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Southern California Hit by 2 Quakes — The Insurance Perspective

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

This is an ongoing story. It is being written late afternoon on Monday, July 8th. Damage estimates, the number of aftershocks and even more earthquakes could dramatically change the information included here.

At this point, this is what we know.

The Saturday 7.1 quake in Southern California is not “the” big one. Neither was Independence Day’s 6.4 magnitude shake. But both earthquakes have shaken residents of Southern California to the core.

A whopping 4,000 — so far — aftershocks haven’t helped things either.

California Governor Gavin Newsom believes damages to the cities of Trona and Ridgecrest will hit $100 million or more. He — like California Institute of Technology seismologist Lucy Jones — is thrilled that the quake didn’t hit in the middle of Los Angeles.

“We have a lot of buildings in the Los Angeles area that were built before we had any seismic building codes. Buildings, especially built before the 1976 code are the ones that we're most concerned about,” Jones said.

She thinks a similar quake there could see damages top $200 million.

Jones also worries about collapsed bridges, buildings and freeways and ruptured gas and power lines. She’s not only bothered about this happening in Los Angeles but worries about an event in San Francisco and San Diego.

“We’re going to have a magnitude 6, on average, somewhere in Southern California every few years. We’ve actually gone 20 years without one, so we have had the quietest 20 years in the history of Southern California,” she noted. “That’s unlikely to continue in the long run. Geology keeps on moving ... and we should be expecting a higher rate. And when it happens near people, it is going to be a lot worse.”

Newsom pointed out the state is spending more than $16 million to set up sensors to warn utilities and trains in advance. This helps them shut things down before even more damages can be done by an earthquake.

It won’t be much notice which is why Newsom thinks people can do more to protect themselves. He suggests more effort to find emergency escape routes and to be prepared with earthquake kits with food, water, battery powered lights and so on.

And then there’s purchasing earthquake insurance. That, too, would help.

Unfortunately, most residents ignore that purchase and in the case of many in the two quake areas, not all that many people have earthquake insurance. The California Department of Insurance says as of a year ago — the last study done — just 13% of the quake area’s residents have purchased earthquake insurance.

This in spite of efforts from officials to get homeowners and businesses to understand the danger. California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy says geologists like Lucy Jones warned that there is a 99% chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude quake within the next 30-years. That one happened on Saturday.

“It’s alarming to think only about 10% of homes in California have earthquake insurance,” Pomeroy said and pointed out that two-thirds of the earthquake risks in this country are in California. And he — too — says it’s lucky the earthquake happened in a less densely populated area and it is “likely that California would be looking at many more injuries and damages in the billions of dollars.”

Pomeroy went on to say, “This event is an important reminder that all of California is earthquake country. We need to listen to the experts in the field who’ve been telling us for some time we’re going to get hit again, that the pressures on the faults are building.”

Janet Ruiz of the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) said changes are needed. “People in California don’t have to purchase earthquake insurance, generally speaking, when they are buying a home. It’s not a requirement like if you’re in a flood zone,” she said.

Pomeroy thinks cost is a factor. Earthquake insurance can be costly. On average it’s about $800 a year in California. Sacramento has an average of $300 and is affordable but Los Angeles is looking at $2,000.

So whether it is affordable depends on where you live.

In the meantime, assistance centers have been set up around the affected areas. They will help residents figure out how to recover financially if they don’t have insurance.

Source links: CBS Evening News, Associated Press, Insurance Business America, USA TODAY

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The Nation’s Top Insurers — Net Written Premium

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

S&P Global Market Intelligence gathered its own information and put it with information issued each year by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and then shared it with National Underwriter.

The publication turns it into the annual Top 100 and Heads of the Lines list that measures the top 100 insurers in the country. We are only looking at the top 20. The source link at the bottom of this story will take you to the PropertyCasualty360.com story that has all of the information.

 

Here is the top-10 based on a comparison of 2018 to 2017.

1. State Farm: Stayed the same — number 1 in 2018 and number 1 in 2017

Net premiums written — $65.5 billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — 1.34%

2018 combined ratio — 97.34

2017 combined ratio — 109.86

12.52% better

2. Berkshire Hathaway: Stayed the same — number 2 in 2018 and 2 in 2017

Net premiums written — $50.3 billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — 8.26%

2018 combined ratio — 95.84

2017 combined ratio — 102.24

6.4% better

3. Progressive: Up two places —  number 3 in 2018 and number 5 in 2017

Net premiums written — $32.6 billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — 20.19%

2018 combined ratio — 90.27

2017 combined ratio — 93.18

2.92% better

4. Allstate: Down one place — number 4 in 2018 and number 3 in 2017

Net premiums written — $32.3 billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — 5.66%

2018 combined ratio — 90.06

2017 combined ratio — 90.90

0.84% better

5. Liberty Mutual: Down one place — number 5 in 2018 and number 4 in 2017

Net premiums written — $31.8  billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — 11.2%

2018 combined ratio — 99.13

2017 combined ratio — 110.58

11.45% better

6. Travelers: Stayed the same — number 6 in 2018 and number 6 in 2017

Net premiums written — $25.8 billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — 5.42%

2018 combined ratio — 85.36

2017 combined ratio — 96.24

0.97% better

7. USAA: Stayed the same — number 7 in 2018 and number 7 in 2017

Net premiums written — $21.5 billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — 9.61%

2018 combined ratio — 103.33

2017 combined ratio — 104.86

1.53% better

8. Chubb: Up three places — number 8 in 2018 and number 11 in 2017

Net premiums written — $19.6  billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — 77.79%

2018 combined ratio — 85.36

2017 combined ratio — 94.66

9.3% better

9. Nationwide: Down one place — number 9 in 2018 and number 8 in 2017

Net premiums written — $11.1  billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — -3.81%

2018 combined ratio — 108.43

2017 combined ratio — 113.32

4.90% better

10. AIG: Down one place — number 10 in 2018 and number 9 in 2017

Net premiums written — $14.6 billion

Percentage of growth from 2017 to 2018 — 1.33%

2018 combined ratio — 123.13

2017 combined ratio — 126.57

3.44% better

The rest of the top-20:

11. Farmers

12. The Hartford

13. American Family Insurance

14. Auto-Owners Insurance

15. Swiss Re

16. Erie Insurance

17. Fairfax Financial

18. Munich Re

19. CNA

20. Tokio Marine

Source link: PropertyCasualty360.com

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Update: HealthCare — Medicare for All

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

You heard ideas on Medicare for All in the debates of the Democratic Party presidential challengers. The U.S. House of Representatives recently held a hearing on the matter. Proponents say it is about time and opponents — and that includes a lot of Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — say at $33 trillion over a decade, it’s too expensive and not workable.

Of the leading candidates for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris support the idea and don’t want to leave much room for private insurers to participate.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg want a government option — a government insurance company — that works alongside private insurers. The consumer gets to choose which one they want.

Referring back to what happened when President Obama promised this for ObamaCare, most of us — according to a Morning Consult/Politico survey — like the idea of Medicare for All if we can keep our own doctors.

While not an overwhelming majority, when told Medicare for All would reduce the role of private insurers in healthcare but you can keep your doctor, the figure is significant at 55%.

When just told the system would only diminish the role of private insurers the support figure fell to 46%.

Here’s more:

  77% of Democrats want it

  50% of Independents want it

  27% of Republicans want it

A different poll — one done by the Kaiser Family Foundation — says most of us don’t really have a clue about how Medicare for All will work. In spite of stories and information outlining that these things will go away:

  69% said people will still pay premiums, deductibles and copays

  55% think people with private insurance will get to keep their plans

  Those private plans — as you know — go away with Medicare for All

  54% think individuals and employers will keep paying premiums

As for who understands and who doesn’t, Republicans have a better understanding of the plan than Democrats:

  Just 24% of Democrats know people will not be able to keep their private plans

  53% of Republicans know they won’t be able to keep those plans

In the focus groups — and once they understood the Medicare for All plan — Kaiser said many were skeptical that private insurance would go away. Many feel these companies are too powerful and will be there for those wanting extra coverage.

Lastly, questions on cost. Kaiser did find that 78% of those polled understand that taxes will increase for most of us if the plan is eventually adopted.

On the subject of healthcare, theTrump administration is continuing its effort to totally overturn the Affordable Care Act. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is hearing — as you read this, or shortly before you read this — the case of the 20 Republican-led states that filed the suit to overturn the law based on the tax reforms passed in 2017.

It did away with the individual mandate.

Texas-based U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor agreed with the Republican led states and said since the individual mandate is gone, ObamaCare is unconstitutional and the law invalid.

Democratic Party led attorneys general in 20 states filed an appeal. That appeal is what is being heard in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Source links: The Hill — link 1, link 2, link 3

 

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Special Report: Cyber Breaches & a Different Kind of Burnout

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The how varies from state to state but in broad terms, businesses are required to notify individuals if their personal information is stolen in a data hack. Of course, laws are full of definitions so a legal definition of personal information must come before the rest of this story.

Most states say personal information is:

  Social Security numbers

  Driver’s license numbers

  State identification and state ID numbers

  Banking and credit information

  Other financially sensitive numbers

We hear of a new breach almost daily and those new breaches are causing states to upgrade their rules. Those rules and upgrades were the subject of a discussion panel at the recent NetDiligence Cyber Risk Summit.

In the discussion, Travis LeBranc of Cooley LLP — a company that deals in regulatory matters — wondered aloud whether data breach notification actually serves a purpose in every, single instance. He said we — consumers — are burned out on the topic and almost ignore breach notification.

“How many times has our information been breached, we’ve received a notice, and we’ve had to figure out what to do next? What happens is, people start to think: ‘My information’s out there anyway, so what good is another notification?’” he said. “I know the law requires it — and notification certainly makes sense in a world where we’re talking about very sensitive data like social security numbers — but when you get to these broader breaches that involve personal information (PI), does the constant pursuit of notification continue to serve a valid remedial purpose for consumers?”

Some on the panel agree with LeBlanc. One is Vermont’s assistant attorney general Ryan Kriger. He pointed to notification fatigue as a genuine issue.

“I’ve had people call me and they say: ‘OK, I’ve got this notification, what am I supposed to do now?’ They should do the same things you should be doing even if you didn’t get a notification,” Kriger said. “You should freeze your accounts, you should be looking at your credit card statements, and you should be looking at your credit reports. Everyone should be doing that, whether you’ve been notified of a breach or not.”

The most important reason for those laws — Kriger noted — is to hold businesses accountable and should be driving them to get insured.

“That’s one of the reasons why these laws are really critical. They are, for many businesses, the motivation to have cyber insurance and to have counsel advising them on how to avoid breaches,” he said.

Yet businesses still resist either purchasing policies or upgrading current policies. That’s a big issue since cyber attacks in 2018 hit 1,244 and each one — says the marketing data portal, Statista — takes an average of 197 days to detect.

The cyber security firm Symantec said 4,800 websites are hit each month with formjacking code. That’s the stuff cyber criminals use to steal personal information. The company also reports that supply chain attacks rose 78% in 2018.

FedEx and FedEx lost $300 million apiece in lost business and clean-up costs. Marriot lost a bundle, too with the 500 million identifications stolen from its data base.

RSA — another security risk management company — says mobile devices make companies even more vulnerable. In 2018:

  70% of fraudulent transactions happened from a mobile channel

  20% came from a rogue mobile app

  57% of companies use 10 different anti-fraud tools to manage fraud

  They rarely work

The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB) says its statistics show companies may be suffering burnout similar to consumers. Only a small percentage are going to be upping their cybersecurity protection policies.

  33% of clients of CIAB members say they’ll purchase some form of cyber insurance

  Just 34% increased their coverage in the last six-months

  63% of those with cyber insurance will be keeping it at the same level it is now

Ken Crerar is the CEO of the CIAB. He said, “While respondents agreed that clients view cyber insurance as important to have, this did not necessarily translate to clients increasing their budgets for higher limits or increased coverage. As a result, take-up rate and coverage levels have remained consistent over the past two years.”

He suggests that — by not paying closer attention to cyber risks and cyber risk insurance — companies are putting themselves at risk. Here’s why:

  In 2018 the average data breach costs $3.86 million

  That’s up 6% from 2017

  Worse, the limit of the average cyber insurance policy is $2.8 million

  That’s down from $3.2 million in early 2018

  Verizon says 58% of data breach victims are small businesses.

Crerar said what’s saddest about the report is the cost to business of cyber insurance. It is not going up.

  61% of businesses have not seen an increase in premiums

  Just 26% report seeing an increase

There’s more. Most small and mid-sized businesses — 43% — say the transfer of risk is the reason to purchase cyber insurance. Yet, 20% took out policies only after a cyber breach.

Crerar said regulation — the subject that started this report — is driving more businesses to pick up cyber security policies.

“On the whole, respondents agreed that the clients who had been directly affected by regulation like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the New York Department of Financial Services’ Cybersecurity Rule were the ones who were starting to ask more questions, such as whether certain fines or penalties would be covered,” he wrote. “As more and more states continue to enact or introduce bills and resolutions related to cybersecurity (at least 22 states enacted 52 such bills by November 2018), it will be interesting to see if that might drive more companies to purchase, or at least consider the purchase of, cyber insurance.”

Source links: Insurance Business America, FreightWaves

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We’re Keeping Our Cars Longer

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

IHS Markit tracks data for all kinds of businesses. The latest information the company has generated is not good for Detroit or the auto-making business as a whole. The average age of cars and trucks in the U.S. has hit record old age.

What? Record old age. We actually do track that kind of stuff.

The average age of a vehicle in this country is 11.8 years. That’s up 0.1 years from 2018. By 2020, IHS spokesman Mark Seng said he expects the average age to hit 12-years. People are keeping vehicles longer because they’re being built better.

“The quality is higher, lasting longer, withstanding the weather,” Seng said. Another factor? The original owners are doing a better job of maintaining them. Part of that is because they’re financing them for longer periods — six or even seven years in many cases.

The Western states have the oldest vehicles and average 12.4 years. The Northeast average is 10.9 years. Weather and less stop and go traffic are the reasons.

The PIA Western Alliance state of Montana has the oldest vehicles. They average 16.6 years. Vermont possesses the youngest at 9.9. Seng says all this is bad news for automakers but good news for auto repair shops. He suggests they ought to change their marketing strategies to cater to the owners of older autos.

Source link: The Independent Record

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Renters Confused about Property Protection

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Assurant took a look at renters and what they are and are not insuring, and at how they are protecting themselves. To start with, they’re fairly careless. Assurant pointed out that lack of caution opens them up to burglars.

Spokesman and Assurant senior vice president Steve Hein explained why (and this probably applies to homeowners, too):

  41% post news of their vacations on social media

  88% of the 41% posted while they were actually on vacation

“We were surprised to see that more people are essentially advertising that their homes are empty, especially since our survey found security was the second most important feature when choosing a rental home,” Hein said. “The reality is that given the world we live in where technology can compromise privacy and safety, it’s imperative for renters to take extra precautions and have the right protections in place.”

Most of those responding were concerned and 32% worried about security especially during summer months. Yet:

  45% only have just one lock on the door

  36% said they rely on neighbors to keep an eye out on their homes or apartments

  Less than 25% of renters have video cameras, phone alerts or alarm systems

Hein said interestingly, 54% said they’d pay more for rent if their landlord offered a connected security device or doorbell. “Property managers and landlords need to be aware of renters’ growing interest in security features,” he pointed out. “Advances in technology have made connected security devices that monitor homes more affordable and many renters expressed a willingness to pay more for such protection.”

As you might expect, a lot of renters — 36% — are confused as to whether they or their landlord is responsible for burglary or property theft, or for damage from a fire, weather or the negligence of a neighbor.

When asked about renters insurance to cover theft:

  30% without it said they’d never thought about it nor had it been offered to them

  26% say it is too expensive

  19% think the landlord is responsible

And — as a coup de grace — 59% have underestimated how much it costs to replace things.

As for those wise enough to purchase renter’s insurance, a lot of them are confused about what it covers:

  98% do not know it covers them if their dog bites someone

  81% don’t know a rug ruined by an overflowing toilet is covered

  84% don’t know someone injured in their home or apartment is covered

  57% don’t know temporary housing is covered if the home is uninhabitable for a reason like fire in their neighbor’s apartment

Source link: Insurance Journal

 

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An Insurer’s Worry — Small Business & Risk

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The owners of small businesses that began that business as a side enterprise are more comfortable with calculated risk than others. A passion for being an entrepreneur tops their fear of failure. That lack of fear drives over 25% of them to live without insurance.

As you know, that’s a dangerous risk to take.

This information comes from the specialist insurer Hiscox. It checked in with 400 small businesses that began in garages, basements and other parts of the house. Hiscox calls those businesses side hustles.

  30% said they are fulfilling a dream

  24% said they are following a passion

Kevin Kerridge heads small business insurance at Hiscox and said these motivators led 30% of them to take on the unknown by starting a business totally unrelated to their full-time jobs.

“While passion and optimism fuel the entrepreneurial spirit, we’re seeing people take calculated risks to start their own business often while employed full-time,” he noted. “The commitment and dedication of today’s small business owners reinforces the crucial role a side hustle can play in helping people take their first steps as entrepreneurs.”

Hiscox’s study found:

  31% do not have insurance on their business

  Over half of that number don’t think it is necessary

  Or they don’t know what kind of policy they need

As you know that leaves many of them susceptible to catastrophe. Hiscox spokesman Lou Casale heads communications for the company. He has developed a podcast to give insight and advice to these entrepreneurs. It is titled The Side Hustle to Small Business.

“When you think about the hustle and sheer will it took for these entrepreneurs to start a business while working a full-time job, it makes you truly appreciate the effort and want to celebrate their achievements,” Casale said. “If you’re thinking about starting a side hustle, this podcast is your chance to learn and hear the practical advice from those who have done it and use it to chart your own course.”

Source link: Insurance Business America

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Information: Storms & Wildfire — Share this Info with Clients

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

We all know that homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Nor does it cover earthquake damage. It will cover damage from wildfire. All three — however — do come with this problem — the possible total destruction of everything in the home.

The Urban Institute did a study that said people who are victims of natural disasters will suffer financial consequences long after whatever disaster befalls them. The institute pointed out that the grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for those that didn’t have flood insurance when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, was just $7,000.

The FEMA-managed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) had an average claim rate of $100,000. So whether it’s storms, or fire, or whatever, it pays — says former FEMA administrator Brock Long — to be prepared. “Some people believe they don’t need [coverage], and then they experience an event and realize they can’t afford the cost of repairs or rebuilding,” he said. “If you go through a disaster and have a lot of uninsured losses, and you weren’t financially stable to begin with, your ability to overcome that is very difficult.”

FEMA, other emergency responders and insurers recommend being prepared. These are the tips you should share with your clients. Start with the documents you need to collect ahead of an emergency:

  Driver’s licenses

  Social Security cards

  Passports

  Insurance policies

  The recent home inventory

  Birth and marriage certificates

  Wills

  Deeds

  Leases for home and car if applicable

  Health and medical records

  Prescription records

  Pet documents — including a recent photo of the pet if you get separated

FEMA also suggests an emergency plan. However:

  Just 39% of us have one and have gone through it with other household members

  Just 52% have an inventory of possessions prepared to help facilitate a claim

So do a disaster plan:

Create a home inventory: That’s a comprehensive document that says everything you have on your personal property. Doing it on video is best or at the very least, have photos. Include receipts or appraisals. They can be photographed.

Have a grab-and-go folder: These are the papers that are impossible — or very difficult — to replace. It is important to have this if you need quick cash or immediate help.

If possible, store all of these things is a safe, fireproof, watertight safe. That may not be convenient or possible. So back up these documents, etc. on a Cloud-based server.

Source link: CNBC

 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Idaho — Medicare Workshop & Webinar: A free Medicare Workshop for individuals turning 65 and those approaching Medicare eligibility will be held in:

Grangeville Friday, July 27

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Syringa Hospital Soltman Center

600 Main Street, Grangeville, ID  83530

All, including caregivers, are encouraged to attend.

Medicare workshops are designed to introduce the various parts of Medicare and to share some of the costs and benefits associated with the program.  Sessions cover enrollment timeframes for Medigap, Medicare Advantage, prescription drug plans, and how the different parts of Medicare work together.

Staff with the state’s Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program, a unit of the Idaho Department of Insurance, conduct the workshops.  To register for the upcoming session, please contact the SHIBA Helpline at 1-800-247-4422.

In addition, a free Medicare Webinar for individuals turning 65 and those approaching Medicare eligibility will be held on August 21st from 10:00am to 11:30am Mountain Time.  All those interested in learning how Medicare works, including caregivers, are encouraged to join.

Medicare webinars are designed to introduce the various parts of Medicare and to share some of the costs and benefits associated with the program.  Sessions cover enrollment timeframes for Medigap, Medicare Advantage, prescription drug plans, and how the different parts of Medicare work together.

Staff with the state’s Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program, a unit of the Idaho Department of Insurance, conduct the webinars.  To register for the upcoming session, please contact the SHIBA Helpline at 1-800-247-4422.

Montana — Officer Involved Fatal Shooting: The Treasure State ranks in the top-10 most officer-involved shootings in the nation. While the information compiled by the FBI on such matters is currently limited, the PIA Western Alliance state of Montana sits 9th.

The other Western states with high volumes of officer-involved shootings are the PIA Western Alliance states of Alaska and Arizona, and Colorado and Wyoming.

Source link: Independent Record

Montana — Local News Tops National News: The Greater Montana Foundation does an annual media consumption survey. This year the foundation’s third annual survey talked with 579 Montanans.

  Local TV broadcasts were trusted by 66% of the respondents

  Very close behind at just under 66% is local news websites

  55% said local weekly newspapers are most credible

  51% picked daily newspapers as must credible

  Local radio was trusted by 49%

Things go downhill from there:

  33% trust cable TV news

  25% say Sunday morning talk shows are credible

  25% say news from social media sites is credible

As for the most consumed news sources:

  Fox News

  Google

  The Billings Gazette

The survey found local TV, newspaper and radio consumption — while more trusted — to be watched more intermittently than the three just listed.

As for the Internet:

  41% say they are on the net several hours per day

  That’s down from 45% in 2015

  40% say they are on the Internet almost every day

  That’s up from 29% in 2015

Those accessing news from social media is up to 47% this year compared to 31% in 2015. And the Internet is the most common way news is consumed with 67% saying they read most of their news online.

  97% of Republicans rank Fox News as the most trusted source

  88% of Democrats picked CNN

Source link: The Independent Record

Oregon — An Oregon Legislature Wrap Up from Lobbyist Lana Butterfield: The 2019 Oregon Legislative Session ended on 7/1/19. The insurance industry defeated many harmful bills this session:

  Bad faith

  Prohibition on insurers’ use of credit score

  Elimination of pain and suffering cap

  Taking of SAIF funds, and others.

The PIA Oregon/Idaho also received a letter from Kerry Barnett of SAIF Corp.

June 28, 2019

Dear Ms. Butterfield,

The legislative session is at last winding down and I wanted to make sure to get this note out to each of you before the Fourth of July holiday hit.

As you know, the various proposals to “take” a portion of SAIF’s capital to help fund PERS have come to naught, and SAIF’s assets remain in place. This would not have happened but for the effective, passionate advocacy that you and others in the coalition brought to bear. I can’t emphasize enough how gratifying it has been to see our key stakeholders step forward and express their strongest views about the value SAIF is providing and the importance of maintaining our current business model.

I want to assure you that we—and our capital—remain dedicated to serving Oregon’s employers and injured workers by setting the standard for affordability and availability of workers’ compensation coverage, and delivering extraordinary service.

Indeed, our value proposition has never been stronger: our pricing is highly competitive and continues to drive the market; our service levels exceed our competitors’ in virtually all key measures; our safety program is second to none; and our track record of providing substantial policyholder dividends (21 in the past 29 years) far exceeds all others in our market.

SAIF is committed to the path we’re on. We will continue to use our energy, skill, creativity, and yes, our capital, in pursuit of our vision to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work

Even though this legislative session is over, there is always the chance that new proposals will arise in the future to take SAIF’s capital. We will remain vigilant, as I know you will, too.

I want to thank you for your support, and for the effective partnership we’ve forged in support of our customers.

Best wishes to you and yours for a great holiday.

Sincerely,

Kerry Barnett

SAIF President & CEO

503.373.8005 | F: 503.584.8005 | 800.285.8525 ext. 8005

400 High St SE, Salem, OR 97312

 

PAC Contributions Needed

Please make a contribution now to help elect state legislators and make the insurance industry’s voice stronger. Make your agency or personal check payable to “PIA Oregon PAC” and send to Sue Smith, PIA Western Alliance, 3205 NE 78th St. Suite 104, Vancouver WA 98665.

Cordially, Lana

 

Lana Butterfield

Oregon Lobbyist, PIAO/I

lanab@teleport.com

503/819-5800

 

Washington — From the Department of Insurance: MACRA changes to Medicare Supplement policies (R 2019-01) expedited rule

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner proposes an expedited rule on MACRA changes to Medicare Supplement policies (R 2019-01). This rule will amend exiting rules to conform with changes made by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 and SB 5032.

This rule is being proposed using an expedited rulemaking process that will eliminate the need for the Commissioner to hold a public hearing. If you object to the use of the expedited rulemaking process, you must express your objection in writing by 8/6/2019 and submit it to rulescoordinator@oic.wa.gov.

For more information, including the expedited rule (CR-105), please visit the rule's webpage — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/macra-changes-medicare-supplement-policies-r-2019-01?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

Notice of rulemaking on Internal Audit Requirements for Insurance Companies (R 2019-02)

We are starting rulemaking (R 2019-02) to incorporate an internal audit requirement for large insurers writing more than $500 million or insurance groups writing more than $1 billion in annual premiums.

The comment period for the CR-101 is open until 7/19/19.

Please submit comments to the Rules Coordinator. — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/contact-rules-coordinator?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

For more information, including the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101), please visit the rule's webpage — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/internal-audit-requirements-insurance-companies-r-2019-02?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

Notice of rulemaking on Affordable Care Act Protections (R 2019-10)

We are starting rulemaking on Affordable Care Act Protections (R 2019-10).

Background

SHB 1870 (Chapter 33, Laws of 2019) codifies several provisions of the Affordable Care Act into state law. Some provisions of SHB 1870 authorize OIC to engage in rulemaking necessary to implement the provisions of the legislation. Existing rules may need to be amended to be consistent with SHB 1870, and new rules may be required. Such rules will facilitate implementation of the law by ensuring that all affected entities understand their rights and obligations under the new law.

For questions or comments, please contact Jane Beyer, Senior Health Policy Advisor, at rulescoordinator@oic.wa.gov.

This comment period closes on August 5, 2019.

For more information, including the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101), please visit the rule's webpage — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/affordable-care-act-protections-r-2019-10?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

 

 

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Oregon’s SAIF Head Praises PIA Oregon/Idaho

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 2, 2019

SAIF CEO: Kerry Barnett

The Oregon Legislature has adjourned.

From the disappearance of the Oregon Senate’s Republicans to keep the Legislature from passing a cap and trade bill to Governor Kate Brown’s plan to grab a huge percentage of the policyholder surplus of the quasi-public work comp firm the State Accident and Insurance Fund’s (SAIF), it was a contentious few months.

In fact, Oregon had one of the nation’s more notable legislative sessions in 2019.

Brown wanted the SAIF money to shore up Oregon’s bleeding PERS retirement system.

While many PIA Oregon/Idaho members no doubt had thoughts about the cap and trade fiasco, the association didn’t take a position. It did — however — battle in proverbial tooth and nail fashion to keep the governor from grabbing the SAIF surplus. That surplus belongs to the 47,000 small businesses, school districts, nonprofits and local governments that depend on SAIF to cover their workers

It also helps keep Oregon’s worker’s compensation premiums among the lowest in the country, and those low premiums are attractive to businesses looking to locate in Oregon.

Working with other groups in Oregon, PIA’s lobbyist Lana Butterfield worked tirelessly toward a successful conclusion. As a result, Brown’s plan went away and she found another way to attack the PERS problem.

The efforts of the PIA and the other groups involved is not lost on SAIF’s CEO Kerry Barnett. He recently sent Butterfield and others in the coalition a thank you for helping defeat the proposal. 

“This would not have happened but for the effective, passionate advocacy that you and others in the coalition brought to bear,” Barnett wrote. “I can’t emphasize enough how gratifying it has been to see our key stakeholders step forward and express their strongest views about the value SAIF is providing and the importance of maintaining our current business model.”

While the session has ended, Barnett says the worry is still there. “Even though this legislative session is over, there is always the chance that new proposals will arise in the future to take SAIF’s capital. We will remain vigilant, as I know you will, too,” he said.

Vigilance like what happened this session has helped make SAIF a positive force for Oregon business. 

“Indeed, our value proposition has never been stronger: our pricing is highly competitive and continues to drive the market; our service levels exceed our competitors’ in virtually all key measures; our safety program is second to none; and our track record of providing substantial policyholder dividends (21 in the past 29 years) far exceeds all others in our market,” he pointed out.

However, the SAIF CEO noted the danger is not over and we will need to be careful of Legislatures to come. “SAIF is committed to the path we’re on. We will continue to use our energy, skill, creativity, and yes, our capital, in pursuit of our vision to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work,” Barnett concluded.

Other than the PIA, here are the others in the coalition to stop the governor’s SAIF grab:

Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon

Oregon Columbia Chapter of the Associated General Contractors

Oregon Economic Development Association

National Federation of Independent Businesses

Oregon Business & Industry

Economic Development for Central Oregon

Oregon Farm Bureau

Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association

Oregon School Boards Association

Oregon Trucking Association

Oregon Home Building Association

Oregon Vehicle Dealer Association

Northwest Grocery Association

Oregon Metals Industry Council

Oregon State Chamber of Commerce

Oregon Wheat Growers

Oregon Seed Council

Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers

Oregon Power Sports Association

Northwest Automotive Trades Association

Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce

Far West Agribusiness Association

Oregon Association of Nurseries

Oregon Concrete & Aggregate Producers Association

Associated Oregon Loggers

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