Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First US Death in Texas Due to Swine Flu

The first death due to swine flu has been reported today. A young boy reported to be either 22 or 23 months old died in Texas while he was visiting with his family from Mexico.

President Obama has asked congress for $1.5 billion in emergency funds to combat the flu. "This is obviously a serious situation, serious enough to take the utmost precautions," he stated.

Dr. Richard Besser of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on the Today Show that it's still too soon to tell how quickly the virus is spreading.

At this time, the CDC has the most up-to-date information regarding deaths and confirmed infection. With 91 US cases, New York still leads today with 51 cases with many other states just having been reported within the last 24 hours. It seems to be spreading quickly.

Mexico is faring the worst with the flu-- over 2000 cases have been reported and more than 150 deaths. Other countries reportedly affected are Canada, Britain, Spain and New Zealand. And although statements have been made that you cannot contract the disease by eating or preparing pork, many nations have banned pork products and Egypt has ordered the slaughter of all pigs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Not So Perfect Prius

This is the story of Bobette Riner, excited new Prius owner who's shiny new prized possession took a literal turn for the worst.

Bobette bought her brand-new Prius last year. She says "I felt so smug for a while. Especially being in Houston." At 2000 she could count her gas fill-ups on one hand. It was a dream. But things changed on a rainy night last fall, after just a few months of owning her new toy. She was on the way to a sales meeting coasting at 60MPH but suddenly her car started hydroplaning out of control. She looked at the speedometer and realized the speed had shot up to 84 MPH. She realized she wasn't hydroplaning; the vehicle had accelerated on its own. She hit the brakes but they were dead. Luckily the Prius shut down, lit up with warning lights leaving Bobette to fight a stiff steering wheel across four lanes of traffic and down the exit ramp.

In August 2006, Prius owner Elizabeth was driving toward Denver to catch an early-morning flight. As she was nearing the small town of Lawson, she hit the brakes to slow down but as soon as she let her foot off the pedal, the Prius took off. The car wouldn't slow down "no matter how hard I pressed on the brake," Elizabeth said. So she attempted to slam down the emergency brake with her left foot to no avail. The brakes spewed blue smoke from the rear of the vehicle. Elizabeth glanced down to read the speedometer. She was going 90 MPH headed straight for a car in the slow lane. With no other option, she whipped the car around along the shoulder of Interstate 70 taking the Lawson exit, running a stop sign and passing a few pedestrians along the way. She steered into a grassy field when the feeder cut to the left.

"She said she felt like the pilot of a plane that was trying to crash-land," her husband Ted says. "So she was looking for a place to crash the car, and that was one of the things that were really tough: She though she was going to die and had enough time to think about it."
The car sped along through a wooded area, clipped a weather monitoring shed, flipped, and landed in a river. She survived but her legs and back were severely wounded and to this day she is still hobbled, despite a year of physical therapy. Scar tissue on her intestines requires her to drink MiraLAX for the rest of her life to ease stomach pains.

Toyota spokesman Bill Kwong stated "You get these customers that say, 'I stood on the brake with all my might and the car just kept on accelerating.' They're not stepping on the brake. People are under stress right now, people have so much on their minds. With pagers and cell phones and IM, people are so busy with kids and family and boyfriends and girlfriends. So you're driving along and the next thing you know you're two miles down the road and you don't remember driving, because you're thinking about something else."

Toyota has also claimed a faulty floor mat as the cause of unexpected acceleration and in many cases denies anything is wrong with the vehicle itself. It seems they're already on the defense, but the "Prions" (Prius owners) aren't looking to sue, they just want an explanation! Ted James, who's Prius ended up in a river, rebuts "We're not the kind of people to go through a lawsuit, and it's not in our nature. Our concern was that no one else got hurt, that Toyota own up to its problem."

Besides that, faulty floor mats couldn't be the problem. Take the case of a Houston Prion who left his car parked and running in front of his garage door while he walked toward his house. The Prius suddenly surged forward, through his garage door, slamming into his Nissan Altima. Markus, the mechanic who worked on the vehicle said, "He was lucky that the Altima was parked there, because his backyard is not too long, and the neighbors had a family gathering. It would've ran right into all those people, and he was a little shook up over the situation."

Bobette isn't the only one with a frightening run in with her Prius. Read the full article from Seattle Weekly. Or read the complaints from Consumer Affairs.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: "Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A Influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people."

Symptoms include many of the same common flu symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some have reported diarrhea and vomiting. In past cases, pneumonia, respiratory failure, and death has been reported with swine flu infection in people. And the CDC adds, "like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions."

The flu is spread just like the common human flu-- by coughing, sneezing, or touching something that has been infected with the such as a doorknob or keyboard. The virus can live up to 2 hours on these types of objects. And startling enough, the Swine Flu can be passed along person-to-person a day before symptoms develop and 7 days after.

It's important to know, that the symptoms can range from mild to severe. Your best method of protection is washing your hands often. Keep in mind, you can not contract Swine Flu from eating or preparing pork or pork products.

As of this moment, New York is leading with 28 cases reported. You can find up-to-the-minute information on cases reported by clicking here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wells Fargo Rightfully Sued

From New York Times' Dealbook:

Attorney General Jerry Brown of California sued Wells Fargo on Thursday for $1.5 billion, contending that the bank had misled investors about the safety and liquidity of the auction-rate securities that it sold.

“Wells Fargo’s affiliates promised investors auction-rate securities were as safe and liquid as cash, when in fact they were not, and now investors are unable to get their money when they need it,” Mr. Brown said in a statement.

“This lawsuit seeks to recover $1.5 billion for Californians and holds these companies accountable for giving investors false and deceptive advice,” he said.
Auction-rate securities are investments with long-term maturities that Wells Fargo and other banks marketed as short-term investments equivalent to cash, Mr. Brown’s office said. These securities paid a slightly better interest rate than a bank account, and investors could sell them at regular weekly or monthly auctions that provided liquidity.

These auctions froze up in February 2008 as subprime mortgage crisis began to take its toll on the credit markets, and investors were no longer able to redeem their securities for cash.

As a result, Mr. Brown’s office said, about 2,400 Californians who had invested with Wells Fargo were unable to redeem more than $1.5 billion worth of securities.

Mr. Brown’s office said the three Wells Fargo affiliates that sold auction-rate securities refused to redeem them, even though other banks including UBS, Citigroup, Wachovia and Merrill Lynch were doing so by last August.

The affiliates named in the lawsuit are Wells Fargo Investments, Wells Fargo Brokerage Services and Wells Fargo Institutional Securities, which Mr. Brown violated California’s securities laws.

In response, Wells Fargo disputed Mr. Brown’s claims. “We fully understand and deeply regret the effects this prolonged liquidity crisis has had on our clients,” Charles W. Daggs, chief executive of Wells Fargo Investments, said in a statement. “Wells Fargo could not have predicted these extraordinary circumstances, and even with the benefit of hindsight is not responsible for them.”

He added that Wells Fargo had tried to help investors who bought auction-rate securities by giving them “access to 90 percent of the par value of their A.R.P. holdings through nonrecourse loans at favorable rates.”

Mr. Brown filed his complaint in San Francisco Superior Court seeking to restore the cash value of the auction-rate securities, force Wells Fargo to disgorge any subsequent profits tied to the securities, and obtain civil penalties of $25,000 per violation. This could amount to hundreds of millions in civil penalties, he said.

In a way this is great, but does it ever end? And how is it affecting their mortgage programs? Also, WHO'S NEXT?

Thank you to New York Times DealBook

AIG aka 21st Century Insurance

Troubled AIG has decided to sell their personal lines portion aka 21st Century. "The combination of 21st Century and Zurich Financial's 'Farmers Insurance' creates a three-way tie for third place in the private passenger auto insurance market," Farmers Chief Executive Robert Woudstra said in a media call.

Of course questions come to mind for too many of us as to whether this will just create another Monster Insurance Company? Example in point, a few years back when the airlines began to acquire other airlines becoming large mega air carriers, did our airfares become more simple to understand and easier on the wallet? Did service become better? Bigger isn't always better and consumers sometimes find themselves with less options, poorer service...paying more and getting less.

We're on Twitter!

Check us out on the hottest new social network, Twitter! You can find us at

Find out INSTANTLY when we've posted a blog, if you're the winner of our referral program ($50 dinners or the 32" HDTV!), or for exclusive contests!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Justin Timberlake's The Phone Debut's Tonight

Justin Timberlake wants you to answer The Phone.

We've got the inside scoop on MTV's exciting new show, The Phone, produced by Justin Timberlake. How? We got connections...Joel stars-- nephew of our very own Dana Hays (of our exclusive Graduate Department).

What is The Phone?
The Phone is not your garden variety reality show. Think Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd meets Amazing Race but replace the comedy with non-stop action.

Two teams of two people (complete strangers) are suddenly given a dangerous mission by way of phone call which they take for the chance of winning $50,000. According to MTV, "One minute they might be sipping on a latte, watching the world go by. One phone call later, they could find themselves hanging from the edge of Seattle's Space Needle or racing into a burning building to save the life of a man about to be executed."

The Phone airs on MTV tonight, April 21st at 10pm.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Exciting Update!

A quick update-- We're in the works of getting video postings on the blogs. The Flip and Flip Mino has taken the country by storm and we're hoppin on the Flip train!

What do you want to see? What do you want to know? Insurance related or not, we'd like to be a wealth of information to you on home, auto, catastrophe information and more.

Did you know we have another blog? SAV-ON Safe Teen Driver Blog. Check it out!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

PEMCO news release addresses renters insurance

PEMCO Insurance issued a news release today concerning how many Washington residents carry renters insurance, and how many people inventory their personal property. Census data shows 35% of Washingtonians rent, and of those, a recent PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll revealed 58% do not have renters insurance. This is important because renters insurance is so affordable – typically costing $125 to $150 per year – that more people should buy it. The poll also revealed that one in three homeowners and renters have never inventoried their personal property.

U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics says rented households were burglarized at rates 79 percent higher than owned households.

Rented households experienced 210 property crimes per 1,000 households nationwide, while owned households experienced only 146 property crimes per 1,000 households in 2001, the bureau reported.

Thank you to PEMCO Insurance Company and

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kent Office Agent Nominated for Best Insurance Agent

Of course, ALL our agents are great... but Melodi must be one of THE best! She was just nominated for Best Insurance Agent in Kent!

We'll find out the winner 4/25. Cross your fingers!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Northwest Harvest Update

I've been speaking to Northwest Harvest Major Gifts Officer, Todd Girouard. They're super excited with what we're doing and sent some great information.

With Northwest Harvest, 67 cents feeds a family. Our recent donation will provide about 1600 meals!


2 lbs boneless salmon fillets (donated)
1 lb. sliced ham (39 cents)
2 lb potatoes (6 cents)
1 lb. potatoes (3 cents)
2 lb onions (5 cents)
2 lb. onions (5 cents)
2 lb apples (8 cents)
3 lb. apples (12 cents)
8 oz. canned fruit (16 cents)
4 oz. canned fruit (8 cents)
1 lb. broccoli (10 cents)
2 lbs froz. corn (donated)
1 can tomatoes (22 cents)
2 loaves of bread (donated)

Total: 67 cents

Meatless Menu

1 lb potatoes (3 cents)
2 lb. potatoes (6 cents)
2 lbs onions (5 cents)
2 lb. onions (5 cents)
2 lb apples (8 cents)
2 lb. apples (8 cents)
8 oz. canned fruit (16 cents)
1 lb. broccoli (10 cents)
1 lb beans (25 cents)
8 oz. canned fruit (16 cents)
2 lbs froz. carrots (donated)
2 lbs edamame (donated)
2 loaves bread (donated)
1 can tomatoes (22 cents)
1 lb broccoli (10 cents)

Total: 67 cents

Again, anyone is welcome to donate non-perishable food items OR monetary donations to any of our 6 locations.

Northwest Harvest Donation

SAV-ON has been donating to Northwest Harvest since December 08! It started with non-perishable food items but starting January 1st we'll donate $1 for each referral!

Why wouldn't you refer our excellent service to friends and family? Giving referrals is EASY and everyone wins!
  • YOU receive -- automatic 2 Washington Lottery Tickets, one entry (per referral) into our monthly $50 dinner drawing, and one entry (per referral) for a chance to win a 32" Flat Panel HDTV.
  • WE get the opportunity to provide our excellent service.
  • NORTHWEST HARVEST receives $1 per referral!

This quarter we'll be donating $321 in addition to boxes of food drop offs. Anyone is welcome to donate non-perishable food items or monetary donations to any of our 6 locations.

Want more info? Call 1-888-867-2866 and speak to any of our SAV-ON Special Agents or e-mail

Monday, April 6, 2009

White Center Thriving, Multicultural Neighborhood

Seattle Times recognized the White Center neighborhood last week as an excellent place to dine and shop! You can find excellent restaurants whether your palate prefers Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, or Mexican. You can also find Boba and Bubble Tea cafes. Personally, our favorite local bánh mì (Vietnamese Sandwich) spot is White Center Deli (1601 SW Roxbury St) but we also recommend Pho 99 Vietnamese Noodle House (9828 15th Ave SW). Both are within walking distance of our office located at 9614 17th Ave SW!

Did you know our White Center location is in the spirit with a multicultural staff! Stop in to meet Sim (Cambodia), Kenia (Mexico), and Michelle (Argentina).

Thank you, Gracias, Orkun

Friday, April 3, 2009

Amazing Savings!

These Sav-on Clients were the top 10 savers through our Graduate Department for March! These savings are over the course of 6 months!!

Top 10 Savers:
Viktor L. of Kent $1207
Brandi S. of Renton $1004
Rosa L. of Renton $832
John B. of Edmonds $753
Miguel C. of Seattle $720
Olga P. of Kent $540
Tim H. of Bellevue $502
Johnny R. of Tacoma $468
Amber K. of Lynnwood $413
Erica V. of of Snoqualmie $411

The total savings was 33% and the total dollar amount saved was a whopping $13,844 !!