Monday, October 12, 2009

Renter's insurance advice for students and others

The Washington state insurance commissioner's office has put together tips and advice about renter's insurance. (And you won't get a sales pitch. We don't sell insurance; we're the government agency that regulates it.)  Among the topics: do you need renter's insurance, what's it cover, other coverage you can add, etc.

For example, if you're a college student who rents an off-campus apartment or house while away at school, you should think about getting the coverage. It will protect things like your computer, TV, stereo, bike and furniture if they get destroyed, damaged or stolen. Even if you area  dependent under your parents' insurance, your personal property in many cases is not covered if you live off-campus.

And more insurance news: CA flood warning, NY auto data, a "fat tax" in North Carolina and a scandal in N. Dakota

More insurance news today:

-California's Department of Insurance is telling people to get flood insurance if they need it.

-In New York, a new report says that state regulators uphold 1 out of 8 complaints they get about auto insurers.

-In North Carolina -- and accompanied by a photo that will keep you away from the buffet line -- the state government is planning to impose a fee on obese or smoking state employees:

Dubbed the “fat tax,” officials say the higher costs could save $13 million next year.
 -And the Washington Post's Karl Vick reports on the grief that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is apparently getting over some of the non-profit's spending:

For the North Dakota insurance sales reps, March may have been the ideal time to enjoy the swim-up bar at a resort on Grand Cayman Island. But back on the northern Plains, where temperatures were below zero, policyholders at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota were less delighted when they learned about the trip for 66 staff members and guests.

Word of the $238,000 Caribbean retreat broke last winter, compounded by news of other perks: $15 million in executive bonuses over five years, $400,000 for charter flights and $35,000 for a vice president's retirement party. And when the ensuing uproar cost Michael Unhjem his job as chief executive, his landing was softened by a $2.5 million severance payment.

Insurance news: Insurers blast health reform, and "intergenerational strife" in the debate

The news of the day seems to be the insurance industry's assertion that proposed health-care reform will cost people with private insurance more:

The New York Times described the situation as "Insurance Industry Assails Health Legislation." And the Washington Post (via the Tacoma News-Tribune) had this succinct summary in its story:

“After months of collaboration on President Barack Obama’s attempt to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, the insurance industry plans to strike out today against the effort with a report warning that the typical family premium could rise over the next decade by $4,000 more than projected.”
The NYT also had an interesting story revisiting a theme that keeps cropping up in this debate: the fact that the elderly already have a system that, by and large, works for them. Writer Eduardo Porter urges that powerful voting bloc to "Think About the Grandkids," and notes that:
“This political arithmetic led Tyler Cowen, a blogger and professor of economics at George Mason University, to wonder whether the passage of Medicare in 1965 wasn’t a tactical mistake that doomed broader health reform…The share of resources devoted to the old versus the young is a function of their relative political clout.”
Providence Journal columnist Froma Harrup writes about the same issue:
In terms of health coverage, one date separates the most secure Americans from the least secure: a person’s 65th birthday. Age 65 is when one qualifies for Medicare, the government insurance program for the elderly and disabled. It’s become a source of intergenerational strife — not so much between the old and young as between the old and the nearly old."
The Associated Press notes that whatever happens in D.C., the results won't be quick:
“Sixty years is how long Democrats say they’ve been pushing for legislation that provides health care access for all Americans. They’ll have to wait another three if President Barack Obama gets a bill to sign this year.”