Feb 252020

Suckers List: How Allstate’s Secret Auto Insurance Algorithm Squeezes Big Spenders – The Markup:

“In this case, Allstate’s model seemed to determine how much a customer was willing to pay —or overpay—without defecting, based on how much he or she was already forking out for car insurance. “


“In the 1990s, insurers began using external data sources like credit scores to predict accident risk. Since then, rate filings have become increasingly filled with proprietary, opaque algorithms, according to regulators.”


“If a behavior in another sphere of life affects insurance premiums in a way that consumers can’t readily anticipate,” he said in an interview, “that could lead to a cascade of financial consequences arising from what seems to be an innocuous decision.”


“Patty Born, a professor studying insurance regulation at Florida State University’s College of Business, doubts insurers will ever share enough information about their pricing models to allow customers to know if they’re overpaying. She said the only defense is to regularly check competitors’ rates.”


*When there is a lot of money on the table there will be creative strategies employed to get more.

Feb 172020

Apple Warns That Coronavirus Will Hurt Revenue – The New York Times:

“Apple also said that demand for its devices in China had been hurt by the outbreak; it closed all 42 of its stores in the country last month and most have yet to reopen.”

*How much will this cost and how widespread will this be economically? Will this be a black swan like event that starts small and flies under the radar until it is on top of us and has widespread impact?

Feb 012020

Secretary Azar Delivers Remarks on Declaration of Public Health Emergency for 2019 Novel Coronavirus | HHS.gov:

“Following the World Health Organization’s decision to declare the 2019 novel coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, I have declared today that the coronavirus presents a Public Health Emergency in the United States.

[Read Secretary Azar’s statement on the Public Health Emergency]

The actions we have taken and continue to take complement the work of China and the WHO to contain the outbreak within China.

In accordance with the declaration, beginning 5 PM Eastern Standard Time, Sunday, February 2, the U.S. government will implement temporary measures to increase our abilities to detect and contain the coronavirus proactively and aggressively.

Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in Hubei Province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine, to ensure they’re provided proper medical care and health screening. To be clear, this applies only to U.S. citizens who have been in Hubei Province in the past 14 days.

Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in the rest of mainland China within the previous 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screening at a select number of ports of entry and up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.”

(Via.) Inside Daily Brief February 1, 2020

Feb 012020

Shop Around for Lower Drug Prices – Consumer Reports:

“The range in prices they found was stunning. The five-drug ‘marketbasket’ cost just $66 at the online pharmacy HealthWarehouse.com but $105 at Costco. The two highest-priced national retailers—CVS and Rite Aid—had prices closer to $900 for the five drugs.”

*Interesting article. 

Feb 012020

Many Adults Are Helping Their Parents Financially Despite Strain – The New York Times:

“Many adults give financial support to their parents, despite feeling a strain on their own budgets, new research finds.

About a third of adults in their 40s, 50s and early 60s said they had given a parent money in the past year, according to a new survey from the research arm of AARP, the advocacy organization focused on older Americans.”

Not for sale – Luxury groups ponder ways to get rid of their unsold inventory | Business | The Economist

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Feb 012020

Not for sale – Luxury groups ponder ways to get rid of their unsold inventory | Business | The Economist:

“Two things may come to the rescue of exasperated inventory liquidators. The first is the rise of second-hand-clothes sales online: expect to see many ‘used’ frocks on offer that are in fact brand new. The second is ‘up-cycling’, when an unsold dress gets trimmed, combined and dyed into a new fabulous outfit.”

Feb 012020

Phone Hacks Can Happen to Anyone. Here’s How to Protect Yourself. – The New York Times:

“Vacations, in general, are fraught with risk. The hotel Wi-Fi network should never be used, because it exposes your devices to hacking. Use the hot spot on your phone instead, and never log into your financial accounts on a public network.

Some Wi-Fi hotel networks are outright fakes.”

*Lots of interesting information in full article.