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Congratulations. You’ve Been Selected – Don’t Get Scammed!

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

This message was shared with me by the Simi Valley Police department and I thought it valuable information so I wanted to share it with you.

Many older Americans grew up in an era when doing the right thing meant helping family members, reporting for jury duty, and paying your taxes. Unfortunately, scammers know this and they are preying upon people’s integrity and sense of duty to steal from them.

Here are some common scams to watch out for:

Be suspicious of anyone who offers you a chance for quick and easy wealth.

Be wary of exaggerated claims for health and medical products, such as cures for cancer or arthritis. Before buying any cure-alls, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or clinic.

Don’t give any details about your credit cards to phone solicitors even if they offer you gifts, a free vacation, or a sweepstakes prize.

Don’t give credit cards, checkbooks, or savings account passbooks to your housekeeper or caretaker. Don’t make an employee a joint owner of your bank account or your property.

Never make cash transactions in secret. Discuss any large transaction with your banker or a trusted family member.

Grandparent scams obtain some personal information about you, including the names and locations of family members, one of which is a grandchild. Scammers will call you posing as your grandchild with a plausible story about getting in trouble and needing money. In their desire to help, you rush to send bail money, money to pay off a debt or to pay for medical expenses.

Lottery scams try to convince you that you have won money in a foreign lottery. A reasonable-sounding person explains that all you have to do is pay the nominal taxes up front and they will send your winnings to you.

IRS scams are when the scammer calls and says you are overdue on your taxes. The scammer demands money and threatens with an arrest if payment is not made.

Charity scams is when money is solicited for fake charities. This often occurs after a natural disaster, during an election, or another traumatic event.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it with someone you trust. You are not alone, and there are people who can help. Doing nothing could only make it worse. Keep handy the phone numbers to your police department and your bank if money has been taken from your accounts.

Auto insurance rates on the rise

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

MORE ACCIDENTS attributed to smartphone use while driving, coupled with much higher costs of repairs, have led to double-digit increases in auto insurance rates over the past few years. Distracted driving is just one of many factors that have converged on auto insurance claims, resulting in sustained premium increases. Now there are new factors that are coming into play that will ensure that rates continue their upward climb, at least in the near term. Here’s what’s at play and what you need to be aware of in the future:

New and future risks
Weather-related property claims – A recent report in the insurance publication National Underwriter noted that auto insurers say that the increasing frequency and severity of large hurricanes, floods, hailstorms and wildfires has led to more auto physical damage claims in the past decade. As these events grow, more vehicles are flooded or damaged, leading to an increase in rates. Security with onboard systems – As more vehicle functions become automated, new risks could surface from system failures that may result in accidents. There are a number of technologies that come into play in new vehicles and a highly automated vehicle will rely on array of devices, including radar, light detection and ranging, cameras, graphics-processing units and central processing units.

Continuing factors
Distracted driving– This is the biggie. Starting a few years after the advent of smartphones in 2009, the steady decline in vehicle accidents and claims costs began to reverse when vehicular deaths started increasing for the first time in decades. The culprit, say many transportation safety experts, is distracted driving. Repair costs – The cost of repairing vehicles has skyrocketed as cars have become more technologically advanced. In 2018 research found that vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) can cost twice as much to repair following a collision, due to expensive sensors and calibration requirements. The cost of repairing a car with windshield damage if it has an ADAS has tripled. The system uses cameras that are installed behind the windshield and these cameras need to be recalibrated after a windshield is replaced. This has increased the cost of replacing such windshields to about $1,500, compared to $500 for a standard windshield. Medical costs – Medical costs have been rising at a steady clip. Those increases carry over into the costs auto insurance companies incur when drivers and passengers are injured in an accident. More miles driven – With the improving economy, Americans are spending more time on the road. Driving more miles increases motorists’ likelihood of having an accident.

Are you taking care of tomorrow?

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

27% of 1,000 Millennials surveyed in July 2018 spend more money on coffee each month than what they set aside and invest monthly for their eventual retirement (source: Lendedu.com). If this describes you, give us a call and we can show you a couple of steps you can take to get started on a systematic plan to build wealth for retirement.

Comments about annuities from the current issue of Kiplinger newsletter –

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

“Sales of fixed-rate deferred annuities will jump over the next two years: A 20% increase this year and another 25% next year. Higher interest rates and increased stock market volatility are making annuities more attractive options than they have been in years. Higher rates let insurers hike the payouts they offer on deferred annuities, which accrue value tax-free until they begin making payments. Deregulation in the financial sector is good for annuities, whose sales sagged in 2017 because of the Dept. of Labor’s fiduciary rule. An appeals court later nixed it.” We offer several fixed annuity products from Great American Insurance Company. Give me a call to find out how you can secure one of these great products for yourself!

Prevention through education – talk with your teenage drivers

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are recognized as the deadliest for teens, as collisions involving young drivers spikes sharply during this period. This year the Department of Insurance, the California Highway Patrol, Impact Teen Drivers, and the insurance industry are hoping to turn the tide by teaming up with the Ford Motor Company’s Driving Skills for Life Program to educate young drivers about the dangers of driving impaired with a unique behind-the-wheel experience.

“One mistake or poor decision can lead to painful and life-altering consequences from fines and increased insurance rates to the unthinkable-injuring or killing another person,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Educating young drivers and building their behind-the-wheel skills is one of best investments we can make.”

“Traffic collisions are the number one killer of teenagers in America. New drivers often don’t recognize dangerous driving situations,” said CHP Valley Division Assistant Chief Ryan Stonebraker. “Driving under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs, or even the slightest distraction, like reaching for a cell phone, can have devastating repercussions.”

While efforts to educate young drivers about the dangers of distractions and driving under the influence of alcohol are well established, the legalization of recreational cannabis presents a new opportunity for parents to talk with their teen drivers about a new impaired driving hazard, as a recent survey by the Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America found.

“Our survey found that many Californians are hearing the messages warning against distracted driving, but too many people appear to have nonchalant attitudes about the dangers of drug impaired driving,” said Armand Feliciano, Vice President Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. “We need more research, public awareness, and sound public policy surrounding the dangers of marijuana-impaired driving to help save lives and reduce crashes.”

James Lynch of the Insurance Information Institute added, “There is substantial evidence supporting that THC impairment leads to a higher rate of motor vehicle crashes, and the chance of an accident increases with consumption.”

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Timothy G. Shannon, CLF, AIM, LUTCF

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