Aware of the Loophole in Your Auto Insurance?

Loophole is a common word we use when referring to something we are trying to keep from having to do. We might be looking to avoid work, make a task easier or just plain want to take the easy way out in avoiding an unpleasant or costly mistake. Whatever it may be, the mention of loophole usually has a negative connotation.

It was just in the last few months that I learned that we ALL have a loophole in our auto insurance policies. I will explain shortly. Just consider how likely this could be you:

You are on your way to work in the morning and running late, you or someone else also running late happen to be eating, shaving or putting on make up. Maybe you are reaching over into the back seat for your brief case or to separate two upset children. You could have dropped your cell phone and are reaching down for it. See yourself in any of these scenarios?

You know it only takes a couple seconds being distracted while driving when your vehicle crosses the line a couple feet, you hit someone and you are involved in a wreck. Maybe it is so tragic that someone loses their life and passes into eternity. In 2006, there were 42,642 traffic deaths in the United States according to the U. S. Department of Transportation. That is about 117 deaths a day, just in the USA.

As usual, the first thing you think is, that won’t ever happen to me. You say I will never die in an auto accident.  I would never be involved in a wreck that killed someone. I am too careful a driver for that, you say. I am sure every one of those 42,642 that died in traffic accidents in 2006 had similar thoughts.  One little distraction is all it takes. Ever get distracted while driving?

Now that we see it could be quite possible to be involved in a tragic auto accident, here is where the insurance company loophole comes in. IF you were responsible for such an accident (and you had auto insurance), your insurance company would pay for the damages up to the dollar amount of your policy.

Now, what happens if you get sued by the decedent’s family? In this type situation, legal fees can run between $30,000-$100,000. Will your auto insurance company pay for your legal fees? NO!!! Not a chance. THIS is the loophole the insurance company will jump through without fail for anyone this happens to.

If you are like me, up until a few months ago, not only did I not know this, I had never really thought about this possibility. I certainly don’t have $30,000-$100,000 to defend myself in case of a tragic accident as I have described. This New York Stock Exchange listed company will pay ALL the legal fees of one of it’s members involved in such an accident. I made sure I planned for life’s unplanned events. I got this …

Agile Project Management Vs. Traditional: Which Methodology is the Best?

Introduction

In the IT industry, there seems to be much debate about Agile vs. Traditional methodologies (e.g., Waterfall). With system, software, and application development, methodologies have continued to be improved upon from Waterfall to Agile. That is why we have Total Quality Management (TQM) and process improvement activities and processes. But there will always be debates between individuals that want to prefer one methodology over the other.

A true statement is: No methodology is a silver bullet. However, some methodologies may be more appropriate (or suited) for a particular project or program. The questions and selection should be what methodology is best for the type of program’s or project’s solution and within the current parameters of the project/program such as time, cost, and quality and client/user satisfaction.

Each methodology (and there are others that are being used) have their pros and cons, and you have probably heard a number of them, along with the debates or discussions that follow: Traditional is sequential, non flexible, etc. Agile has iterations but lacks strong requirements definition, management, extensive planning and costs estimates, etc. But let me state Traditional, or let’s just say Waterfall, has its successes: remember the shuttle and space programs, and other government projects and programs. It also had an improvement process which included incremental activities/processes, parallel development, modular code development, etc. and now the use of object-oriented development… and it is important to realize much of its application was in environments that system reliability and the safety of people were the primary concerns. Agile with its iterations and incremental development, along with SCRUM has it successes with improving areas of team sizes and management, improving requirements definition, and full or complete development cycle (like Waterfall) for iterations (iterations still have to go through requirements definition (with limited documentation), analysis, design and test).

While Agile has been on the scene for less time than traditional methodologies, and has its criticism such as not being suited for large complex projects and programs, there has been/and is a natural progression of improvement in areas such as larger team development and management, more extensive planning and cost estimating, and stable requirements definition for each sprint. But for each methodology, TQM and lessons learned are all about contributing to the process or project’s improvement and providing best (and good) practices.

Several Successes in the 21st Century:

1. With Agile:

For a web application development project an Agile methodology was used with a project management process (Scrum and a weekly PM meeting with the client).

Challenges that were overcome:

  • First time for some team members using the Agile methodology
  • Determining the size of teams and if they could be co-located
  • Ensuring that QA/Testing activities were appropriately included for each iteration

2. With Traditional:

A project for system and firmware development used the Waterfall methodology based on the client having executed successful projects with it and some failures using others.

The project was considered a success and had several out-of-scope changes.

Challenges that were overcome:

  • Ensuring requirements

Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Referral 661-310-7999

Chiropractors are notorious for “keeping their patients coming back.” Many advise everyone to have their spine checked for “subluxations” and “adjusted” throughout life. Many chiropractors advise people whose symptoms have stopped to keep coming back for “preventative maintenance. Some chiropractors are networked with attorneys (and even medical doctors) to provide unnecessary tests and treatment to injured works and auto accident victims. Partly as a result, in many states, workers’ compensation programs has become so expensive that employers have asked their state legislature to limit the amount of chiropractic coverage.

In 1992, Florida Trend magazine published a cover story on “why chiropractors get blamed for fueling the cost of workers’ compensation.” The author concluded that, “Workers’ compensation is fraught with abuse, but no other players in the system rile business more than the chiropractors.” A spokesman for the American Insurance Association even said that, “Sometimes I think of workers’ comp as the chiropractic full-employment act.” Some health-insurance companies called for limits on chiropractic treatment, and some wanted chiropractors out of the WC system altogether. The main complaints were about exaggerated diagnoses, overtreatment, and aggressive marketing aimed at patient retention from cradle to grave. The author also noted:

Less scrupulous attorneys turn to chiropractors, hoping they will give injured workers the highest impairment rating and extend treatment for as long as possible. The chiropractors who play the game are then rewarded with a steady stream of clients provided by their unspoken lawyer/partners.

The payback for a lawyer comes in the medical expenses: The larger the expenses, the more the lawyer can expect, with legal fees paid by the insurer. . . . If a carrier disputes a claim . . . the lawyer can rack up hefty costs for time-consuming depositions and pre-trial appearances. Meanwhile, the chiropractor continues to provide treatment [1].

Two studies have focused attention on the problem in California. The first one, published by the Workers Compensation Research Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts, analyzed 28,539 workers’ compensation cases involving back strains and sprains in California and four other states and concluded:

  • Chiropractic care could achieve the same outcome at lower costs if the number of visits were limited (see Figure A).
  • Chiropractor-directed physical medicine care costs 30% more than physician-directed care and achieved the same outcomes as measured by duration of temporary disability.
  • The higher number of visits that chiropractors use per case is the major driver behind the higher physical medicine payments.
  • In Florida, chiropractic care achieved the same outcome at lower cost than physician-directed physical medicine care in Florida where reimbursement rules place strict limits on the number of chiropractic visits per case that will be reimbursed by workers’ compensation payors. The fact that treatment and billing practices by Florida chiropractors result in lower medical costs while achieving a similar duration of disability as physician-directed care may provide lessons that other states can draw from.
  • Physical medicine services are most often used for back injuries, representing 41% of all injuries that receive such services. This is not surprising