Volume 6, Issue 4 April 2015


Our monthly newsletter addresses consumer insurance topics as well as timely information on issues affecting senior citizens in Louisiana.


To find out if Consumer Advocacy will be in your area or to request a speaker for your organization or group, call (225) 219-0619 or send an email to: consumeradvocacy@ldi.la.gov

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter please send an email to the following address with "REMOVE FROM CONSUMER ADVOCACY MAILING LIST" in the subject line: public@ldi.la.gov

Keys to a Successful Retirement

National Retirement Planning Week is April 13-17, 2015. Each day about 10,000 baby boomers enter their retirement years. Baby boomers have faced an evolving set of challenges during their working years including longer life spans, changes in employee benefits and rising health care costs.

Here are some tips for effective retirement planning from the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI):

  • Routinely monitor your finances and assess your progress toward retirement. Tracking your expenses can prove revealing and uncover additional ways you can save. You can use the National Retirement Planning Coalition’s retirement planning calculator to help you achieve this goal.

  • Pursue professional guidance when necessary. Being proactive about retirement planning can help you achieve financial independence. The earlier you start the easier it is to accomplish your goals.

  • Craft an all-inclusive financial plan for retirement. This can help you reestablish confidence and build savings for your retirement years.

  • Use effective social security taking strategies. Deferring Social Security at least until full retirement age can result in significant additional retirement income.

  • Don’t rule out taking a retirement job. Income from a part-time job can make your retirement nest egg last longer and working can also offer emotional benefits.

The need to educate consumers about retirement planning is growing since many consumers are unaware and unprepared of the financial challenges ahead during retirement. For more information on planning for retirement, you can use the tools and resources available on the National Retirement Planning Coalition’s website www.retireonyourterms.org. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) also has information on its consumer website including a Turning 50 checklist and a quiz on Long-Term Care.

A Renter’s Peace of Mind

As homeowners, most people carry a mortgage and, therefore, have no choice but to purchase homeowners insurance as a requirement of their loan. But, for renters, the choice is their own — and many people facing financial uncertainty might choose to go without renter’s insurance, even though they have many of the same risks as homeowners when it comes to protecting possessions or being liable for accidents at home.

Renter’s insurance is one way consumers can ensure that their property is secure. There are two standard renter’s insurance policies. The most commonly purchased renter’s policy is the Broad Form, which covers personal belongings against events such as fire or theft. This policy usually covers fire damage, vandalism, and water-related damage from property utilities.

The Comprehensive Form policy provides coverage for a range of events, unless specifically excluded by the policy. The premiums for this form may be higher.

When evaluating your coverage, be sure to consider the policy’s “actual cash value” vs. “replacement cost” coverage. Actual cash-value coverage will reimburse you for the cost of the property at the time of the claim, minus the deductible. This coverage considers depreciated value of your belongings when it pays out your settlement. Replacement cost coverage will reimburse the full value of your belongings.

For more information about renter’s insurance, check out the LDI's Consumer Guide to Renter's Insurance.

Cybersecurity Breaches: What You Need to Know

Over the past few months, the insurance industry has faced two major cybersecurity breaches that have left more than 91 million policyholders vulnerable to theft and identity fraud. That’s as many as one in four Americans whose personal information was exposed.

In late January 2015, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield discovered the unauthorized access of consumer information including member names, member health identification numbers, dates of births, Social Security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, employment information and income data. A couple of months later, in mid-March, Premera Blue Cross announced that it also discovered consumer information of its members and applicants had been compromised.

Both companies are currently working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and have contracted cybersecurity firms to evaluate the extent of the attack. Anthem has already sent notices to its customers and is responding to consumer questions. Anthem will be providing free credit monitoring and identity protection services to all who were affected.

Premerea is beginning to mail letters to affected individuals and are is providing two years of free credit report monitoring and identity theft protection. Premera says that if you believe you may have been impacted by the data breach and have not received a letter by April 20, 2015, you should call 800-768-5817.

What should I do now?

Individuals who may have been affected should remain calm, but continue to monitor their personal financial information. Although both companies have stated they are not yet aware of any fraudulent activity against policyholders because of the breaches, you should be on the lookout for suspicious account activity or anyone asking to collect sensitive information, like usernames, passwords and credit card information (referred to as phishing). It is important that you take action quickly.

If you are an Anthem consumer, call 877-263-7995, the toll-free number they have established to assist consumers. Anthem has also set up a special website at www.anthemfacts.com to answer questions.

If you think you might be affected by the Premera breach, visit www.premeraupdate.com or call 800-768-5817.

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Office of Consumer Advocacy
(225) 219-0619 or (800) 259-5300

P.O Box 94214

Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9214