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Career Killer — The Bad Attitude

Posted By Shiela Strubel, Tuesday, November 1, 2016

John Graham is a marketing and sales strategy consultant. He also writes business pieces for various sources and publishes a monthly online bulletin called No Nonsense Marketing & Sales Ideas.


In a recent article for Insurance Journal, Graham wrote about career killing bad attitudes and stated everyday attitudes — if negative — can do us in at work. He listed a bunch of them:


For what I get paid, I do more than enough. He agrees the person saying that — in many cases — is correct. However, how it is stated is where the problem lies. Making the statement in that manner alienates co-workers and is just “not the way to move ahead — or even stay where you are.”


I’ve put in my time and paid my dues. Now, it’s my turn. He says that’s chip on your shoulder territory. And no matter whether it’s their turn or not, the attitude is unmistakable and what it tells co-workers is that they think they’re special.


Sorry, but I’m busy right now. Can’t you get someone else? If that’s a repeat excuse, then what you’re telling co-workers is you can’t be counted on when needed.


They’ll see what happens when I leave. It’ll take three people to replace me. No one, Graham noted, is irreplaceable or indispensable. “If asked, they’re quick to let it be known that they carry far more than their share of the load. Those around them often see it quite differently,” he said.


Whoa! There’s only so much I can do. Graham says this is a person that limits themselves to what’s safe. They’ll not likely accomplish much with that attitude.


With so many meetings, I can’t get my work done. We all feel this way. Graham said don’t complain, find solutions like alternatives to meetings, or agendas that limit time and that go to participants ahead of time so they can plan, have meetings standing up (there’s a fun one), and so on.


That’s not my job. No explanation needed on this one.


Unless I get paid extra, I shouldn’t have to do it. He agrees sometimes the demands of an employer goes too far. But if it happens to one person in the organization it likely happens to all. And Graham said this person is often short-sighted and misses a chance to showcase what they can do and how capable they actually are.


Sorry, but I don’t know anything about that. While many of us often don’t know anything about “that,” saying that often indicates — Graham says — that we’re not willing to put out more than what we absolutely have to do.


My ideas aren’t important. Ideas benefit a company. He notes good employees have them and share them. And an employer likely wants to hear them.


I meant to get it done. I’ll get right on it. There are times when it’s a reasonable excuse but Graham said if it’s a habit then people know they can’t count on you. And it’s especially frustrating for them when having to beg to get something done repeatedly.


I’ve been around long enough and the rules don’t apply to me. Rules apply to everybody and chances are if that’s the attitude of an employee, they won’t be around much longer.


I didn’t know you needed it so soon. Really? Graham said those using that excuse are trying to reverse polarity and be the victim in the issue. He thinks it’s the worst of all possible excuses.


Source link: Insurance Journal




Tags:  Career Killer — The Bad Attitude  Employment  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Jobs  Weekly Industry News 

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Advice for CEOs that’s Probably Good for All Leaders

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Company CEOs have a big job. And that goes from the largest insurance company to the smallest agency. Those running the show have the vision for the company and push employees in that direction.


The best CEOs have the ability to make sure their vision is actually enacted. To do that the CEO must master communication and must make sure the firm has the resources needed for staff to execute the plan.


While communication is critical it is also the main reason the vision of a CEO fails. Here’s why. The CEO’s vision is enunciated repeatedly and staff sometimes tires of hearing it.


Another problem CEOs have is not sticking with their vision. Going this way and that looking for the next best idea waters down goals. The best CEOs do not do that and they stick to the vision and preach it repeatedly to make sure all in the company are walking the CEO’s talk.


As most who’ve led companies or associations know, enacting and repeating the vision is difficult. Sometimes it is as overwhelming to the CEO as it is to the staff.


James Allen is the head of Bain & Company’s London office and runs the company’s global strategy. He’s also written several bestselling business books. Allen recently posted some advice to CEOs in the Harvard Business Review on maintaining the vision.


It is advice that is also helpful to all in leadership roles.


The first rule — liberate yourself from your staff. Your time and energy are resources that need protected. Most of the time a CEO will inherit a staff that supports the office of the CEO but not necessarily the CEO’s vision. So, the CEO needs to stay the course by making sure the daily calendar doesn’t fill up with non-essential tasks and events.


Apply the 60/40 rule to running the company. The efficient CEO gives 60% of their time to “must-do” tasks and the other 40% to focus personally on the vision.


Avoid bickering with other executives and while doing that stop staff bickering and posturing egos. It will distract from the vision and saps energy. Also, don’t over-manage. CEOs — Allen writes — spend way too much time managing egos. “Our surveys, research and extensive interviews suggest that this sense of mission fades first and fastest at the upper and middle layers of the company as they become diluted with professional managers.”


Put your vision on paper. Keep it simple and put it on one page if possible. You can turn very complex concepts into shorter, easier to understand statements. The role of a CEO is to simplify the complexity and stick to a few themes that are easy to understand,” Allen said.


Praise, praise, praise. Give credit where credit is due. Allen wrote, ‘My sales force are the heroes of my business,’ the CEO of one consumer goods company told us. ‘I want them to sell all day, outhustle the competition, get our products onto the right shelves at the right width and height. I’ve told them over and over that they are not the brains of the company, but the arms, legs, ears and eyes.’”


And most importantly, Allen emphasizes that CEOs should not get distracted from the vision. Lots of criticism of CEOs these days is executive pay. It’s something the CEO also needs to ignore. But it is hard to do.


The current belief is that CEOs make $300 for every $1 of the average employee. Mercer — a global consultant company — did some research on pay with 117 companies involved in 112 industries and found it’s even less than $200 to $1.


Mercer spokesman Gregg Passin said, While the ratio may still seem significant to some, it is not as high as many might think. Supporters of pay ratio disclosure that hope it will pressure companies to reduce CEO pay may be disappointed to learn that banking/financial services companies — often criticized for excessive pay — have lower ratios than most other industries.”


Source links: Harvard Business Review, The Hill



Tags:  Advice for CEOs that’s Probably Good for All Leade  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 1, 2016

California — State Farm Cuts Rate

 California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has negotiated a deal with State Farm to drop rental policy rates by an average of 40%. Overall, the state’s renters will see a $101.1 million savings.


The agreement goes into effect on February 1st of next year.


This is good news for the approximately 200,000 State Farm rental dwelling policyholders, most of whom will receive a rate reduction as a result. Thanks to our review and conclusion that the rates as first proposed were excessive, we have obtained from State Farm a record reduction that will enable small businesses and other rental property owners to keep more of their hard-earned money,” Jones said.


There is — however — a caveat. The decrease — and if a renter gets one — depends on a bunch of factors including the property location, risk factors of the insured and what’s being covered.



California — Calderon to Prison

 Former California state Sen. Ron Calderon has received a prison sentence for taking bribes. He was found guilty of taking over $155,000 in payments in cash and other financial benefits to support or block legislation depending on the need of the payee.


Two others were involved in the crimes including Calderon’s brother Thomas.


At the sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder Calderon pleaded to remain under house arrest instead or to at least get a reduced sentence. Prosecutors wanted him to get five-years.


The judge gave him 3 1/2 and with the sentences of Calderon’s brothers and their associates it brings an end to an ugly chapter in California politics. However, California State University, Los Angeles political science professor Jaime Regalado said the conviction of Calderon and his brothers and friends is important but it’s not likely to change anything.


The public would like to think the convictions and sentences of Tom and Ron would help clean up Sacramento and the body politic, as well as strike fear in the hearts of legislators who are willing to engage in illegal gambits with the public’s money. But the reality is we’ve seen this time and again. … There’s a lot of greed that continues to go around, so this will be a drop in the pan,” he said.


Source link: Insurance Journal



California — Flash Flood Warnings
Bill Croyle of the California Department of Water Resources is warning residents and businesses near areas impacted by wildfire. He said the five years of drought make the areas prone to flooding and mudslides.


The state — as of mid-October — saw 6,726 fires that burned a total of 560,888 acres. Many are in rural areas while others border cities and towns.


Source link: Capital Press



California — Work Comp Edict

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


Commissioner Dave Jones issued a formal finding today that costs to insurers in the workers' compensation system are declining. Jones asked that workers' compensation insurers pass those cost savings on to employers in the form of lower rates. Commissioner Jones today issued a workers' compensation advisory pure premium rate of $2.19 per $100 of employer payroll, which is 13.8 percent lower than the pure premium rates filed by workers' compensation insurer.


The commissioner has the authority to regulate auto, home and property insurance rates and has saved consumers and businesses $2.6 billion in rates by rejecting excessive rates or rate increases for those lines of insurance, but the Legislature has not given the commissioner the authority to regulate workers' compensation rates, and there is no requirement in state law that workers' compensation insurers pass onto employers any of the savings from SB 863 or any other workers' compensation reform laws that reduced costs in the system.


Instead, for workers' compensation rates the Legislature has limited the commissioner to issuing an advisory workers' compensation rate benchmark known as the pure premium rate benchmark. The pure premium rate reflects the insurers' costs in the workers' compensation system.


In his order setting the advisory pure premium rate, the commissioner asked workers' compensation insurers to reduce their prices for employers accordingly, but noted that the Legislature has not provided him the authority to require insurers to pass on the cost savings.


"Insurers' net costs in the workers' compensation system continue to decline as a result of SB 863 and other reform laws enacted by the Legislature and Governor Brown, which is good news," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Workers' compensation insurers should pass these cost savings onto employers, but there is no legal requirement that they do so, and workers' compensation insurers continue to file pure premium rates that are higher than the pure premium rate warranted by their costs."


The Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau's (WCIRB) pure premium advisory rate filing for January 1, 2017, which includes insurers' experience data up to June 30, 2016, demonstrated that insurers continue to file pure premium rates that are higher than the projected cost of providing benefits and adjusting expenses. After reviewing the data filed by the WCIRB as well as testimony and information submitted by the public as a part of the public hearing held on the pure premium rate filing, the California Department of Insurance's review of the California workers' compensation insurance industry's costs concluded that insurers' filed pure premium rates are higher than needed to cover insures claims costs and claims handling expenses. The commissioner adopted this finding in his order.


This most recent pure premium advisory rate issued by the commissioner follows the pure premium benchmark rate he approved in May of this year, which was effective July 1, 2016, of $2.30 per $100 of payroll, which was 10.5 percent lower than the insurers' filed pure premium rates at that time. This most recent determination to lower the advisory pure premium rate benchmark is the fourth time since January 1, 2015, that the commissioner has found that costs are declining but that insurers filed pure premium rates are higher than the pure premium benchmark rate adopted by the commissioner.


The commissioner's newly issued pure premium rate includes projected savings as a result of recent anti-fraud legislation in SB 1160 and AB 1244, which limit the ability of medical and other service providers indicted or convicted of fraud in the workers' compensation system to pursue liens against insurers for alleged failure to reimburse medical expenditures incurred by the indicated or convicted medical or other services providers.


New Mexico — Work Comp Rates

 New Mexico’s Office of the Superintendent said workers’ compensation rates will drop an average of 9% in 2017. It’s the second straight year of cuts.


Source link: Insurance Journal


Washington — Fines:

Weekly Industry News got this story from the Washington Department of Insurance.


Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued fines in September totaling $13,000 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.


For more information, search the order number on the Commissioner’s website.


Group Health Cooperative, Seattle; fined $5,000, order 16-0164

Group Health submitted changes to its rates more than two weeks late twice in March 2016. The company had already been warned, based on previous late filings, that the insurance commissioner would take enforcement action on future late filings.


Mount Vernon Abstract & Title Co., Burlington; fined $500, order 16-0193

The title company sent a bouquet of flowers to a real estate agency, which is against state insurance regulations. Title companies are not allowed to give gifts as a way to solicit business.


Hal E. Quinby, Snohomish; fined $6,000, order 16-0198

Hal Quinby is a licensed resident insurance producer. In 2006, he sold an annuity that was not approved for sale in Washington state. The consumer Quinby sold it to paid $100,000 for an annuity that guaranteed to pay $165,818 over 30 years via monthly payments of $406. In 2015, the consumer received a notice that the company, Trust Counselors Network Inc., would no longer be making payments because of a lack of money. The consumer received a total of $48,824 from the annuity. The company is currently in receivership after action by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Artisan Risk and Insurance Services, Inc., Pasadena, Calif.; fined $500, order 16-0171

Artisan Risk is a nonresident surplus lines broker and is licensed to sell insurance in Washington state. The company’s license lapsed from November 2014 until February 2016. During the time it was unlicensed, it sold seven policies to four Washington customers with premiums of $189,620. The company discovered it was unlicensed when it was attempting to pay its premium taxes for 2015. The company contacted the Insurance Commissioner and started the process of renewing its license.


Audit Pros by Refundo, Elizabeth, NJ; ordered to cease and desist, order 16-0220

Refundo offered and tax audit insurance policies worth $2,500 to Washington consumers without being a licensed insurance producer or having an appointment with an insurer. The Insurance Commissioner contacted Refundo and asked it to remove Washington state from its website listing of states where it can legally sell insurance. The company agreed to update its website but had not yet done so at the time of the order.


Tire Factory, Portland, Ore.; ordered to cease and desist, order 16-0229

The Tire Factory sold warranties for its tires to Washington consumers without being registered as a service contract provider, as required by state law. From January 2014 to June 2016, the company sold 4,000 warranties to Washington consumers totaling $52,909. The company stopped selling the warranties at the end of June 2016.


Automotive Business Solutions, Inc., Westminster, Colo.; ordered to cease and desist, order 16-0230

Automotive Business Solutions, Inc., (ABS) administers road hazard and tire warranties that were sold at an online retailer, treaddepot.com, and through independent repair businesses that sell tires. The company was doing business in Washington without being registered as a service contract provider, as required by state law. The retailers that sell the warranties from ABS make a small percentage on each one and ABS administers claim payments. In 2014 and 2015, ABS was paid $606 for 17 road hazard plans that were sold through the online retailer and $8,909 for 330 hazard plans that were sold through independent repair facilities in Washington state. ABS agreed to stop selling plans to Washington consumers without being a registered service contract provider.


Old Republic Surety Co., Brookfield, Wisc.; fined $1,000, order 16-0231

Old Republic allowed 120 insurance producers’ appointments to lapse for 24 days in April and May 2015. During that time, 44 producers whose appointments had lapsed completed 136 transactions totaling more than $32,900 in written premiums. State law requires insurers to file a notice and pay a fee to the Insurance Commissioner for each licensed producer who will act as an agent of an insurer.


Prudential Insurance Co. of America, Newark, NJ; ordered to cease and desist, order 16-0245

In March 2016, a consumer submitted a complaint to the Insurance Commissioner about a clause in a long-term disability policy that violated state insurance regulations. The clause, called a discretionary clause, gave the insurer the sole discretion to interpret the policy terms or decide the eligibility for benefits. State insurance regulations do not allow long-term disability policies to contain discretionary clauses. In this complaint, Prudential used the discretionary clause to declare the policyholder no longer eligible for benefits. The Insurance Commissioner ordered Prudential to cease and desist from including discretionary clauses from its long-term disability policies.



Washington — Washington Department of Insurance priorities for the 2017 Legislature

 Click here for a link outlining Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s priorities for the 2017 Washington Legislature.



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

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Cyber Attacks: Dyn, Small Business, Your Home & Insurance

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Since we’re moving into the last week of October, this story grows in importance. Over the weekend cyber hackers attacked DNS service provider Dyn. The attack type is known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). In other words, it kept domain names like Twitter, Amazon, Reddit, Netflix and others in some parts of the country from being accessed by the general public.


This one — and at the time this story is written no one really knows from where — brought to light that most of us are woefully unprepared for a massive cyber attack. From mega corporations to the smallest business to individuals like you and me, our businesses and homes are pretty much easy targets.


When it comes to insurance, most of us have small business customers. Small businesses — and as you’ll see later, homeowners — are horribly unprepared for an attack. Or so says a new survey from Nationwide called the Small Business Owner Study. It said:


  22% say they have a cyber-attack response plan in place

  23% say they have a dedicated crisis-communication plan

  43% do have a plan in place to protect customer data

  40% have a plan in place to protect employee data

  32% have a disaster recovery plan


Nationwide says age plays a part in business cyber-attack preparation.


  Of Millennials who own businesses 42% are prepared.

  17% of Generation X business owners — those born from the early 1960s to mid-1970s — are prepared

  12% of baby boomer owners are prepared


Even more disconcerting:


  41% of small business owners think cyber attacks only happen to large businesses

  46% think they happen to large and small businesses equally

  That’s up from 38% from 2015’s survey


The survey’s bottom line is that 53% of small business owners don’t think an attack against them is likely. Another 34% did agree it might happen. Yet, a survey contradiction says 54% say they’ve been victims of a cyber-attack. And of those who’ve experienced one, 60% say it took more than a month to get back up and running.


This is why Mark Berven who is Nationwide’s president of Property & Casualty said small business needs to start paying closer attention to what’s going on. “Cyber criminals are getting more sophisticated and realizing that small businesses are easy targets.”


These are the common attacks:


  Computer virus — 37%

  Phishing — 20%

  Trojan programs — 15%

  Hacking — 11%

  Unauthorized access to customer information — 7%

  Unauthorized access to company information — 7%


Homeowners have some of the same problems as small businesses. Hacking happens to everyone else and they — too — are woefully unprepared. What’s odd is some insurers — USAA, American Family and State Farm among them — are offering discounts on insurance if a home is wired with Internet-connected devices like a thermostat.


The odd thing is doing this considering how much a data breach ends up costing the insurer and this goes for individuals as well as small businesses and large corporations.


Jon-Michael Kowall at USAA says it’s a good idea and he calls it a check-engine light for the home.” As an example, an Internet connected device will know a pipe is going to burst and will call a plumber before that happens.


Insurers also like the idea because it’s a data mine. Kowall said the new data will help with claims handling, rate setting and is a way to develop more and deeper relationships with customers. In the near future, you’ll give us a mailing address and we will send a box of technology to you. What’s in the box will prevent claims and offer a better service to policy holders.”


He also contends the savings realized from this kind of a plan will prevent expensive home disasters and will actually pay for the technology required to make that happen.


All this is a good thing — maybe.


John Cusano of Accenture thinks it’s a very large maybe. In fact, he contends it will turn homes into data spigots for insurers and a minefield for hackers and other n’er-do-well criminal types. And he gives the example of data from smart home devices telling a burglar who has hacked into your system when you’re home and when you’re not.


So, The Internet of Things (IoT) which has given us smart refrigerators, smart washing machines and dryers and many other common household appliances in addition to cable or satellite service, phones and so on could be as dangerous as it is beneficial.


The just listed items and others — as many are starting to find out — are easy for hackers to access and control. So, some precautions need to be taken to protect yourself.


Patch early, patch often


  Keep your router’s firmware updated

  Keep operating system updates current

  If you can’t remember to do them, have your system do them automatically

  In other words, if a hole can be patched it should be patched


Turn off remote access to the Internet of Things


  Shut off remote access to cameras and printers

  Outsiders can often log into them by default

  If these devices let you restrict access to your local network only, do it

  Remote TV access could also cause you trouble




  Change all default passwords so they are your own

  It’s easier to have the default login and password of a device compromised than if you tailor it to you

  A default password is as bad as no password at all


New devices


  If you buy a new TV or other device, do your research before you make it live

  If security patches are available apply them first

  Even if your new device is a gift, do not be pressured into making it live before you’ve done your research


Learn to scan your own network


  Yes, it’s legal

  Tools like Nmap and others can help you find holes before hackers and malware senders do


Last — an industrial strength home firewall


  You’ll need to consult a cyber security expert for info on how to make your home safe


Source links: Carrier Management, Insurance Business America, Naked Security, MIT Technology Review



Tags:  Cyber Attacks: Dyn  Cyber Breach  Cyber Insurance  Cyber Security  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Small Business  Weekly Industry News  Your Home & Insurance 

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Special Report: Are We Witnessing the Demise of ObamaCare

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It’s sign-up time for those needing government health insurance help via the ObamaCare exchanges. Signups start on November 1st. One estimate says in 2017 — because of fewer insurers involved in the exchanges — 1.4 million people in 32 states will lose their current plan. Nationwide’s estimate is even higher and 2 to 2.5 million people.


Benjamin Wakana of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says the loss of insurance for that number of people whether it’s 1.4 million or 2.5 million is really not that big a concern. It’s part of the normal business cycle for insurers to discontinue, change, and replace plans from year to year. Such changes don’t prevent people from obtaining coverage. People can shop for new coverage through a transparent market.”


Okay. So, the 1.4 million isn’t a big deal. But how about signups? S&P Global Ratings says 11.1 million are covered now. The ratings firm predicts a dismal sign-up period with growth rising just 600,000 people to 11.7 million or at best to a little over 2 million more at 13.3 million.


As expected HHS thinks the numbers will be on the positive side and at 13.8 million which is a bit higher than the most optimistic forecast of S&P. Both figures — that of HHS and of S&P — are way short of the 20 million predicted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in the original predictions in 2010 when the law passed.


The Obama administration’s hope is more numbers translating into fewer insurers leaving the program and more insurers involved. That could lead to a reduction in the many double-digit increases expected in many parts of the country next year.


That leads to a huge question. Is next year’s enrollment do or die for the Affordable Care Act?


HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell doesn’t think so. The biggest opportunity we have to strengthen the Marketplace with a bigger, healthier risk pool is right in front of us — this upcoming open enrollment. This is the last open enrollment for this administration. We’re going to make it count.”


Declines — she and others including maybe even President Obama say — could be fatal. Former Oregon Insurance Administrator Joel Ario of Manatt Health — who once headed the HHS Office of Health Insurance Exchanges — says staying at around 10.4 million signed up means it survives. With the 11.1 million signed up now, he doesn’t see it declining to that level.


I think it's reached critical mass. The program is going to stay in place,” he said.


But is it? And will we ever see the rate stabilization President Obama and the Affordable Care Act’s supporters promised? Probably not, Ario said and Burwell agrees. To get that stability ObamaCare needs more numbers and getting those numbers is tough.


“Certainly if one can add to the risk pool and change the risk pool, that's something we want to do,” Burwell said.


And in one last — what may be desperate — act, President Obama has jumped in on the push to register mor people. Typical of Obama and ObamaCare supporters, Obama started by blaming the Republicans for his signature achievement’s troubles.


In fact, the president says fixing ObamaCare will be more likely when he’s out of office.


Speaking in Florida while campaigning for Hilary Clintion, Obama said, Maybe now that I’m leaving office, maybe Republicans can stop with the 60-something repeal votes they’ve taken and stop pretending that they have a serious alternative … and just work with the next president to smooth out the kinks.”


And then as a joke he added, “They can even change the name of the law to Reagancare, or [House Speaker Rep.] Paul Ryan care. I don’t care. I just want it to work.”


Ryan said he doesn’t want the monicker at all. Saying it can’t be fixed, Ryan wants ObamaCare gone. He said the real problem the president and supporters have isn’t the Republicans. It’s the program not being a big hit with Millennials — those who became adults around 1980.


"Obamacare has been anything but a hit with millennials — the group has among the highest rates of uninsured in the country. This, of course, is much to the dismay of the Obama administration — that whole subsidizing thing isn't exactly working out as planned.”


Ryan said the Affordable Care Act is just plain flawed and the Democrats and President Obama need to admit it. “Under Obamacare, insurance companies need to sell plans to young, healthy people at steep prices to keep the system above water. But in a time when students are juggling rising everyday costs, record student debt, and a sluggish job market, the last thing they need is another huge expense,”


And besides, “If you're young and healthy, why pay for something you can't afford?” Ryan added.


In the same Florida speech — one to 650 college students and many of whom are Millennials — the president looked at the current enrollment facts. He believes the HHS prediction that 13.8 million will enroll in 2017. That’s up 1.1 million from this year.


Obama noted that leaves 10.7 million people eligible to sign up and get government support that haven’t done so. But the rub is 40% of that 10.7 million are young and they’d rather pay the small fine than spend what little they’d have in their income resources on health insurance.


Here’s the bottom-line says former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who was charged with setting up ObamaCare when the Affordable Care Act first passed. Congress may be more receptive to the bipartisan repair efforts after Obama is gone.


Sebelius said also more receptive are several Republican governors who refused to expand Medicaid in their states. If they come around, then about 4 million more people could seek coverage and that’s enough to permanently tip the scales. I think the piece of Obamacare that people don’t like is Obama. This has become a very personal battle about this president, which is I think really unfortunate,” she said.


In his Florida speech, the president agreed. Obama said he was standing in one of the 19 states refusing to expand the Medicaid and called on Florida Governor Rick Scott and the other governors to stop opposing the program and to invest in the people of their states.


In states where the governor is hostile to the ACA, it makes it harder to enroll people. If state leaders purposefully try to make something not work, then it’s not going to run as smoothly as if they were trying to make it work,” he said.


This is where we leave this story and it is where we began with people losing their current coverage because insurers are leaving ObamaCare and because rates are too high for most people to afford.


It’s not because of any policy in the Affordable Care Act that the rates are going up even though sometimes they try to blame ObamaCare,” Obama said.


Source links: Employee Benefit Advisor, Insurance Journal, The Washington Post, two links Insurance Business America — link 1 and link 2, two links from The Hill — link 1 and link 2



Tags:  Healthcare  HealthCare.gov  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  ObamaCare  Special Report: Are We Witnessing the Demise of Ob  The Affordable Care Act  Weekly Industry News 

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California Nation’s Highest Work Comp Rates

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The semi-annual Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services workers’ compensation report is out. Using statistics released from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and weighting them, the report looks at rates nationwide and gives an in-depth analysis.


The PIA Western Alliance state of California has the nation’s highest rates at $3.24 per $100 of payroll. New Jersey is second. North Dakota’s 89 cents come in the lowest. And since it’s a report generated in Oregon the department did note that rates in Oregon are among the nation’s lowest and that they’ve declined the last three years.


Alaska — also a PIA Western Alliance state — is fifth with a rate of $2.74 per $100 of payroll.


The report puts the nation’s median average at $1.84 per $100 of payroll. That’s a less than 1% drop from the last report’s $1.85. It also puts California’s rate at something like 188% more than the national average.


Chris Day authored the study and said, claim frequency, claim administration and high medical costs usually drive work comp rates. And he notes since the report’s figures are based on data from two years ago, California’s work comp reforms of 2012 could mean it’s rates are not that as high today as the report says.


In fact, California’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) submitted rates recently that are $2.22 per $100 of payroll. Christine Baker who heads California’s Department of Industrial Relations said that means California’s rates are also trending downward.


In California we are focused on providing the best, evidence-based medical treatment to injured workers while controlling employers’ costs. Since the 2012 workers’ compensation reforms were enacted, we have seen an increase in injured workers’ benefits, instituted independent medical review to ensure evidence-based medical treatment guidelines are followed and to curb inappropriate medical treatment,” she said.


And that means lower rates.


Here is the top 5 according to the Oregon Insurance Department report:


California — $3.24 per $100 payroll

New Jersey — $2.92 per $100 payroll

New York — $2.83 per $100 payroll

Connecticut — $2.74 per $100 payroll

Alaska — $2.74 per $100 payroll


As for the PIA Western Alliance states, these figures are approximate:


Alaska — $2.50 to $2.99 per $100 of payroll

Arizona — $1.50 to $1.99 per $100 of payroll

California — $3.00 to $3.49 per $100 of payroll

Idaho — $1.50 to $1.99 per $100 of payroll

Montana — $2.00 to $2.49 per $100 of payroll

Nevada — Under $1.50 per $100 of payroll

New Mexico — $1.50 to $1.99 per $100 of payroll

Oregon — Under $1.50 per $100 of payroll

Washington — $1.50 to $1.99 per $100 of payroll


Source link: Insurance Journal



Tags:  California Nation’s Highest Work Comp Rates  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Proposal for Private Flood Insurance Profit Cap

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 25, 2016


New Jersey Congressman Rep. Frank Pallone — a Democrat — contends insurance companies turned profits from Superstorm Sandy while ignoring the financial obligations they had to homeowners and other victims.


He’s not alone.


Pallone is proposing a 10% limit to the profits insurers can realize from sales through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). “These companies were making like 30, 40 percent profits. Meanwhile, anything that they must pay out over and above the premiums were paid for by the federal government. So, what kind of a sweetheart deal is that?” he said.


George Kasimos — who founded Stop FEMA Now wants reforms but says Pallone is talking about a problem that isn’t close to the biggest concerns Superstorm Sandy victims have.


“It's not even the top-five issue we have with FEMA. We're waiting four years for flood insurance that we paid that is governed by the federal government and FEMA and they've been fraudulent for four years. People have not been able to rebuild their homes,” he said.


Businesses still haven’t seen dollars from flood claims placed four years ago. Others say a more important reform is flood zone map reform. 


Undeterred Pallone says he’s going to continue to push FEMA to do a better job in the future by getting more information to residents at disaster centers on what they need to do to file claims and get reimbursed and FEMA also needs to do a better job training the engineers who are preparing claims reports.


Source link: NewsWorks



Tags:  flood insurance  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Proposal for Private Flood Insurance Profit Cap  Weekly Industry News 

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MetLife Dumps Snoopy

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 25, 2016

To a person most of us think Charles Schultz’s Snoopy is about as cute as a cartoon character can be. MetLife thought so 30-years ago when it cut a deal with the late cartoonist to use the famed dog as its mascot and to use Snoopy and other Peanuts characters in its advertising.


Last week the unthinkable happened. MetLife has a new slogan — MetLife. Navigating Life Together — and Schultz’s pet pooch doesn’t fit the new marketing mindset. The company has replaced Snoopy with a big green and blue letter M.


MetLife CEO Steve Kandarian said this has been in the works a long time. Focus in the marketing future will be group benefits like dental and disability. And in that focus, MetLife has spun off its retail business. It’s now called Brighthouse Financial.


The retail operation is where Snoopy dwelt but no longer Kandarian said. We brought in Snoopy over 30 years ago to make our company more friendly and approachable during a time when insurance companies were seen as cold and distant. As we focus on our future, it’s important that we associate our brand directly with the work we do and the partnership we have with our customers.”


Source link: Insurance Journal

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  MetLife  MetLife Dumps Snoopy  Weekly Industry News 

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Travelers in Trouble — Profits Plunge 23%

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The third quarter of 2016 hammered Travelers Cos. Worse, the only P&C insurer in the Dow Jones Average saw its fourth straight drop in profits. The drop is a significant 23% and fell from $928 million to $716 million.


In terms of shares, the drop is to $2.45 per share from $2.97.


The worst posting since Superstorm Sandy in 2012 is caused by catastrophes in North America like wildfires in Canada, flooding in Louisiana and Hurricane Hermine in Florida.


Low interest rates are also pegged as the reason for Travelers troubles.


All this has caused new CEO Alan Schnitzer sleepless nights since he has not posted a profit since taking over for Jay Fishman last December. While returns from our high-quality fixed-income portfolio declined in line with our expectations due to the continued low interest rate environment, returns from our non-fixed income portfolio improved from recent quarters,” Schnitzer said.


More negatives:


  Return on equity fell to 11.6% from 15.4% in the third quarter of 2015

  Net investment income saw a decline to $472 million from $484 million last year


But not all is negative — Schnitzer said — the third quarter combined ratio is strong 92.9. Policy sales jumped 3.2% to $6.39 billion and Travelers was able to get price increases of 2.7% at renewal in the third quarter.


That compares to 1.9% in the second quarter.


In our commercial businesses, we are pleased with our historically high levels of retention and positive renewal premium change. These results were due to the successful execution of our strategy to retain those accounts that meet our return thresholds and to take appropriate measures to improve profitability on those accounts that do not, while also seeking attractive new business opportunities,” Schnitzer added.


Source links: Insurance Business America, Insurance Journal, PropertyCasualty360.com



Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Travelers in Trouble — Profits Plunge 23%  Travelers Insurnace  Weekly Industry News 

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Predictions — Wildfires to Winter

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 25, 2016


The wildfire season in the West is pretty much over. Snow in the Cascades of Washington and Oregon and in Montana’s Rocky Mountains and Northern California’s Siskiyou range have put an end to things. Wildfire is still a bit of a problem in Southern California but it’s growing more manageable by the day.


Here’s some good news. The wildfire season of 2016 burned 7,500 square miles and that’s below average. The 10-year average is 10,000 square miles says Boise, Idaho’s National Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman Jessica Gardetto.


“Just to compare, last year we burned over 10 million acres (15,625 square miles), and this year we didn't even reach 5 million (7,812 square miles) nationally. So, we burned twice as many acres last year as we did this year,” she said.


As we slide through fall and into winter forecasters are pushing their weather prognostications. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) U.S. Climate Prediction Center said La Nina is going to give the northern U.S. more rain and cooler temps. And the nation’s southern regions will see a drier, warmer winter.


Mike Halpert of the Climate Prediction Center said La Nina will develop late in the fall or early winter and if those conditions develop at all, they will be weak and short-lived. This climate outlook provides the most likely outcome for the upcoming winter season, but it also provides the public with a good reminder that winter is just up ahead and it’s a good time to prepare for typical winter hazards, such as extreme cold and snowstorms,” he said.


Here is NOAA’s official 2016 winter outlook for December, 2016 through February, 2017:



  • Wetter than normal conditions are most likely in the northern Rockies, around the Great Lakes, in Hawaii and in western Alaska
  • Drier than normal conditions are most likely across the entire southern U.S. and southern Alaska



  • Warmer than normal conditions are most likely across the southern U.S., extending northward through the central Rockies, in Hawaii, in western and northern Alaska and in northern New England
  • Cooler conditions are most likely across the northern tier from Montana to western Michigan
  • The rest of the country falls into the equal chance” category, meaning that there is not a strong enough climate signal in these areas to shift the odds, so they have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and/or precipitation



  • Drought will likely persist through the winter in most regions currently experiencing drought, including much of California and the Southwest
  • Drought is expected to persist and spread in the southeastern U.S. and develop in the southern Plains
  • Drought improvement is anticipated in northern California, the northern Rockies, the northern Plains and parts of the Ohio Valley


What NOAA doesn’t know is where and when we’ll see snow and it can’t give snowfall accumulations.


Source links: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Insurance Journal



Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Predictions — Wildfires to Winter  Weekly Industry News  wildfires  winter 

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