Thursday, September 28, 2006

Insurance Gouging the Insured

Oregon has a measure on the ballot (Number 42) that would stop the use of credit reports to determine automotive insurance costs. There claim is that without this tool the average insurance cost would go up. The reasoning given is people with poor credit are more likely to be involved in accidents then those with bad credit. If the insurance company can’t properly assign risk they will have to expand the cost to cover all potential loss across all customers. Many are making the argument that they are unwilling to supplement poor credit holders.

The first problem with the argument is demonstrating that those with poor credit have more accidents proportionally against the general population. Where is the study that demonstrates how the customer base stacks up credit wise verses those who are involved in accidents? This study would have to demonstrate a major tendency.

Let me also point out that we have had a huge swing in credit after 9/11 and the many stock scandals such as Enron. Those who had no credit concerns at all are now faced with financial peril at no cause of their own. Should their credit, destroyed by others, be allowed to further punish them in extra insurance expenses?

I know those who faced long unemployment who tried everything to keep their bills paid, but found themselves constantly falling backwards. Many of you probably know those who lost cars or homes because of actions outside of their control with situations similar to this. Should we further punish those who have suffered so much? I know there are those who abuse credit and should reap what they sew but how do we separate the wheat from the chaff?

Those who wish to attack me for not understanding insurance, and how risk is calculated, let me point out I am insurance licensed in two states. I do not speak out of ignorance but wish to point to full disclosure. We need honest and fair systems in all areas and I haven’t seen due process take place in order to prove that credit worthiness ultimately determines insurance risk.

I would like to further suggest that those who have the most to lose generally are the most cautious. So would it not follow that someone with little financial means would take extra steps to avoid a loss? Many today are upside down with their car. (They owe more then it is worth.) Insurance generally only pays fair current market value, so most would still have a substantial debt after an accident. These people would be left with no car and even more debt. Credit companies do not treat these remaining debts with equal courtesy when the car is removed from the collateral side. Who with little means would want to be left in this condition?

I stand that credit and risk for auto insurance has not been proven to be tied together. Bring on the studies and prove me wrong? I’m big enough to handle it.

Consumer Reports positive review of Measure 42
Oregon Catalyst negative review of Measure 42

Update: I heard someone argue that if it didn't work other insurance companies would advertise the fact they don't use it and gain more business. This would ultimately push this off the list of useful tools. This arguement has a small degree of credability for new drivers or newly insured. The problem is human nature establishs us as creatures of habit. If we have a habit of good driving and clear records then we probably have ample evidence to demonstrate that credit is not needed as a factor. If credit was used we would have to demonstrate that poor credit is a result of bad habits and not a significant event out of the control of the applicant. Your current credit score would have to be tossed for something demonstrating long term poor judgement skills. Since this is not part of the plan I would opt for approving this measure and stop the prying until solid rules can be applied.
Our credit is currently being used far to broadly and exposing people to unnecessary risk. Every few weeks we hear of another major blunder where peoples personal data is lost of stolen. Why establish another pool of data putting people at risk?

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Cost of Freedom

Once again JB Williams has done it again. I know I keep pointing to his writings but when someone says Something That Needs To Be Said, I'm going to point it out.

The Non-Negotiable Cost of Freedom
Are Americans Still Willing to Pay?
Written by JB Williams © 2006

The high cost of freedom has never been negotiable, yet it seems many Americans wish to negotiate anyway. The historic depth of political division across America is proof of just how badly some want to negotiate the price of being free. Several elections have ended in close calls of late and the future of our nation hinges not upon partisan bickering, but rather upon the very real question of whether or not Americans still have the stomach to endure individual liberty?

It isn’t enough to desire freedom. Every human being on earth seeks freedom. However, freedom is defined in different ways by different people of differing environmental influences. Freedom means something very different to those who have only known tyranny, as compared to those who have only known freedom. For those who have lived in bondage, no price is too high for freedom. For those who have never known bondage, freedom often has little meaning.

Like life itself, which we assume will last forever on most days - we hardly appreciate freedom or life until we are on the brink of losing it. Then, often only then, do we grasp a deep appreciation for what we spend most days taking for granted. Must it come to the brink before we wise up? If so, I think we are getting close, too close for comfort anyway.

The price of freedom

It’s not as if one can place a dollar value on this thing called freedom. If we could, we’d have to say it’s worth every penny, down to our last. Ask anyone ever held captive for ransom. Their earthly riches seemed a pittance, hardly worth a thought, when compared to the notion of never being free again.

The price of freedom is the same for everyone, though some pay more than their fair share while others pay nothing at all. Throughout history, the price of freedom for all has been paid by a few who loved freedom enough to pay the cost for everyone, even as they were spat upon and rejected as brutal criminals, rather than the unselfish patriots they were.

Freedom is all encompassing. Limited freedom is not freedom at all. Don’t confuse freedom with anarchy however. Those who seek to limit freedom always argue that complete freedom is anarchy. This might have been true in the old Wild West as the nation was being settled. It is also true that every communist state ended in anarchy, once the people overthrew their captors.

Read The Rest Here.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

CITGO and Hugo Chavez

Why do we continue to allow such childish behavior to continue on our own soil? Somebody said to me that it is only words and since we have freedom of speech it shouldn't be that big of an issue. I thought about this for a while................

before you try and help someone remove the splinter from their eye perhaps you should remove the plank from your own...........

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me...........

Everyone has a right to their opinion even if it is wrong..........

He who is without sin can cast the first stone...........

Don't get in a battle of wits with an unarmed man................

You can't change someones mind for them..............

That last one got me. I can change minds by positive of negative re-enforcement. If Hugo wants to behave like a spoiled brat then we should treat him accordingly. I can't paddle his butt but I can deny him privileges. As an American citizen I can take steps to minimize his income from my nation. I can also request congress to reduce the countries trade status. We are regularly deciding what trade status is granted to countries we do business with. You and me can take steps to inform our representatives that this anti-American posturing will not be tolerated nor rewarded with American support via financial or trade.
We can do the small things like stop buying gas or any other items from CITGO. This will have an immediate financial impact while we wait for the slow turning wheels of congress to do something substantial.
I can here some of you now complaining about the pain this type of boycott would cause American citizens who are CITGO fuel station owners. Look, any good business man should know who his partners are and how they could be a benefit or a liability to their business. They should also know that community perception and positive involvement ultimately determines success. I dare anyone to offer a compelling argument as to what positive community building has been coming out of Venezuela? Hugo has been slapping Americans for some time now and we have sat back and took it long enough. It is time we let him feel a little pain.
While you are writing to your reps don't forget to mention drilling and oil Independence as a key issue in resolving situations just like this. Hey, I love the environment and nature. We have the technology to do and enjoy both. We also need to push for advances in alternative energy and battery technology. We are the most technologically advanced nation on the globe, don't you think it was about time we started acting like it.

Let's do our part as individuals and Boycott CITGO. We need to let Hugo know that we can have a major effect on his pocket book if he continues to behave that way.

Join the Boycott CITGO Blog Roll.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Border Security

It is about time someone is doing something about the biggest problem in our nation. I had to learn about it from a UK news web site but I feel better knowing something is being done.

I have gone off about the border time and time again. My most favorite piece was "Where do you live?" It was popular enough to find it posted all over the place. Yet here we are still suffering the same problem. Our borders are as porous as a sieve and all we can do is sit back and wait for another terrorist strike. While we wait we are being robbed blind and slowly becoming a minority in our own nation. Our kids can't even go to school without having to conform to the foreigners instead of them conforming to us. Remember the US used to be a melting pot, we are becoming more of a distillation tower.

We suddenly look alot more like Italian salad dressing. We got the heavy particles on the bottom trying to become a part of something yet constantly falling out of touch with what it means to be part of America. We got the clear sharp contrast of vinegar. Just like Americans free to think do an act knowing that their part of the whole and respectful of that. We then have the oil. Murky and rising to the top. Doesn't want to mix in or become part of the nation. They generally have a me first mentality and think everyone should be below them. Being on top also makes them the first to be heard when the complaining starts. In fact, they complain so much it doesn't give anyone time to get to the rest of us.

What does all this have to do with border security? Let me cut to the chase. Boeing has been given a contract by Homeland Security to develop security equipment for monitoring the 7,500 miles of borders the US has with Mexico and Canada. They have a few other companies joining them in the endeavor, but the point is our government finally took a big hint. They won this contract under direct competition with the usual high tech crowd. You can read even more about it here.

I know it will take a while to get it all together, so I'm not expecting progress tomorrow. I also hope they add in chain guns and other lethal stop acts. If the news reported about a dozen or so dead bodies from trying to gain access each day, the migration would slow to a crawl.

Remember this is our house and we should have a say on who can come and go.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Knowing When You Need More Help

Every business goes through growing pains. These times are good and bad for a number of reasons. Let us look at some of the decision making process necessary for deciding on the addition of more employees.

Usually it all begins with a one person or partnership company that finally breaks over the top. They suddenly come to the conclusion that they can’t meet the demands of their customers fast enough. This problem, as wonderful as it may appear, results in two possibilities, expansion or competition. Expansion should be seen as a good thing but more often then not it is feared and competition is allowed to flourish.

I realize that this is a rather simplistic view of competition but it is one of the contributing factors. If we can get a handle on this part of the game we can effectively grow our business. Failure to deal with the various parts of competition may end in a reduction of business or an over supply in the market place.

Most of us who have been in our own business can clearly remember the moment where we seemed to be working around the clock. We seemed to lose our creative energy and are caught in an endless production cycle with no innovation. We seem to lose some of the love that got us into business in the first place. Usually our first employee decision is hiring a family member. Many business owners will tell you this was the first bad decision that might have destroyed the company. I don’t have anything against family members but the lack of separation between family and business can be more tiring then the business itself. There are many advantages to hiring family but establishing a line between business and family is vital. Clear agreement on authority and direction needs to be firmly established before the hire. Don’t let a strong family member destroy your dream. Take charge of the situation and clearly define the help you want or need. Just because they are family, doesn’t mean you have to be a rug.

Finding the right employee is a daunting challenge but knowing you truly are ready is just as important. The big question is, “How do you know you have enough work to warrant another employee?” This question needs to seriously look at the cost of an employee verses the cost of not hiring.

The first most obvious cost is the amount of overtime you are paying current employees. Why would you pay someone 1.5 times their going rate when you don’t get any more for the extra expense? Sooner or later the cost of overtime will balance the hire. If you are paying for twenty hours of overtime a week that could be absorbed by a new employee, then you have three fourths of their wage covered. Let us not forget the reduced stress on your current employees that will help your business. We also need to consider the potential increased production time available.

I realize that a new hire will not be up to speed for a while but let us not forget the extra 10 hours for learning and ultimately business growth. There is some risk here, but the rewards are substantial. We are giving our business room to grow. We have to make a decision to invest in future growth.

Some people will wait until their full hours can be recovered. The expectations placed on the new hire become too high at this point. It is doubtful that any business can expect someone to walk in and do the full complement of their duty from minute one. Smart money would allow for growth and the learning curve. Let us not forget that you or one of your key employees will need to train this individual and this will take extra time. Once again, I stress the importance of investing in the future. We don’t want to take on too much risk. Play it smart and allow a little wiggle room. Patience and reasonability will make the choice a success and will garner a happy successful employee.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

What Good Is English Anyway?

I was recently speaking with some friends who were all excited about their daughters first day of school. They were pleased at her progress as they had worked hard to teach her phonics and letter and number recognition before entering kindergarten. She was dressed in her new school cloths and sent on her way. When she returned she was lacking enthusiasm and looked confused. They asked their daughter what she had learned today and if she had made any new friends? She simply shrugged and said I didn’t understand anything that was going on all day because everything was in Spanish.

The shocker came when my friends took their daughter to class the next day. This school room in downtown America had a Hispanic teacher and 27 students. The teacher told them that their daughter would have to learn Spanish in order to keep up with the class. The students broke out as two white kids, one Asian and twenty-four Hispanic. The teacher let them know that in a couple of weeks of intense language their child would function just fine.

How did we get here? This isn’t a case of rural schooling with a large agricultural migrant worker base. These people work and live in a capital city with high ranking government and state activities being determined. How did real Americans suddenly become the minority? Why is it that our children are being forced to learn a foreign language in their own land?

The world has come to realize that if you are going to survive in the big global market you better be able to transact business in English or Mandarin Chinese. These are the future markets for goods, where all other languages are simple local communication. If you want your economy to grow and survive you will need to get with the big players.

Yet, here we are reducing our own economy in the classrooms of America. I have nothing against learning another language by personal choice. In fact I see it as large growth step that would indeed improve a person. Yet, why would one want to learn a language that is going no where? We have had Ebonics in the news as another dead end language trying to make a come back. Why do we insist on limiting our skill sets?

Here we have a situation where Americans have less access to education then foreigners. We see this playing out all over with racial quotas and incentives for minorities. These very programs support, if not promote, racial profiling and bias. We have created a society where reverse prejudice is acceptable. We once looked to the day where all would be viewed equal, but our social engineers have completely missed the mark and instead have turned the whole thing upside down.

If ever there was a case for establishing English as our national language, this would be it. We have now seen to the complete breakdown of our borders, language and culture.

How long will America last?

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

We Remember 9/11 and Kleber Rolando Molina

Five years have past. So much life taken. The memories and horrors still haunt our nation and determine its direction. Some have turned away, as if it never happened. Some have been dealing with the reality of loved ones who will never return. Almost 3000 lives have been reduced to a simple list. We fail to stop and see the individuals who perished in tragedy on September 11, 2001. Today, each person will once again be seen as an individual. Today, I join thousands of Bloggers who dedicate a post to the individuals who paid the ultimate price to awake a sleeping giant. My hope is that this tribute will once again kindle a fire in the heart of America.

Kleber Rolando Molina
of New York, NY
Age: 44
He worked as a Fiduciary Trust.
He left behind his wife.

Kleber grew up in Jersey City and his friends share fond memories of him and his love of life. He became a disco fanatic as a teen and dreamed of being a DJ. Kleber was working hard to improve himself by taking management classes at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Kleber and his dreams are no longer with us, but the hopes of those left behind linger. Little is known about his life and family. May we offer a prayer for his family and friends. May God be remembered on this day, and may those who suffered loss be comforted.

Let us remember Kleber and how he was taken from us. Let us rededicate our nation to triumphing over terrorism and promoting freedom. Today, thank a soldier and their family for acting on your behalf. The battles must be won!

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Terrorists' Club

Former New York City mayor Ed Koch once called the United Nations "a cesspool." In fact, it is worse than that. The United Nations of today is the world's largest terrorist cell. It is a place where terrorist nations meet, hold membership, and promote their agendas. It is an institution through which they spread hate and encourage violence. This behavior is carried out on American soil and subsidized by American taxpayers.
By providing a forum, the United Nations does for terrorist diplomacy what Al Jazeera does for terrorist propaganda. It is a leading dispensary of jihadist poison. The General Assembly of the United Nations is for today's terrorists what the Ravenite Social Club was for John Gotti—a home away from home, a place where business is conducted.
The United States must recognize this fact and put the UN out of business. We must do so because international terrorism aimed at the United States and her citizens is the number one concern for American foreign policy and national security. It will continue to be for many years to come, as it should have been prior to September 11, 2001, when alarm bells rang throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Read the rest of this article Here. You can also buy the book Diplomatic Divorce: Why America Should End Its Love Affair with the United Nations.

The more I read or hear the news the madder I get at the UN. This article points out the reality of the UN and how we are allowing terrorism a stronghold in America. You may have noticed that I am a member of the Reject the UN blog roll. Each of you who visit here from wherever you are in the world should seriously consider what this organization stands for and what roll your country is playing as a member. My country is playing host, financier and strong man for fools liars and cheats. As per the post below, we have no chance of actually accomplishing good in this organization. Our only possible saving grace is being one of the big guns who can veto an action. Yet, being the primary money source and stick, without us the UN would never be able to carry out what little it does.

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