blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medicine. You may need to try several medications before finding one that works best for you. Medications can control blood pressure, but cannot cure. You probably have to take drugs for the rest of his life. You and your doctor can plan together and have their blood pressure under control.

Essentials about High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is serious because it can lead to major health problems. If you have high blood pressure, remember:
  • High blood pressure may not make you feel sick, but it is a serious condition. See a doctor to treat it.
  • You can lower blood pressure by changing your daily habits and taking medicine, if necessary.
  • If you take medicine for high blood pressure, making some changes to your lifestyle can help reduce the dose you need to take.
  •  If you are already taking medicine for high blood pressure and its pressure is less than 120/80, that's good. It means that medicines and changes to your lifestyle are working. If another doctor asks if you have high blood pressure, the answer is "Yes, but it is being treated."
  • Tell your doctor about all medicines you take. Do not forget to mention the medicines counter medications, vitamins and dietary supplements. These medications can affect your blood pressure. They can also affect how the drug works for blood pressure.
  • The blood pressure medication should be taken at the same time every day. For example, take your medicine in the morning with breakfast or the evening after brushing teeth. If you miss a dose of your medicine, do not double the dose the next day.
  • Know what should be the level of your blood pressure. Do not take more pressure medication than your doctor prescribed. Having low blood pressure is not good.
  • Do not stop taking medicine for high blood pressure, unless your doctor tells you to stop. Do not stop by a day or take half a pill. Remember to refill your prescription before you run out of pills.
Taking your blood pressure at home:
  • There are many devices on sale for blood pressure monitor for home use. Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist, which monitor you need and how to use it.
  • Avoid smoking, exercise, and caffeine 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
  • Make sure you are sitting with your feet on the floor and your back is against something.
  • Relax quietly for 5 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
  • Keep a list of the numbers of blood pressure readings to share with your doctor, physician assistant or nurse. Take your monitor for use at home when visiting the doctor's office to ensure that the device is working properly.

Insurance tips: Credit scores and insurance scores

Insurance tips: Credit scores and insurance scores

Many insurers use a credit-based "insurance score" as a factor -- a major factor, often -- in setting your rates. It's a quick way of quoting you a price, and insurers maintain that there's a correlation between these credit-based scores and a person's claims history.

Washington state limits how insurers can use these scores, and Commissioner Kreidler has repeatedly pushed for legislation to ban their use completely.

In Washington, insurers cannot hold the following things against you:
  • The number of credit inquiries
  • Collection accounts identified as medical bills
  • A loan if it's the initial purchase or finance of a vehicle or home.
In Washington, insurers must also tell you if you didn't get the best rate due to your score. If this happens, you're entitled to a free copy of your credit report from the credit agency that your insurer used.

What goes into an insurance score? Here's the breakdown of a score from FICO, one of the biggest companies generating these scores for insurers:

• Payment History (40%) – How well you have made payments on your outstanding debt in the past

• Outstanding Debt (30%) – How much debt you currently have

• Credit History Length (15%) – How long you have had a line of credit

• Pursuit of New Credit (10%) – If you have applied for new lines of credit recently

• Credit Mix (5%) – The types of credit you have (credit card, mortgage, auto loans, etc.)

How can you improve your score? The same way you'd improve your credit score: make payments (bills, taxes, fines, etc.) on time. Keep credit card balances as low as possible. Think carefully before opening new lines of credit, such as a department store charge card, just to get a discount.
You can check your credit reports from the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies annually at http://www.annualcreditreport.com/. If you find errors, contact the credit reporting company to have them corrected.
The Standard of Care in Pedestrian Cases

The Standard of Care in Pedestrian Cases

Annapolis County District School Board v. Marshall, 2012 SCC 27

A four year old boy was injured in an automobile accident when he ran out into the road in front of a school bus. A jury found there was no negligence on the part of the defendant. The trial judge instructed the jury there could be no contributory negligence given the boy’s age but instructed them on s. 125(3) of the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicles Act, which provides a duty on pedestrians to yield the right of way to vehicles when crossing outside of a crosswalk. The judge’s charge included instructions that the standard of care owed to children on a highway is the same as to adults, but there may be circumstances that should put motorists on guard that a child could dart out onto the road. The Court of Appeal reversed the jury’s decision on the basis that the trial judge erred in referring to the right of way provisions. The defendant then appealed to the Supreme Court, which allowed the appeal.

The Supreme Court held the statutory provision was relevant to the consideration of whether the driver was negligent. Justice Deschamps held:

[7] I agree with the appellant that the Court of Appeal failed to appreciate the dual function of statutory right-of-way provisions. Not only do such provisions inform the assessment of whether a pedestrian was contributorily negligent by failing to yield a right of way, they can also help determine whether a driver breached the applicable standard of care in the circumstances. In this case, even though Johnathan’s contributory negligence had been ruled out as a matter of law, the statutory right-of-way provisions continued to inform the standard of care that Mr. Feener owed to all pedestrians. The jury needed to be told that, absent special circumstances, where the driver has the right of way, he or she can reasonably proceed on the assumption that others will follow the rules of the road and yield the right of way to drivers.

The jury’s dismissal of the action was upheld.

Many provinces have similar provisions to the Nova Scotia Act. The Supreme Court’s decision helps to inform the standard of care for motorists in “darting” cases involving children.