Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Double dipping and CV-19

It's not just George Costanza:

Nicely done!

Now, how to get the word out to even *more* folks?

Felonious Consumer Tricks

Or, more precisely, murderous consumer tricks:

"Florida woman had hitman kill stepfather to collect on life insurance"

Which is actually kind of refreshing after the ubiquitous "Florida Man" memes of late.

Still, beyond the actual tragedy lies a fascinating, if horrifying, detail:

"Stepdad was killed two weeks after the insurance policy was changed from $25[thousand] to $750[thousand]." [emphasis added]

There's a lot to unpack here, starting with the obvious question of how,exactly, one might go about increasing one's life insurance (let alone someone else's)  by 30-fold without some kind of underwriting?

But of course, the MSM can't be bothered to report that little piece of info; too much trouble, one supposes. So I reached out to three reporters who covered the story, and Eli Witek of The West Volusia Beacon was kind enough to share the charging document with me (Thanks, Eli!). It's a bit confusing, but it appears that the the policy was, in fact, an accidental  death plan with a $750,000 face amount. My favorite part, though, is when Ms Williams says to the Mutual of Omaha rep "life insurance is not trying to kill somebody."

What's that word?

Oh, yeah.

In the meantime, we have other questions.

The investigation revealed that Williams’ motive was an insurance policy, which she recently had increased the value in the event of Mr. Gibson’s death."

Well, yeah, three quarters of a million dollars would be classified as a decent motive for murder (even by Angela Lansbury's criteria).

As we've noted previously, it's generally considered illegal (and, of course, poor sportspersonship) to profit from ones' crime, but we also know that this isn't always the case:

"Judge rules Denver man who 'killed his wife' can use up to $500,000 from her life insurance to pay for his defense"

Be interesting to see if Ms Williams can tap that $750,000 policy's proceeds for her legal fees.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Let's talk about those "Non-Existent" Death Panels

Our friend Holly R tipped us to this post at Hot Air:

"Disabled man with COVID-19 left to die of starvation in Texas over “quality of life” judgment?"

Michael Hickson, a 46 year old Lone Star State citizen, was diagnosed with COVID.

He was also paralyzed with a brain injury.

Certainly not a likely candidate for a long, healthy life.

But: he seemed to be recovering, kinda:

"[H]e was moved out of the ICU, was stable and breathing on his own, and that hospice care would be calling her. "

Why hospice?

Well, because shut up, explained the doc and "the state."

And that's where it gets, well, fuzzy:

Pay special attention to the doc at 3:21, where he explicitly says "at this point, we are going to do what we feel is best for him, along with the state." [emphasis added]

So first, who is this we you're referring to, Doc, and what do you mean by "the state?"

The closest explanation of the latter that I could find was that the patient victim had been appointed a guardian 'ad litem' as the result of an intra-family dispute. But it seems a stretch to go from guardian "only for the duration of a legal action" to agent of the state, replete with the power of life and death (but mostly death).

And let's circle back to that initial statement, itself particularly chilling:

"This is a calculated decision, we feel like this is what is going to be best for him."

Who thinks this is best for him? Hickson certainly didn't seem to think that:

"He was still responsive, puckering his lips when she said “Can I get a kiss?” and answering that he would like her to pray with him."

Well, now we know.

And there's this: there is perhaps an argument to be made for withholding life support for someone in, say, an irreversible coma (although even that presents challenges). But Mr Hickson was certainly awake and cognizant of what what was happening, and from what we can tell was not asking for a referral to Dr Kevorkian.

This case has an overwhelming stench to it.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Happy (And Safe!) 4th of July

Our friends at the Cincinnati Insurance Company's blog have some tips for enjoying the holiday weekend, especially in this modern era of social distancing:
• Read your grill's/smoker's instructions and owner’s manual.

• Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

• Keep the grill clean and check for grease and fat in the drip pans before firing up the grill [ed: especially important when using gas grills/smokers]

• Use only charcoal starter fluid to start a charcoal fire – never gasoline [ed: better yet, use lump hardwood and a chimney]

And more at the link.


Thursday, July 02, 2020

Off Topic: Unemployment Comp

While this isn't really in our wheelhouse, the Fed's have provided us with this helpful video, "to better assist you help consumers impacted by COVID-19."

On second thought, it is, after all, unemployment insurance, the "premium" for which every employee pays.


Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Medicare (Re-)Certification: Are you kidding me?

Got this in email:

"Things to pay attention to when doing your recertification:

New Kids- plan to do one section a day over a course of days cause it’s REALLY boring! It will take you about 12-14 hours to complete including the exam.

Recerts- it will take you 4-6 hours approx. You will need to click into EACH section to download the slides and then you are required to take the quizzes at the end of each section."

Well first, up to 14 hours? That's ridiculous. And keep in mind that, unless one pays an additional fee, they don't count toward one's Continuing Education requirements (TBF: Same with ACA certification/re-certification).

If this does nothing else, it should definitely discourage lay people from trying to DIY their supplemental Medicare coverage.

Finally, because we so value the 1st Amendment:

"Section 4 has more and better examples plus clarification on what you can do/not do on social media."

Or else, what?


[Hat Tip: Amanda B]

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

This word, "accident"....

I must admit, this story (courtesy of FoIB Jeff M) surprised me:

"The family of the first known South Florida first responder to die from COVID-19 was crushed by his loss. Now, they feel like they’ve been dealt another blow, after the AIG insurance company twice denied their claim for an accidental death in the line of duty."

They were paid the face amount for his death, but for some reason think that dying of what is essentially the flu is the same as, say, getting shot or hit by a car.

Who thinks that?

Well, Deputy Shannon Bennett's brother does:

"He says the family was stunned that COVID-19 did not fall under the category of an injury or accident."

Why is this "stunning?" Would they have expected this if he'd had a heart attack or cancer?

And of course, this somehow makes AIG a villain:

"We want to make sure that any other agency that is partnering with AIG would potentially completely dismantle their relationship."

Dude, you're going to find that no carrier is going to classify such a death as "accidental."

Except, as Jeff M also notes, "How long before AIG caves to the mob?"


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Bad Boys, Bad Boys [Updated]

[Scroll down for update]

Brian Bartz, 38, of Rochester, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with wire fraud, attempted wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Justice.gov

Comment: Charged but not (yet) convicted . . .

Still . . . 

over the past five years, the defendant has been employed as an insurance broker by several different life insurance companies including: the Benjamin Hollamby Agency, which sold life insurance policies on behalf of Nationwide Life Insurance Company; the Banker's Conseco Life Insurance Company; Mass Mutual Life Insurance Company; and the Lavoro Group via Mass Mutual, located in Rochester.

Five years and just now catching up with him.

Just what did this rascal allegedly do?

Bartz would submit false applications for life insurance policies to the insurance companies on behalf of individuals who were not aware of these applications. The applications included individuals' means of identification without their knowledge or consent. In order to avoid detection, the defendant used various victims' bank accounts to pay the premiums for the unauthorized policies. Between 2015 and 2020, Bartz defrauded or attempted to defraud a number of life insurance companies and dozens of investors out of more than $950,000.

Quite a busy guy.

Stay tuned for more.

UPDATE [From HGS]: The scope of this fraud is simply astounding and, as was pointed out in the comments, it's unclear how the perp agent actually profited from it. I think I might have at least a partial answer:

Depending on his level of production with the carriers, he may have been eligible for significant commission "overrides" (kind of like production bonuses). Many years ago, a friend of mine told me about a scheme that he had learned about where the agent's compensation for a case was 125% (and please forgive me if I'm fuzzy on the details, this was a long time ago). The deal was that he'd go to his clients and say "here, buy this policy an I'll give you back the entire premium, and you'll have a year's free insurance." Yes, this was illegal, unethical, immoral and likely fattening, but at least his clients knew about it.

The article also notes that at least a few of his victims made "premium payments to him directly instead of to the life insurance company with which they had or believed they had a policy."

We've seen how well that works out.