The Most (and Least) Expensive Cars to Insure for 2012

When shopping for car insurance, it’s not just your driving record that determines your annual premium. The type of car you drive is also a big factor-and some cars are much more expensive to insure than others.

A variety of factors can affect a car’s insurance quote, including the frequency of crashes for that model, the cost of repairs, the cost to insurers when a vehicle is declared a total loss and the cost of bodily injury claims, according to Web site

To give you an idea of what you might pay for a certain car, annually produces lists of the 20 most expensive new cars to insure, and the 20 least expensive models.

To generate the 2012 lists, used information on average rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Rates were calculated using data from Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm in ten ZIP codes per state. The rankings are based on coverage for a 2012 model with a “representative” driver (a single, 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day); policy limits of $100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident; and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The hypothetical driver has good credit and a clean driving record.

The least expensive model to insure, according to the analysis, is a minivan: the Toyota Sienna LE, with an average annual premium of just over $1,100. The list also includes 19 other cars with similar average premiums, all less than $1,200 a year. The least-expensive list tends to include lots of minivans, which have proven to be “safe, economical” vehicles, according to

At the other end of the spectrum is the 2012 Audi R8 Spyder Quattro, a two-seat convertible that is the most costly to insure, with an average annual premium of nearly $3,400. Also on the most expensive list are plenty of Mercedes, Porsches and BMWs.


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Obesity Drug ‘Mediator’ Likely Responsible For Thousands Of Hospitalizations And Deaths In France

This caption falls under a late-night comedy show like Letterman’s Top Ten of the wrong name to use for a drug.  I am a MEDIATOR (and Farmers Agent) and I know that a mediator could not be responsible for thousands of hospitalizations.  Just some light humor for Friday.  Here is the article:

A new study published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety reveals that benfluorex, a fenfluramine derivative drug used in France under the name Mediator®, is likely responsible for thousands of hospitalizations and deaths over a 30 year period.

Benfluorex (Mediator®) was used in France from 1976 to 2009. Despite its anorexic properties, the drug was not marketed as an appetite suppressant but as an adjunct for the treatment of hyperlipidemia and among overweight patients with type 2 diabetes.

Mahmoud Zureik, MD, PhD, of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, and colleagues utilized existing data on benfluorex exposure in France, the risk of actual hospitalization for valvular insufficiency, and mortality from vascular insufficiency as a basis for detailed calculations.

Results show that the use of benfluorex during the period 1976-2009 was very likely responsible for around 3,100 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths due to valvular insufficiency.

“Despite its similarity with the two appetite suppressants fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, benfluorex was kept on the market for more than 30 years in France,” Zureik notes. “French citizens, practitioners, politicians, and public health actors were seeking to understand why the French health products safety agency took so long to withdraw this drug which was of very limited efficacy and was dangerous.” Because of this scandal, a new law has been passed that substantially modifies the regulatory system for drugs in France.

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Hospital Accidents and Mistakes Often Go Unreported: Report


A new federal report has found that only about 14 percent of all medical mistakes that harm patients in hospitals nationwide are ever actually reported. 

Despite federal Medicare requirements that make reporting hospital accidents and mistakes mandatory, 86 percent of all harmful events go under the radar, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ office of inspector general (DHHS-OIG).

In most cases, hospital staff appear not to have realized they should report the events, the study found.

Participation in the federal Medicare reimbursement program requires each participating hospital to track medical errors and adverse patient events and create incident reports for errors that result in patient harm. However, a review of 189 hospitals’ records nationwide by DHHS-OIG found that only one out of every seven patient harm incidents was properly reported. Most of the errors that did get reported were reported by nurses.

About 61 percent of the incidents were not reported due to staff members not knowing they should report them, hospital administrators told investigators. The remaining 25% that went unreported were cases where administrators claimed the staff commonly made a report, but failed in that particular instance.

Not only do the hospital error reports help the government track harm to patients caused by facilities nationwide, but they are also a key component in the development of new safety improvements to protect patients from future harm. However, the study also found that hospitals that successfully tracked such events rarely make changes to procedures to prevent a repetition of those events.

Hospital mistakes can include medication errors, allowing patients to develop bedsores, allowing hospital infections, wrong site surgery, leaving surgical tools and sponges in patients and other cases of medical malpractice.

The DHHS-OIG report recommends that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) work with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to create and promote a list of reportable events for hospital staff to reference. The report also urged CMS to strengthen hospital reporting system requirements and practices.

CMS reported that it is currently in development of guidance that would help assess patient safety improvement efforts in hospitals.

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Mini Cooper Recall Issued Due to Risk of Engine Fires


Nearly 90,000 BMW Mini Coopers sold in the United States have been recalled due to a risk of engine fire. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a Mini Cooper recall (PDF) for certain model year 2007-2011 Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S Clubman, Mini Cooper S Convertible, Mini Cooper JCW, Mini Cooper JCW Clubman, Cooper JCW Convertible and Cooper S Countryman passenger vehicles manufactured from 2006 through 2011.

The recall was issued after an analysis of dozens of cases involving overheating in the circuit board of an auxiliary water pump. At least four of those cases resulted in engine fires.

BMW first became aware of a potential Mini Cooper engine problem in June 2009, when they noticed electric auxiliary water pump failures on test vehicles with BMW 8-cylinder engines. The problem was first noticed among cars on the road in September 2009.

In November 2010, the company identified that electro-migration was causing circuit board and water pump overheating failures, by which time the first two reports of engine fires came in; one from the United Kingdom and another from Japan.

By November of last year there were 81 cases of known pump failures worldwide and four of them included burned engine compartments.

The NHTSA stepped in to investigate in October 2011. NHTSA investigators have concluded that the electric auxiliary water pump that cools the turbocharger has an electronic circuit board that can malfunction and overheat. The circuit board may smolder, which could cause a vehicle fire.

The recall is expected to affect 88,911 vehicles in the U.S. and nearly 300,000 around the world. They include some model year 2007-2011 Mini Cooper S, 2008-2011 Mini Cooper S Clubman, 2009-2011 Mini Cooper S Convertible, 2009-2011 Mini Cooper JCW, 2009-2011 Mini Cooper JCW Clubman, 2009-2011 Cooper JCW Convertible, and 2009-2011 Cooper S Country passenger cars.

BMW intends to begin notifying affected owners in February. Customers with vehicles included in the recall will be able to take the vehicle to a BMW dealer to have the water pump replaced free of charge. Owners with questions can contact BMW at (866) 275-6464.

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ATV Accident Lawsuit Results in $2.7M Settlement Over Wrongful Death


The family of a Pennsylvania teenager killed in an ATV accident have reached a $2.7 million settlement with the driver of the vehicle, whom they allege was drunk at the time of the crash. 

The family of Jonathon Byram, 19, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mark Renehan after their son died in an ATV crash at an Independence Day party in 2009.

Renehan was the driver of the all-terrain vehicle and, according to the lawsuit, he was drunk and speeding when it flipped over, killing Byram.

Byram was a college student in Maryland and Renehan was a college student in Connecticut. Both were home away from school for the summer at the time of the party. The party occurred at the home of Renehan’s family, which owns a group of houses in Manchester Township in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

According to allegations raised in the ATV accident lawsuit, the Renehan family handed out alcoholic beverages throughout the party for several hours before the crash, and Renehan admitted to police that he had been drinking. Renehan was tried on charges of involuntary manslaughter and vehicular homicide while under the influence, but was acquitted. Renehan refused to take a blood alcohol test at the time of the accident, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.

The civil lawsuit accused Rehanan of intoxication and speeding while driving the ATV, resulting in the crash and Byram’s death. According to a report by The Scranton Times Tribune, a resolution to the case, filed in federal court in Scranton, was reached sometime last week for $2.7 million.

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LEASA Alfalfa Sprout Recall: Salmonella Food Poisoning Risk


Salmonella contamination has been detected in some packages of LEASA alfalfa sprouts, resulting in a recall of the products in five states. 

The FDA announced a LEASA sprouts recall on January 19, after inspectors detected salmonella in the Winn-Dixie label’s alfalfa sprouts. The company is recalling all of its LEASA sprout products, although there have been no reports of salmonella food poisoning in connection with the recalled sprouts.

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. said it decided to pull all types of LEASA sprouts from all of its grocery stores out of an abundance of caution, but noted that recalling the alfalfa sprouts was made mandatory by the FDA. Winn-Dixie has grocery stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The recall affects LEASA Alfalfa Sprouts, sold in a 6 oz. package with a UPC Code of 7546555912; LEASA Broccoli Sprouts, sold in a 4 oz. package with a UPC Code of 7546555636; LEASA Gourmet Sprouts, sold in a 6 oz. package with a UPC Code of 7546555633; LEASA Spicy Sprouts, sold in a 6 oz. package with a UPC Code of 7546555635; and LEASA Onion Sprouts, sold in a 6 oz. package with a UPC Code of 7546555634. All of the affected sprouts were sold between January 7 and January 18 of this month and have expiration dates between Feb. 1, 2012, and March 15, 2012.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. For most healthy adults, symptoms of food poisoning from salmonella typically resolve after a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria. If not properly treated, some cases of salmonella food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, dehydration or death.

Winn-Dixie recommends consumers discard affected sprouts in a sealed garbage container and take either the packaging label or receipt to a Winn-Dixie grocery store for a full refund. Consumers with questions can call the Winn-Dixie Guest Service Center at (866) 946-6349.

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Pennsylvania Nursing Home Lawsuit Punitive Damage Awards May Be Limited


Pennsylvania legislators are attempting to impose new limits on punitive damage awards leveled against elderly care facilities in lawsuits over nursing home neglect and abuse

Last week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 103-89 to approve HB 1907, an addition to the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act, which seeks to shield nursing homes from large punitive damage awards in cases where juries find that residents were injured as a result of neglect or abuse.

The cap would limit punitive damages to double that of the compensatory damages awarded in any Pennsylvania nursing home lawsuit.

As opposed to compensatory damages, which are design to provide compensation for injuries, punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant for their conduct. In many states, punitive damages start at triple the compensatory damages. T

he bill does, however, contain a provision which would nullify the cap in cases where the plaintiff allege intentional misconduct, as opposed to gross negligence.

Republican proponents of the bill say that it aims to curb frivolous lawsuits, but by limiting punitive damages it would affect only those lawsuits where juries have already determined that a nursing home acted egregiously.

Opponents of the bill argue that the ability for the elderly to recover economic and compensatory damages is very limited and the law would defang the legal system’s ability to punish abusive nursing homes in Pennsylvania. In addition, some question the constitutionality of an arbitrary carte blanche legislative limit, which overrules the decision of a lawfully selected jury.

In addition to nursing homes, the cap would apply to health care professionals working in personal care homes, assisted living facilities, long-term care centers, hospices and other health care agencies.

The bill must still be approved by the state senate and the governor before it would go into effect.

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