Travel news: New baggage tracking tool, plus cheapest insurance

Lost luggage is the bane of travelling and it only seems to have become worse since we returned to travel after the pandemic.

Well, Virgin Australia has announced it will be rolling out a tracking tool that could take the pain out of missing luggage. 

The system is an app-based logistic that informs passengers when their baggage has been checked in, loaded onto the aircraft, transferred to a connecting flight if required and at which baggage carousel it will be arriving.

Domestic and international coverage

Regular Virgin domestic travellers have been using the app on a portion of the airline’s domestic routes, but it will now be expanded to cover all Virgin domestic and international flights. 

“Australians find comfort in the ability to track food deliveries, postal deliveries, technology, even their heart rate, all via apps, and it made sense for travellers to be able to do the same thing when flying Virgin Australia,” said Paul Jones, chief customer and digital officer, Virgin Australia.

“By further enhancing our Australian-first baggage tracking technology to include all international services and additional notifications, we are giving guests the peace of mind to know where their baggage is at every step of the journey,” said Mr Jones.

If you want to track your luggage on Virgin, follow these steps:

  • download the Virgin Australia app. It’s free!
  • enable push notifications via app settings
  • once enabled, a series of push notifications will be sent to your phone throughout the journey, including when the bag is checked in, loaded onto the aircraft, transferred to an international partner airline, and available for collection at the final destination. The tool will also advise the guest at which carousel the baggage will be available for collection.

For more information, visit travel-info/baggage/baggage-tracking-faq/”here.

Best travel insurance

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Minister Horner denies “inaccurate claims” by NDP on crop insurance premiums raising 60 per cent

“We’ve seen crop insurance go through a lot over the last two years. The program has really changed dramatically. It’s paid out $4.1 billion combined over the last two years… about $2.8 billion the year previous and we look like we are around $1.3 billion for payouts for last year,” he said.

Horner notes this is due to a combination of the drought in 2021, high payouts for hail claims after hail storms in central Alberta, and the height in value in crop payouts becoming more in 2022.

“The fund has been greatly depleted over the last two years… so there is a small growth factor in the fund. But beyond that, you’re paying for your coverage,” Horner said about how producers will be able to deal with the rise of insurance premiums during hard economic times.

Calculations made by the Alberta government say increases compared to 2022 are:

  • Hard Red Spring Wheat – 17 per cent
  • Feed Barley – nine per cent
  • Canola – 12 per cent
  • Yellow Field Peas – two per cent

“The one thing you can control is having this insurance to cover these terrible years… when everything else is out of your control. As much as it’s going up, it’s a non-profit insurance program, actuarially sound and audited, looks at a 25-year lens so they can control increases in premium rate,” added Horner on the AFSC program.

The program is 60 per cent subsidized with federal and provincial inputs. Around 36 per cent is paid by the federal level, 24 per cent by the province, and 40 per cent by producers.

The NDP says over 70 per cent of Alberta producers are enrolled in AFSC’s crop insurance program.

Horner said the program is; “one place where there’s tremendous value for Alberta farming communities when

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Inszone Insurance Services Expands with Acquisition of Jack E. Gilbert Insurance Agency, Inc.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 14, 2023–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Inszone Insurance Services: a rapidly growing, national provider of benefits, personal and commercial lines insurance, has announced the acquisition of Jack E. Gilbert Insurance Agency, Inc.

The San Jose-based agency has been serving clients in California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Washington since 1980, offering access to a wide range of insurance programs, including specialized programs for Transportation, Trucking & Towing, and Worker’s Compensation.

“Jack E. Gilbert Insurance Agency has a long-standing reputation for providing exceptional customer service to its clients,” said Chris Walters, CEO of Inszone Insurance Services. “We are excited to welcome their team of insurance professionals to the Inszone Insurance family, as we continue to expand our presence in California and beyond.”

With the acquisition, Inszone Insurance Services gains access to Jack E. Gilbert’s expertise and client base, helping the company continue to offer high-quality insurance services to its clients.

The Jack E. Gilbert Insurance Agency team will continue to operate under the Inszone Insurance brand, delivering the same level of exceptional customer care and service that clients have come to expect. The acquisition is part of Inszone Insurance’s strategy to expand its national footprint and build on its reputation as a leading insurance provider in the United States.

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Sacramento, California, Inszone is a full-service insurance brokerage firm that provides a broad array of property & casualty insurance, along with employee benefits solutions. With a strong, experienced management team, Inszone continues to grow organically, as well as through acquisitions. With 40 locations across California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, and Illinois, the company is looking to further expand throughout the United States.

For more information about Inszone, please visit www.inszoneinsurance.com.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230314005466/en/

Contacts

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Deadline extended to fill gaps in National Insurance record

Britain’s government has extended the deadline by nearly three months to fill historic gaps in National Insurance records and help increase the amount its people receive in state pension.

The new deadline to top up the state pension is July end instead of April 5 and the extension followed public demand, the government said.

Anyone with gaps in their National Insurance record from April 2006 now has more time to fill the gaps.

According to actuarial business LCP, investing in state pension top-ups can generate a better rate of return than almost any other way of using savings.

Someone with 10 missing years could pay out a little more than £8,000 to fix the gaps but see a boost of £55,000 in state pension over a typical 20-year retirement, it said.

LCP partner and former pensions minister Steve Webb said paying voluntary National Insurance contributions can be “great value for money” for many people.

It can help them boost their state pension in a “cost-effective way”, he said earlier this year.

Victoria Atkins, the financial secretary to the treasury, said the government recognised the importance of state pensions for retired individuals, “which is why we are giving people more time to fill any gaps in their National Insurance record to help bolster their entitlement.”

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Delaware Could Require Insurance Companies to Cover Epinephrine Auto-Injectors | Latest News

DELAWARE – House Bill 54 would require companies to offer a version of its lowest tier of approved medicines for all ages.

Building on an earlier effort to make epinephrine autoinjectors affordable to young people, the House announced on Mar. 14 that it unanimously approved expanding that insurance coverage for the lifesaving autoinjectors to all Delawareans, regardless of age.

More commonly known by its brand name EpiPen, an epinephrine autoinjector is an emergency treatment used when someone is experiencing a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis. People with allergies to foods containing dairy, peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts or other items often carry an EpiPen with them in the event that they are exposed.

The cost of epinephrine autoinjectors has spiked during the past 15 years, and because they have a shelf life of about a year, patients must replace them regularly.

House Bill 54’s sponsor, Rep. Kim Williams, says it would require insurance plans regulated under Delaware law to provide coverage for epinephrine autoinjectors to all residents, and to offer a version of EpiPens on its lowest tier of approved medicines.

Williams says this would make the autoinjectors more affordable, reducing any out-of-pocket expenses and ensuring the devices are accessible to everyone via their insurance. Currently, the state requires all such health insurance plans to offer this coverage for those 18 and younger.

“We have seen how much drug prices have gone up in recent years, forcing many of our constituents to make unthinkable decisions about whether they can afford this lifesaving drug. It costs less than a Capriotti’s bobbie to manufacture an EpiPen, but a two-pack of EpiPens can cost more than a car payment,” said Rep. Williams. “We made the commitment to our young people two years ago that no one should be priced out of obtaining

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Duo sentenced for $54m workers’ comp insurance fraud scheme

According to the investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance, Owens obtained workers’ compensation insurance for Bison and then used the documents provided by the insurance company to generate fraudulent certificates of insurance, which were issued to PEO customers. The insurance carrier was informed the policy was to cover a small, white-collar firm, not the PEO customers’ businesses that included agricultural workers, roofers, limo drivers, and a wide variety of other employees.

Beau Wilson, 38, was found to have been aware of this scheme, recruiting customers for Bison and receiving commissions for each client.

Workers left with no insurance coverage

Bison was unable to obtain workers’ compensation insurance due to the continued fraud, so the company entered into a business relationship with another firm that already had a workerscompensation insurance policy, according to the investigation. Owens and his co-conspirators began using that firm’s documents to continue generating fake insurance certificates.

The California Department of Insurance said Bison began paying out claims itself to conceal the fact that its policy was being misused to insure PEO customers.

However, when the expense proved to be too much for the company to sustain, it eventually stopped paying out claims and left workers with no insurance coverage that would provide them with recourse after being injured on the job.

The department ultimately found that Bison failed to pay approximately $29 million in premium and duped its PEO customers out of approximately $25.5 million in fees they thought were paying for workers’ comp coverage.

Both Owens and Wilson will be sentenced to 10 years formal probation and 60 days of community labor, the department said. They were also ordered to pay $350,000 cash prior to their final sentencing in restitution.

Wilson additionally agreed to sell five pieces of real property and remit

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Cannabis Businesses Have More Insurance Options to Consider

Obtaining adequate and affordable insurance coverage remains one of the many challenges in the cannabis industry. Most large insurance carriers – adverse to the risk posed by unfavorable federal law – have so far chosen to leave millions of dollars in potential annual premiums that cannabis industry businesses are willing to pay on the table. But there is some good news to report while we wait for federal law to change: More carriers are entering the market, a growing number of insurance brokers have established expertise in procuring coverage, and a new cannabis coverage endorsement to standard commercial property policies is now available in most states.

More Competition to Cover Cannabis

According to the Cannabis Working Group of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the number of insurers underwriting coverage for cannabis-related businesses has risen from only six in 2020 to more than 30 today. More competition should put some downward pressure on premiums, even though premiums are likely to remain high even for relatively narrow coverage. Policy limits currently remain low even for large operations, with coverage for commercial general liability (CGL), property damage, and product liability coverage typically maxing out at $1 million per occurrence/$2 million aggregate.

A New Endorsement Broadens Property Coverage

A standard “Cannabis Coverage” endorsement now available in most states covers property damage to “cannabis stock” owned by the insured or in the insured’s care in a covered building, including growing plants. The endorsement also covers losses from business interruption and extra expenses incurred to mitigate a slowdown or stoppage of business related to the property damage.  The endorsement adds cannabis exclusions to the standard commercial property policy, but the exclusion is not applicable to the categories of coverages the endorsement specifically provides. Covered “cannabis activity” is broadly defined as

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Louisiana Insurance Commissioner will not seek reelection

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Longtime Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, who was tasked with finding solutions to lower property insurance costs that have been plaguing the state, announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in October.

Donelon, a Republican, has been thrust into the spotlight amid the state’s ongoing property insurance crisis, which was exacerbated by devastating hurricanes in 2020 and 2021. However, even as Donelon laid out plans to potentially strengthen the state’s struggling homeowners insurance market and decrease premium costs, he said his time in the Louisiana Department of Insurance — where he served as commissioner for a record 17 years — is coming to an end.

“(I) have spent almost 50 years serving the public of Louisiana,” Donelon, 78, said Tuesday. “I want to enjoy the remaining years of my life with my family and hopefully some new hobbies.”

Donelon’s surprise announcement comes a month after lawmakers approved of allocating $45 million to an incentive program designed to entice more insurers to Louisiana. Over the past few years, a dozen homeowners insurance companies fled the state and another dozen went insolvent following hurricanes Delta, Laura, Zeta and Ida. The storms’ destruction generated a combined 800,000 insurance claims totaling $22 billion.

As a result, thousands of residents have been forced to turn to Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation — the state-run insurer, which is the most expensive option. Currently the corporation has 120,000 residential policies — compared to 41,000 policies in 2021 — and the average annual property insurance premium has soared to $4,400. Nationally, the average annual premium for property insurance in 2019 was $1,272, according to the most recent data from the Insurance Information Institute.

Under the state’s incentive program, qualified companies will be awarded grants between $2 million and $10 million. In

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SunLive – Consumer NZ issues car insurance add-on warning

Consumer NZ is warning people to watch out for the hard sell of add-on insurances when buying a car.

Between 2018 and 2020, New Zealanders paid out about $442 million in premiums for add-on insurance at car yards. Only $128 million was paid out in claims.

Add-on insurance includes mechanical breakdown insurance, guaranteed asset protection, credit contract indemnity and payment protection insurance.

These insurances are sold as protection in case the consumer is unable to pay off the loan, or if the car breaks down.

“There are so many exclusions and conditions on these insurance products, it’s incredibly easy for a consumer to get hoodwinked into paying for a policy that provides very little protection,” says Consumer NZ Chief Executive Jon Duffy.

“Often MBI policies don’t provide much more cover than the Consumer Guarantees Act, so we’d recommend consumers really consider whether they need it.

“Under the CGA, if you buy a vehicle which isn’t of acceptable quality, the dealer is required to sort it out. Investing in a pre-purchase inspection and regular car servicing could be a better investment.”

CCI and PPI are designed to cover payments which can’t be made due to sickness, hospitalisation, accident, redundancy, bankruptcy or death.

However, these policies come with a long list of exclusions, including but not limited to anxiety, stress and getting caught in a natural disaster.

In the case of redundancy cover, three out of four providers will only pay after 28 to 30 consecutive calendar days of redundancy.

If you need to claim because of an accident, the cover generally kicks in after five or seven days in hospital. However, the average stay in hospital for acute injuries is just 2.62 days.

“A lot of New Zealanders have sick leave, and if you can’t work because of an accident, ACC

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‘Can all my car’s damages go under one insurance claim?’ [Newbie Guide]

Whatever car you’re driving, you can never be too careful whenever you’re behind the wheel out on the road. But occasionally, despite our best efforts, something untoward happens and the vehicle ends up getting damaged.

Car headlight crash damage

Comprehensive car insurance comes in handy at times like this

Of course, being the responsible motorist that you are, there’s the relative consolation of knowing that your car is protected by comprehensive insurance. But then, rather than having the damage fixed right away, you think of waiting until the car sustains more scratches, dents, or dings before making an insurance claim.

It’s understandably due to your wish to streamline the process, instead of having to repeatedly file multiple claims (and paying multiple participation fees). Just gather everything and file it in one go. But while this sounds good in theory, the reality is that you won’t be able to do so.

Contract signing

A car insurance claim corresponds to a particular incident only 

Why is that? Auto insurance works on a per-incident basis, meaning that you can only file a claim for a particular event. For example, insurance will cover repairs on a warped hood that resulted from your car hitting a wall, but it does not include that dented door you got when another car T-boned you at an intersection three months prior.

Two separate causes resulting in damage to your car will require two separate insurance filings and, yes, two separate payments of the participation fee. It will be up to you to prove through documentation and pictures that all the physical damage on your car came from just one incident. Otherwise, you would be liable for insurance fraud.

Dented car roof

You’ll have to prove that those dents on the roof are connected to the smashed grille your car sustained

There’s also the validity of your policy

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