Hello and welcome back to the wonderful world of the Dogpound. Now that things have settled down a bit I have had the opportunity...

Hello and welcome back to the wonderful world of the Dogpound. Now that things have settled down a bit I have had the opportunity to catch up on some reading and I found the following kind of interesting. I did not know that car insurance companies have their own FICO score… like the one they now show on your credit card statement; however, each insurance company can create their own proprietary score based off your credit. These scores help them determine the price you are going to be paying for car insurance and surprisingly they do not have to share that information with you. Who knew that? I always thought it was based on the probability of risk; for example, new teen drivers have higher premiums, or you might have a higher premium due to a poor driving record.

To maximize profits, some insurance companies have started using a new technique to determine how sensitive you are to prices. This is called “price optimization”; it uses a data base about you and statistical models to gauge how likely you are to shop around for a better price. Will you put up with a $50 increase before you complain or start looking for another insurance company – or maybe $100? I call this the “momentum” theory. If my cable company raises my rate $5, I am probably not going to go through the hassle of changing suppliers, however, if it jumps to $20 I am more apt to be on the phone to complain and/or switch.

It is also interesting that this data base is built on things unrelated to car insurance; like how many cell phones you own, or how many times you go out to eat (yes there is a data base out there every time you use your credit card). The assumption is that they can predict based on what you buy or use, how sensitive you are to prices.

OK, enough education for one issue; on with some more tidbits about my buddy Max.

Max loved being around where I was. Other than the kitchen, he would almost always find a spot in the room where I was; working on the computer, or watching TV. He even liked to watch me mow grass. I would leave the back door open on my Honda CRV, and he would jump up in it and lay down with his head sticking out the door, or he would lay down on the cool garage floor to watch me work up a good sweat.

When I had to go around to the back of the house, he would leave his perch and find a nice soft spot in the grass in the back to continue his surveillance. Maybe he was just acting like a foreman, keeping an eye on the help to make sure they were not goofing off. In addition to being nearby, he loved it when I laid down or sat on the floor. That was his invitation to get up close and personal. During the winter time after supper I would fire up the propane fire place and lay down in the burst of warmth to take a little nap and get my stress levels down after a long day. No matter where Max was in the house, he would come running. He would walk around me a few times trying to find the best and closest spot he could get next to me. Now as a reminder, he was in his prime. He was a 90-pound plus dog and when he laid down, he laid down! He would finally find a spot and drop like a rock with at least half of his body smashing into my back side. This was quiet a jolt, but that was ok… he was just trying to get close to his master – and close he did get.

That is all I have today. As always be good, do good, play safe and remember that data mining is looking for your gold.

JR