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PIA Western Alliance knows you want to be the best in the field, and the best way to stay on top is to stay informed. PIA Weekly Industry News Brief is an informative e-news brief that delivers the most relevant industry content.

 

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HealthCare.gov — An Overhaul is Coming

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Obama administration promises this Affordable Care Act enrollment season will be different than next. Agents enrolling people complained that it took hours to get the task done and then it often wasnt done right.

Consumers going it alone reported even longer delays, site crashes and more. Youve read enough about it to know how bad it was during the initial rollout.

The administration says this year will be much different and an overhaul is in process to simplify things for consumers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced a plan to allow 70% of consumers to purchase their health insurance with a shorter, simpler application form.

The new application hasnt been seen yet but CMS says it will have fewer questions and pages. They or/and their agent will be able to sign them up with fewer screens and clicks of the mouse. The changes however are restricted to those doing applications for the first time. People who signed up last year will not be so blessed.

Here are some sample questions from the new questionnaire:

Does everyone applying for coverage have the same permanent home address?

Is anyone an American Indian or naturalized citizen?

Are you and your spouse responsible for a child who lives with you but is not on your federal tax return?

Do any of your dependents live with a parent who is not on your tax return?

 

Jessica Waltman of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) said the new questionnaire is a victory for agents. This is something weve been seeking for quite a while a procedure that allows people to jump the queue and get through the system faster if their case is neat and simple.

While the overhaul is taking place, reports are surfacing on the cost of the building of HealthCare.gov the first year. A Bloomberg Government analysis of the projects contracts says $2.1 billion was spent to do the website development, the data base and the other parts of the rollout. Peter Gosselin who is a senior analyst at BGov said spending on the computer system alone hit $834 million. The way in which Obamacare has been rolled out has been very messy.

He is a co-author of the study and noted spending stretched across a bunch of contracts and that was deliberate. One of the reasons it has been implemented in the way it has been, financially, is precisely to deny opponents of the law a clear target.

That group included more than 60 companies and they were supervised by several employees of the CMS instead of one lead contractor. That led to infighting and failure.

Tags:  Healthcare  HealthCare.gov  Insurance Content  Weekly Industry News 

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FIO Annual Report 2 — The 10-Largest P&C & Personal Lines Insurers

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Federal Insurance Offices FIO 2013 Annual Report is out. The report is part of the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act. Each year the FIO is charged with giving a summary of the state of the insurance industry.

 

Part of the report measures insurers in the categories of property and casualty and personal lines, and from the biggest to the smallest. The data comes from SNL Financial and is incorporated into the FIO report.

State Farm is again the nations biggest insurer and it holds 10.29% of the nations insureds. Thats up from 2012s share of 10.24%.

Liberty Mutual is second but its a distant second with 5.31%. Allstate is third at 5.07%. Both firms sit where they sat in the 2013 survey.

Making the most improvement is Berkshire Hathaway. It leaped two spots to rank fourth with a 4.26% market share. The Warren Buffet led company also became the largest non-captive insurer as well.

Here’s the top-10 overall:

1. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

  Market Share: 10.29%

  DPW ($000): $55,994,246

2. Liberty Mutual Insurance

  Market Share: 5.31%

  DPW: $28,906,283

3. Allstate Corp

  Market Share: 5.07%

  DPW: $27,583,581

4. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

  Market Share: 4.26%

  DPW: $23,169,106

5. Travelers Companies Inc.

  Market Share: 4.20%

  DPW: $22,842,941

6. Farmers Insurance Group of Companies

  Market Share: 3.36%

  DPW: $18,284,148

7. Nationwide Mutual Group

  Market Share: 3.32%

  DPW: $18,079,537

8. American International Group

  Market Share: 3.27%

  DPW: $17,802,678

9. Progressive Corp.

  Market Share: 3.23%

  DPW: $17,562,610

10. USAA Insurance Group

  Market Share: 2.67%

  DPW: $14,562,012

 

Overall, the top-10 insurers lost market share as a group in 2013. It fell slightly to 44.97% from 45.88%. Direct written premiums however increased by a whopping $4 billion.

The report also separates lines of business and breaks down the top P&C and personal lines insurers. When that is done the list alters radically.

2013’s top commercial insurers:

1. American International Group

2. Travelers Companies Inc.

3. Liberty Mutual Insurance

4. Zurich Insurance group

5. ACE Ltd.

6. CNA Financial Corp.

7. Hartford Financial Services

8. Chubb Corp.

9. Nationwide Mutual Group

10. American Financial Group Inc.

2013s top personal lines insurers:

1. State Farm Automobile Insurance Company

2. Allstate Corp.

3. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

4. Progressive Corp.

5. Farmers Insurance Group of Companies

6. Liberty Mutual Insurance

7. USAA Insurance Group

8. Nationwide Mutual Group

9. Travelers Companies Inc.

10. American Family Mutual


 

Source: Insurance Business America

Tags:  10-Largest P&C & Personal Lines Insurers  FIO Annual Report  Weekly Industry News 

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FIO Annual Report 1 — The State of Insurance

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The annual Federal Insurance Office (FIO) report has been released. Its the report on the state of the insurance industry required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The report is for Congress and the White House to be used as an education tool.

The report is the second report the agency has done in its short existence.

The state of insurance is good. Property and casualty lines and the health and life sector are doing very well. The report says both are enjoying growth and are showing continued resilience in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Property and casualty insurance sector premiums have grown consistently since 2010 and reached a record high of $471 billion on a net earned basis in 2013. The P/C sectors combined ratio for 2013 dropped below 100% for the first time since 2007, which was largely attributable to a reduction in catastrophe losses, the report concluded.

Not all is well, however. Investment yields the report says are in decline and for property and casualty insurers, so is investment income. Nonetheless, net income of $72 billion in 2013 was the highest level for the P/C sector since 2007, which drove surplus to a record level of $665 billion, report added.

 

Source: Businessinsurance.com

Tags:  FIO Annual Report  Insurance Content  Weekly Industry News 

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Nationwide Realigns Under One Brand

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Nationwide Logo

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. said it is going to unite all of its products and subsidiaries under its most recognizable brand Nationwide. Chief Executive Officer Steve Rasmussen said Nationwide is in all 50 states, but customers in many areasaren't aware of its offerings and size because it uses multiple brands that can appear to be unrelated. 

The company currently operates under multiple brand names including Nationwide Insurance, Allied Insurance (an independent agency unit), Harleysville Insurance (which it acquired in 2012) Nationwide Financial, Scottsdale Insurance (surplus lines carrier), Crestbrook Insurance and Veterinary Pet Insurance.

It will drop all in favor of the one-brand approach.

In its announcement, Nationwide said it will transition to the new brand look over the next 18-months in advertising, branding and company-owned real estate, on Nationwide.com, sales collateral, agency signage and other communications channels.

According to spokesman Joe Case while Nationwide will not have any "sub-brands," the company will have division names.

 

Sources: PIA National and Insurance Journal (story 1), Insurance Journal (story 2)

Tags:  Brand  Insurance Content  Nationwide  Weekly Industry News 

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Marriage — We’re not doing it in Record Numbers

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Americans are not getting married in record numbers. This according to a Pew Research Center survey. In 1960, just 9% of adults 25 and older or close to one in 10 had never been married. In 2012 that number was one in five or 20%. In terms of numbers, thats 42-million people.

Men are more likely than women to have never married. Its 23% to 17%. If youre keeping score, in 1960 those numbers were 10% for men and 8% for women in the same 25 and older age group.

The median age for women marrying is now 27. Its 29 for men. In 1960 the median marriage age for women was 20 and it was 23 for men.

Here are Pews conclusions as to why:

  Adults are marrying later in life.

  More are just cohabiting.

  A significant number are having children and raising them outside of marriage.

 

Pew Research found that 24% of never-been-married adults age 25 to 34 are living with a partner.

 

We also tend to be deeply divided now about the value of marriage and the role it plays in society. Pew offered respondents two questions on the topic:

  Society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority 46% chose this statement as true.

  Society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children 50% chose this statement as true.

 

Breaking it down a bit:

  67% of adults 18 to 29 agreed that society is better off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.

  53% of adults 30 to 49 agreed with that, too.

  Of those 50 and older, 55% think society is better off if people make marriage and children a priority.

That said, when it comes to couples planning on staying together forever, 68% say get married with 47% saying it is very important and 21% thinking it is somewhat important.

 

Second to lastly:

  53% of the never-married adults say theyll tie the knot eventually.

  Thats down a bit from 2010 when 61% said theyd marry some day.

  32% say they really dont want to get married and that itll probably never change but wont rule it out.

  13% say theyll never, ever do it.

 

Lastly those deciding to marry:

  78% of never-married women say they will only marry someone with a steady job.

  The never-married man thinks ideas on how to raise children are more important than a steady job.

  Few place much priority on a partner with similar moral or religious beliefs.

  The same goes for education pedigree and racial or ethnic backgrounds.

Tags:  Insurance Content  Marriage  Weekly Industry News 

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Are Your Mobile Apps Secure? — Probably Not

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, September 30, 2014