Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are Dog Bites A Problem In California? We Ask The Experts

According to one of those (ahem) "other" insurance carriers, California leads the nation in dog bite claims. To further investigate this, our intrepid staff interviewed several leading experts in the field. Here's what they had to say:

   "Do I look like I'd bite someone?"
   "Gawrsh! I would never do such a thing!"
   "My pal Stimpy here will gladly tell you I could never bite someone! Isn't that right, Stimpy?" "Duh... that's right, Ren!"
   "Woof!" (We think that means "no biting for me.")
   "Look -- if I haven't bit the kid after all she's dragged me into the past eighty-seven years, do you think I'm going to start now?"
   "Hi there! My name is Dug. I have just met you and I LOVE you! I am a good dog. I... SQUIRREL!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Legislation Enhancing Punitive Powers of California Insurance Commissioner Fails to Make its Way out of Committee

A bill recently introduced in the California legislature that would have provided specific authority to the state Insurance Commissioner to order restitution as an element of any administrative enforcement action against an insurance company has failed to make it out of committee.

The Insurance Brokers and Agents of the West (IBA West) had spoken out in opposition to the bill, stating it would have provided the commissioner with excessive power to punish any broker-agent or other insurance licensees whenever, in the commissioner's opinion, any violation of the state insurance code had taken place.

According to the bill's sponsor Sen. Noreen Evans, whose district encompasses several counties in the northern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, the bill was needed due to the insurance commissioner in many cases presently lacking the specific authority necessary to order restitution or other financial compensation when violations of the state insurance code had been determined to have transpired.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Images from Yesterday's Cinco de Mayo Lunch

Yesterday, the Fun Club held a Cinco de Mayo lunch in the Walnut Creek office. Below are some images from the event:

Preparations are made for the event.

Matt and Nick add some decor.

Lest we forget what we're celebrating...

The spread is, well, spread.

"Flowers and beads are one thing..." Sorry, had an Iron Butterfly flashback there.

Matt makes his list and checks it twice.

Next, he reveals his hitherto secret desire to join a mariachi band.

Just what is on that iPad, anyway?.

Did we mention the Sharks are up three games to none over Detroit in the playoffs?

Truth in advertising - a four foot long burrito is outrageous.

The gang begins to chow down.

Rohin and Melissa are in attendance.

Lining up!

The Fun Club crew, hard at work.

Serving up the chow!

Mike gets in the spirit of the holiday.

Lisa flashes her smile.

Angie rocks the sombrero.

We're all a little concerned about Mary...

Lauren LOVES having her picture taken.

Joel informs he don't need no steenkin' badge.

Dave smiles despite his Flyers being down 3-0 in the playoffs.

Xavier gets in the spirit of the day, setting aside how Cinco de Mayo commemorates the defeat of the French army in 1862.

Smile, Ken...

Jerusalem can make any look look cool.

Bob, on the other hand...

C'mon, Jim, it's not that bad.

Melissa strikes a pose.

You didn't know this came with working here, did you Melissa?

Maria grins and bears it.

Elizabeth's thrilled. No, really.

Maria wonders when this clown with the camera will leave.

Larry's in the spirit!

Linda gives us a grin.

Carol shows how everyone enjoyed the lunch...

... and we do mean everyone!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Possible New Gasoline Tax?

Although not yet law, nor introduced as a bill before Congress, the draft of a bill by the Obama administration is raising eyebrows due to it proposing a new gas tax based on the amount of mileage driven.

The proposal states that a new Federal office, namely the Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives Office, be established within the existing Federal Highway Administration. The new office would be charged with studying how a mileage-based user fee (i.e. tax) system could be established, including the technical aspects of how to track the mileage of all motor vehicles driven in the United States.

A total of $295 million would be allocated to the office over five years.

The draft bill follows a report by the Congressional Budget Office issued in March which suggested tracking, reporting and taxing total vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Whether such a tax would be in addition to, or in lieu of, existing Federal gasoline taxes is not mentioned in either the report or the draft bill.

Presently, there is a Federal tax of 18.4 cents on each gallon of gasoline sold. In California, there is an additional tax of eighteen cents per gallon plus a 6% state sales tax, 1.25% county sales tax, any additional sales taxes levied locally and a 1.2 cents per gallon state UST (underground storage tank) fee.

A spokesperson for the Obama administration has stated the proposed bill is in draft form, and has been neither approved nor reviewed by the administration.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Insuring Star Wars Day

Today is Star Wars Day, this stemming from a play on "may the force be with you" being changed into "May the fourth be with you." Either that, or it was invented by someone who started celebrating Cinco de Mayo a little early. In either case, it's Star Wars Day.

There are few films more deeply ingrained in the pop culture psyche than Star Wars. Granted, it's "only" the fourth highest grossing film of all time in the United States and not even in the top ten worldwide, although Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace is fourth highest. Yet its place is far, far higher than films that have earned more money, such as Titanic. No matter how many times you watch it, the boat sinks. Star Wars? A whole lot more at play, especially when the small fry espy one of the multitude of Star Wars Lego sets currently available.

Given how Star Wars features a whole lot of people and places either blowing up, ending up at the wrong end of a blaster or getting sliced and diced by light sabers, the natural temptation is to think insurance is probably the last thing on the minds of assorted humans, aliens, Wookies, robots and whatever Yoda is. Ah, but you'd be surprised. Our intrepid team of researchers has uncovered some actual correspondence samples from an insurance agency a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

To: Luke Skywalker


Thank you for updating your claim about damage to your X-Wing Fighter. While we were at first reluctant to accept this claim due to you, by your own admission, parking your vehicle in an unsafe area to hereafter be referred to as "the swamp," we now understand your vehicle has been moved to a safer location. However, we must caution you that the moving company used, one "Yoda," is not authorized by our firm and you will have to pay any damages resulting from the move yourself. Also, please be aware that "the force" is not an approved method for vehicle relocation. Going forward, please call one of our authorized tow services.

To: Darth Vader


We are denying your claim for damages to your vehicle, hereafter referred to as "death star." While we understand the vehicle is a total loss, and can appreciate the hardships this may present, our adjuster informs us that a known design flaw was present in the vehicle and was not properly addressed. In the future, please ensure all vehicles in your possession are both properly designed and equipped with current safety devices, as you being the sole survivor of the accident can hardly be described as an acceptable risk.

To: Princess Leia


Please find enclosed a check for $417.38 to cover the after-deductible cost of garment repair due to, as stated on the claim, "Wookie hair removal." While we are happy to settle this claim on your behalf, we advise you to invest in some form of less easily shed-upon material.

To: Han Solo


Thank you for your recent inquiry. We regret to inform you that we do not presently offer insurance for high-risk individuals such as smugglers. Should you ever change professions into something more pastoral, such as entering into a personal relationship with a princess or searching for archeological treasure, please contact us as we will be more than happy to put together a policy that meets your needs.

To: George Lucas


Jar Jar Binks? Really?!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Driver Ed at McQueen High

We're well into our 2011 youth scholarship contest. With two weeks left to go -- last date an entry can be postmarked is Friday, May 13 -- we've received fifty-nine entries, with doubtless many more to come. The more, the better!

The overall quality of entries thus far has been excellent; it's going to be very difficult selecting the winners, as there are many worthy entries. However, one entry to date has stood out. Not due to the essay's content, which for the record is one of the better ones received. No, it's due to the school name.

McQueen High School.

This immediately conjures up two distinct images of what a driver instruction course there could look like...

Turn Right to Go Left 101. This course will emphasize the fundamentals of dirt track racing, along with the need to have a good team behind you. You will also experience firsthand what proper towing technique feels like courtesy of special quest instructor Mater. Extra credit will be offered for students assisting with road repair.

Street Driving Skills 101. This course will be held off-campus on the streets of San Francisco. Students will learn necessary skills such as how to jump their vehicle off of a hill, bob & weave through intersections and drive at very close proximity to the car next to you. Also, a demonstration on the dangers of improper stopping methods at gas stations will be offered. Students are advised to bring their own car, as it is doubtful their parents will appreciate the shape the family vehicle will be in once the course is completed. Green Mustang preferred.