Allstate adds 'usage' coverage
Allstate has become the second insurance company after Progressive to offer "usage based" auto coverage in New York State, which monitors drivers' behavior behind the wheel for possible rate discounts. Under the program, called "Drive Wise," a device is installed in vehicles to measure mileage, braking, speed and time of day when a customer is driving. Upon signing up for the device, Allstate customers automatically receive a 10 percent enrollment discount. After the first six months, the enrollment discount is replaced with a performance discount based on the driving habits demonstrated. Allstate says about two-thirds of Drive Wise customers so far have earned a performance discount -- averaging almost 14 percent per vehicle. Allstate says it won't raise rates based on the driving behavior recorded but might reduce rates by as much as 30 percent. -- Tom Incantalupo
Flushing Financial banks combine
Lake Success-based Flushing Financial Corp. said it would combine its Flushing Savings Bank and its commercial banking subsidiary, to reduce costs. "There'll be no discernible impact on the consumer," said John R. Buran, president and chief executive. "We'll still be offering the same products to consumers and businesses." Flushing has 17 branches, most of them in Brooklyn and Queens, one in Manhattan and two in Nassau County. The bank said Thursday it had filed an application with the New York State Department of Financial Services to combine Flushing Savings Bank with Flushing Commercial Bank and rename the combined entity Flushing Bank. That will have the effect of converting the bank from a federally-chartered savings bank to a New York State-chartered commercial bank. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2013. Flushing Financial Corp. has $4.4 billion in consolidated assets. -- Tom Incantalupo
Report: Leads in JPMorgan case
A published report says federal authorities are using taped phone conversations to build criminal cases connected to the $6 billion trading loss announced by JPMorgan Chase earlier this year. The New York Times reports investigators are focusing on four people who worked for the London team responsible for the loss. The Times says authorities are also examining notes from staff meetings, instant messages and emails. The report says the investigation is in the early stages and federal prosecutors haven't decided whether to file charges. JPMorgan Chase declined to comment. The bank reports its quarterly earnings today and is expected to face more questions about the loss.
Wendy's revamping its logo
Wendy's pigtails are getting a tweak. For the first time since 1983, the Dublin, Ohio-based fast food company is updating its logo in a move intended to signal its ongoing transformation into a higher-end hamburger chain. Instead of the boxy, old-fashioned lettering against a red-and-yellow backdrop, the pared-down new look features the chain's name in a casual red font against a clean white backdrop. An image of the smiling girl in red pigtails floats above -- though this girl looks less childlike. The logo was inspired by founder Dave Thomas' daughter.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn plans to make an unsolicited bid for Wisconsin-based truck maker Oshkosh Corp. that values the company at almost $3 billion. Icahn said he also plans to nominate his own slate of directors in a bid for control of the company. Icahn, who already owns 10 percent of Oshkosh, said Thursday that he will make a tender offer worth $32.50 per share in cash, a 21 percent premium over Oshkosh's latest closing price. -- AP