Arizona Summer Storms

Arizona communities suffer the craziest of storms! It is that time of year – again – when the storm clouds roll in and we are at once captivated and threatened by the yearly events to which we have grown accustomed. As an Independent Insurance Agent, I am reminded of the cleanup that accompanies the storms that sometimes literally “slam” the Valley, not to mention the claims that stem from the storm. Trees fall on homes, cars, fences; water damage is visible everywhere… leaking from roof damage, etc. It is all in a day’s work, but oh, how I hate to see people experience it.

If you suffer from any storm damage in the coming weeks, please contact me immediately so we can make sure you properly document the damage, such as taking photos or videos of the damage, keeping receipts of any supplies you purchase or repairs you do yourself… and making sure you fully understand how your deductible will work out for you.

One of the things far too many of us fail to have in place is an inventory of our valuable possessions.  The more consistent you are in listing the purchase price and at least an approximate date you make larger purchases, the far easier life gets when you do happen to file a claim.

This youtube video shows how quickly we can get zinged! Let’s make sure you are prepared.

If you have some video to share, would love it!

Jan Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients, her community, and her industry for 30+ years

How To Find A Great Auto Insurance Rate

Auto insurance is something most people do not want to drive without, even if they are not required to have it by law. It simply provides peace of mind to all parties involved and can make your life easier if you ever need it. Before you purchase the first auto insurance policy you find, take some time to find a great rate with these tips from Lifetime Investments serving Mesa, AZ.

Shop Around

The key to finding a great deal on auto insurance is shopping around for the right price. However, if you find a price that is a lot lower than all of the other quotes you are getting, you may want to reconsider the company you are purchasing from. Not all auto insurance companies are created the same and you do not want to get cut rate insurance because you got suckered into a low price.

Know How Much Coverage You Need

Before you start getting quotes for auto insurance, you need to know know how much coverage you need. You should start with the minimum required by the state and then increase your coverage if needed. This will vary depending on the car you have and personal preference.

Only Purchase What You Need

When getting quotes, stick to the parameters you have set forth for your auto insurance needs. You can only compare quotes when they are similar and you should only be getting quotes that meet your specific needs. Make sure you are not going to pay for more than you need with any policy.

Invest in the protection now so you do not have to pay even more later. For help finding auto insurance quotes, contact Lifetime Investments serving Mesa, AZ. They will be happy to assist you in your auto insurance search.

Car Insurance: Famous Insurance Fraud Claims

Insurance fraud claims exist in virtually every part of the industry. As I have engaged in researching this topic, I have been shocked, amazed and fascinated… today I want to focus on the things I found relevant to car insurance fraud. I also found there were myriad ways in which insureds attempt to perpetrate fraud, for example:

  1. Staging accidents and faking the depth of injuries.
  2. Adding passengers to claims who were not even in the car at the time of the accident – again faking injury reports.
  3. Exaggerating the extent of injuries and treatment of actual accidents.
  4. Falsifying the extent of damage following a crash; adding pre-accident damages to the mix.
  5. Misrepresenting where the vehicle was located at the time the accident occurred; misreporting damages to parked vehicles actually constitutes car insurance fraud.

The no-fault insurance rules in place in New York set the stage for what may have been the biggest single case of car insurance fraud in history. in 2012 well over three dozen people were arrested in a fraud scheme reported to at almost $280 million. The state rule requires expedient payouts with a minimum of investigation… and according to the state’s laws, the driver and passenger of an accident are entitled to receive up to $50 thousand in benefits – per person – no matter who is ultimately found at fault. Payments for medical treatment are also subject to the same level of expediency, hoping to negate the need for long, drawn-out lawsuits.

The suspects in this extensive fraud actually established medical clinics with the sole intention of defrauding providers – drawing on New York’s no-fault insurance rules. The clinics arranged for unnecessary treatments at myriad fraudulent businesses and providing physician referrals. In return for the referrals, the clinics would, of course, earn kickbacks, as did the recruiters who were paid unbelievable amounts for “bringing” those patients to the party!

The full scope of the investigation was mind-boggling; as the government dug deeper, imagine their own surprise to add to the list a number of prominent New York attorneys and physicians. The count was not small… ten doctors and three attorneys were part of the three dozen suspects who will face between 30 and 70 years for their malfeasance.

What really astounded me was the information that surfaced tied the group to organized crime: the Russian mob. An NBC television affiliate in New York City reported the Brooklyn-based operation was believed to be the largest ever no-fault insurance scheme uncovered. The words used by the Assistant FBI Director says it all. Janice Fedarcyk noted, “The criminal enterprise, while it lasted, was obscenely profitable.”

The more I trolled for information for this post, the easier it seemed to be to uncover the actions of highly unscrupulous “fraudsters!”  In 2011 Florida fought against 25 people who were charged with insurance fraud. Staging accidents, recruiting participants, defrauding auto insurance companies… it was a big racket that called for a “staff” of over two dozen to make it all happen – including  a clinic owner and staff members and several doctors who filed phony personal injury protection claims.

The “sting” which was titled Operation Dark Horizon, brought about 140 criminal charges against the group, following two full years’ investigation; charges which included racketeering, money laundering, and grand theft.

One final story here… a major auto insurance scam masterminded by a Los Angeles-based Armenian-American gang, which has been billed as one of the largest Medicare schemes to date, and responsible for losses totaling a whopping $163 million!

Another major auto insurance scheme was masterminded by an Armenian-American gang in Los Angeles in 2011. Billed as one of the largest Medicare schemes to date, the gang is believed responsible for losses totaling $163 million. Phony crash victims… phony treatments… phony medical clinics – spread out over more than two dozen states. It was no small matter to investigate, but the primary figure, Armen Karazianis, did serve a three-year federal sentence for the part he played.

The stories do go on… a big whiplash “project” that hit Canada in 2012; a fraud ring that took months to break, and damages to be assessed. The stories continued throughout Florida as it claimed the unfortunate title of #3 in the nation in auto insurance fraud, causing Governor Rick Scott to sign a tough anti-insurance fraud bill into law. The big message… insurance fraud is not an acceptable behavior in Florida!

The situations have gotten SO out of hand the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud was founded – by concerned citizens who were compelled to counter the effects the level of fraud wielded on American consumers. After close to 20 years, it remains the only organization that represents both consumers and the insurance industry; it has also strategically become an insurance fraud clearinghouse of information. The statistics that come from the CAIF are startling! Imagine if you will the $80 billion  in terms of lost production and resources. If you do the simple math, broken down per household, this on-going insurance fraud costs each family $980 a year – close to a thousand dollars a family might better spend on living essentials.

What started out as a curiosity factor has led to a passion to inform our public of the possible car insurance fraud activities and embrace their willingness to immediately report suspicious activities.

an Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients and her industry for 30+ years

Famous Insurance Fraud Claims

Insurance Fraud ClaimsThe insurance agent is in the position of providing coverage, as best meets the needs of the insured… can you imagine how they would feel, knowing they had inadvertently participated in insurance fraud claims?

This past week I have found myself rather fascinated with providing Social Media posts about famous insurance fraud claims – and the statistics that accompany what I have found!

Insurance Fraud Statistics

For example, from I found the following:

Insurance fraud drains more than $50 billion from insurers each year and costs the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 in the form of increased premiums, according to the FBI.

Interestingly enough, as I read through these famous case I found the perpetrators were not what you would call masterful criminals. Some of the stories I found were of amazingly brilliant  escapades; others… well, what is that phrase, “Stupid is as stupid does!”  The alleged frauds came in all venues; those putting in the effort – well, they ran the gamut: from grannies to cops and from the boy next door to desperate business owners.

Like a Horror Movie…

I found it really hard to believe the following story:

It was like reading the script for a horror movie! A certain Gerald Hardin was charged with… chopping off his friend’s hand for a $670,000 dismemberment claim. Using a small pole type chain saw normally used to trim tree branches – off went the arm – in went the claim!  Of course, as should go the way of misdeeds, the trio who concocted the scheme faced hefty fines and jail time.

Desperate Measures…

What about the desperate store owner? One NBC story I read about was of two New York City business partners who, in their desperation, planned what they thought was the ultimate resolution to save their jewelry store. Hiring two men, dressed in Hasidic garb, the partners staged the robbery, and to cover up the part they played, they poured drain cleaner into the cameras – hoping to spoil the footage – before filing a $7 million claim with Lloyds of London. Unfortunately, they didn’t count on the acumen of the local police who were able to salvage the security footage and discovered… the partners removing the jewels a full two hours before the staged heist!  Their goal of $7 million netted them first-degree insurance fraud and other not-so-savoury charges.

Let’s look at just one more before I wrap up this post!  See, I told you – it is fascinating to what measures people will go and the use they make of the gift of creativity they’ve been given.  Astounds me!

The Man Who Didn’t Exist…

This was a story covered by KABC-TV about how four women actually “made up” a man, and then set about faking his death, staging a funeral and going to the expense of a tombstone!

A complex and rather a creepy scheme, if you ask me… not only did they falsify all the particulars of the man and his death, they paid actors to attend his funeral, posing as mourners should anyone question… all to claim $1.2 million in life insurance benefits. The complexity came in the form of the mortuary worker’s involvement with the three other women after two separate insurance companies had questions sufficient to launch an investigation. The quick-witted women, not to be outdone, unearthed the casket, filled it with a mannequin and cow parts to ensure the proper weight and sent it to a crematory… filing paperwork stating the man had been cremated and the ashes strewn in the Pacific Ocean.

Of course, I was a bit dismayed to find there was no real “wrap” on this story… about which I would love to know the ending!

Do you have any interesting insurance fraud stories to share?

Jan Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients and her industry for 30+ years

Arizona Communities: Canyon Del Chelly National Monument

Arizona communities are fortunate to be home(s) to myriad scenic attractions, one of which is the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, which is home to spectacular cliff dwellings. They have been discovered both on, and at the base, of steep-sided canyons up to 1,000 ft deep.

Deep within the heart of the Navajo Nation, you can discover a place called, Tseyi, where for nearly 5,000 years Navajo families have made their homes… living uninterrupted for longer than anyone has – along the Colorado Plateau. Even today the extended generations farm the lands in the canyons, where homes and images continue to share the stories.

If you have traveled Arizona, you would contend that the far northeastern part of the state is barren… not particularly qualifying as scenic, where the land is formed into wide, empty valleys that are often broken only by low, scrub-covered flat mesas. Much of the land lies in the middle of the Hopi Indian territory, the remainder being the Navajo lands close to Chinle. There may be a perception the little-known canyon is not nearly as spectacular as others to which we have grown accustomed, but if you have an interest in the overlooks and preserved Anasazi ruins that provide a fascinating insight into both the history and present-day life of the Navajo – then this scenic attraction is for you!

Perhaps the best known of the hundred plus cliff dwellings, which are known to have been occupied around AD 350 to 1300, is Spider Rock, the White House, Antelope House and Mummy Cave.If archeology compels you, the area hosts a highly informative archeological museum, Visitor Center, and a number of guided tours and scenic walks.

You might also want to connect on Facebook and feast your eyes on the imagery there.

Enjoy Arizona!
Jan Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients, her community, and her industry for 30+ years

MORE Arizona Communities: Scenic Attractions


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