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No Surprise: 2016 Record Data Breach Year

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Risk Based Security published a report on data breaches for 2016. The year set records and saw more major businesses — like Yahoo — successfully attacked.


  Data breaches exposed 4.3 billion records

  That’s up from the old record of 1 billion in 2013

  Yahoo’s breach alone saw 1.5 billion records compromised


Inga Goddijn is the executive vice president of Risk Based Security. She said, “We have been tracking breach activity since 2005, and the number of breaches this year was not really higher or lower than prior years, but the severity was off the charts.”


  The average data breach in 2016 involved 101 to 1,000 records

  In 2015 that number was 1 to 100 records

  The number of breaches topping 1 million records or more hit 94 in 2016

  That’s up from 60 in 2015 and 34 in 2014

  Hackers got email addresses, passwords and names from most

  Hacking accounted for 93% of all exposures

  The rest were misconfigured websites and leaks


The report said business services, retail and technology accounted for 30% of the breaches.


A report from the Identify Theft Resource Center took a different angle:


  It found 1,093 data breaches in 2016

  A 40% hike from 2015


Yahoo, Wendy’s and the Democrat National Committee — and depending on who you ask, maybe even the Republican National Committee — grabbed the hacking headlines.


Spending on hardware to secure servers and websites jumped from $68.2 billion in 2015 to $73.7 billion last year. Estimates from experts say we’ll see that figure at $90 billion by 2018.


Eva Casey Velasquez is the CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center. She said, “We are extremely confident that breaches are undiscovered and under-reported, and we don’t know the full scope. This isn’t the worst-case scenario we are looking at; this is the best-case scenario.”


Like Risk Based Security, the Identity Theft Resource Center said the target of hackers is names and passwords and Social Security numbers.


By the way, a huge percentage — 56% — of breaches are from phishing when an employee gets an email they are tricked into opening. That’s up from 38% in 2015.


“When we look at these massive numbers of records and percentages, it’s very easy to forget that each of these data points is a person, and there’s someone behind this who is being very adversely affected,” Velasquez said.


Source links: eWeek, PropertyCasualty360.com



Tags:  Cyber Breach  Cyber Insurance  Cyber Security  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  No Surprise: 2016 Record Data Breach Year  Weekly Industry News 

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This Week in ObamaCare

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 31, 2017

House and Senate Republican leadership met mid-week last week for their annual planning retreat. At the meeting, House Speaker Paul Ryan laid out legislative plans for the next 200 days. On the agenda is repealing and replacing portions of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Another big project — tax reform.


Ryan said ObamaCare’s target date for action is spring and taxes and tax reform will be done by August and the annual August recess. House Budget Committee Chairwoman Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee said, “It will be a repeal with some replacement in it for what we're able to do given the reconciliation process. Our goal is to make this a patient-centered healthcare system where we give people options.”


And she said in spite of what you hear, health care savings accounts are one of the positive pieces and is “something that people really do want.”


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who’ll have a more difficult time pushing an ObamaCare replacement through the senate — is largely in agreement with Ryan’s timeline.


Not everyone in the Republican Party is all that happy with the rush to repeal. Many don’t think Republicans ought to move on anything without input from the president and others worried about how to get this going and asked questions like:


  Don’t we need a replacement plan in place before repeal?

  How do we avoid causing deep damage to the health insurance market?

  Who will lose coverage?

  Or who will pay more under a revamped system?


And then there are the political challenges says California Rep. Tom McClintock.


We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created. That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away,” he said.


Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee agreed. “Our goal, in my opinion, should be not a quick fix. We can do it rapidly — but not a quick fix. We want a long-term solution that lowers costs,” he said.


Ryan punctuated the discussion with, “We have a responsibility to work for the people that put us in office. That’s the oath we take: to defend the Constitution, to fight for the people we represent, and this is a fiasco that needs to be fixed.”


The process begins in earnest on Thursday of this week as Oregon Congressman Greg Walden’s House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled The Failures of ObamaCare: Harmful Effects and Broken Promises. It is that committee that will construct most of the replacement for ObamaCare.


And Walden called it repair not replacement, “We need to work aggressively on the repairs to the individual market, to Obamacare. Some might call that replacement. I call that a rebuild. I call it repair.”


The House Ways and Means Committee will also hold a hearing on the individual mandate.


Source links: The Hill, The Washington Post — link 1, link 2


Tags:  Healthcare  HealthCare.gov  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  ObamaCare  The Affordable Care Act  This Week in ObamaCare  Weekly Industry News 

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What the World of Business Looks Like When Millennials Run Things

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 31, 2017

It’s going to happen. Pew Research said Millennials — those 18 to 34 — now outnumber Baby Boomers 75.4 million to 74.9 million. Within a decade, the Baby Boomer number will shrink even more.


And by then Millennials may be running business in the U.S.


The Conference Board looked at the subject and put out a report called Divergent Views/Common Ground: The Leadership Perspectives of C-Suite Executives and Millennial Leaders. It contains interviews, surveys and focus groups involving Millennial leaders in a bunch of different companies;



  American Express



  Cardinal Health


  Johnson & Johnson

  Kindred Healthcare


  Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America

  United Rentals


  Verizon Communications



Basically, the report says we have a skewed view of how Millennials operate in the business world. Ronald Williams — the CEO of RW2 Enterprises — put it in perspective.


“These young leaders will ultimately sit in every leadership seat at every U.S. corporation. It was my view that not only were we missing critical research on Millennial leaders, but we also were missing a fact-based analysis of how Millennial leaders’ views differed from current CEOs and C-suite executives. Their differences are not necessarily right or wrong, but understanding how to bridge between the two will be crucial to the future of our economy,” Williams said.


The report also looks at the values and preferences of these Millennial leaders and where they agree and disagree with their Baby Boomer colleagues and bosses. And contrary to popular belief, the report says Millennials in leadership positions in business have much in common with their older CEOs.


Here’s where they might differ and Millennial leaders say:


  Success should be measured by interpersonal and interaction.

  The ideal leader focuses more on decision-making and business know-how.

  Social values are critical as is contributing to a cleaner environment and giving back to the community.

  Forget low-hierarchy organizations or open design.


Here’s where both Millennial leaders and their Baby Boomer bosses agree:


  Arrogance and avoidance are management no-nos.

  Engaging and inspiring employees matters.

  Manage and successfully introducing and implementing change is important.

  A company operates best on ethical values and not just legal obligations.


Source link: Carrier Management



Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Millennials  Weekly Industry News  What the World of Business Looks Like When Millenn 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Arizona — Windshield Glass

 Arizona has a requirement that auto insurers must pay to replace cracked or broken glass for free for those insureds with full coverage. A high rate of heat and rock damage is why the Legislature made the requirement decades ago.


Insurers are finding it to be a huge expense and they want the requirement eliminated. Republican Sen. Karen Fann of Prescott agrees and has introduced legislation — SB 1169 — to at least let insurers charge a deductible.


The auto glass industry — and there are a plethora of auto glass shops in the state — say people will not fix or repair them when they need it because of the deductible. Representatives claim it will become a public safety issue and — at the very least — will put a lot of shops out of business and lead to higher unemployment.


Source links: The State, Insurance Journal



California — Jones Proud of Win

 This came to Weekly Industry News from the California Department of Insurance.


In a sweeping victory for consumers, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced the California Supreme Court, in a 7-0 decision, affirmed his authority against a major insurance industry legal challenge.

Rejecting the insurance industry's arguments, the Supreme Court ruled the insurance commissioner has broad discretion to adopt rules and regulations as necessary to promote the public welfare. The insurance industry lost their challenge to Jones' consumer protection regulations that require insurers replacement cost estimates actually reflect the complete cost of rebuilding a policyholder's home after a fire.


"We have won an important victory for California consumers over the insurance industry with the Supreme Court's decision today upholding our consumer protection regulation," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "The Supreme Court rejected the insurance industry's effort to strike down the department's regulation, which protects consumers from misleading insurer estimates of home replacement costs, which left homeowners without adequate coverage or ability to rebuild their homes after fires."


"Climate change, years of drought, and more devastating wildfires have changed the landscape of California and led to a year-round fire season. This regulation offers homeowners peace of mind, should disaster strike," Jones added.


The regulations were needed because insurance companies were misleading consumers by giving them incomplete home replacement cost estimates, sometimes by removing key components from the actual estimates they calculated, in order to undercut competitors with lower premium. The practice unfairly left consumers who relied on their insurers' estimates unaware they were underinsured, and many could not rebuild after fires destroyed their homes.


The insurance industry, led by the Association of California Insurance Companies and the Personal Insurance Federation of California, used its lawsuit challenging the regulation to challenge the Insurance commissioner's authority to adopt regulations that protect consumers from insurers' unfair and misleading practices.


While the insurance industry did not argue, insurers would have difficulty complying with the regulation, or that the general rule requiring all insurers' replacement-cost estimates include all costs necessary to replace a home is a bad idea, the industry argued that the regulation was overreaching by the commissioner.


Today, the Supreme Court rejected the challenge and affirmed the commissioner has broad authority under the Unfair Insurance Practices Act to adopt regulations prohibiting insurers from unfair practices, like misleading consumers into believing they have replacement-cost insurance coverage that is not intended to cover all costs of replacement.


New Mexico — NIPR: The National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) recently added New Mexico and Guam to the Contact Change Request (CCR) software application. The application allows individuals to electronically update contact information with the Producer Database (PDB) and state insurance departments.


Producers, agents, adjusters, navigators and other insurance licensees use CCR as a one-stop shop to update email, telephone and fax numbers, in addition to physical addresses on file with state insurance departments. Additionally, CCR allows contact changes for designated home state licensees (agents without a resident license) and inactive or expired licenses.


"The NIPR is proud to implement CCR in 100 percent of our states and jurisdictions, making it easier for individual licensees to comply with state insurance regulation," said Karen Stakem Hornig, NIPR Executive Director. "This is a step toward fulfilling the NIPR's mission to make the producer licensing process more cost-effective, streamlined and uniform."


Since the initial rollout in January 2015, the NIPR has processed more than 3.8 million CCR transactions. The final stage of the CCR project will add the capability for business entities to change contact information stored on the PDB.



Oregon — Big Budget Troubles

 Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney expects the Legislature will not be able to solve the state’s $1.8 billion shortfall by Sine Die and will have to go into special session.


“We have until midnight July 10. If we don't balance the budget by then, we have to come back. In my opinion, we're going to be here all summer,” He said.


Courtney is the alone in his pessimism. House Speaker Rep. Tina Kotek thinks they can get it done but agrees it’ll be a challenge since just under 3/5ths of the supermajorities in the House and Senate have to vote yes. That means they’ll need some Republicans to cross the aisle.


Both Kotek and Courtney are looking at corporate taxes to solve the problem. Republicans aren’t anxious to raise those taxes and say the real problem is PERS.


Source link: OregonLive.com



Oregon — From the Oregon Department of Insurance

Oregon Division of Financial Regulation - Rates & Forms New Wrap-up Projects Filings

Wrap-up filing information and documents


The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation - Rates and Forms unit is excited to announce the launch of a new website location for everything wrap-up. The pertinent Oregon statutes, wrap-up filing instructions, two trust agreement templates, and a document on mini-wraps are all linked to the new site. As an additional resource, we will be adding a list of active wrap-ups which will be updated periodically.


  Wrap-up filings webpage — http://dfr.oregon.gov/rates-forms/Pages/wrap-up-filings.aspx


Please contact our wrap-up analyst, Jan Vitus, at 503 947 7278 or jan.vitus@oregon.gov  if you have any questions, comments, or require more assistance than our new site provides.



Proposed Rulemaking

Repeals market assistance plan for construction contractors


The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently announced the following Proposed Rulemaking:

Repeals market assistance plan for construction contractors general liability insurance


Repeal: OAR 836-014-0400


In 2002, the department learned of difficulties in the construction contractors market. Contractors, required to have general liability insurance were having difficulty obtaining coverage. The department determined that there was a likelihood of consumer harm if contractors were unable to acquire general liability insurance coverage to support their license. The department and the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) formed a workgroup to develop possible solutions. The workgroup developed an outline for the Market Assistance Plan (MAP) website. The website was hosted by the CCB from 2004 until 2016. In 2016 CCB identified the site as unsecure and took it off-line. During discussions about the website, the department and CCB, in conjunction with an advisory committee, determined that the site was outdated and might not be continuing to serve the purpose for which it was first developed. The department determined that the market for general liability coverage for contractors is now well developed. This repeal is necessary to remove the rule related to the successful, but now unnecessary, market assistance plan related to construction contractor general liability coverage.


Public hearing: A public rulemaking hearing may be requested in writing by 10 or more people, or by an association with 10 or more members, within 21 days following the publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Oregon Bulletin or 28 days from the date Notice was sent to people on the agency mailing list, whichever is later.


Public comment: The agency requests public comment on whether other options should be considered for achieving the rule's substantive goals while reducing the negative economic impact of the rule on business.


Last day for public comment: March 24, 2017, 5 p.m.


For more information on this proposed rule, please visit the Division's website:




Federal officials renew health transformation in Oregon

The federal government approved Oregon’s federal Medicaid waiver application to continue the Oregon Health Plan—Oregons Medicaid program—for another five years. The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) covers over 1 million low-income Oregonians who are struggling to make ends meet. This is the largest health plan in the state and covers one in four Oregonians and almost 40 percent in some rural counties.


Highlights of renewed waiver

This approval enables Oregon to continue its innovative model of health care for OHP members and maintain the gains the state has made in the past five years to improve the integration, coordination and quality of care. These reforms have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in health costs for state and federal taxpayers.


Under the agreement, Oregon will continue to:


  Integrate care: Provide integrated physical, behavioral and oral health care services to OHP members through coordinated care organizations (CCOs).


  Advance the coordinated care model: The waiver maintains the coordinated care model and promotes payment for value rather than volume of services. These models will continue to allow Oregon to improve quality and outcomes and hold down costs to a sustainable rate of growth.


  Promote increased investments in health-related and flexible services. The waiver provides clarity on how non-traditional services that improve health are accounted for in global budgets. CCOs will be encouraged to invest in services that improve quality and outcomes, and CCOs that reduce costs through use of these services can receive financial incentives to offset those cost reductions.


  Approval enables Oregon to continue improvements in care and cost containment


In the past five years, Oregon has made significant progress toward the triple aim of better health, better care and lower cost:


  Providing care at the right time and place: Avoidable emergency department use decreased by nearly 50 percent over five years.


  Better outcomes and care: Hospital readmissions have been cut by a third. Substance misuse assessments, developmental screening and timely prenatal care have all increased.


  Lower costs: Federal and state governments saved $1.4 billion in Medicaid costs just since 2012 and have avoided billions more since the inception of the Oregon Health Plan over two decades ago. Oregon’s health reforms are projected to save a total of $10.5 billion between 2012 and 2022 by holding down cost growth to not more than 3.4 percent per member per year.


  Waiver provides stability and continuity for Oregon’s health system


  Oregon initiated early renewal talks with federal officials last year, in anticipation of a new administration taking office. Normal waiver approvals take a year or longer to complete and this renewal was completed within six months. Governor Brown and her staff and Oregon Health Authority officials have worked intensively with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Andy Slavitt and his entire staff to get this done.


Renewal of Oregon’s waiver provides stability for the state’s health system. While Congress debates the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), today’s waiver renewal is a key validation and continuation of Oregon’s model of care.



Oregon Division of Financial Regulation

Rates & Forms Product Standards Update

Product Standards update


Revised product standards have been posted to the Division website. The current forms list (http://dfr.oregon.gov/rates-forms/Documents/current-filing-forms.pdf) will identify which documents are new or revised in red.


One form is new (Form 440-3172D) for Short Term Care.


Additional revised documents will be added as they become available.



Washington — From the Washington Department of Insurance

Prescription drug substitution process rule adopted

We adopted the prescription drug substitution process rule, effective February 12, 2017 (R 2016-22). The rule will align the Office of the Insurance Commissioner's regulations with the Health and Human Services Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2017 regarding drug substitution.


For more information, including the adopted rule (CR-103P) and the concise explanatory statement, please visit the rules webpage. — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/laws-rules/legislation-rules/recently-adopted-rules/rules-2017/2016-22/?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=



Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Aetna - Humana: Merger Blocked

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 24, 2017

U.S. District Judge John Bates has blocked Aetna’s $37 billion deal to purchase Humana. In his decision, the judge said the transaction violates anti-trust laws and will reduce competition in the health insurance industry if allowed.


And then to add insult to injury, the judge agreed with Humana’s purchase caveat that says Aetna owes it a $1 billion breakup fee that was in the merger agreement.


Aetna’s T.J. Crawford says the company will likely appeal. “We’re reviewing the opinion now and giving serious to consideration to an appeal after putting forward a compelling case,” he said.


Humana didn’t respond.


The decision is a victory of sorts for the Obama administration’s Justice Department who opposed this merger and Anthem’s $48 billion purchase of Cigna. A federal judge has concluded that case but has not yet issued a ruling. In both cases the Justice Department argued that consumers will be harmed by the reduction in the number of health insurance companies.


Jason McGorman is an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. With this decision he doesn’t hold out a lot of hope for the Anthem-Cigna deal. “If the judge blocked this deal, there is very little, if any, chance that the Anthem-Cigna deal gets cleared,” he said. McGorman also thought the Aetna and Humana deal had a much better chance of being approved than Anthem-Cigna.


Source link: Insurance Business America



Tags:  Aetna - Humana: Merger Blocked  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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2016’s First 9 Months: Down from 2015

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) and ISO — a Verisk Analytics company — said the first nine months of 2016 wasn’t all that much fun for insurers. At least those months weren’t when compared to the same time period in 2015. And the reasons are many ranging from underwriting troubles to increased catastrophe losses to falling reserves.


Here’s some details:


  The net underwriting loss hit $1.7 billion

  That compares to a $7.3 billion underwriting gain from January to September the year before

  The combined ratio is 99.5 compared to 96.9 for the first nine months of 2015

  Net investment income fell to $33 billion from close to $35 billion


One of the big areas of concern — said PCI’s Robert Gordon — is auto. “Some of the poor performance is a result of increasing loss ratios in the auto lines, which were affected by rising accident frequency and severity,” he said.


The combined ratio for personal lines insurers dropped to an awful 102.9 because of auto losses resulting in rate hikes. Commercial loss ratios were also dismal. “As we move forward, it’s important for all the stakeholders — including consumers, insurers and policymakers — to take significant steps to reduce the growth of auto losses,” Gordon said.


Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) chief economist Steven Weisbart was also concerned. He said super low interest rates are putting pressure on insurers to maintain what he calls — healthy — combined ratio. “These days, with investment income below levels that would be produced if interest rates were at higher levels, P/C companies generally need to maintain combined ratios below 95 to earn their cost of capital in a still-challenging interest rate environment,” Weisbart said.


Despite the questions the report generates, Beth Fitzgerald of ISO said promising signs are in the future. “Policyholders’ surplus continued to grow and reached a record high of $688.3 billion. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates in December 2016 and is expected to increase rates further in 2017. Still, it will take time for insurers’ investment yields to improve,” she said.


Other things found in the report:


  Earned premiums $390.7 billion — that’s a 3.6% jump over 2015

  Net written premiums hit $403.8 billion and compares to $393 billion in 2015

  Capital gains fell to $5.6 billion from 8.8 billion

  Net investment gains fell to $38.6 billion from $43.7 billion


Source link: Carrier Management



Tags:  2016’s First 9 Months: Down from 2015  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Trump & ObamaCare: More Drama, More Uncertainty

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Republicans are already moving in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Critics say without a replacement in place first at least 18 million people will lose their health insurance. President Trump has vowed — to the chagrin of hardcore Republicans — to make sure all Americans have health insurance.


Just how he’ll do that is a mystery worthy of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes.


What we do know is the president is already moving. One of Trump’s first acts as president is an executive order telling all federal agencies — like Health and Human Services (HHS) — with involvement in the Affordable Care Act to “ease the burden of ObamaCare."


What the order doesn’t do is tell them exactly what to do.


All it says is they are to ease the regulatory requirements of ObamaCare and do so immediately because — as Trump told reporters while signing the order — “it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented.”


Trump’s action and the actions of Congress have health insurance companies wondering how to respond. And it has grabbed the attention of the nation’s insurance commissioners. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones was quick to react to Trump’s executive order.


“The effect of the Executive Order will be to create uncertainty in health insurance markets as to whether the federal government will enforce critically important provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The Executive Order specifically directs federal agencies not to enforce ACA provisions that make sure that all Americans are getting health insurance so that the costs of treating sick and unhealthy Americans are spread across large enough risk pools to make it possible for private health insurers to provide health insurance,” Jones wrote in a statement.


His biggest concern is health insurers withdrawing from the nation’s exchanges. That will decrease competition and cause health insurance prices to skyrocket. “Based on my experience as the regulator of the largest insurance market in the United States, this Executive Order is likely to destabilize health insurance markets across the United States. President Trump's Executive Order also is contrary to his promise to provide health care coverage to all Americans,” Jones added.


Former Oregon Insurance Administrator and now Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller is as worried as Jones. She said several insurance companies threatened to leave her state’s exchange last year and many are currently thinking of abandoning them this year.


“That would create a nightmare scenario,” she said.


Robert Laszewski heads the consulting company Health Policy and Strategy Associates. He calls Trump’s order a “bomb” and said it will have a huge impact on an already shaky insurance market.


Republican leaders are happy with Trump’s order. The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman and Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander said the president is “right to make the urgent work of rescuing Americans trapped in a collapsing Obamacare system a top priority on his first day in office.”


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed and said, “President Obama implemented a lot of Obamacare himself, so President Trump will be able to undo a lot of it himself.”


Democrats aren’t so happy and are very critical of what the Republicans and the president are doing. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York questions their actions. “They don’t know what to do. They can repeal, but they don’t have a plan for replace. The president’s executive order just mirrored that,” he said.


As for the health insurance insurers? As of Monday morning January 23rd, they haven’t said much. Kristine Grow of America’s Health Insurance Plans — who represents 1,300 health insurers — said they aren’t sure what to think. “There is no question the individual health-care market has been challenged from the start. The president said he would take swift action to move our country to improve it, and he has,” she said.


As for the president, Trump has been vague on what he’s going to do. He told Fox News last week, “we’re going to have a plan that’s going to be great for people.”


Okay. So, what does that mean?


Trump told The Washington Post that he wants everyone covered. As noted in the opening paragraph of this story, that has the most conservative of Republicans concerned.


We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us,” Trump said.


It’s a statement with no details. Maybe that coverage concept will come in the form of the Medicaid block grants he’s suggested giving to states to let them implement nearly universal health insurance. “Whether it's Medicaid block grants or whatever it may be, we must make sure that people are taken care of and it's going to be a very important part to me,” Trump said.


Governors like Ohio’s Republican — and former presidential contender — John Kasich aren’t so sure of the idea. “The difference between a good block grant and a dangerous block grant is in the detail,” Kasich said in a recent letter to Congress.


Trump — and most Republicans — want to keep some of ObamaCare’s more popular laws like those regarding preexisting conditions and keeping children on a parent’s health insurance plan until they reach age 26.


One thing that is popular with Democrats is Trump’s call for giving Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices.


But repealing the whole thing isn’t working for Democrats and for many moderate Republicans. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine have what they think is a better idea than tossing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Their plan would — if even considered — keep ObamaCare’s taxes in place to give a replacement plan its revenue.


At that point states would have the option to keep ObamaCare, its subsidies, mandates and protections. Or opt out in which case the taxes would go to finance tax credits that is linked to Health Savings Accounts (HSA) which would give citizens in that state a more basic, less comprehensive health insurance plan.


Source links: The Hill — link 1, link 2, The Washington Post, Insurance Business America, MSN



Tags:  Healthcare  HealthCare.gov  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  More Uncertainty  ObamaCare  The Affordable Care Act  Trump & ObamaCare: More Drama  Weekly Industry News 

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Disaster in 2016: $46 Billion in Insured Losses

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) said there were 15 disasters defined as weather or climate caused in the United States in 2016. The NCEI report further defines the 16 as causing $1 billion or more in insured and uninsured losses.


Worse, they killed 138 people and had serious economic impacts for those areas.


Breaking it down, the causes were:


  4 floods

  8 severe storms

  1 tropical cyclone

  1 wildfire


NCEI — a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — also said the events in 2016 is the second highest total of $1 billion or more in damages in the 37-years that it has been doing the tracking. It’s just one less than the 16 suffered in 2011.


The average per year from 1980 to 2016 is 5.5 events. In the last five years that number has almost doubled in average to 10.6.


Included as insured and uninsured direct loss components are:


  Physical damage to residential, commercial and government/municipal buildings

  Infrastructure like roads, bridges and buildings

  Material assets within a building

  Time element losses like business interruption

  Losses to vehicles, boats, offshore energy platforms

  Agricultural assets — crops, livestock, timber


What the losses do not account for is natural capital and assets, healthcare related losses or values that are associated with the loss of life.


Also in the NCEI report is weather related information:


  The average temperature for the contiguous United States was 54.9 degrees — 2.9 degrees above the 20th Century average

  2016 was the second warmest year in the 122 years on record

  2012’s 55.3 degrees is at the top

  And 2016 was the 20th consecutive warmer than normal year in a row

  Precipitation averaged 31.7 inches — 1.76 inches above the long-term average

  That made 2016 the 24th wettest year on record and the fourth consecutive above average precipitation year


One more point: 26% of the damages are not insured.


Source links: Insurance Journal, PropertyCasualty360.com




Tags:  Disaster in 2016: $46 Billion in Insured Losses  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Special Report: Life in the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Life is good in the nine PIA Western Alliance states. In fact, it’s so good in Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska that five of the states are in the nation’s top 10 destinations for those looking to relocate.




Here’s the top-10 list according to United Van Lines’ 40th Annual National Movers Study. The PIA Western Alliance states are in bold:


1.    South Dakota

2.    Vermont

3.    Oregon

4.    Idaho

5.    South Carolina

6.    Washington

7.    District of Columbia

8.    North Carolina

9.    Nevada

10. Arizona


When something goes up, science says something also goes down. No PIA Western Alliance states are in the top-10 states where people are leaving:


50. New Jersey

49. Illinois

48. New York

47. Connecticut

46. Kansas

45. Kentucky

44. West Virginia

43. Ohio

42. Utah

41. Pennsylvania


The report said the PIA Western Alliance state of Oregon has been the top draw for the last three years. This year South Dakota overtook the Beaver State and so did Vermont. But barely.


United Van Lines said a huge percentage of those moving are retirees and they like the mountains of the West and the Pacific Northwest. How popular is the West? Here are some staggering numbers on the inbound wish list:


  67% find Oregon the most popular

  65% love Idaho

  58% find Washington a target

  58% like Nevada

  57% pick Arizona


Of those moving West, Oregon picked up 53% of new jobs and transfers and 19% of the retirees.


Michael Stoll is an economist at the Department of Public Policy at the UCLA. He looked at the survey and said, “This year’s data clearly reflects retirees’ location preferences. We are seeing more retirees than ever decide to relocate, and as a result, new retirement hubs are popping up in Western states. Interestingly enough, these retirees are leaving at such a fast pace that the movement of millennials to urban areas in the Midwest and Northeast is being overshadowed.”


As noted, some states are growing population and some states are losing population. The report also notes that three are just staying even. United Van Lines calls them “balanced.” Two of the three are PIA Western Alliance states and are in bold:



  New Mexico



Just because people are moving to certain states that doesn’t necessarily make them the best states in which to reside. Or so says a survey released in November last year by 24/7 Wall St. In fact, one PIA Western Alliance state — New Mexico — is on the 24/7 Wall St. survey worst state list and none of them are on the best list.


The closest any PIA Western Alliance state could get to the top 10 is Washington at number 11. Five of the nine states are below average and four above with one of them — Oregon — barely.


We — the people — tend to rate our state of domicile based on:


  Climate preference

  The presence of friends and family

  Personal history

  Life satisfaction


24/7 Wall St. looks at things a bit differently and has three criteria:


  Poverty rate

  Educational attainment

  Life expectancy at birth


The 10 worst:


50. Mississippi — the nation’s highest poverty rate and lowest life expectancy

49. West Virginia

48. Louisiana

47. Arkansas

46. Alabama

45. Kentucky

44. Oklahoma

43. Tennesse

42. New Mexico

31. South Carolina


The 10 best:


1.    Massachusetts — Two out of every five adults has at least a bachelor’s degree. The Poverty rate sits at 11.5% and is less common than most other states. With a great economy, the state also has a health state and a life expectancy averaging 80 years.


2. Connecticut

3. New Hampshire

4. Minnesota

5. New Jersey

6. Colorado

7. Vermont

8. Maryland

9. Hawaii

10. Virginia


The PIA Western Alliance states


42. New Mexico


  10-yr. population growth: 10.5% — 25th highest

  Oct. unemployment rate: 6.7% — 2nd highest

  Poverty rate: 20.4% — 2nd highest

  Life expectancy at birth: 77.9 years — 18th lowest


38. Nevada


  10-yr. population growth: 21.4% — 4th highest

  Oct. unemployment rate: 5.5% — 9th highest

  Poverty rate: 14.7% — 23rd highest

  Life expectancy at birth: 77.9 years — 17th lowest


32. Arizona


  10-yr. population growth: 17.1% — 10th highest

  Oct. unemployment rate: 5.2% — 14th highest

  Poverty rate: 17.4% — 8th highest

  Life expectancy at birth: 79.3 years — 15th highest


31. Idaho


  10-yr. population growth: 18.6% — 8th highest

  Oct. unemployment rate: 3.8% — 10th lowest)

  Poverty rate: 15.1% — 20th highest

  Life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years — 21st highest


29. Montana


  10-yr. population growth: 13.4% — 21st highest

  Oct. unemployment rate: 4.3% — 19th lowest

  Poverty rate: 14.6% — 24th highest

  Life expectancy at birth: 78.3 years — 24th lowest


24. Oregon


  10-yr. population growth: 13.2% — 22nd highest

  Oct. unemployment rate: 5.3% — 13th highest

  Poverty rate: 15.4% — 17th highest

  Life expectancy at birth: 79.1 years — 17th highest


20. Alaska


  10-yr. population growth: 15.1% — 17th highest

  Oct. unemployment rate: 6.8% — the highest

  Poverty rate: 10.3% — 5th lowest

  Life expectancy at birth: 77.8 years — 15th lowest


15. California


  10-yr. population growth: 11.0% — 24th highest

  Oct. unemployment rate: 5.5% — 9th highest

  Poverty rate: 15.3% — 19th highest

  Life expectancy at birth: 80.4 years — 3rd highest


11. Washington


  10-yr. population growth: 16.7% — 11th highest

  Oct. unemployment rate: 5.4% — 12th highest

  Poverty rate: 12.2% — 17th lowest

  Life expectancy at birth: 79.6 years — 11th highest


It’s the very rare occurrence when someone moves to a new city or state without a job. Or at least the prospect of a job. 24/7 Wall St. also released a job survey in November of last year and a bunch of PIA Western Alliance states Six PIA Western Alliance cities are in the top 10 highest job growth cities and 10 of them are in the top 20.


The economic and financial publication compared job growth between October 2015 and October 2016 to come to its conclusions:


23. Eugene, Oregon


  Employment change: 4.44%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 162,780

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 170,006

  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.5%


17. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington


  Employment change: 4.67%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 1,879,827

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 1,967,536

  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 4.4%


13. Grants Pass, Oregon


  Employment change: 5.06%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 30,906

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 32,471

  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 7.0%


12. Medford, Oregon


  Employment change: 5.10%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 91,343

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 96,006

  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 6.3%


10. Albany, Oregon


  Employment change: 5.20%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 50,990

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 53,641

  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.8%


9. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon/Washington


  Employment change: 5.21%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 1,171,041

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 1,232,021

  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.0%


5. Salem, Oregon


  Employment change: 6.01%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 179,402

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 190,190



  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.4%


4. Prescott, Arizona


  Employment change: 6.57%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 92,552

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 98,637

  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 4.7%


3. Yuma, Arizona


  Employment change: 6.81%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 72,473

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 77,407

  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 18.4%


1. Bend-Redmond, Oregon


  Employment change: 7.63%

  No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 80,446

  No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 86,587

  Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.2%


Source links: United Van Lines, MSN Money



Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Special Report: Life in the PIA Western Alliance S  Weekly Industry News 

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Insurance Employment 2017

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The industry is desperately worried about replacing the plethora of experienced insurance professionals that will retire this year. The loss of experience and know-how alone is frightening. Also of concern is the growing workload. As an industry, we’re all — or at least a huge percentage of us — are at job overload.


Many are begging bosses and managers in all walks to ease our burdens.


Don’t look at 2017 to be the year your pleas are heard. A survey from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) — who polled 1,379 CEOs in 79 countries — says:


  Just 41% said they’ll be adding personnel


That’s down from 49% saying they’d add staff in 2016 and 50% in 2015. The 2014 figure was 59%. Also, disconcerting — to employees that is — is the downward hiring trend when the growth outlook for insurance is getting brighter.


  38% of CEOs are very confident of short-term revenue growth in 2017

  That’s up from 35% in 2016


That’s not all:


  79% have organic expansion at the top of the planning for 2017

  41% are going to do seek mergers and acquisitions this year

  23% want to strengthen innovation capability to capitalize on new opportunity


PwC’s Bob Moritz who is the firm’s global chairman said, “Despite a tumultuous 2016, CEO confidence is moving back up — albeit slowly and still a long way from the levels we saw back in 2007. But there are signs of optimism right across the globe, including in the UK and US, where despite predictions of a Trump slump and a Brexit exit, CEOs confidence in their company’s growth are up from 2016.”


Source link: Insurance Business America



Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Employment 2017  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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