MAKING MORE CENTS
Technology has mastered the art of loose change. For decades, pennies and nickels have littered our couches and car seats — or, in the case of the more organized collector, filled up a five-gallon water jug. CoinStar revolutionized scrounging with an easy-to-use machine that eats your change and spits out cash vouchers in return, for a cut of the treasure. Now that cards are king, a new app has hit the market that puts your virtual “change” to work. Acorns is a micro-investing app that invests your extra cents without you even noticing. The app syncs to your debit card, and whenever you make a purchase, the app will round up to the nearest dollar and put the excess into your own diversified portfolio. If you go grocery shopping and your total comes to $44.26,
the app will automatically run your card for $45 and invest the extra 74 cents for you.
Most people want to put their money to work but feel like they don’t have any to spare. The purpose of the app is to simplify the process so anyone can do it. It automatically sends your money into a diversified exchange traded fund (or ETF) of over 7,000 stocks and bonds. With a 256-bit encryption, it’s as secure as using a bank, and your money is protected against fraud for up to $500,000. It feels hands-off, but you can also take control of whether your money is invested daily, weekly, monthly, or just one time. You can also withdraw your money at any time for no cost. Additional features include Found Money, in which select partners of Acorns will automatically invest money back into your account when you spend with them. It’s like getting cash back for purchases, only it’s cash forward. Those companies include Kohl’s, Dollar Shaving Club, Airbnb, and others. The service costs $1 a month, which is chump change. After your account surpasses $5,000, the fee becomes 0.25 percent (at $10,000, that’s $2.50). High numbers like that are the ultimate goal, and they’re attainable. If you accrue $5 every few days, within five years you’ll have invested around $3,000. Imagine how many five-gallon jugs that would fill!
Utilizing Georgia’s Second Permittee Doctrine TALES FROM THE TRENCHES
company was trying to deny coverage for this accident by claiming that the person who was driving their insured car at the time of the crash was not the person on their policy, nor the family member to whom he had given permission to drive the car; rather, the at-fault party was another person who had been given the car by the insured person’s family member. Since we had the burden of proving our case, we started to do a little digging into the case law on this issue. As it turns out, even if their version of the events was correct, the insurance policy would still apply based on something called the “second permittee” doctrine. This legal concept establishes that when a person with permission to drive another person’s motor vehicle allows a third party (the second permittee) to drive the same vehicle, the third party is covered under the car owner’s insurance policy, so long as the third party’s use is within the scope of the original permission given to the first driver. The second permittee’s
belief of whether or not he had permission to be driving the subject motor vehicle at the time and place of the collision in question is not relevant to the coverage issue. Moreover, we learned that where a second permittee uses a vehicle via another person who did have permission from the owner, the fact that the second permittee had neither express nor implied permission from the owner is irrelevant, along with the fact that the second permittee had no license to drive or was expressly forbidden to drive by the owner. So long as the use falls within the scope of the permission, then the owner’s insurance policy would still apply. Armed with this information, we were able to convince the insurance company that their argument, even if correct, would still provide for coverage under their insured’s policy in this scenario. After they accepted that the law was not on their side, they offered to settle the case.
We just recently resolved a case in which our client was injured by a driver who fled the scene of the crash after hitting our client’s car. This is not an unusual situation, but these cases can be difficult, given the lack of information on the fleeing driver. Fortunately for us, a witness was able to write down the license plate number on the vehicle and give it to law enforcement. With this information, we were able to determine the owner of the striking vehicle and the company through which he had purchased insurance. All seemed well until we learned that the insurance
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