Friday, June 28, 2013

Autonomous Vehicles – Insurance Science Fiction?

Ok, I have to admit…. I am a science fiction junky. I love all of it, the technology, the positive hope for the future like Star Trek and the scary parts like Aliens! So, I have been following with interest Google’s Autonomous Vehicles. In case you haven’t heard, Google has a fleet of vehicles driving around California and Nevada with no one on board but a computer.

While I am disappointed that the cars don’t fly like in Back to the Future it is pretty incredible technologically that we have self driven vehicles. Now you’re probably wondering so what? What does this mean to me and why should I care?

The early adopters of this technology will be business. Imagine a service company that has crews delivering products or services all day long. Instead of the employees spending their time navigating the road from point to destination they can be processing invoices, preparing for the next appointment and making calls for future appointments, answering questions by phone and email and even participating in meetings by Skype.

It is all about productivity and for the businesses that outlay huge sums for payroll while employees drive, they will invest in this technology and lower insurance costs because the vehicles do not speed, do not tailgate, get angry or distracted.

Eventually, autonomous vehicles will be a standard feature and will change the way we drive and the insurance industry will need to change with it. Watch for big changes in this category in the next five years! I can’t wait!

Friday, June 7, 2013

I Love Sunshine but It Doesn’t Love Me!

OK, this next blog doesn’t really have anything to do with insurance. I worked an outdoor BBQ recently for a service club that I belong to and while I used sunscreen on my face and neck I didn’t use anything for my scalp. I keep forgetting that I don’t have as much hair as I used to. Anyway, you guessed it; I got sunburn on the top of my head! Experts say that you only need to expose yourself to continuous direct sunlight for as little as  15 minutes to put delicate skin in danger, with the hours between 10am and 4pm, and late spring and early summer time, being the riskiest.

Natural skin color is also a factor – the fairer your skin the higher the risk of suffering sun damage which, in a worst case, can cause skin cancer but also ages appearance and can be very painful.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following "easy option" recommendations for sun protection:

·         Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, reapplying every two hours.

·         Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.

·         Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.

·         Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of the rays as possible.

·         Seek shade, especially during midday hours.