Kreidler on Supreme Court case and the state health-care exchange

Commissioner Kreidler sat down with TVW's Christina Salerno yesterday for a Q&A on health care reform, including this week's three days of arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court and the shape of the state's upcoming Health Benefits Exchange.

From the discussion:
What would change if they overturned the act?
People are directly benefiting from parts of the act today. People can stay on their parents’ insurance until 26, they can get preventive care with no deductibles — all of that would go away. (Attorney General) Rob McKenna’s lawsuit would undo all of that. The entire law may go down. We’d be back to square one, which is a system that’s failing us as a country and as a state. For many individuals, it was making a difference between life or death decisions.

State website among the top nationwide

Well-deserved kudos to the folks who run, a Washington state website that helps make much of what government is doing available on one easy-to-navigate site.

The Sunshine Review, a nonprofit group focused on government accountability, recently awarded the site with an A+ grade, meaning that it's one of the most accessible state government sites in the country. From the group's report card on the site:

Elected officials are listed with contact information
Budgets are posted
Audits are posted
Contracts are posted in a searchable database
The site includes information on requesting public records
Lobbyist lists and reports are posted in a searchable database

(And a hat tip to The HDC Advance for the heads up on this.)

One Ballot, Two Votes

Dave Cunix – surrogate. I was asked to represent Al Gore during the 2000 presidential campaign. I presented his positions at candidate forums and spoke to citizens’ groups. Based on Mr. Gore’s success, I was recruited four years later to serve on the John Kerry campaign. We know how well that went.

The candidate forums were very inclusive. Surrogates were invited from all of the major campaigns. The Bush representative and I were often joined by men and women prepared to advance the agendas of Pat Buchanan (Reform), Ralph Nader (Green), and Harry Browne (Libertarian). At the end of these forums I would say something that though incredibly true was sure to agitate the Libertarians and the Greens. “A vote for Ralph Nader is a vote for George Bush. A vote for Harry Browne is a vote for no one”.

Gosh that would torque them off. Worse, as we now know, I was totally correct. Here are the results of a few of the states:

Fl........16,414.....17,484.......2, 912,790....2,912,253....97,488

Emotion plays a huge roll in politics. The politicians, our leaders, use our emotions to push us in one direction or another. Our first task must be to remove all emotion from political discussions. Once we get down to facts, to cause and effect, we can determine what we really want to do and how to create a logical course of action.

My issue with government in 2012 is the inherent laziness of our politicians. Speaking in snippets and sound bites and relying on emotion laden advertisements, candidates and elected officials don’t debate solutions, just fears. They exploit our fear of spending money. Our fear of the “Other”. Our fear of losing what little peace or privacy we have left.

The President’s health care program, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), was initially sold as a way to insure the uninsured, all 50 million of them. The American public was told that not only wouldn’t it cost more to do this, but that premiums would go down. And we were going to get better coverage (free stuff!) at no additional cost.

The Republicans were asking for a birth certificate from the tooth fairy.

And what were the Republicans doing during all of this? They defended the status quo and promised to respect the doctor/patient relationship. They assured us that they would protect the world’s best health care system. And we do have a great system. And we do have great doctors and hospitals. But G-d help you if get really sick and are stuck with inadequate insurance coverage.

So here, again, is the truth. We aren’t going to return to 2007. No one in power wants to replace the PPACA. No one wants to fix it. The Republicans took control of the House of Representatives over a year ago. Repeal Obamacare? How? To what end? If the Republicans had a constructive option they would have advanced it by now. As in any successful negotiation, common ground and saving face are keys to victory. Mr. Boehner, Mr. Cantor, Mr. Romney, and even Mr. Gingrich, a legislator who has promoted the individual mandate for most of the last twenty years, have not offered a path to modify the PPACA to make it work. They have no solutions, just campaign issues.

The Democrats have a program that won’t work as a privately insured system, but could lead to single payer. The Republicans have a fundraising gold mine. You? You have debates about birth control pills and a lifetime supply of smoke and mirrors.

The numbers are real, everything else is, as Rick Santorum would say, “BS”. The PPACA had to have gimmicks built in to it to cover the exorbitant costs. One by one these income generators are disappearing. The 1099 silliness is gone. The Long Term Care program (CLASS) is gone. The tax on Cadillac Health Plans will disappear, too. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments TODAY about the constitutionality of the individual mandate. We will get the verdict in a couple of months. Regardless of the outcome, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will move forward.

So which party deserves your support? Who is going to get our health care system on to firm financial ground? Will a vote for one guy really be a vote for someone else?

I need a ballot that offers “None of the Above”.


How to appeal when your health insurer says no

Seattle's KING 5 TV recently did a story on the case of a Tacoma man diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. After trying other treatments, his apparent only remaining option is an experimental anti-cancer drug that his insurer refuses to cover.

He contacted our office, and we're helping him navigate the appeals process. Many people don't realize that a denial by your health insurer is not the final word on the matter. There are multiple rounds of appeals available, including to what's called an "independent review organization," which is a group that has the power to require your insurer to cover a treatment or procedure. And more than a quarter of the people who appeal to an independent review organization win.

How to appeal the decision? We've put together a detailed appeals guide with sample letters to send your insurer. Take a look -- and don't give up.

Here's the story from KING 5:

Reminder: Kölner R User Group meets on 30 March 2012

Venue: Sion em Keldenich, Weyertal 47, 50937 Cologne, Germany, 6 p.m., 30 March 2012,

For more details and registration see the Kölner R User Group page.

Hearing next week on Humana's request to acquire Arcadian Health Plan

From our public notices web page:

The Insurance Commissioner has scheduled a hearing for March 27, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time in his Tumwater, Washington office to consider whether he should approve or deny Humana Inc.’s request to acquire Washington-based Arcadian Health Plan, Inc.

Arcadian Health Plan, Inc. offers Medicare Advantage health products through the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and is wholly owned by its parent company, Arcadian Management Services, Inc. Arcadian Management Services, Inc. is currently owned by five venture capital investment funds affiliated with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, and by Arcadian employees. Humana Inc. proposes to purchase the parent company and all of its subsidiaries including Arcadian Health Plan, Inc.

Humana Inc., which had $36.8 billion in revenue in 2011, and has 11.2 million covered individuals in its medical plans and another 7.3 million in its specialty plans nationwide, is proposing to acquire all outstanding stock of Arcadian Management Services, Inc.. If approved, Humana Inc. would wholly own Arcadian Management Services, Inc. and all six of its subsidiary health carriers including Arcadian Health Plan, Inc.; Arkansas Community Care, Inc.; Arcadian Health Plan of North Carolina, Inc.; Arcadian Health Plan of Georgia, Inc.; Arcadian Health Plan of Louisiana, Inc.; and Arcadian Health Plan of New York, Inc.

The public is notified that all interested parties may submit letters of support or objections and/or may participate in the hearing by appearing in person or by telephone. To view the Notice of Hearing, which includes advice on how to participate and other related documents, go to

Our complaint- and rates Web applications will be down over the weekend

Two of our most popular Web applications will be off-line this weekend because of scheduled maintenance to our imaging software.

From 5 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Monday, these two systems will be down:
Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Health care reform: Two years later, what's changed?

From a press release we put out this morning:

The Affordable Care Act’s most controversial component – the mandate requiring everyone to have health insurance – is still two years away. But two years after the law’s enactment, many Washington consumers are quietly benefitting from many of the laws lesser-noticed provisions.

“The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate gets most of the attention, but it shouldn’t overshadow the success stories of the early reforms,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “By far the most popular benefit of health reform that we hear about is the ability for parents to keep their adult kids on their health plans – especially in today’s economy – and there are many more.”

Among the changes that have already taken effect here in Washington state:

■More than 2.4 million Washingtonians no longer face lifetime limits on their health benefits.

■More than 52,000 young adults up to age 26 have been able to stay on their parents’ health plans.

■More than 1.2 million Washingtonians now have coverage for preventive care with no co-pays or deductibles.

For much more information about what's changed and is changing, click on the link above.

Copy and paste small data sets into R

How can I embed a small data set into my R code? That was the question I came across today, when I prepared my talk about Dynamical Systems in R with simecol for the forthcoming Cologne R user group meeting.

I wanted to add all the R code of the talk to the last slide. That's easy, but the presentation makes use of a small data set of 3 columns and 21 rows. Surely there must be an elegant solution that I can embed the data into the R code, without writing x <- c(x1, x2,...).

Of course there is a solution, but let's look at the data first. It shows the numbers of trapped lynx and snowshoe hares recorded by the Hudson Bay company in North Canada from 1900 to 1920.

Data sourced from Joseph M. Mahaffy. Original data believed to be published
in E. P. Odum (1953), Fundamentals of Ecology, Philadelphia, W. B. Saunders.
Another source with data from 1845 to 1935 can be found on D. Hundley's page.

Read more »

Let's Pretend

Let’s pretend that you own a business, any business. Since we are talking about your imagination, this enterprise could be as small as just you and one employee or it could be as large as G.M. Your pretend business might be a service provider, a manufacturer, or a retail store. You may establish this business in any of the fifty states. It doesn’t matter. The only rule is that your imaginary company must be in a field that is totally foreign to you. So for me, someone who can’t even play an instrument, my fantasy will have me as the leader of a private orchestra. Got it?

I want you to think about your pretend business for a moment. Think about your time, your effort, your sacrifice as I announce that one of your company’s largest expenses is being eliminated. Excited? Did you feel that you are about to be rewarded for your hard work? Have you begun to spend the money?

But this is all an exercise. None of it is real. You can’t know, really know, what you might do in such a situation. Just as I will never be in a band, much less lead an orchestra, the members of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) have no idea how real businesses function.

In a recently released report, the CBO attempted to predict the possible effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on the deficit and the uninsured. It has been widely predicted that employers will dump their company sponsored insurance plans due to the ever-rising costs to comply with the new legislation. That is not new. This COB report unveils a Bad News / Good News scenario that we haven’t seen before.

As reported by Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post, “If employers drop 14 million, currently-insured workers into the exchange, the CBO projects that the federal deficit would actually decrease by $13 billion since those workers could no longer use the current tax deduction for employer-sponsored insurance.” Ms. Kliff’s article quotes the CBO’s numbers and explanation.

The staffers at the Congressional Budget Office imagined a scenario where the owners of businesses would drop the cost of insurance, ignore the government penalty (currently set to be $2,000 per employee per year), and give every employee a raise equivalent to the previous cost of health insurance! If that happened, if all of the employers in the country magnanimously dispersed 100% of the insurance premiums, ignoring personal wants and needs, Social Security tax, unemployment tax, Workman’s Compensation costs, etc…then, and only then, could there be significant deficit reduction from moving millions off employer sponsored group insurance and into the exchanges.

Does this make sense? Sure, if we pretend.


Logistic map: Feigenbaum diagram in R

The other day I found some old basic code I had written about 15 years ago on a Mac Classic II to plot the Feigenbaum diagram for the logistic map. I remember, it took the little computer the whole night to produce the bifurcation chart.

With today's computers even a for-loop in a scripting language like R takes only a few seconds. <- function(r, x, N, M){
## r: bifurcation parameter
## x: initial value
## N: number of iteration
## M: number of iteration points to be returned
z <- 1:N
z[1] <- x
for(i in c(1:(N-1))){
z[i+1] <- r *z[i] * (1 - z[i])
## Return the last M iterations

## Set scanning range for bifurcation parameter r
my.r <- seq(2.5, 4, by=0.003)
system.time(Orbit <- sapply(my.r,, x=0.1, N=1000, M=300))
## user system elapsed (on a 2.4GHz Core2Duo)
## 2.910 0.018 2.919

Orbit <- as.vector(Orbit)
r <- sort(rep(my.r, 301))

plot(Orbit ~ r, pch=".")

Let's not forget when Mitchell Feigenbaum started this work in 1975 he did this on his little calculator!

Update, 18 March 2012

The comment from Berend has helped to speedup the code by a factor of about four, thanks to byte compiling (using the same parameters as above), and Owe got me thinking about the alpha value of the plotting colour. Here is the updated result, with the R code below:

library(compiler) ## requires R >= 2.13.0 <- cmpfun( # same function as above
my.r <- seq(2.5, 4, by=0.001)
N <- 2000; M <- 500; start.x <- 0.1
orbit <- sapply(my.r,, x=start.x, N=N, M=M)
Orbit <- as.vector(orbit)
r <- sort(rep(my.r, (M+1)))
plot(Orbit ~ r, pch=".", col=rgb(0,0,0,0.05))

Where -- and why -- to find flood coverage

Another post for National Flood Safety Awareness Week: Here in the rainy Northwest, we can't say this often enough: a standard homeowners insurance policy does NOT cover flooding.

The good news is that flood insurance is widely available through the National Flood Insurance Program. It's a federally run insurance program, but sold by local agents and brokers. For most homeowners, the NFIP is the first stop for flood coverage.

If you live in an area with a high chance of flooding (a "Special Flood Hazard Area"), your lender will generally require you to have flood insurance. Even if you live in a minimal or moderate flood hazard area, you may still want to buy it.

There are, however, limits to federal flood insurance. For commercial structures, for example, the NFIP maximum is $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for the contents. Businesses also may need additional coverage that isn't available through the NFIP, such as business interruption coverage.

Insurance company claims representative pleads guilty to fraud on her own car

A Puyallup woman has pleaded guilty to attempted forgery and attempted insurance fraud after submitting a bogus receipt for a $1,609 windshield repair to her insurance company.

Candice Leigh Chapman, 31, was sentenced last week to 45 hours of community service and a deferred sentence.

In June of 2010, Chapman filed a claim saying that she'd had a damaged windshield replaced in her Volkswagen Touareg and had paid for the repair herself. She emailed a copy of a quote from a Seattle auto glass company, with "paid" stamped on the  bottom.

But when her insurer, Farmers, called the glass shop to confirm the bill, the shop said it had never repaired or replaced the windshield. Nor do they use a "paid" stamp. At that point, Farmers turned the investigation over to the state insurance commissioner's Special Investigations Unit.

The unusual wrinkle in this case is what Chapman did for a living: She was an insurance company claims representative at a different insurance company. And her primary job responsibility was handling auto glass claims.

Flood awareness week: How to spot a flood-damaged car

In honor of National Flood Safety Awareness Week, here are some pointers on spotting a flood-damaged car:

-Smell. Particularly here in the rainy Pacific Northwest, it's very hard to dry out a flooded car quickly enough to prevent mold and mildew in the carpets, padding below the carpets, and the upholstery.

-Moisture in odd places inside the car. For example, look for moisture or condensation behind the gauges on the dashboard, a clock, and the display panel of a stereo. (Note: It's fairly common in the Northwest to see water or condensation in exterior lights, like taillights, turn signal lights, etc. in older vehicles. That's not necessarily a sign of flooding. Rain may have just seeped in through the gaskets that are supposed to seal the lights.)

-Check the car's unique Vehicle Identification Number to see if it has been reported as a salvage vehicle. These numbers are typically found on a small metal plate visible through the front windshield at the front of the dashboard. The National Insurance Crime Bureau runs a website where you can check VIN numbers -- up to 5 a day -- for free. (Hint: it's case-sensitive.)

-Dampness, mold, silt, mud or rust in low spots on the vehicle, such as under the spare tire in the trunk, the interior crevices of the trunk behind the wheels or in the glove compartment.

-Interior rust, such as springs under the seats.

-Check the car's oil. Engine oil contaminated with water will often look like chocolate milk.

The Entertainer

I was on a cruise, over a thousand miles south of the Florida coast, when Rush Limbaugh chose to waddle into the fray. Watching CNN as we were dressing for dinner, we thought that we were going to get a break from the stories of the horrific shooting rampage in Chardon when the anchors moved on to other topics. First it was the announcement of the death of Davey Jones. Then it was the death of reason in the ongoing health care debate. El-Rushbo had spoken.

The delivery and payment of health care in this country is already over politicized. We have more than enough emotion and not nearly enough facts. Logic and intellectual honesty are notably absent in most of the discussions. The Republican presidential candidates have studiously avoided anything that even approached a solution. They have all vowed to repeal Obamacare as if that wouldn’t create more problems than it solved. And into this we add Rush.

Where do we begin? Let’s start with a clear statement. Calling Sandra Kay Fluke, a law student four days older than my daughter, a “slut” and a “prostitute” because she vocally supports the President’s health care legislation is abominable. She is a civilian, a private citizen. She isn’t a public figure, someone who willingly subjected herself to this kind of derision or scrutiny. And no, it may not be right to say such things about public figures, but we do. Ms. Fluke should have been off-limits, like the nameless group of men that had testified about women’s birth control the week before.

So the predictable occurred. We put an important national debate on hold while we discussed the relative merits of a radio talk show host. The people that hate him, and Gosh there are plenty who do, got riled up and went after his sponsors. His defenders, a little more reserved than usual, assured us that Rush was just being Rush. There was a certain amount of merit on both sides. There is nothing the political right hates more than to be defeated by the use of the free market. And in all fairness, Limbaugh, ignored in the Republican presidential primary and uninvolved in the national discussion, desperately needed attention. Any attention. Everyone won, even Ms. Fluke. Her brand, her name recognition, is huge. She is assured of a much brighter future thanks to Rush Limbaugh.

What didn’t happen, what was stopped completely, was an intelligent, honest discussion of the issues. So let’s try to kick start the process.

Here are a couple of the stories you might have missed:

  • We have discussed the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) created for the unhealthy uninsureds. The federal government’s actuaries predicted the average cost per enrollee at $13,026. They weren’t even close. The average cost now predicted for each enrollee in 2012 is $28,994! It is that kind of predicting that gives most of us pause as we contemplate the President’s health care program and future liabilities.

  • Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has decided that he sees no reason to vote on the repeal of the PPACA until after the November election. It is important to remember that he has never seen a reason to offer an alternative to the President’s plan or a workable way to modify the legislation.

Add to this the date March 26, 2012, when the Supreme Court will begin to hear arguments about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and we have more than enough to keep us busy. In fact, we are much too busy to waste time on an entertainer.


NAIC survey: Most homeowners have no home inventory (and how to easily make one)

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners today released the results of a survey indicating that most Americans don't have a home inventory of their possessions.

The February survey indicated that 59 percent of consumers haven't made a list of what they own. Of those that had, nearly half didn't have receipts. More than a quarter didn't have photos of their property.

Home inventories are a key tool for recovering from a tornado, flood, earthquake or other disaster. They can speed up and dramatically simplify the insurance claims process. They can also help you and your agent decide if you have enough coverage if you have a rare collection or other high-value items. (On average, home contents are reimbursed only up to 50 percent of the home's insured value. In other words, if you're house is insured for $200,000, the maximum contents reimbursement would typically be $100,000.)

Last year, severe weather disasters inflicted more than $43 billion in the United States, according to the NAIC.

How to prepare a home inventory? There are smartphone applications to help. The myHOME app lets users capture images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers of personal possessions and stores the information electronically for safekeeping. The app organizes information by room and creates a back-up file for email sharing. There's a version for the iPhone and another version for Android phones.

For those without a smart phone, the NAIC offers a downloadable home inventory checklist and tips for effectively cataloguing your possessions.

Changes in life expectancy animated with geo charts

The data of the World Bank is absolutely amazing. I had said this before, but their updated iPhone App gives me a reason to return to this topic. Version 3 of the DataFinder App allows you to visualise the data on your phone, including motion maps, see the screen shot below.

Screen shot of DataFinder 3.0

I was intrigued by the by the changes in life expectancy over time around the world. The average life expectancy of a new born baby in 1960 was only 52.6 years, and don't forget we are in 2012, 52 years later. Babies born in 2009 can expect to live to the age 69.4 years, an increase by nearly 17 years or 32%. That is remarkable. But these are average figures and vary a lot by country.

The world bank's online version of the map unfortunately lacks the the animation of the smartphone app. Thus I was keen to find out if I could reproduce something similar in R based on code and ideas provided to me by Manoj Ananthapadmanabhan and Anand Ramalingam last year. Those ideas had helped me to create the animated geo maps demo "AnimatedGeoMap" of the googleVis R package.

Read more »

German train monitor provides access to train delay data

The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) worked together with OpenDataCity to create an online train monitor of the German network: Zugmonitor. This is another great example of the new form of data journalism.

The project provides access to data of train delays collected over 150 days between 2 October 2011 and 1 March 2012 and allows you to analyse the delays in more detail.

Here is an example showing the delays by station.

This SZ article (in German) gives you an overview of the data and how to access it. I believe the most convient method to query the data is to use the Google Fusion tables. It allows you to import the data into R with the read.csv function. The filename to use is an url mixed with a little bit of SQL syntax.

Here is an example extracting the station data from the map above (Fusion table 3166152):

The other sources can be accessed in the same way:

DelayFusion table ID
by station3166152
between stations (all trains) 3166064
between stations (ICE tains only) 3166328
by country 3166042
by cause 3165200
by daytime 3164289
by train type 3165124

I am curious what people will make of the data. Apparently more data will be made available in the future. I will keep an eye the project page.

More consumer tips: Company lookup, agent lookup, and where to look up financials

More tips for National Consumer Protection Week:

How to look up an insurer, including complaint history and disciplinary actions

How to look up an agent, insurance agency, or broker, including complaints and discipline

And how to find the company financial statements that show how your insurance company is doing.

We're the insurance regulator for the state of Washington. Not in Washington? Here's a map with links and contact info for every state's insurance regulator.

Consumer tips: How to look up complaints, available health plans and rate hikes

More tips for National Consumer Protection Week:

-Look up the number of consumer complaints against specific insurance companies

-Buying health coverage on your own? Here's how to find a health plan in your area

-And see if your health plan wants a rate increase.

(We're the state insurance regulator in Washington state. Don't live in Washington? Here's a handy map with links and contact info for your state's insurance regulator.)

Direct Buy Auto Warranty ordered to stop unauthorized insurance sales in WA

For the second time in less than a week, our office is ordering a New York-based company to stop selling unauthorized insurance in Washington state.

This time it's a company called Direct Buy Associates, Inc., although it also does business under several similar names, including Direct Buy Auto Warranty, Direct Buy Warranty, and DirectBuy Warranty. The order also includes AHMT Corp.

Direct Buy Associates and AHMT -- with have adjacent offices on a street in Brooklyn -- do business through websites like, and The companies have also listed mailing addresses that include a mailstop in New Jersey, a virtual office in New Jersey, and a European headquarters in Cyprus.

In 2011, we began getting complaints from Washington consumers who had bought plans from these companies. The plans, sold since at least 2009, purported to cover vehicle repairs. The companies sold at least 57 such plans to Washingtonians. At least one Washington consumer who paid the fees monthly was charged international transaction fees from Cyprus.

None of companies or principals named in the order are authorized to transact insurance in Washington. Nor are they registered here as service contract providers.

Our order requires the companies to send copies of the order to all their Washington customers, and to report to us all premiums they've collected for business here.

The order also names a number of individuals, including Albert V. Hakim, Michael A Hakim, R.D. Frazier, Jon Braidsworth and Robert Harrington.

How to file a complaint against an insurance company

Having trouble getting an insurance claim paid? Waiting months?

We can often help. We're the insurance regulator for the state of Washington state, and we field thousands of calls a year from folks having trouble with claims. Last year, we got consumers $8 million in previously-denied or delayed claims.

There are two ways to reach us:

Important note: If you don't live in Washington state, contact your state's insurance regulator. Here's a handy map with contact info.

It's National Consumer Protection Week - March 4-10

Have you ever had your insurance claim denied or maybe you filed a claim and received less than you thought you deserved. Ever have trouble reading an insurance policy? If you're reading this now, you know about the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and the services we provide. But you probably know a handful of people who've never heard of us.

This week (March 4-10) is National Consumer Protection Week. Tell a friend about our consumer services and follow us on Facebook.

More than 500 people a month file complaints with us. Last year alone, we recovered more than $8.5 million for Washington state insurance consumers who had their claims denied or delayed.

Just in last few months we helped:

  • A Redmond consumer get a $29,000 health insurance claim paid

  • A Lake Stevens consumer collect an additional $2,553 on an auto claim

  • A Rochester consumer get a $7,574 refund on their auto warranty

  • A Sammamish consumer get their homeowners policy reinstated
Maybe we can help you! If you or someone you know has an insurance question or complaint, visit We take complaints online and you can track our progress 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or call our Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. -5 p.m.

googleVis 0.2.15 is released: Improved geo and bubble charts

The guys behind the Google Visualisation API don't seem to rest. On 22 February 2012 they released an update of their API. Google added options for a gradient colour axis to bubble chart and a magnifying glass to geo chart, which opens when the user hovers over cluttered markers (excluding IE<=8). Those updates have been incorporated into version 0.2.15 of the googleVis package for R.

Examples of new features

Here are two examples demonstrating the new features.

Bubble chart with gradient colour mode

Example of a bubble chart with a colour gradient axis.

Read more »

New York company ordered to stop selling unauthorized insurance in Washington

Update (June 1, 2012): The order has been rescinded. UCAA participated in an investigation of this program and provided information showing that the company had committed no violations.

Our office today ordered the United Consumer Awareness Association to stop selling unauthorized health insurance in Washington state.

The company, a not-for-profit entity incorporated in Missouri, appears to have its home office in Syosset, New York.

The company, which is not licensed to solicit and sell limited-benefit medical insurance in Washington, nonetheless sold policies to 44 Washingtonians.

The order takes effect immediately. The company has the right to demand a hearing.