Eyes on the road: Automated speed cameras get a fresh look as traffic deaths mount

Link:https://www.npr.org/2024/02/16/1231362802/automated-speed-cameras-traffic-fatalities

Excerpt:

Richmond joins a growing list of cities turning to speed cameras. New laws in California and Pennsylvania will allow them in major cities where they’ve long been blocked.

Traffic fatalities have risen sharply over the past decade, and safety advocates around the country are desperately searching for anything that will get drivers to slow down. But critics say speed cameras can be a financial burden on those who are least able to pay.

Still, they’ve earned the endorsement of prominent safety advocates, including Jonathan Adkins, the CEO of the Governors Highway Safety Association.

“Automated enforcement works,” Adkins said. “For lack of a better term, it sucks to get a ticket. It changes your behavior.”

….

No one likes getting a speeding ticket. But the objections to automated traffic enforcement go deeper than that.

“We are very skeptical that safety is the real goal,” says Jay Beeber, with the National Motorists Association, a driver advocacy group.

There are other ways to get drivers to slow down, Beeber argues, including speed feedback signs that show drivers how fast they’re going in real time.

Author(s): Joel Rose

Publication Date: 16 Feb 2024

Publication Site: NPR, All Things Considered

Just 2% of Philadelphia’s pension fund could boost the local economy

Link:https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/philadelphia-pension-fund-investments-20240214.html?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=edit_social_share_email_traffic&utm_medium=email&utm_content=&utm_term=&int_promo=

Excerpt:

The primary responsibility of the $8.4 billion Philadelphia pension fund is to assure the continuing financial security promised to city workers upon retirement. The welfare of city employees, along with all Philadelphians, depends on the economic and social well-being of the city itself. Therefore, the Philadelphia Public Banking Coalition has proposed that the city pension fund invest $168 million, 2% of its portfolio, in local economically targeted investments to fund projects that benefit Philadelphians.

These investments would address policy goals while achieving returns as high or higher than many of the fund’s current asset classes. Currently, the 2023 pension fund investment policy describes risky investments in options, futures, forwards, and swap agreements. And there’s a precedent for public policy considerations, for example, in limitations on investments in Russian companies, private prisons, and arms manufacturers. The current portfolio exhibits a strong real estate focus but without preference for Philadelphia projects.

Below are just a few of the possible opportunities for targeted investments that would strengthen the health of Philadelphia’s economy.

Author(s): Stan Shapiro and Peter Winslow, For The Inquirer

Publication Date: 14 Feb 2024

Publication Site: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Fed Rate Cut Expectations Drop on Unexpectedly Strong CPI Data

Link:https://mishtalk.com/economics/fed-rate-cut-expectations-drop-on-unexpectedly-strong-cpi-data/

Graphic:

Excerpt:

  • A month ago, the market thought there was no chance the Fed would hold pat through May.
  • A week ago, the odds were 33.4 percent.
  • Yesterday, the odds were 39.3 percent.
  • Today, the market says there is a 62.1 percent chance the Fed did not cut in March or May. There is no April meeting.

Author(s): Mike Shedlock

Publication Date: 13 Feb 2024

Publication Site: Mish Talk

Insurance Fraud on the March

Link: https://www.insurancejournal.com/blogs/right-street/2024/02/12/760360.htm

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Some of the most chilling examples of insurance fraud are grisly affairs revealing the darkest of humanity’s dark side:

  • John Gilbert Graham placed a time-release bomb on a plane in which his mother was traveling, for the life insurance payment. The bomb exploded. In addition to Graham’s mother all 43 other passengers and crew perished.
  • Utah physician Farid Fata administered chemotherapy to hundreds of women who did not have cancer. Fata submitted $34 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and private insurance companies.
  • Ali Elmezayen staged a freak car accident which took the lives of his two autistic children and nearly drowned his wife. He collected a $260,000 insurance payout, but his crime was discovered. He was sentenced to 212 years in prison.
  • A Chicago federal grand jury charged 23 defendants with participating in a fraud scheme swindling $26 million from ten life insurers. The scheme featured submission of fraudulent applications to obtain policies, and misrepresenting the identity of the deceased.

There are thousands of other equally horrific insurance fraud stories. The annual Dirty Dozen Hall of Shame report describes some of the most egregious, and contributes to an understanding of how far fraudsters will go to cheat insurance companies.

….

Improvements in predictive modeling and the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) have strengthened insurers abilities to identify, and ultimately investigate, submitted claims that may be fraudulent. At the same time, however, AI is also being used as a weapon to penetrate insurers’ fraud detection systems. Techniques being used include AI-created fake photographs of cars of a particular make and model showing damage that is not real, but used to extract a claims payment. Some insurers are no longer accepting photos because they may be doctored, and are returning to adjustors physically visiting the allegedly damaged car. A nefarious life insurance scam includes AI-enabled manipulation of ones voice so that a criminal third party gets past insurers’ voice recognition technology, and initiates a policy being surrendered to a non-policyholder, non-beneficiary. It seems that for every additional layer of protection insurers introduce, the criminals are keeping up, if not forging ahead.

Author(s): Jerry Theodorou, R Street

Publication Date: 12 Feb 2024

Publication Site: Insurance Journal