Law Offices Of Douglas L Hallet

Where Defendant Had Made Regular Prior Appearances, Court Justified In Thinking Defendant May Have Had Valid Excuse

The unpublished case of County of Los Angeles v. American Contractors Indemnity Co., No. B221539 (February 24), is a decision from Division Eight of the Second Appellate District on a forfeited bail bond. The bond company argued the trial court had a duty to declare forfeiture on the defendant’s first nonappearance and thereby lost jurisdiction to do so later. The Court of Appeal held that American Contractors misunderstood the proper test. The trial court need not establish that the defendant did have a legitimate excuse in justifying its decision not to declare forfeiture at the first nonappearance. All it must find is that there is reason to believe that sufficient excuse may have existed. Here the defendant had made regular appearances and his counsel was genuinely surprised at his first nonappearance. The trial court was therefore justified in finding that reasonable excuse may have existed.

February 24, 2011 Posted in: Blog Comments Closed
InsWeb Data Shows Modest Decline In California Auto Insurance Rates
The median six-month auto insurance rate in California decreased about 3 percent over the past year to $809, according to InsWeb Corp., the Gold River-based online provider of insurance quotes, today’s Sacramento Bee reports.

Over the same 12-month period, the national median auto insurance rate declined about 5.5 percent to $675.

InsWeb said male drivers in California pay higher premiums than women – a median of $836 versus $772 over six months.

Drivers in the 19-and-younger age group pay the most by far – a median of $2,141. In the 20-24 segment, the median drops to $1,154.

The lowest in-state median, $654, was in the 50-59 segment.

InsWeb, according to the Bee, characterized a 3 percent shift in premium costs as minor, given numerous variables involved. There was no major legislative action affecting rates over the past year.

Generally, InsWeb said premiums tend to be most affected by the value of vehicles, and during the recession, annual new-car sales in California decreased from around 1.6 million units to less than 1 million. Motorists who held onto older cars or bought used vehicles generally paid cheaper premiums than new-car buyers.

February 24, 2011 Posted in: Blog Comments Closed
NICB Reports 24% Rise In Suspicious Claims Over Two Years
There has been a 24 percent rise in what insurance companies consider suspicious claims since 2008.

According to an article in today’s Insurance Journal, in 2008 a total of 74,146 so-called questionable claims, or QCs, were referred to the National Insurance Crime Bureau from its member insurance companies compared to 91,797 received in 2010 —a 24 percent increase. In 2009, a total of 84,407 QCs were referred. The difference between 2009 and 2010 was an increase of 8.7 percent

NICB’s report on 2010 questionable claims examines six referral reason categories of claims: property, casualty, commercial, workers’ compensation, vehicle and miscellaneous referred in 2010, with those referred in 2008 and 2009.

Questionable claims are those claims that NICB member insurance companies refer to NICB for closer review and investigation based on one or more indicators of possible fraud. A single claim may contain up to seven referral reasons.

Vehicle QC analysis identified auto glass fraud and inflated towing/storage bills as the top two referral reasons in 2010 garnering increases of 450 percent and 116 percent, respectively, over their 2009 numbers.

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