News from the Associated Press - December 4, 2013

Associated Press
December 4, 2013

NY subpoenas 16 marketers in payday loan probe

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York financial regulators say they've sent subpoenas to 16 online firms suspected of deceptive marketing by generating leads for illegal payday loans.

The Department of Financial Services says the firms collect and sell personal information to payday lenders and other companies in violation of state law.

Those short-term loans are typically advances on a paycheck with high interest rates.

Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky says they have received complaints from New Yorkers about lead generation companies.

In August, the department told 35 companies to stop offering illegal payday loans online in violation of state law and says this week that at least 23 have stopped doing business in New York.

Letters were also sent to debt collectors in New York, telling them not to collect on illegal payday loans.


NY uses radar to end wrong-way threat

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Radar, flashy LED signs, and text alerts to drivers' cell phones and local police are part of New York's new, high-tech effort to combat often fatal wrong-way crashes on the state Thruway.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the system linked to Doppler radar and designed by state Thruway Authority workers is being installed at the Thruway's Buffalo exit at the Niagara Expressway, also identified as Interstate 190.

The second stage will be installed in Rockland County's Nyack, the site of several serious wrong-way crashes. More exits will soon get the systems along the 570-mile interstate highway.

Cuomo says Wednesday the system is the first like it in the nation.

State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico calls it a cutting-edge advancement.


NY settles for college insurance refunds

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York officials say they've reached a settlement with Markel Insurance Co. that will result in $2.75 million in restitution to college students who were overcharged for insurance.

The Attorney General's office and Department of Financial Services say the health, accident and sports accident insurance plans resulted in overcharges to about 22,000 students under state regulations.

They say Markel will also pay $990,000 in state penalties.

State regulations require health insurance plans to maintain a minimum loss ratio of 65 percent, reflecting amounts paid in claims compared to premiums charged.

Students will be eligible for refunds averaging $107 if they enrolled in a Markel plan in the school years 2007-2008 to 2009-2010 and 2011-2012.

The list includes 5,800 from Bard College.

Markel did not in initially reply to requests for comment Tuesday.


Brief from Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A legislative panel vote could come next month on proposals to give state schools wider latitude to furlough employees during tough economic times. At a hearing yesterday, teachers' union leaders argued the proposals could prompt schools to target higher-salaried veterans for layoffs.


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