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Pennsylvania Commercial Auto Insurance

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PA-NJ-VA-MD TAXI Insurance Crisis!

First Keystone Risk Retention Group Inc., an insurer of taxi, limos and other commercial vehicle coverage in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia, has been ruled insolvent and will be liquidated by the South Carolina Department of Insurance.

According to regulatory officials, 80% of First Keystone’s business was in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with 20% in Virginia and Maryland. Creating a taxi insurance crisis!

Philadelphia-based First Keystone was also licensed to do business in Delaware, North Carolina, Georgia and Massachusetts. Read the disturbing article here

Get Taxi or Limo insurance quote for Your, business started now below.

Philadelphia-based First Keystone was also licensed to do business in Delaware, North Carolina, Georgia and Massachusetts.

The liquidation order was signed on Oct. 21 by Judge L. Casey Manning of the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court in Richland County, S.C.

According to a report quoting a special liquidator appointed by the South Carolina Department of Insurance, First Keystone began writing minimum limits in 2011, but its book of business prior to 2010 was problematic.

First Keystone reportedly had $7 million in annual premium in 2013, with about 800 open claims.

Claims will be accepted until February 2015.

What are the parts that make up a PA high risk car insurance policy?

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PA High Risk Auto Insurance Quotes

A Pennsylvania high risk car insurance policy can contain 6 parts.  You may be required to purchase some, if not all, of these parts.

  1. Bodily Injury Liability
    Pays damages when other people are injured or killed in an incident involving your vehicle. This coverage is required in most states.

  2. Property Damage Liability
    Pays when you damage the property of others with your vehicle. This coverage is required in most states.

  3. Personal Injury Protection (or Medical Payments Coverage)
    Pays medical costs and other damages for injuries to you and your passengers. This coverage is required in some states, optional in others.

  4. Collision Coverage
    Pays for loss or damage to your vehicle from a collision with another vehicle or object, when you’re at fault. States do not require this coverage. However, companies that loan you money to buy a car or agree to lease you a car, may require this coverage.

  5. Comprehensive Coverage
    Pays for loss or damage to your vehicle caused by fire, theft, vandalism, hail, windstorms, riots, falling objects, floods and certain other perils. States do not require this coverage. However, companies that loan you money to buy a car or agree to lease you a car, may require this coverage.

  6. Uninsured Motorist Coverage
    Pays for damages to you and your passengers when injury or death is caused by an uninsured, under-insured or hit-and-run motorist. It also pays for damage to your vehicle from a collision with another vehicle or object, when the uninsured motorist is at fault. This coverage is required in some states, optional in others.

How Are Auto Insurance Rates Calculated

How Are Auto Insurance Rates Calculated?

The primary factors impacting auto insurance
rates are the 6 parts of an auto insurance policy. Rates are
generally based on:

  • The coverage types you choose from among the 6.
  • The amounts of coverage in a specific part.
  • The amount of deductible you choose. In most cases, the
    higher the auto policy deductible, the lower the premium
    paid.

Several other factors impact auto insurance
rates. You’ll probably pay less if any of the following
apply:

  • Your previous driving record does
    not include tickets, accidents and claims.

  • Your home address is outside an
    urban area where more accidents and thefts are likely to
    happen.

  • Your credit rating is high.

  • You are older than 25.

  • You are female.

  • You are married.

  • You own a make and model vehicle
    not prone to theft, or driven at higher speeds.

Federal Insurance Office to look into auto insurance rates.

The USA Federal Insurance Office has initiated a study looking into the affordability and availability of auto insurance.

In an April 10 notice posted to the Federal Register, the FIO says it is seeking comments by June 9 from regulators, consumer groups, industry representatives, policyholders, academia and others.

Specifically, the FIO is looking for, “A reasonable and meaningful definition of affordability,” as well as “the metrics and data FIO should use to monitor the extent to which traditionally underserved communities and consumers, minorities, and low- and moderate-income persons have access to affordable auto insurance.”

The FIO says it is acting under its authority to “monitor the extent to which traditionally underserved communities and consumers, minorities and low- and moderate-income persons have access to affordable insurance products regarding all lines of insurance, except health insurance.”

The FIO initiative is driven in part by concerns that the data collected by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners may not be adequate and that “other data sources will likely be needed,” according to a regulatory bulletin from industry law firm Nelson Levine de Luca & Hamilton, LLC.

 

Nelson Levine lawyers say the FIO has the authority to collect information directly from the insurance industry that “it may reasonably require” in carrying out its duties.

Before it can do that, the bulletin says, the FIO must determine that the information is not available in a timely manner from relevant federal agencies, state regulators and publicly available sources. The FIO also has subpoena power in certain circumstances, Nelson Levine says in the bulletin.

Regarding its interest in auto insurance, the FIO notes that auto liability is mandatory in all states except New Hampshire, and that owning an automobile “is likely associated with a higher probability of employment and other factors associated with economic wellbeing.” Furthermore, the FIO says the percentage of uninsured motorists nationwide has “hovered around 14% between 2002 and 2009.”

The FIO also says, “Industry representatives assert that auto insurance has become more affordable over time but consumer representatives assert auto insurance has become less affordable for low-income consumers and minorities.”

On the question of affordability, the FIO says, “While the definition of availability is largely settled, the definition of the affordability of personal auto insurance remains unclear.”

The FIO says the Availability and Affordability Subcommittee of the Treasury Department’s Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance (FACI Subcommittee) suggested a definition for affordability could be ensuring the cost of personal auto insurance is “a reasonable percentage of a consumer’s income.” But the FIO says that can be subjective and difficult to discern.

“One approach may be to interpret personal auto insurance premium payments as affordable if such payments do not prohibit individuals and/or families from purchasing other required necessities,” the FIO says. “Or, personal auto insurance may be interpreted as affordable if it is actually purchased by individuals and/or families.”

Insurance consumer advocates have been pressing for FIO involvement since December 2012, when they brought the issue up at an NAIC winter meeting.

The NAIC responded by issuing a report at its recent Spring National Meeting in Orlando which concluded that that states and territories could take a variety of actions to address the issue, according to lawyers at Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb, P.A., in Florida.

CFTKAW lawyers say the NAIC report proposed that these actions should range from activities common to most states, such as the creation of rate comparison guides or the implementation of restrictions on underwriting guidelines, to initiatives unique to a small number of states such as comprehensive programs to provide low-cost liability policies to low-income drivers.

The FIO says comments may be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, or by mail to the Federal Insurance Office, Attention: Lindy Gustafson, Room 1319 MT, Department of the Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20220.

Non standard auto insurance-after you have an accident.

So You’ve Had an Automobile Accident

As difficult as it may seem, it is important to remain as calm as  possible after experiencing an accident.  If someone is hurt, contact the  paramedics and the police. It is always a good idea to call the police from the  scene of an accident.  Each police jurisdiction has different criteria for  police reports. If the police decide not to come to the scene of the accident,  then ask for direction on filing a report at the station.  With or without  a police report, it is your responsibility to gather as much pertinent  information about the accident as possible. 

Try to gather the following information: take down the license plate number of all vehicles involved; try to get complete names, addresses, phone numbers, and drivers license numbers of all other drivers, along with the registered owner’s name for each vehicle; see if there were any witnesses, as they could be very important later should there be a question as to which driver was at fault; obtain the complete names, addresses, and phone numbers of each witness; and always carry a pen or pencil, and a notepad in the glove compartment, so you will always be prepared in the case of an accident.


What ‘s Next? When you are involved in an accident, you need to contact your  insurance agent/broker or company directly and report the accident.  A  claim number and claims adjuster will be assigned to you.  The driver  should give a complete, detailed accident report, including any witness  information.  As part of the investigation, other drivers and witnesses  will be contacted.  If you have medical or uninsured motorist claims, then  you will be required to provide documentation as to your injuries, medical  expenses, and lost wages.  Ask questions if there is anything you don’t  understand or with which you don’t agree.  The adjuster should be able to  address your questions and concerns.

The Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations require that insurers  acknowledge receipt of your claim within 15 days. Upon receiving proof of claim,  every insurer shall immediately, but in no event more than 40 days, conduct an investigation and either accept or deny the claim in whole or in part. When settlement is reached, the insurer has up to 30 days to make payment.

If the investigation takes longer than 40 days, then insurer must notify you  in writing that additional time is needed, and issue a written claim status  every 30 days thereafter. A denial must contain a statement listing all basis  for such rejection.

When you make a claim for damages to your automobile, the insurance company will decide whether to repair your vehicle or declare it a total loss. Generally, if the cost to repair your vehicle is higher than the fair market  value of the vehicle, the company will declare it a total loss. Read your policy  carefully to determine when your company can declare your automobile a total  loss.

If the insurance company decides your vehicle is to be repaired, then the  insurer must give you a copy of the estimate to repair.  If you obtain an  estimate which exceeds the insurer’s estimate, then the insurer must reasonably  adjust any written estimates or furnish you the name of at least one repair shop  which will complete the repairs for the amount of the insurance company’s  written estimate. Betterment or depreciation may be assessed against the  settlement amount, but it must accurately reflect the value of such deductions.  An example of betterment would be the company painting your entire vehicle due  to old oxidized paint, when only the front fender of the vehicle was damaged. A new paint job puts you in a better condition than you were before the accident  occurred.

If your vehicle is declared a total loss, then the insurance company must  replace it with a comparable vehicle or pay the actual cash value of your  vehicle.  The actual cash value of a vehicle is the fair market price of  the vehicle if it was offered for sale in your local area. The amount of the  settlement must include sales tax and license fees. If you are not  advised  at the time of settlement where a comparable vehicle can be purchased, and you  are unable to locate one on your own within 35 days after receiving the claim  payment, then you need to notify the insurer. The insurer must then re-open the  claims file and make further efforts to adjust your loss.

The insurer also has the responsibility to determine which driver is at  fault.   Under the law, if you are found to be 51% or more at fault,  and there is a total of $750 in property damage, or if there are any injuries, you will be assessed a surcharge.   This means there will be an increase in your premium for the next 36-month period.

Insurance Company Responsibilities-non standard auto insurance.

Your Rights Under the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations

In general, insurance companies are required to do the following:

  • Advise you of all benefits, coverage, time limits or other provisions of your insurance policy.
  • Acknowledge your claim, start the investigation, provide forms and instructions, and provide reasonable assistance immediately but in no event later than 15 days after receiving notice of claim. Notice of claim is any written or oral communication to the insurance company which reasonably apprises the insurer that you wish to make a claim.
  • Respond to communications received from you immediately, but in no event later than 15 days.
  • Accept or deny your claim immediately, but in no event later than 40 days after receiving proof of claim. Proof of claim is documentation in your possession which provides any evidence of the claim and supports the magnitude or the amount of the loss.   Estimates of repair, a police report indicating damages of theft, and photographs of actual physical damage, are all examples of proof of claim documentation.
  • Pay reasonable towing expenses.  If the insurer has provided the name of a specific towing company, and you use another towing facility, this may jeopardize any towing reimbursement.
  • Offer a fair settlement. If you suffer a total loss, then the settlement must include taxes, license, and transfer fees.  The settlement must reflect the value of a comparable vehicle of like kind, condition, and quality.  If you retain the salvage vehicle, then the deductions from the settlement for salvage must be fair, measurable, and discernible.
  • Pay the claim immediately once it has been accepted, but in no event later than 30 days from the date settlement was reached.
  • Advise you whether or not they will pursue their subrogation rights.  Subrogation is a special unit within an insurance company which attempts to gain reimbursement from other insurance companies when you are determined to be not at fault. If the insurance company pursues subrogation they must include your deductible, unless you have recovered your deductible already.
  • Provide reasonable notice that the company will cease paying for storage (if vehicle is stored as result of an accident).

 

Auto Body Repair Shops and non standard auto policies.

Under Pennsylvania insurance regulations, an insurance company cannot require  that an automobile be repaired at a specific repair shop.  

However,  an insurance company can recommend that an automobile be repaired at a specific  repair shop under certain conditions:

  • If an insurance company recommends a particular repair shop, it must do so in writing.
  • The written disclosure must inform the consumer of the right to select the repair shop.
  • If a consumer agrees to use an insurance company recommended repair shop, the insurance company must restore the damaged vehicle to its condition prior to the accident or loss.
  • The insurance company must stand behind the repairs if the vehicle is not repaired properly by the recommended auto repair shop.
  • A consumer cannot be required to travel an unreasonable distance to obtain a repair estimate or to have an automobile repaired at a specific repair shop.

If the vehicle is repaired in a shop chosen by the consumer, then the  insurance company must pay the reasonable costs to repair the vehicle in a  workmanlike manner.  If the consumer’s chosen shop charges more than the  reasonable costs, then the consumer may be responsible for these additional  expenses.

Auto Insurance and Replacement Parts.

In some cases a Pennsylvania auto repair may include replacement of damaged parts with after-market parts. 

After-market parts are parts which are not made by the original manufacturer.  After-market parts may be equal, better, or worse in quality than original  equipment manufacturer parts. Although non-original equipment manufactured  replacement parts can be used to repair your vehicle, any such part must be  comparable to original equipment manufactured parts in terms of kind, quality,  safety, fit, and performance.  Consumers should take note of the following:

  • A PA auto repair shop is required to provide a written repair estimate of the cost of repairs prior to initiating repairs to the vehicle.  Once the work is completed, the shop must then provide a written repair invoice.  State law requires that the type of auto parts used in repairs must be identified on the repair invoice. Consumers should carefully check their invoice to ensure that the auto body shop has identified each auto part replaced as being used, reconditioned, rebuilt, an original equipment manufactured part, or an after-market part.

If you feel the  company is not responsive to you, or there is an unreasonable delay in settling  your claim, then please contact the PA Department of Insurance.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Pennsylvania.

Auto Insurance Fraud

Red  Flags
Automobile insurance fraud in Pennsylvania has historically taken  several forms.  The most common fraud schemes involve automobile property  and automobile accidents.

Automobile Property – This type of fraud most often involves  dishonest auto body and repair shops and/or insureds who may employ a variety of  illegal or questionable techniques including:

  • Reporting parts of vehicles as damaged or lost when in fact they were not damaged or lost prior to the shop receiving the vehicle.
  • Making final cost in excess of the original estimate of damage.
  • Billing for repairs that were not authorized.
  • Charging for genuine parts when after-market or used parts from junkyard were used.
  • Pounding out dents or using bondo when charging for brand new auto parts.
  • Falsely reporting stolen vehicles or vandalism of vehicles in order to collect insurance monies.

It is always very important for the consumer to review carefully all paper  work from auto body and repair shops in order to protect against potential auto insurance fraud.  Also, consumers should be cautious of any auto body or repair  facility that makes referrals to medical or legal offices.  This practice  may be an indicator of “capping.” Capping (a felony in Pennsylvania) is the  illegal referral of clients to legal offices for a fee.