Sunday, July 23, 2017

Small idea to simplify updating auto insurance card

You know how when you get your replacement credit card, it arrives a month or so before your old one expires, but is effective immediately? That's smart--no need to manage the transition by hanging on to the old one until the last day. You know what's dumb? How auto insurance cab cards work. They, too, arrive a month in advance. But unlike credit cards, the insurance cab card has an effective date. So you can't just immediately replace your current card with the new one.
Instead of trying to manage the transition--remember to put them in the car the very night before they expire--I just put them in immediately, along with the prior one (and I remove the prior prior). But I can foresee, in some moment of panic, one of my family members will pull out the expired card, and think they don't have the current one.
I expect there is a regulatory element to this. Like so many things in life, just a combination of independently reasonable policies and practices that combine to create an annoyingly flawed experience. Obviously, if anyone was paying attention and cared (regulators included, perhaps principally), the 6-month thing could be finessed. 
But in the absence of that, I think a reasonable hack may be available to an insurer, without requiring any regulatory chnages. Provide a copy of the new card, along with a repeat of the old card, with some kind of "EXPIRING SOON" stamp across the old one (or if regulators didn't like that, above the margins of the old card) Then you could just cut out, fold in half and voila.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Dream Hoarders

I've been following Richard Reeves, author of Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It lately, as well as some other writers on the same topic.

In this latest newsletter, he highlights pundits who disagree, including Robert J. Samuelson, Samuelson says Reeves has it almost backward, the upper-middle class are setting a good model for society to aspire to:
Reeves has the story almost backward. As a society, we should try not to restrict the upper middle class, but to expand it. In general, it’s doing what we ought to want the rest of society to do. Its marriage rates are higher, its out-of-wedlock births are lower, its education levels are higher. As for parents, why make them feel guilty for wanting to help their children? What are parents for, after all?
I think there is a straightforward reconciliation to their two positions, and it is already embedded, I think, in Reeves model. The problem being that the UMC may disproportionately enjoy these traits in their own orbits, but exclusionary housing policies, and the leveraging of networks, prevent them from migrating to less privileged groups.