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INSURANCE • BUSINESS • POLITICS • TECHNOLOGY

JANUARY 2020 - VOL 16 ISSUE 1

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


IN THIS ISSUE JANUARY 2020 VOL 16 ISSUE 1

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12 Questions About Social Media You’re Too Embarrassed To Ask

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Defendant Convicted Of Insurance Fraud Unsuccessfully Pursues Appeal

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Don’t Forget About Retirement Plan Required Minimum Distributions

AAA: Long-Term Use Of Advanced Driver Assistance Tech Can Result In Disengaged Drivers National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) Launches New Application To Assist Insurance Producers

Consumer/Producer Alert! The Truth About New MediGap Changes In 2020

Orange County Agent Sentenced In $590K Life Insurance And Investment Scheme

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Brown & Brown Acquires Special Risk Insurance Managers • Blue Origin Secures Successful Test Flight • IRMI Registration Open For 2020 AgriCon

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California Arrests Suspects In San Diego Organized $500K Auto Insurance Fraud Ring

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Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier Voted NAIC President-Elect

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Florida Commissioner Altmaier Announces OIR Gov’t Affairs Director

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Hialeah, FL Check Casher Sentenced To 13 Years In Prison For Multiple Frauds

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Washington Police Officer Buys Renter’s Policy As Apartment Burns - Charged With False Claim

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Auto Sales Boosted By Strong Discounts As spending Reaches New High

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Millennials & The Stinking Economic Rot Of Socialism

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When Democrat Leadership Made Sense • Why We Are Graduating Socialists

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Trump On Soleimani Strike • Iranian Sleeper Cells In U.S.?

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How (And Why) To Write A Press Release

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2019 FAIA & LAAIA Trade Fair Booth Images

PREFER TO READ OFFLINE? DOWNLOAD & VIEW PDF: HERE!


PAGE 8 - MATT TRESKOVICH: REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS

INSURANCE AND THE LAW PAGE SIX

Report: Long-Term Use Of Advanced Driver Assistance Technology Can Result In Disengaged Drivers

2019 FAIA & LAAIA TRADE FAIR BOOTH IMAGES NOW ONLINE! PG 40

HOW (AND WHY) TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE THAT ACTUALLY GETS PUBLISHED

PG 38 FEATURES 5 6 8 10

Kim Komando

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Breaking News

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Insider Advisor

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Back Issues

Barry Zalma Matt Treskovitch Advertise

Say What?

Page 6 New Zalma Claims Books Now Available! Story...

Cover Image: CC0 MlaxPixels


JANUARY 2020 INSURANCE - POLITICS - TECHNOLOGY - PEOPLE A Publication of AdMax Corp., Inc. Corporate Offices P.O. Box 31551 Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33420 Ron Manera, Publisher/Senior Editor Join Me On Linkedin: HERE Follow Me On Instagram: @rj.0521 561.718.0745 • ron@insurmedia.com

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TECHNOLOGY

12 QUESTIONS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA YOU’RE TOO EMBARRASSED TO ASK

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Really Cool Tech Info - From Kim Komando t’s hard to find someone not on social media.

your ex on their profile can only add to the shame.

Recent numbers from Pew Research show seven out of 10 Americans use social media, and about 75% of Facebook users frequent the site at least once a day.

Unfortunately, most social networks notify users of any likes on their profiles. Unliking a post won’t erase the original notification, so you’ll only be safe if their notifications are turned off — or cross your fingers they happen to miss that one.

These platforms have changed the way we communicate, but that innovation comes with a big cost: Privacy. Despite having a profile on several networks, many people don’t know the first thing about managing their content, maintaining security or handling awkward situations. Tap or click to learn a simple way to protect your privacy on social media. If you’re on social media and have questions you’ve been afraid to ask, you’re in luck. We’re breaking down social media’s most embarrassing questions to help you avoid gaffes and faux pas in your digital social life. Read on to learn about these JANUARY 2020

What do other people see when they look at my online profiles?

social media tricks before it’s too late.

What if I accidentally click ‘like’ on an ex’s photo? Will they know even if I unlike it? It’s probably not a good idea to look at an ex’s profile page in the first place, but it happens to the best of us. And liking a photo of Table of Contents

Depending on your privacy settings, your profile may look different to different users. Certain users may not see parts of your profile others can. You can see what your profile looks like to the general public by logging out and visiting the direct URL of your profile. This is the web address that appears at the top of your browser when you’re on a page. Copy this, log See Kim Komando Pg 36 www/underwritersinsider.com

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CLAIMS & THE LAW

DEFENDANT CONVICTED OF INSURANCE FRAUD UNSUCCESSFULLY PURSUES APPEAL Expert Analysis & Commentary by Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE Insurance Criminals Continue to Abuse System After Conviction

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nsurance criminals are spoiled. They are seldom caught. When caught and prosecuted they, and their lawyers, use every trick and motion available to delay trial and conviction. Even after being convicted and sentenced they – using their ill-gotten funds – file multiple post trial motions and appeals.

courts much money and time in count of conspiracy to commit the attempts to keep the fruits of mail fraud 12 counts of health their crimes. care fraud, and 8 counts of mail fraud. It also charged Defendant with one count of unlawful Join Barry Zalma’s Blog: procurement of naturalization. http://www.zalma.com/blog

BACKGROUND

In a good example of the truism, United States of America v. Antonio Ramon Martinez-Lopez, File No. 1:16-CR-62, United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan Southern Division (December 3, 2019), a grand jury returned an indictment charging Defendant Sometimes they succeed. Most Antonio Ramon Martinez-Lopez, times they must still serve the and several co-defendants with time required by the sentence. conspiracy to commit mail fraud, Always their actions cost the health care fraud, and mail fraud, state, the federal government, charging Belkis Soca-Fernandez the trial courts and the appellate and David Sosa-Baladron with one

The charges against Defendant stemmed from his involvement in a scheme to submit fraudulent claims to automobile insurance companies. Defendant operated a business called Revive Therapy Center, L.L.C., in Wyoming, Michigan. Later, he and his codefendants established Renue Therapy in Lansing, Michigan, and H&H Rehab Center in Wyoming, Michigan. Defendant worked with Soca-Fernandez and Sosa-Baladron to recruit others to stage automobile accidents

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, practiced law in California for more than 43 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer. He now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant and expert witness specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He founded Zalma Insurance Consultants in 2001 and serves as its only consultant. 6

The Underwriter’s Insider

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and then seek physical therapy that was unnecessary or was not provided. Defendants submitted false claims for this therapy through Revive and the two other clinics, and the insurance companies paid these claims until they discovered that the claims were fraudulent.

Defendant contributed to the circumstances giving rise to his request. The case proceeded to a jury trial. At the end of the trial, the jury found Defendants guilty of all the counts against them. The Court sentenced Defendant to a prison term of 87 months for all counts.

After months of posturing Defendant’s counsel asked the Court for permission to withdraw as counsel, contending that the relationship between him and Defendant had broken down due to a “failure of communication and the meaningful exchange of information necessary and required for an effective defense and representation.” Among other things, counsel contended that Defendant “has not responded in a timely manner of [sic] requests to sign court documents or to provide information essential to an effective defense . . . .”

The Court concluded that Defendant’s claims were meritless. Moreover, an evidentiary hearing was not required because the record of the case conclusively showed that Defendant is not entitled to relief and concluded that reasonable jurists could not find that the Court’s denial of Defendant’s claims was debatable or wrong.”

The Court scheduled the motion for a hearing and required Defendant to be present at the hearing. Defendant did not show up for the hearing, however, so the Court issued a warrant for his arrest. The Court also granted the motion to withdraw.

THE APPEALS

Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed this Court’s judgment in an opinion issued on August 23, 2018. Defendant appealed that decision to the The Court appointed new counsel United States Supreme Court, to represent Defendant. New which denied a petition for writ counsel unsuccessfully sought a of. continuance and/or severance, noting the many prior delays A prisoner who moves to vacate in the case and the fact that his sentence must show that JANUARY 2020

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the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such a sentence, that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or that it is otherwise subject to collateral attack. To prevail a petitioner must demonstrate the existence of an error of constitutional magnitude which had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or the jury’s verdict.

ANALYSIS Defendant unsuccessfully argued that his first attorney, Kurt Richardson, provided ineffective assistance because he did not investigate Defendant’s case and made an untimely motion to withdraw. To the extent Defendant relies on a “language barrier” as the reason for his inability to work with Richardson, Defendant does not address Richardson’s assertions that Defendant speaks conversational English, that Defendant spoke to Richardson on at least one occasion with an interpreter available, and that Defendant failed to give Richardson any material evidence or names of witnesses that would assist his defense.

See ZALMA Page 35 www/underwritersinsider.com

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ANALYSIS - FINANCIAL

“InvestmentZen”Credit: www.investmentzen.com

DON’T FORGET ABOUT RETIREMENT PLAN REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS

By Matthew Treskovich, CPA/PFS, MBA, CFP®, CMA

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f you have an employersponsored retirement plan or IRA and live long enough, you’ll eventually be required to take money out of the plan and pay taxes on the withdrawal. These rules are part of the tax code. They were created to ensure the Federal government eventually collects some taxes on savings in retirement accounts.

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The Underwriter’s Insider

These mandatory withdrawals are called Required Minimum Distributions, abbreviated as “RMDs”. Sometimes they are referred to as “minimum required distributions”. No matter what the label, the rules are the same. Once you reach age 70 1/2, the tax code requires you to withdraw a certain amount annually from your retirement accounts. The RMD rules apply to traditional IRAs, simplified employee Pension (SEP) IRAs, SIMPLE plans, Table of Contents

and 401(k) plans. Most 457(b) and 403(b) plans are also subject to the RMD rules. One important exception is that there is no required minimum distribution from Roth IRAs during your lifetime. Beneficiaries who inherit a Roth IRA are required to withdraw money over a certain period of time. Required minimum distributions are calculated using tables provided by the IRS. Your retirement plan’s custodian JANUARY 2020


TAXES AND PENALTIES

should do the calculation for you. If you have multiple accounts, each retirement account’s RMD amount is calculated separately. You can withdraw the required amount from any combination of those accounts. Inherited accounts and 403(b) accounts are an exception to this rule.

WATCH THE CALENDAR In the year you turn 70 1/2, you must begin taking withdrawals from accounts subject to the RMD rules. If you don’t take the first distribution during the year you

turn 70 1/2, you can still avoid tax penalties. You have until April 1st of the following year to take your first required minimum distribution. For the following years, you must take the required minimum distribution by December 31st of that year. This means that if you delay your initial RMD using the “April 1st rule”, you’ll end up taking two RMDs in the following year. This also means you’ll pay double the taxes in a single year.

If you don’t take a distribution of the required minimum amount in a year, the tax penalty is 50% (!!) of the amount you should have taken. You can always withdraw more than the RMD amount without penalties. Because the tax penalty is so high, it never makes sense to skip a required minimum distribution. Depending on your circumstances, the IRS might grant a waiver of the penalty. If you are in this situation, seek the advice of a tax professional as soon as possible. Required minimum distribution amounts are taxable as ordinary income. If you don’t need the income from your RMD, it is possible to make a tax-free

See Retirement Plans Pg 25

About the author:

Matt is the Chief Investment Officer of the firm of CPS Investment Advisors with 18 years of experience in financial services also serving as the CFO of an insurance brokerage. With a Master’s degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis on accounting from the University of Phoenix, Matt is a CPA licensed in Florida and holds the AICPA’s Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation. Matt is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). and received a Certificate of Distinguished Performance from the IMA for achieving a CMA exam score in the top ten worldwide. In 2017, he was awarded an AICPA Standing Ovation for exemplary professional achievement in personal financial planning services. Treskovich also is certified as an Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) designee by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC). He is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants, former President of the Mid Florida Chapter and former Treasurer of the IMA Florida Council.

JANUARY 2020

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BUSINESS ATTORNEY • Mergers & Acquisition • Corporate Setup • Landlord Leases • Startups • Trade Secrets • Business Plans • Enterprise Development • Non-Compete Agreements

Phillip T. Crenshaw, PA

Legal Representation In Florida Member of Florida Bar (1971) Business Development Services Available In All Venues 1615 Forum Place Barristers Bldg. • Suite 500 W. Palm Beach • Florida 33401 561.439.6100 • Crenlaw.com JANUARY 2020

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Phillip T. Crenshaw, Esq.

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REPORT: AAA

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ASHINGTON (Dec 17, to drive while distracted with 2019) – Drivers with systems activated compared to experience using advanced driver assistance As drivers systems (ADAS) like adaptive develop more cruise control and lane-keeping experience and comfort assist, were nearly twice as likely to engage in distracted using advanced driver driving while using the systems compared to when they were assistance systems, they driving without the systems, are also more likely to according to new research from drive distracted while the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. using the systems.” Alternatively, drivers with less when systems were not in use. experience and familiarity using AAA wants drivers to remember the technology were less likely that while new driver assistance

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technologies offer important benefits, drivers must remain active and engaged when behind the wheel to maximize safety. “This new research suggests that as drivers gain more experience using ADAS technology, they could develop complacency while behind the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Over-reliance on these systems can put drivers and others in dangerous conditions during critical moments.”

JANUARY 2020

Land Rover MENA, New Range Rover Evoque Autobiography (12609504015), CC BY 2.0

LONG-TERM USE OF ADVANCED DRIVER ASSISTANCE TECHNOLOGIES CAN RESULT IN DISENGAGED DRIVERS


Researchers at the AAA Foundation collaborated with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to analyze video of onroad behaviors for two groups of drivers using advanced driver assistance technology. Individuals in one group owned a vehicle equipped with ADAS and had more experience using the systems while drivers in the other group were given a vehicle equipped with ADAS to use during the 4-week study period and had less experience with the technology. The research found that drivers who owned their vehicles – and therefore had more familiarity with ADAS technology — were more likely to drive distracted when these systems were active than when they were not. For example, some observed distracted driving behaviors included texting or adjusting the radio. Meanwhile, drivers with less experience using the technologies were more likely to remain attentive and engaged while the systems were engaged. Virginia Tech researchers theorize that drivers move through different phases tied to experience using ADAS. First timers start in a novelty phase where they learn and test the technology. These drivers are less inclined to trust the system’s function and reliability, so they remain active and engaged JANUARY 2020

while driving. Eventually, drivers reach an experienced user phase where overreliance and too much trust in the systems becomes more common. These drivers are more apt to take their eyes and attention away from the road. Research in other industries shows that pilots and nuclear technicians demonstrate similar patterns of over-reliance on automated systems. These behaviors can eventually lead to distraction.

driver assistance technologies in your vehicle have limitations.

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-forprofit, publicly funded, 501(c) (3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www. AAAFoundation.org.

“Advanced driver assistance technologies have a lot to offer in terms of comfort and safety, but they should never replace an attentive and engaged driver,” said Dr. William Van Tassel, AAA manager of driver training programs. “Remember, technology fails us daily while at work and at home. So, don’t get caught driving distracted when About AAA: being focused on the road can AAA provides more than save your life.” 60 million members with AAA offers three simple steps automotive, travel, insurance for how to ACE your next vehicle and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs rental or purchase: and nearly 1,100 branch offices • Always remain active and across North America. Since engaged when using ADAS 1902, the not-for-profit, fully taxtechnologies like lane-keep paying AAA has been a leader assist or adaptive cruise and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside control. • Commit to knowing what assistance, identify nearby gas ADAS technologies are prices, locate discounts, book a installed on your vehicle and hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit how they work. • Expect that the advanced AAA.com. Table of Contents

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NEWS

NATIONAL INSURANCE PRODUCER REGISTRY LAUNCHES NEW APPLICATION TO ASSIST INSURANCE PRODUCERS Application is a OneStop Shop for National Licensure Compliance

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Any professional licensed by a state insurance department can use the app to view their basic licensing information, like license numbers, expiration dates, and lines of authority.

professionals—especially those licensed in multiple states,” said TDCI Interim Commissioner Carter Lawrence.

“The new application from NIPR is a great resource for agents, and The application will also push it also empowers consumers to notifications to licensees reminding ask for proof of licensure prior them of expiration dates, to conducting business with an termination dates, and effective insurance professional.” dates. The app gives insurance professionals 24/7 access to Any professional licensed by a their licensing and continuing state insurance department can education The free application, information, which was launched use the app to view their basic licensing while also providing an easy by the National means of showing proof of information, like license numbers, Insurance Producer expiration dates, and lines of authority.” licensure to carriers, agencies, Registry (NIPR), and consumers, should it be allows insurance professionals to requested. safely and securely access their “Keeping up with licensure and licensure and continuing education education requirements can be a In Tennessee, there are over information on mobile devices. daunting task for busy insurance 195,000 actively licensed insurance producers. These licensees are required to complete 24 credit hours of approved continuing education prior to renewing their license on a biennial basis. ASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is notifying insurance producers of a new application that makes licensing and education compliance faster and easier than ever.

More information on the application and links to download can be found on NIPR’s website. To learn more about insurance licensing in Tennessee, visit tn.gov/insurance. 14

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JANUARY 2020

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NEWS

ORANGE COUNTY AGENT SENTENCED IN $590,000 FRAUDULENT LIFE INSURANCE AND INVESTMENT SCHEME Ordered to pay restitution to victims, three of the victims were seniors

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RANGE COUNTY, Calif. — Joseph Ramiro Garcia, 37, formerly of Brea, pleaded guilty yesterday to multiple felony counts of grand theft, insurance fraud, and elder abuse after submitting fraudulent life insurance applications to collect advance commissions and embezzling over $590,000 from 18 different victims.

and steal their hard-earned money that they depended on to secure their financial futures,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “My department is committed to investigating unscrupulous agents like Mr. Garcia and making sure they are brought to justice and California’s consumers are protected.”

After receiving a complaint from Transamerica Premier Life Insurance Company, the California Department of Insurance Investigation Division uncovered Garcia’s far-reaching fraud and embezzlement scheme. Garcia submitted seven fraudulent life insurance

Garcia was sentenced to six years in state prison and was ordered to pay $459,721 in restitution to his victims, many of which were present in court and gave statements regarding the impact of Garcia’s crimes on their lives. “Garcia used his position as a financial advisor to take advantage of his clients’ trust

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The Underwriter’s Insider

Mr. Zalma recently published on Amazon.com with links at the Zalma Books site with the following volumes:

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JANUARY 2020


applications to the insurance company between December 2014 and January 2015, which caused the company to issue over $50,000 in advanced commissions to the managing general agent, World Financial Group. Garcia received approximately $20,382 of these funds. All the life insurance applications contained the same banking information for premium payment, resulting in unauthorized attempted deductions from an unrelated insured’s bank account. The applications also contained information pertaining to the proposed applicants’ personal identifying information, including Social Security numbers, contact information, and Driver’s Licenses numbers which were found to be bogus. After executing multiple bank search warrants, department investigators became aware of victims whose relationship with Garcia began when he prepared their income taxes. After gaining their trust, Garcia convinced them to rollover their retirement accounts into another account he controlled through two of his companies, Building Bridges Financial Firm LLC and VOS Financial LLC.

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From February 2014 to February 2018, Garcia represented himself as a financial advisor and embezzled roughly $598,906 from 18 different victims, who were unaware their funds were not applied as intended. The majority of the stolen funds were from the victims’ IRA or 401(k) retirement accounts which were never properly rolled over to another independent financial institution. A small

early withdrawal of funds and the failure to report income due to Garcia’s actions. The majority of the victims had a close relationship with Garcia and three of the victims were 65 or older at the time of the theft. The investigation determined the majority of stolen funds were deposited into business bank accounts controlled by Garcia and used instead for personal expenses, such as designer clothing, Disneyland season passes, restaurants, and travel. When the embezzlement was discovered, Garcia refunded monies to some of his victims and belatedly set up financial investments for others to cover his activities. Garcia was arrested in Anaheim on September 19, 2019, and was booked in to the Orange County Jail. Bail was set at $600,000, however; Garcia did not post bail and has remained in custody. This case was prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office under the Life and Annuity Consumer Protection Program.

portion of the stolen funds were miscellaneous personal checks Garcia negotiated. One victim’s annuity account was systematically liquidated without her knowledge. As a result of the unknown withdrawal of retirement funds, some victims are also Garcia is no longer licensed as facing IRS tax penalties for the an insurance agent. Table of Contents

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THE INSIDE TRACK - BREAKING NEWS Brown & Brown Acquires Special Risk Insurance Managers, Ltd. of Canada

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AYTONA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — J. Scott Penny, Chief Acquisitions Officer of Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE:BRO), and MarkWoodall and Tom Willie, the principals of Special Risk Insurance Managers, Ltd. (“Special Risk”), today announced that Brown & Brown Programs (CA), Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Special Risk. The transaction is expected to close effective January 1, 2020, subject to certain closing conditions. Founded in 1991, Special Risk has grown to a preeminent player in the MGA industry in Canada, recognized as MGA of the Year in 2018. The acquisition of Special Risk is a strategic step forward for Brown 18

The Underwriter’s Insider

& Brown in establishing a presence in the Canadian insurance brokerage market. Special Risk will operate as a part of Brown & Brown National Programs, which, under the leadership of Chris Walker, consists of over sixty specialty niche programs and collectively represents over $3 billion in written premium. Special Risk will become a distinct operating division in the National

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Programs Division alongside specialist operations such as Arrowhead General Insurance Agency and Bellingham Underwriters. Mark Woodall will continue to lead the Special Risk team and will be part of the leadership team of the National Programs Division, reporting to Chris Walker. Tom Willie will continue to the lead the underwriting team of Special Risk. Chris Walker, President

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THE INSIDE TRACK - BREAKING NEWS of Brown & Brown National Programs stated, “We are delighted to bring Mark, Tom and their exceptional team of professionals to our operation. We are excited about the opportunities in Canada and believe with Special Risk we now have the talent, reputation and platform to succeed.”

updates to the system. This was also the 9th commercial payload mission for New Shepard, and we are proud to be have flown our 100th customer on board (with 23 customer payloads on board today). Also on the vehicle were thousands of postcards from students around the world for our nonprofit Club for Blue Origin the Future. Secures Successful The Club’s mission is to Test Flight inspire future generations ew Shepard had a to pursue wholly successful careers in mission on December Image Credit: Blue Origin STEM and 11, 2019. This mission help visualize the future of was another step towards life in space. verifying New Shepard for human spaceflight as we Registration Is Now continue to mature the safety and reliability of the vehicle. Open for 2020 IRMI This was the 6th flight for AgriCon this particular New Shepard vehicle. Blue Origin has so allas, TX, November 20, far reused two boosters five 2019—International times each consecutively, Risk Management Institute, so today marks a record with Inc. (IRMI), has opened this booster completing its registration for the 2020 6th flight to space an d back. IRMI Emmett J Vaughan This particular rocket has Agribusiness Conferences three been an operational payload (AgriCon). These regional Conferences are vehicle for several flights, meaning there are no more focused on the unique exposures faced by farms

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and other agribusinesses and how to best construct the insurance programs that cover them. The 2020 AgriCon locations and dates are as follows. • Sacramento, California— March 8–10 • Richmond, Virginia— June 16–17 • Des Moines, Iowa— September 15–16 Through the Agribusiness Conferences, Agribusiness and Farm Insurance Specialist (AFIS®) certification program, a new comprehensive online reference —Agribusiness Risk and Insurance (ARI), and our recently launched free e-newsletter, IRMI AgriRisk, we are committed to continuing development and enhancement of educational content and resources that address the unique exposures and risk management challenges faced by farms, ranches, and other agribusinesses,” said IRMI President and CEO Jack P. Gibson. “Participating in IRMI AgriCon is a great way for agents, brokers, underwriters, and insurance buyers to discover best practices for agribusiness risk management .and stay ahead of new exposures.”

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NEWS

CALIFORNIA ARRESTS SUSPECTS IN SAN DIEGO ORGANIZED $500,000 AUTO INSURANCE FRAUD RING Department arrests suspects in San Diego organized auto fraud ring in $500,000 Operation Dealer’s Choice

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AN DIEGO, Calif. — Investigators from the California Department of Insurance, San Diego County

have been charged in this joint task force investigation dubbed Operation Dealer’s Choice. The four suspects arrested yesterday will be arraigned today at 1:30pm in Department 101 of the Central Courthouse. Operation Dealer’s Choice was initiated after the San Diego District Attorney’s Office received a consumer call claiming the ring was purchasing vehicles at local auto auctions, and after

Diego District Attorney’s Office and California Highway Patrol. “The alleged scam we uncovered in Operation Dealer’s Choice was a bad deal for drivers who have to pay more through higher premiums as a result of insurance fraud,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “The hard work of our multi-agency task force stopped this alleged organized insurance crime ring that stole more than $500,000 in fraudulent auto claims.”

Suspects Arrested: L-R Jessica Herrara, 36 Mylipsa Santos, 23 Michael Cusi, 32 Daniel Santos, 24

District Attorney’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol arrested four suspects yesterday for alleged involvement in an organized auto fraud ring where dealers purchased damaged vehicles and then filed inflated claims and even staged thefts — among other schemes — costing insurers a $500,000 loss. In total 10 suspects 20

The Underwriter’s Insider

insuring and registering them, filing fraudulent total damage or theft claims to receive unearned payouts from insurance carriers. The case was investigated by the San Diego County Organized Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force made up of the California Department of Insurance, San Table of Contents

The investigation determined the ring purchased vehicles at auction that were already damaged, had high mileage, or both, at a significantly low dollar amount. See Auto Insurance Fraud Page 26 JANUARY 2020


Carriers, MGAs, Vendors and Associations: Reach Out And Touch

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JANUARY 2020

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NEWS

FLORIDA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER DAVID ALTMAIER VOTED NAIC PRESIDENT-ELECT

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ALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier was voted PresidentElect of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), effective January 1, 2020. Commissioner Altmaier served as Vice President of the NAIC during 2019. “As one of the largest, most complex insurance markets in the world, it is critical for Florida to have a seat at the table for state, national, and global regulatory discussions. I am glad that Commissioner Altmaier will play a leading role in these critical areas,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

Florida Insurance Commissioner David AltmaierI

“As President-Elect, I have every confidence that Commissioner Altmaier will be an advocate for Florida’s consumers. This national role will help ensure Florida is top of mind when decisions are made. I look forward to continue working with him in this position of leadership,” said Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. 22

“I congratulate Commissioner Altmaier on his selection to this prestigious position. The Commissioner will work diligently through this new role to protect Floridians and strengthen Florida’s insurance marketplace,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody.

The Underwriter’s Insider

“I am pleased that Commissioner Altmaier is part of the team that will lead national discussions on emerging insurance issues. This will ensure Florida has a voice as these important discussions move forward,” said Agriculture Co m m i s s i o n e r Nikki Fried.

“I am honored to have been chosen as President-Elect of the NAIC. This year, we have made significant progress on many key issues. As President-Elect, I will continue the open dialogue to strengthen the consumer-focused framework that guides our mission as state insurance regulators,” said Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. Table of Contents

About the OIR The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance, and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. For more information about OIR, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @FLOIR_comm.

About the NAIC As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally. For more information, visit www. naic.org. JANUARY 2020


FL COMMISSIONER ALTMAIER ANNOUNCES OIR GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DIRECTOR

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ALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier is pleased to announce the appointment of Allison Hess Sitte as Government Affairs Director for the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), effective Monday, December 2, 2019.

with her as we approach the 2020 Legislative Session,” said Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier.

Allison most recently served as the Director of Legislative and Cabinet Affairs at the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs and has previously served in the Florida Senate. Allison has an “Allison has skills and experience undergraduate degree in English which will greatly benefit OIR from Florida State University and I look forward to working and a Master of Corporate and JANUARY 2020

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Public Communications degree from Florida State University in Panama City.​ T​ he Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. For more information about OIR, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @FLOIR_comm. www/underwritersinsider.com

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NEWS

HIALEAH CHECK CASHER SENTENCED TO 13 YEARS IN PRISON FOR LAUNDERING OVER $100 MILLION IN HEALTHCARE, MORTGAGE AND IDENTITY THEFT TAX REFUND FRAUD PROCEEDS

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riana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael J. De Palma, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI’s Miami Field Office announced that Evelio Suarez, a Hialeah check casher, was sentenced to prison today for laundering over $100 million in proceeds of healthcare, mortgage and identity theft tax refund fraud. Suarez, 53, of Miramar, Florida, previously pled guilty to one count of money laundering (Case No. 18cr20669). He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. to 156 months of prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to forfeit $149,048,366.

checks at the Suarez Stores that were the proceeds of fraudulent activity, including identity-theft tax refund fraud, health care fraud, and mortgage fraud.

According to the factual proffer, Suarez knowingly cashed at least $100 million in checks that came from either identity-theft tax refund fraud, healthcare fraud or mortgage fraud.”

On numerous occasions, Suarez cashed individual fraudulent Medicare checks exceeding $200,000 and individual U.S. Treasury tax refund checks According to the agreed upon exceeding $150,000. Suarez knew factual proffer and court that the checks had been obtained documents, from 2013 through from fraudulent activity and, on 2015, Suarez controlled a number occasion, knowingly accepted of check-cashing stores located fake identification documents. in Hialeah, Florida (the “Suarez Stores”). During this period, the According to the factual proffer, defendant caused the cashing of because Suarez knew the funds 24

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came from illegal sources, the defendant charged an additional fee on top of the standard fee charged by the check-cashing stores. Suarez charged this as a personal fee that he took in cash from the stores. Suarez also often withheld money from the checks and falsely claimed to the scammers that the money from their checks had been frozen by the banks or the authorities. According to the factual proffer, Suarez knowingly cashed at least $100 million in checks that came from either identity-theft tax refund fraud, healthcare fraud or mortgage fraud. U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and FBI in this matter. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael N. Berger and Yisel Valdes. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Annika M. Miranda and Adrienne Rosen are handling the asset forfeiture aspects of the case.

JANUARY 2020


NEWS

WASHINGTON MAN BUYS RENTER’S POLICY AS APARTMENT BURNS CHARGED WITH FALSE CLAIM

Continued From Page 9

RETIREMENT PLAN MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS

charitable donation directly from your retirement account. This LYMPIA, Wash. – William In his claim, he stated the fire strategy is known as a “Qualified Collick, of Bremerton, occurred on Feb. 12 at 4:15 a.m. Charitable Distribution”. Qualified was charged in Kitsap State Farm notified Collick that charitable distributions can allow County District Court with one the claim was being reviewed you to receive tax benefits from count of filing a false insurance to determine if it would be a charitable contribution even if claim on his renter’s insurance covered based on the timeline IRS limits would prevent you from policy after an investigation of events. Collick told State taking a charitable deduction for by Insurance Commissioner Farm in March that he wanted the same amount. The IRS has Mike Kreidler’s Criminal to withdraw the claim. State created special rules regulating Investigations Unit (CIU). Farm closed the case and qualified charitable distributions. You should seek expert tax referred it to Kreidler’s CIU. According to the investigation, advice before making a qualified Collick’s apartment building Kreidler’s CIU investigates charitable distribution. caught fire on Feb. 12, caused by insurance fraud and works with an electrical transformer near the Washington State Patrol Required minimum distributions the building. After reporting and state and local prosecutors can be complex, especially if the blaze to 911 at 1:17 a.m. on criminal cases. Insurance you have multiple retirement and identifying himself as a fraud costs the average family accounts. The penalties for police officer at the nearby $400 to $700 per year in not taking distributions when Navy base, Collick bought a you’re supposed to are extreme. renter’s insurance policy from increased premiums. Insurance companies are required by Because RMD’s can impact both State Farm at 2:09 a.m. law to report fraud to the your financial plan, and your taxes, it is wise to seek the advice Two days later, Collick filed commissioner. of a financial planner who is also a claim for the damage can report a licensed tax practitioner. to his belongings and for Consumers approximately $1,000 in suspected insurance fraud on additional living expenses the insurance commissioner’s Matthew Treskovich is the Chief Investment Officer for to help pay for different website. CPS Investment Advisors. He accommodations, as the entire building was uninhabitable William Collick is a police officer can be reached at 863-6881725 or by email at on a Bremerton military base. after the fire. Matt@CPSInvest.com

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NEWS had significant damage prior List of additional suspects: to being insured unbeknownst • Luis Cardona Jr., 26, of National to the carrier, or are believed to City CALIFORNIA be damaged by the group after • Francisco Javier Rodriguez, 33, being insured. BUSTS $500K of Chula Vista • Jesus Herrera, 34, of Spring AUTO INSURANCE The ring victimized 12 insurance Valley carriers including Nationwide, • Betsy Guadalupe Matteoti, 35, FRAUD RING Stonewood, USAA, California of San Diego Casualty, Allstate, State Farm, • Ramon De Jesus Hernandez, Liberty Mutual, Esurance, GEICO, 56, of San Diego Kemper, Wawanesa, and AAA. The • Felipe Cardona Villareal, 25, of dollar loss estimate for this case is Tampa, Florida Once the vehicle was purchased, in excess of $500,000 at this time. registered and insured by a carrier, the suspects filed a total damage Suspects in this case used various or total theft claim and the ring schemes including incepting policies on a vehicle that had preshared the profits. existing damage, filing claims Investigators discovered 35 shortly after the policy’s date of possible fraudulent auto inception, then letting the policy insurance claims were filed over lapse shortly after collecting a a 4-year period. Approximately 56 check for their loss due to nonpayment. They also filed suspected vehicles were used by the ring. “staged collisions” in which they “Stealing from insurance would purposely damage vehicles companies hits all of us in the to the point of a “total loss” to wallet because the loss is passed collect an insurance claim check on to the consumer,” District for the damage. Suspects also Attorney Summer Stephan said. “staged thefts” in which they got “These defendants carried on their paid for the theft of their vehicle criminal enterprise for years until after they, themselves, made the the joint task force’s outstanding vehicle disappear. Continued From Page 20

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work stopped them in their tracks.” Numerous vehicles purchased by the suspects in this case had the vehicles’ odometer mileages “rolled back” in order to increase the value of the vehicle before it was damaged or reported stolen. The remaining vehicles 26

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sign up yourself or any associate at this link

List of suspects in custody: • • • •

Michael Cusi, 32, of San Diego Jessica Herrera, 36, of Imperial Beach Mylipsa Santos, 23, of San Diego Daniel Santos, 24, San Diego

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HERE

JANUARY 2020


NEWS - AUTOMOTIVE

AUTO SALES BOOSTED BY STRONG DISCOUNTS AS SPENDING REACHES NEW HIGH The Retail Sales Forecast

Thomas King, Senior Vice President While high inventories of of the Data and Analytics Division older model-year vehicles is a New-vehicle retail sales in at J.D. Power: considerable factor in the yearNovember are expected to be over-year growth, incentive up from a year ago, according to “The industry is expected to spending on newer models is a forecast developed jointly by show growth in November with expected to eclipse last year. J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. the benefit of an additional Spending on 2020 model-year Retail sales are projected to reach weekend, but the gains are being vehicles is on pace to reach 1,182,400 units, a 1.2% increase accompanied by rising incentives. $3,723, an increase of nearly 13% on a selling day adjusted basis Strong promotional activity over from a year ago. compared with November 2018. the holiday weekend is expected Reporting the same numbers to drive spending to the highest Notably, incentive spending on a without controlling for the level ever.” percentage basis is again growing number of selling days translates at a faster rate than transaction to an increase of 5.2% over last This year’s November sales month prices. Manufacturer incentive year. (Note: November 2019 contains five weekends compared spending as a percentage of MSRP contains one additional selling with four last year. With more than in November is on pace to reach day than November 2018.) 200,000 sales anticipated over the 11.1%, exceeding 11% for the first holiday weekend, manufacturers time in more than 10 years. The Total Sales Forecast are expected to target the large Total sales in November are number of shoppers to help clear Transaction prices are expected projected to reach 1,444,200 out record levels of older model- to remain above $34,000 for units, which is flat on a selling year vehicles. the second consecutive month. day adjusted basis compared Average prices for the industry are with November 2018. Reporting Average incentive spending per on pace to reach $34,054, down the same numbers without unit is on pace to reach $4,538, an $179 from last month but up $622 controlling for the number of increase of more than 12% from from November 2018. selling days translates to an last year and the first time ever increase of 4.3% over last year. The above $4,500. The previous high As a result, consumers will spend seasonally adjusted annualized for the industry was $4,378 set in $40.3 billion on new vehicles in rate (SAAR) for total sales is December 2017. The average APR November. This is up $2.7 billion expected to be 17.5 million units. for finance deals in November from last year and marks the fourth This is up slightly from a year ago. is expected to fall to 5.3%, the lowest level since February 2018. The Takeaway See Auto Sales Page 34 JANUARY 2020

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“The Final Authority on Everything!” WARNING!

The Advisor has been known to be politically incorrect and may send certain Millennials scurrying to their safe space. Please read at your own risk.

Millennials & The Stinking Economic Rot Of Socialism

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y son is in his third year at Rutgers, thinks Socialism is a great idea for America and plans to vote for Bernie Sanders for president. Help! G.H. Dallas, TX

ADVISOR

argue that round wheels are Yet history is your best better than square wheels - argument. For one of the most while keeping a straight face. graphic, historical illustrations of how Socialism can destroy With over a century of history & a country, pass along this experiencetodrawon,itisalmost short video detailing the utter inconceivable that anyone with ruination of Argentina under the a working brain would argue socialist Perons, once the third Socialism (Communism Lite) is largest economy in the world. any better for a country than, say, Thanksgiving is for a turkey. The Venezuelan experience, provides an even clearer reason to reject the scourge of Socialism. Ever since Castro ally Hugo Chavez took power in 1999 and continuing through the current term of his mini-me President How Argentina Was Destroyed By Socialism

I just hope he isn’t majoring in Economics! Your son will probably come to his senses in a couple of years after graduation when his brain will harden and real world experience will supplant the deluge of Marxist contempt for economic realty he has been subjected to in academia. Having a serious conversation with an advocate of Socialism is difficult - because the argument is just too damn simple. It’s like having to 28

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Nicolas Maduro, the country has turned hard Socialist, destroying its once prosperous economy and impoverishing its people who now stand in line for hours, under the rifles of federal troops, to buy a roll of toilet paper or a loaf of bread. Watch the little video below of shopping in the Socialist paradise of Venezuela:

Take your Millennial to his Safe economy that comes with Space and point out these 8 key Socialism will inevitably cause realities of Socialism: shortages, job loss, inflation, & poverty, 6) it feeds on people’s 1) Socialism begins with the greed and the desire for FREE politics of envy - you must hate tuition, housing, medical the rich because whatever they care, etc., 7) the promised have must have been stolen freebies will soon bankrupt from you, 2) It almost always the government, and, 8) comes with a personality when Socialism inevitably fails, cult that ends in a paranoid, its proponents will always call delusional dictator who will kill for MORE Socialism as the cure! to stay in power, 3) it requires a massive growth of government Meanwhile, free-market bureaucracy while shrinking the Capitalism, while not perfect, value of the individual to zero, has easily brought more wealth Another shocking video on 4) under Socialism “fairness” to more people of every class how Socialism has destroyed means equal outcome, not than any other system. Hey Venezuela. equal opportunity, 5) the Millennial - want to build on centralized control of the something? Built on that! JANUARY 2020

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NOTABLE QUOTABLES IN THE NEWS - WITH COMMENTARY

SAY WHAT? When Democrat Leaders Made Sense...

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ll Americans, not only in the States most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens.

ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.” President Bill Clinton, giving his 1995 State of the Union address, sounding more like President Donald J. Trump then President Donald J. Trump! What happened? Political expediency. Clinton in 1995 vs leading Democrats in 2020 proves once again, that Democrat leadership have few, if any, core values. Their positions reflect what they believe are the current popular political positions. They don’t lead - they follow the polls.

Why We Are Graduating Socialists

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ccording to computer science professor David Gelernter ‘76, faculty political diversity at Yale is low: “0%,” he wrote in an Where Liberals Are Born... email. He added that while there are a ‘“few conservatives, including prominent ones,”’ their numbers are not high enough to have a significant impact on campus culture.” From a Valerie Pavilonis and Matt Kristoffersen report in the Yale Daily News.

In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace as recommended by the commission headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and

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El Chapo As Powerful As Mexican President?

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here was a time when Guzmán (El Chapo) had the same power or had the influence that the then

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president had ... because there had been a conspiracy and that made it difficult to punish those who committed crimes. That has already become history, gone to the garbage dump of history.” Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador taking a shot at a previous president and claiming to have done away with the high-level corruption for which Mexico has become known. In December, Mexico’s former public safety secretary Genaro García Luna was arrested in Texas after U.S. prosecutors allege he accepted $ millions in bribes to allow drug king-pins to operate with impunity.

From a Trump tweet shortly after the military strike against General Qassem Soleimani. Turns out Soleimani was not only killed, but his body blown into multiple pieces by two air-to-ground missiles fired by an American Reaper drone - at the express direction of the American Commander in Chief - President Donald J. Trump. So little of Sleimani was left intact, he was only initially identified by a massive red gemstone ring he was often seen wearing.

Iranian Sleeper Cells Inside U.S.?

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t’s our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give Trump On Soleimani Take Down itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism eneral Qassem Soleimani playbook.” has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an National Counterterrorism Center Director extended period of time, and was plotting Nicholas Rasmussen commenting on the to kill many question of Iranian “Sleeper Cells” already more...but got in place inside the U.S. Authorities in major caught! He U.S. cities are paying close attention to was directly intelligence and monitoring suspected Iranian and indirectly sympathizers. re s p o n s i b l e for the death Social Inflation & Underwriting of millions of people, ocial inflation comes from a including the number of things, including recent large how juries are composed these number of days. The jury composition impacts the protesters outcomes of verdicts in a big way. The bykilled in Iran itself. While Iran will never be product of this is something that’s always able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both existed, but seems magnified now, which is hated and feared within the country. They the targeting of large corporate risks. “ are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should Bethan Moorcraft as reported by have been taken out many years ago!” insurancebusinessmag.com.

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BACK ISSUES

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BACK ISSUES

JANUARY 2020

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NEWS - AUTOMOTIVE Continued From Page 27

AUTO SALES REACH NEW HIGH

risk of further incentive escalation is possible. “Incentive spending typically rises by 3-4% in December, which would continue to drive overall spending to unprecedented territory,” King said. “This is concerning for the health of the industry when combined with rising sub-prime sales, which are growing at the highest rate since August 2018.”

December 2017. Incentive spending on cars is expected to be up $454 to $4,185, while spending on trucks/SUVs is up $503 to $4,658. Consumers are on pace to spend $40.3 billion on new vehicles in November, up $2.7 billion from last year’s level.

Truck/SUVs account for 72.7% of new-vehicle retail sales through The average new-vehicle retail Nov. 17, the highest level ever for transaction price in November is the month of November. expected to reach $34,054. The previous high for the month of Days to turn, the average number November, $33,488, was set in of days a new vehicle sits on a 2018. dealer lot before being sold to a retail customer, is 76 days through Average incentive spending per Nov. 17. This is up 6 days from a unit in November is expected year ago. to reach $4,538, up from $4,049 last year. The previous record—$4,378—was set in See Auto Sales Page 45

The Details time this year that expenditures will exceed $40 billion. Looking ahead to next month, December presents the last chance for manufacturers to finish the year on a high note. In each of the past four years, December was the highest sales volume month of the year. However, considerable

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CLAIMS & THE LAW Continued From Page 7

ZALMA

testified that if Defendant had disclosed his activities related to the insurance fraud scheme, that disclosure would have affected the decision on his citizenship application.

Defendant’s claim that appellate counsel was ineffective was meritless because he did not show As a general rule, persons jointly prejudice. indicted should be tried together because there is almost always common evidence against the CONCLUSION joined defendants that allows for The Court concluded that the economy of a single trial. The Defendant’s claims were meritless. fact that a defendant may have Moreover, an evidentiary hearing a better chance at acquittal if his was not required because the trial were severed does not require record of the case conclusively the judge to grant his motion: the showed that Defendant is not defendant must show substantial, entitled to relief and concluded undue, or compelling prejudice. that reasonable jurists could not find that the Court’s denial of Defendant did not demonstrate Defendant’s claims was debatable that severance was warranted in or wrong. his case, or that he was subjected to a mistrial due to joinder of ZALMA OPINION his proceedings with the other It is time for the courts of this defendants. country to punish those who In addition to the insurance fraud frivolously raise multiple motions conviction the Defendant was and file multiple appeals that have convicted of misrepresentation no basis in fact or law. Monetary on his citizenship application sanctions are inadequate and after the jury heard evidence that almost impossible to collect. A he answered “no” in response convicted criminal who abuses to a question in his citizenship the court process should have application asking whether he had time added to his or her sentence. ever committed a crime or offense I propose adding a year for each for which he was not arrested. frivolous or inadequate appeal He did not disclose his actions in that was filed solely for the connection with the insurance purpose of delay.

Rent This Space! Want Your 1/3 Page Message To Hit Over 120,000 Industry E-Mails Per Month For As Little As $129.00? View Rate Card Here! Request More Info Here!

fraud scheme. The immigration official reviewing his application JANUARY 2020

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TECHNOLOGY Continued From Page 5

Will someone know if I blocked them? I don’t want to make an awkward situation worse.

business mindset. Facebook wants to know about you so your data can be sold to advertisers who want to sell you things. Because of this, it’s important they know your This depends on both the demographic information like platform and how well you know your age, location and interests. the person you want to hide from. Facebook and Instagram don’t Facebook collects the data you explicitly alert users when they’ve voluntarily give on your profile. been blocked. Instead, they hide Personally identifying information out and paste it to see what your you from the person you want to like your name and phone profile looks like to the public. ignore and the user won’t be able number may be collected, as well to find you, no matter how hard as location data and purchase Facebook and LinkedIn have they look. history. This lets advertisers “view as” options that let you precision target their campaigns look at your profile through the Twitter shows an explicit message towards you with a much higher eyes of another user. This is useful when you visit a profile that’s return on investment for them. for checking if specific privacy blocked you. You won’t be able to settings are working or not. contact this user or access their To see what else Facebook knows content in any direct way. about you and what settings you On the desktop version of need to change, tap or click here. Facebook, open your News Feed If you know someone personally and click your name in the top and their account seems to Can someone tell if I left. Then click on the three-dot have disappeared without your saved their post? button at the bottom of your knowledge, they might have cover photo next to Activity Log blocked you. But to know for sure, Once again, this depends on and select View As. You can select check any old conversations you the platform. Instagram has no to see what your profile looks like had with this person. If a name issue with you saving or taking a to specific users you’re friends appears but it’s not highlighted screenshot of a person’s post. Nor with as well as the general public. like a link, there’s a good chance does the service send alerts when you screenshot a user’s Story. But they blocked you. with direct messages that expire, On the desktop version of LinkedIn, open your profile page Other ways to know someone any screenshots you take will send and look for a button in the blocked you: Look at the profile an alert to the user. upper right corner that says Edit while signed out or from another That logic extends to Snapchat, public profile & URL. Clicking this account where the entire point of the app will take you to a view of your public profile, so you can view I know sites like Facebook have is to exchange messages that what prospective employers and mishandled my data, but what expire. Users will be alerted if you business connections see when exactly do they know about me? screenshot any videos, images or they look you up. As creepy as Facebook’s data text conversations. practices are, they’re rooted in a

KIM KOMANDO

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TECHNOLOGY Facebook and Twitter don’t alert users if you take a screenshot. You can even take a screenshot of a Facebook Story or live video without the user who made it ever knowing.

What is TikTok? How does it work? TikTok is a video sharing app that has exploded in popularity — particularly with young people. The app was originally designed to let users do video karaoke to their favorite songs, but since its debut, it’s transformed into a diverse community of video and comedy creators. As fun and random as the platform can be, it isn’t the safest place for kids. Adult users can easily get in contact with younger ones, thanks to the discovery features. And there have been reports of predators lurking on the platform. Tap or click to learn more about TikTok and its risks.

JANUARY 2020

Can someone see when I search for them? Once again, this depends on the platform in question. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram don’t inform users when others visit their profile, and your search history is private to your account. That said, one platform will inform users about a limited number of visitors. LinkedIn is a social network designed to help employers and workers connect with one another. Even with a free account, you can see the last five people who visited your page. If you upgrade to a premium account, you can see all those who visited your profile in the past 90 days.

If you know and understand your posting behavior, you can course correct much easier. Most followers don’t mind regular and frequent contact from their connections, but nobody wants their feed drowned out by a single user. More importantly, few people appreciate TMI content on their feeds. Always think before you post, and consider the interests and tastes of your audience. It can save you from embarrassing social media gaffes every time.

Can I stop seeing someone’s posts without unfriending them?

Unfriending someone can sometimes be more trouble than This can help with landing it’s worth. Once someone catches job interviews and workplace on that you’re no longer friends connections, but overall it’s not on social media, expect a barrage ideal for private research. of messages asking, “Why?”

A family member says I’m an oversharer on social media. What exactly does that mean?

But you can spare yourself the drama by taking advantage of a feature called “Mute.” Muting users on social media will remove all their content from your feed without removing them from your friends list. What’s more, the user in question will have no idea you did it.

Being accused of oversharing tends to come from one of two posting patterns. In one, a person posts so much stuff that it clogs up the feeds of their friends and followers. In another, a person To mute a user on Facebook, use posts too much personal and your desktop to visit the profile or private information that friends and followers feel uncomfortable reading. See Kim Komando Pg 44 Table of Contents

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SPECIAL REPORT

HOW (AND WHY) TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE By Ron Manera, Senior Editor

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he most overlooked source of free promotion for small to medium-sized companies? Press Releases. Those little info blurbs that strengthen your brand and inform your market can be powerful tools if employed effectively. With a press release, your company can inform the world of a new hire, promotions, a key person retiring, a new product, a merger or acquisition, a new office or a thousand other events positive and timely. But even more important: Getting your company name out in front of tens of thousands of your prospects and customers, (even competitors) often, and at little or no cost. As an editor of a couple of insurance industry specific journals, I am on the receiving end of dozens of press releases daily - all wishing a free ride in one of my next issues. I welcome press releases because they often provide valuable content to my readers. Because of space and relevancy limitations, I can’t run them all. As a matter of fact, only a small percentage of the PRs I review

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make it into the magazines. How do I decide what to run? I look first for relevancy. Is the information in the press release something likely to be interesting or valuable to my subscribers? I can discard 80% of the PRs I review simply because the content is not focused on my audience. Next, I look for length, style and format. Will the original PR take up two pages requiring radical editing for size? Can I easily move the content into my publication without extensive reformatting? Are there bulleted paragraphs or multiple hyperlinks to contend with? I look for a news-style press release. When I receive a PR that is 80% promotional and 20% news, I’m likely to pass it up. I don’t charge for news - I do charge for advertising.

Up The Odds Your Press Release Will Be Printed And Effective

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suspect most editors rely on criteria much like mine when reviewing incoming press releases for publication. Table of Contents

Here are eight tips to increase your odds of actually making it to the show: 1. Give me a compelling headline! Hint: Write your headline last after you review your entire PR. A good headline will not only get my attention, but that of my readers. 2. Don’t open with “ABC Company announced today...” because the PR may not appear for another 30 days. Include the actual date. 3. Keep your copy succinct! 375-450 words max. That’s an entire page, so you have plenty of room to cover your subject. I’m not going to give you more space - so if you run long, you are asking me to trim your copy and you may not like what I remove. 4. Learn to write like a journalist: Who, What, When, Why & Where. List those 5 categories out on a worksheet and work from it as you script your PR. To the ultimate reader, it should not read as if it were written by your marketing department but as if we sent a reporter out to cover your news story. JANUARY 2020


Image Credit: Creative Commons

While larger operations use paid services like Businesswire, PRweb, PRNewsire and others to distribute their press releases, smaller companies can maintain a list of media outlets that make more sense for their target market. I review PRs from the big distribution houses all the time - but I am more likely to notice one emailed directly to me.

from a company officer. I 5. Important! Don’t often include company make your PR into an logos when they are made advertisement. First, it will available. lesson the chance I include 8. About (Your Company) your piece, (remember, I It’s good to include a short charge for advertising) but “About ABC Company” at just as important, it will lack the end of your PR. Keep it credibility to the readers if it short and within the word just looks like a puff piece. limit for the entire piece. It’s okay to sound enthused Include contact info for about the topic and your “further information.” company, but the ideal PR 9. Make certain to place a will look as if your company copy of each PR on your made the news because of company website under some newsworthy event. your NEWS tab. The practice 6. Give me at least one quote, will make your site more e.g. “Frank’s extensive relevant to search engines experience in restaurant and more valuable to risks will bring a new depth visitors. to our commercial insurance department,” said John ow that you’ve created Smith, CEO... the perfect press 7. If appropriate, include release, where should an image, especially if you send it? the PR involves personnel or a mention or quote

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In the insurance business, include every trade journal that covers your region. If you are introducing a new restaurant program, for example, you may wish to include some of the trade journals in that industry. If you are a local retail agent, by all means include local print media, especially neighborhood newsletters or city-wide newspapers. Build your list in a spreadsheet database so you can one-click mail-merge a personalized copy to each media outlet. Make it a habit! Find the best copywriter in your office and assign them the task of churning out one press release each month. You’ll be building your brand and status within your industry. Where to send at TUI? Send directly to me, Ron Manera at ron@insurmedia.com.

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2019 FAIA CONVENTION TRADE FAIR BOOTH IMAGES NOW ONLINE!

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ne of the biggest insurance events held each year in Florida is the Florida Association of Independent Agents (FAIA) Convention. This year was the 116th annual convention, making it not only one of the largest, but one of the longest running events in US insurance history.

Click On The Image Below To View Booth Images

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2019 LAAIA CONVENTION TRADE FAIR BOOTH IMAGES NOW ONLINE!

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he largest insurance trade fair in S. Florida, the Latin American Association of Insurance Agents pulled off another incredible event with their 48th annual convention and trade fair this August. This time no camera equipment issues and had time to shoot every booth.

Click On The Image Below To View Booth Images

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BECOME A CERTIFIED EXPERT IN CORPORATE PROPERTY INSURANCE AND A CERTIFIED EXPERT IN CORPORATE LIABILITY INSURANCE Now available from Illumeo and Barry Zalma!

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veryone involved in insurance – either as an insurer or as an insured – requires excellence in claims handling. Businesses need to deal with insurers who have an excellence in claimshandling mandate. Insurers who wish to profit need an excellence in property and/or liability claims-handling program. Everyone in business needs an insurer who has an excellence in property or liability claims-handling program in effect. Two comprehensive programs enabling insurance professionals to become Certified Expert in Corporate Property Insurance and/ or Certified Experts in Corporate Liability Insurance are available from Illumeo.com and https://www.illumeo.com/curriculum/certifiedexpert-corporate-property-insurance and https://www.illumeo.com/ curriculum/certified-expert-corporate-liability-insurance. The programs are complete courses of study providing education and training to allow insurance professionals, after completing the individual classes, to become a Certified Expert. The programs cover everything an employee, an officer, or a director of a corporation needs to know about the need to acquire proper insurance and to resolve any claim presented by the corporation to the insurer. Major topics of study include, but are not limited to: the importance of insurance; how to acquire insurance and understand an insurance policy; the methods used by insurers to investigate claims; the various types of insurance that corporations need; the duties and obligations of a public adjuster; and how The full curriculum of the courses and other courses from Barry Zalma are available at http:// www.ilumeo.com by entering in the search bar the word “zalma.”

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NEW INSURANCE CLAIMS BOOKS BY BARRY ZALMA The Making of an Insurance Claims Professional

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t is the insurance claims person - the adjuster - who meets with the person insured and works to keep the promises made by the insurance policy. The adjuster cannot, however, help the insurer keep the promises made unless he or she understands insurance, insurance claims, the types of claims presented and the law surrounding insurance and insurance claims. For the minimal cost of a paperback or Kindle book every insurer can place in the hands of their claims people information that will help them become professional, well trained, thoroughly educated claims professionals who are able to read and understand every insurance policy so that he or she is able to keep the promises made by the insurance policy. Read about these and many more insurance books by Barry Zalma at http://zalma.com/zalma-books/

• Construction Defects and Insurance • Zalma on Insurance Claims • Zalma on Insurance Claims Volume 101 • Zalma on Insurance Claims Part 102 • Zalma on Insurance Claims Part 103 • Zalma on Insurance Claims Part 104

• Zalma on Insurance Claims Part 105 • Zalma on Insurance Claims Part 106 • Zalma on Insurance Claims Part 107 • Zalma on Insurance Claims Part 108 • Zalma on Insurance Claims Part 109 • Zalma on Insurance Claims Part 110

VISIT ZALMA BOOKS NOW!

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TECHNOLOGY Continued From Page 37

KIM KOMANDO page you want to mute and click Following. Select Unfollow. In the app, tap the blue box with the image of a person and a check mark. Select the Follow option, then choose Unfollow.

archived pages can live on long after you’ve removed them. For the images to live on, a friend or contact had to screenshot them. Just make sure to use caution when sharing anything on social media. As the old saying goes, “What’s posted on the internet is forever.” Even if you know for a fact that you’ve deleted your content, always post with the idea that a wide audience will see it.

Can I delete a message I To mute a user on Twitter, visit really regret sending? their profile and click the threedot icon next to their name.This reveals a few options including Mute. Click Mute to confirm. To mute a user on Instagram, tap or click on the three-dot icon next to any post. You’ll now see various options including Report, Unfollow and Mute. Tap or click Mute and select either Mute Posts or Mute Posts and Story. This option is also available inside user profiles, again by pressing the three-dot icon.

In previous years, there was no way to take back a message you already sent on social media. Now, more platforms are embracing this concept — which can be a lifesaver in awkward social situations.

Can people find embarrassing old posts I’ve deleted?

Currently, Facebook and Instagram both let you unsend messages you have already sent to others. Unsending a message will remove it from the chat history of all participants. Unfortunately, Twitter does not offer this service. Deleting a message on Twitter will only remove it from your history, not the recipient’s.

Thankfully, nearly all social media platforms let you delete posts and content you no longer want to show. Most of the time, these posts are gone for good once you hit delete, but screenshots and

To unsend a message on Facebook from your phone, tap and hold on the message you wish to remove. You’ll see a message box pop up with the option to remove it for

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you or for everyone. Tap Remove for everyone and confirm by tapping Remove. To unsend a message on Instagram from your phone, open your messages and tap and hold on the message you wish to remove. When the dialogue box pops up, select Unsend. Tap Unsend when the confirmation pop-up appears. Don’t forget: If the person you sent the message to has already read the message, the damage has been done. If you need to unsend a message, do it fast before anyone has a chance to read it.

Why are my kids worried about me posting pictures of my grandbabies on Facebook? I just want to show them off! If you’ve had family members complain about you sharing pictures, you’re not alone. Many people aren’t comfortable having their kids’ faces plastered on social media, let alone their own. But as with everything on social media, there’s a right and wrong way to show off the kids and grandkids you love so much. The biggest issue most people have is pictures being shared without permission. If you have photos you’re keen on posting to JANUARY 2020


NEWS - AUTOMOTIVE your social media profiles, ask the subjects’ (or the subjects’ parents) for permission before doing so. If they have any objections, work out a compromise like cropping the image or using a filter that blurs their faces a bit. It’s also worth mentioning that some people are extremely privacy conscious and may not feel comfortable having their pictures shared at all. This might seem like an extreme position, but in light of recent data scandals, it’s becoming more popular every day. And with companies like Facebook around, who can blame them?

Continued From Page 34

AUTO SALES REACH NEW HIGH

LMC’s forecast for 2019 total lightvehicle sales is holding near 17.1 million units, a decline of 1.4% from 2018. The outlook for retail light-vehicle sales remains at 13.7 million units, a decline of 1.8% Fleet sales are expected to total from 2018. Looking at 2020, total 261,800 units, down 3.5% from light-vehicle demand is forecast at November 2018. Fleet volume 16.8 million units and retail lightis expected to account for 18% vehicle demand is at 13.5 million of total light-vehicle sales, down units, each declining 1.7% from 2019. from 19% last year. Outlook for the Year

Copyright 2019, WestStar Jeff Schuster, President, Americas Multimedia Entertainment. Operations and Global Vehicle Forecasts, LMC Automotive: All rights reserved. Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando. com JANUARY 2020

production levels. North American production is expected to decline nearly 4% to 16.3 million units in 2019. This overall uneasiness is causing a pullback in investment and decision-making, which risks turning into a self-fulfilling recession prophecy.”

“The monthly selling rates for autos have given mixed signals during the second half of 2019, but the overall level remains robust. Volatility has replaced the typically strong selling rate pattern of the last five years. Other factors, such as increasing incentive levels and the ongoing trend of higher transaction prices, are adding to the existing uncertainty around trade. Auto suppliers are feeling even more pressure as inventory corrections and mix adjustments are being managed through a more pronounced slowdown in Table of Contents

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HERE www/underwritersinsider.com

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The Underwriter's Insider January 2020  

America's largest exclusively online insurance magazine, The Underwriter's Insider combines insurance & business news, politically incorrec...

The Underwriter's Insider January 2020  

America's largest exclusively online insurance magazine, The Underwriter's Insider combines insurance & business news, politically incorrec...

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