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Insurers: Consumers Pretty Satisfied with P&C

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reasonably satisfied. Thats the best description of how consumers view property and casualty insurers according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Though scores are down, P&C insurers scored okay. Take all insurers and put them into a basket and the satisfaction drops and the report said most are mostly not happy.

Health insurers and personal lines did worst.

The annual report is officially titled the ACSI Finance and Insurance Report 2014. It covers customer satisfaction with financial institutions of all sorts and the scores are zero to 100. Heres a list of those measured:


  P&C insurers

  Health insurers

  Life insurers


  Credit unions

  Online brokerages


The average score for P&C is 79. Its a drop of 2.5%. In 2013 P&C scored 81. Life insurers fell 3.6% to 80. Auto insurers sit at 78. Homeowners insurers are much lower at 72.

Those with multiple policies with an insurer scored them an 80 on average.


P&C Industry ASCI Scoreson a scale of 0 to 100

Company                              2013               2014               % of change

P&C Insurance overall         81                    79                       -2.5%

State Farm                              79                    81                        3.0%

All others                                 83                    79                       -5.0%

GEICO                                     81                    77                       -5.0%

Allstate                                    77                    77                           0%

Farmers                                  76                    77                     +1.0%

Progressive                           78                     76                       -3.0%


P&C insurers rank pretty well in customer service. Agents and staff are overall courteous and helpful. Claims-handling, policy purchasing, renewals and overall inquiries all scored well. So did timely claims processing and billing.


Source link: PropertyCasualty360.com

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Insurers: Consumers Pretty Satisfied with P&C  Weekly Industry News 

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Small Business Employees Most Loyal

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Baylor University researchers recently took a look at business and employee loyalty. The study is called Small, Local and Loyal: How firm attributes affect workers organizational commitment.

University sociology department doctoral student Katie Halbesleben helped with the study. She said it found small, locally owned businesses do better than larger businesses with their employees. With rural workers the size and who owns a company is even more important than it is to employees in urban settings.

Its an interesting time because of the shift toward big business and globalization. While large firms tend to provide higher earnings and more fringe benefits, there are still practical values of small and local businesses, including benefits to the community and to the individual, such as less income inequality, less population turnover, lower crime and more committed workers, she said.

Halbesleben also noted with small employers it is more than one thing that keeps employees satisfied. For some its the boss. Others like what theyre doing. Still others mentioned small and local as being critical to their job satisfaction.

Small businesses were defined as having one to 49 employees. Everyone else is pegged as large. The researchers quizzed 1,714 employees who worked full or part-time. They were asked how much they agreed with these four statements:

  I really feel this organizations problems are my own.

  I do not feel a strong sense of belonging to my organization.

  I do not feel emotionally attached to my organization.

  This organization has a great deal of personal meaning to me.


Heres what the study found:

  57.2% of workers in small firms scored commitment highest.

  That compares to 40.5% in larger firms.

  56% of workers in locally owned stores were more committed to the company.

  Larger firms scored 38.7% in that category.

  Small and locally owned companies ranked highest of all in the commitment category with a 61.4% score.

  Large, local businesses scored 46.7%.


Source link: insurancejournal.com

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Small Business  Small Business Employees Most Loyal  Weekly Industry News 

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PIA National Taking Nominations for Three Prestigious Awards

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, December 2, 2014

PIA National is accepting nominations for its three prestigious national awards:

  Professional Agent of the Year

  Customer Service Representative of the Year

  Young Insurance Professional of the Year


The deadline for nominations is January 23, 2015.

The PIA National Professional Agent of the Year: This is the associations highest award of distinction. Nominations for that honor will come from PIA state and regional affiliate chapters. In the case of the PIA Western Alliance that is the leadership of PIA Oregon/Idaho, PIA Washington/ Alaska, PIA Montana and the PIA Group (Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico).

The PIA National Customer Service Representative of the Year Award and the PIA National Young Insurance Professional of the Year are nominated by PIA membership as well as the leadership of the PIA state and affiliates chapters.

In the case of the latter two awards, you know someone who deserves such recognition. You are amazing people and you do amazing things for the people you work for and with, and do incredible things in your communities. That means you know someone who meets the criteria for these awards.

So give it a shot and nominate someone you admire. You never know, it might just get them a well-deserved honor.

The PIA National Customer Service Representative of the Year: This award is given annually to an outstanding agency customer service representative working for a PIA member insurance agency. Nominations for this award are made by PIA members. The CSR of the Year Award is sponsored for the eighth year in a row by The Hartford, a member carrier of The PIA Partnership as well as a Pinnacle Partner.

The PIA National Young Insurance Professional of the Year Award: It is awarded to an outstanding employee, owner or principal of a PIA member agency who is under the age of 40 or a member of a PIA-affiliated Young Insurance Professionals association. PIA members as well as PIA state and regional affiliates may make nominations for this award, which is sponsored for the tenth year in a row by Rough Notes magazine.

All three awards will be presented during a luncheon ceremony on March 27, 2015 at the 2015 PIA Federal Legislative Summit and Spring Governance Meetings.


For forms to nominate someone click this link: http://www.pianet.com/awards.

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  PIA National Taking Nominations for Three Prestigi  Rough Notes  Weekly Industry News 

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California’s Early Warning Earthquake System Expands

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Californias early earthquake warning system now gives some government agencies and a few private companies notice one is coming. The alert gives them about eight-seconds.

Not much but its enough to help.

Next year the U.S. Geological Survey whos heading up the program will be able to give some fire departments, schools and other important agencies notice as well. A widened, and improved system is the reason. In the case of a fire department its time enough to make sure the doors get opened so equipment isnt trapped and for schools to get students ducked and covered.

More sensors now working around the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas will give the systems designers important information on how well it works and what needs improved in the future.

The real problem now is in funding. To set up a robust system that truly will benefit all in those two cities and eventually all up and down the West coast federal funding needs to keep coming. So will matching funds from states. The federal government has come through with $5 million to develop the system. However, its going to take $16.1 million a year for it to operate and be maintained.

It's still the "duct-tape and baling-wire version of it, which we've been watching for two years," Doug Given, earthquake early warning coordinator for the USGS, said. "Sometimes, it does make mistakes. We want to make sure it doesn't do that."

Lucy Jones of the USGS and James Featherstone, general manager of the state's emergency management department, talk about California's earthquake early warning system in April after the federal government approved $5 million in grants to expand the system. (Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times)

The 2015 rollout would be ready as long as Congress approves funding. Committees in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have already approved $5 million for the fiscal year that began in October, but a full vote on the budget was put off until after this month's election. The system needs $16.1 million a year to be completed and maintained.


Source link: Los Angeles Times

Tags:  California’s Early Warning Earthquake System Expan  Earthquake California  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Obamacare Premium Hikes

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The PIA Western Alliance state of Alaska is the state that will see the highest health insurance premium hikes on average in 2015. This is the conclusion of the analyst firm Avalere Health.

Avalere looked at all of the planned increases around the country and developed a top-10 highest increase state list. Alaska is at the top but its the only PIA Western Alliance state there.

The survey says:

  • Nationwide the lowest price bronze plans will jump 3% to an average of $307 per month.
  • Silver plans the most popular of the plans will jump 4% to an average of $381 per month.

 Avaleres Elizabeth Carpenter said thats not necessarily good news for everybody. The bottom line is that exchange enrollees 2015 premiums will vary widely based on geography. Consumers should be wary of reports detailing national or state-wide premium changes and should instead focus on the details of their particular plan.

These are the states with the highest increases:

1. Alaska 28%, from $532 in 2014 to $683 in 2015

2. Florida 11%, from $370 to $410

3. West Virginia 9%, from $370 to $404

4. Wyoming 9%, from $538 to $583

5. Pennsylvania 9%, from $270 to $295

6. Nebraska 9%, from $324 to $354

7. North Carolina 8%, from $407 to $438

8. Michigan 7%, from $337 to $362

9. Texas 7%, from $316 to $339

10. Virginia 6%, from $370 to $391


A couple of states are seeing ridiculous drops in premium rates. Mississippi will average a 12% drop in prices. New Hampshires average is 18%.


Source link: Insurance Business America

Tags:  Healthcare  HealthCare.gov  ObamaCare  Obamacare Premium HikesInsurance Content  The Affordable Care Act  Weekly Industry News 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Tuesday, December 2, 2014

California Jones Wants Lower Work Comp Rates

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones wants a lower pure premium rate in 2015 than the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB).

The commissioner is proposing a pure premium rate of $2.74 per $100 of employer payroll. The WCIRB is seeking $2.77.

Jones conclusion comes after a public hearing on the WCIRB proposal. He said more reduction in medical losses should be factored in than the model used by the WCIRB.

Source link: insurancejournal.com



Work Comp Dividend: Montana businesses are going to see a nice windfall from the Montana workers compensation fun. A great many of them some 27,000   will share a $20 million windfall.

That translates to an average reduction of 16% in workers compensation premiums compared to 2012 when work comp reforms went into place. In 2010 Montana had the highest workers compensation rates in the country. Today the state is number eight.

Source links: PropertyCasualty360.com and insurancejournal.com


Oregon Cover Oregon Joint Interim Committee

This from the state of Oregon.

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek announced the appointment of a joint legislative committee to take steps toward shutting down the troubled public corporation known as Cover Oregon and moving the remaining functions to public agencies.

The Joint Interim Committee on Health Insurance Transition is tasked with creating legislation for introduction in the 2015 Legislature. Courtney and Kotek called for the transition of Cover Oregon services in the summer, after continual missteps by the organization and their private contractors.

The committee will be co-chaired by Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson and Rep. Mitch Greenlick.

Committee members are:

  Sen. Alan Bates

  Sen. Brian Boquist

  Sen. Fred Girod

  Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward

  Rep. John Davis

  Rep. Alissa Keny Guyer

  Rep. Bill Kennemer

  Rep. Nancy Nathanson


In his statement on the committee formation, Courtney said, We need this committee to get to work now to ensure that Oregon has a viable state healthcare marketplace moving forward. The marketplace should make quality affordable insurance plans available to Oregonians. It should operate efficiently and effectively within state and federal law. It should be accountable to Oregon and her people.

Kotek added, Oregon has made great strides in expanding access to quality, affordable health care. This committees work can give Oregonians faith that their access to insurance wont be interrupted. This committee has the policy expertise to ensure the marketplace functions of Cover Oregon will be subject to complete public scrutiny and oversight."

The first meeting of the Joint Interim Committee on Health Insurance Transition will be held during interim legislative committee meetings in the second week of December.



Work Comp Rates for 2015: The Washington Department of Labor & Industries said workers compensation rates for 2015 will jump 0.8%. Thats better than the 1.8% announced earlier. The smaller increase is because financial results were much better for the system in the third quarter.

Source link: Business Insurance

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

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The PIA Western Alliance Leadership, Management & Staff Wish You a Happy Thanksgiving

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Monday, November 24, 2014

At this time of Thanksgiving we pause to count our blessings. The freedom of this great country in which we live. It's opportunity for achievement. For all of these things and more, we are deeply thankful. Our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

The U.S. has so much to live for and so many blessings. One of them is the freedom to celebrate and be thankful on what many think is our finest holiday ... Thanksgiving.

On this day we the PIA Western Alliance leadership, management and staff wish you and your families and friends a happy Thanksgiving. And we leave you with this, the original proclamation that created this most blessed holiday tradition.

It was done during the administration of President Abraham Lincoln. On November 28, 1861 Lincoln ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving and said the last Thursday of November from then on would be Thanksgiving Day.

Lincoln did so because magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale of Godey's Lady's Book urged him to do so. She wrote, You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.

And that it has become.

Officially Thanksgiving became a national holiday on October 3, 1863 during the height of the Civil War. The proclamation came from President Lincoln but was written by William H. Seward who was then Secretary of State.


Washington, D.C.

October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,

Secretary of State

Tags:  blessings  gratefulWeekly Industry News  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Management & Staff Wish You a Happy Thanksgiving  Thanksgiving  The PIA Western Alliance Leadership 

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Montana’s Monica Lindeen New NAIC President

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Monday, November 24, 2014


Left to Right: Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel, Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark, Montana State Auditor and Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael F. Consedine. Photo credits NAI

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has elected its 2015 officers and Montana State Auditor and Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen is the associations new president.

She takes office on January 1, 2015.

A news release from the NAIC says as NAIC president she will chair the NAIC Executive Committee, Government Relations Leadership Council, NAIC/State Government Liaison Committee and the International Insurance Relations Leadership Group.

In 2013 Lindeen received the Excellence in Consumer Advocacy Award. It was awarded by the NAIC's Consumer Representatives. She received the honor in recognition for her work as a strong voice for consumer protection and her dedication in maintaining states' rights in insurance regulation.

The other officers are:

  President-Elect: Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine

  Vice President: Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark

  Secretary-Treasurer: Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel


Lindeen was elected Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montana State Auditor in 2008 and re-elected to a second term in November 2012.

The NAIC membership also elected the zone representatives. The Western Zone includes Californias Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones who is the zones secretary.

Western Zone

The Vice Chair is Arizona Insurance Commissioner Germaine Marks.


Source: NAIC

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Monica Lindeen  Montana  Montana’s Monica Lindeen New NAIC President  Weekly Industry News 

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Congress Starts Looking at Private Flood Insurance

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Monday, November 24, 2014


Jimi Grande
Photo courtesy of NAMIC

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing & Insurance is looking at private flood insurance as an alternative to the flood policies. It held a hearing last week titled Opportunities for a Private and Competitive Sustainable Flood Insurance Market.

The subcommittee is looking at a bill H.R. 4558 the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act of 2014 introduced by Florida Representatives Dennis Ross and Patrick Murphy.

If passed H.R. 4558 alters 1973s Flood Disaster Protection Act. The Act forces lenders to require borrowers to have flood insurance in high risk flood areas. Under this bill the definition changes to say a private insurer licensed, admitted and approved by the state where the property is located is an acceptable alternative to the NFIP. Non-admitted insurers will also be acceptable.

Ross said, Floridians and Americans across the country would greatly benefit from more choices when it comes to flood insurance policies. More choices can mean better coverage and cheaper policies for homeowners.

Murphy added, This bill would get the federal government out of the way of letting Florida foster a competitive market to drive down costs for homeowners.

Ross and Murphys comments hit the nail on the head. The big problem private insurers have is being able to compete with the taxpayer subsidized premiums of the NFIP. Those prices critics contend and reality shows have led to a NFIP debt of $24 billion.

That was part of the point for passing the flood reforming Biggert-Waters Act. It phases out some subsidies and puts increases in place to better reflect the risk, and it orders the NFIP to find ways to increase private insurer involvement in the flood market.

That is being researched now by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Farm Credit Administration and the National Credit Union Administration.

No results have been produced at this point.

Insurance consultant Don Brown also from Florida told the committee federal law is stopping the development of private flood insurance. Banks question if the flood policies written by private carriers will satisfy the mortgage requirement for homes located in a high-risk flood zone. Agents are concerned about E&O [errors and omissions] exposure for selling policies that might not meet the federal mortgage requirement and the potential exposure if the agent sells a policy that negatively impacts the insureds ability to get subsidized NFIP coverage in the future.

The American Bankers Association (ABA) agrees. In written testimony the ABA said, The intersection of state regulation of insurance broadly, federal regulation of the NFIP, and bank compliance examination have made it clear that further clarification and guidance is needed. H.R. 4558 provides a clear and elegant solution to the questions that have arisen.

Jimi Grande who heads federal and political affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) wants the lender language clarified. He also urges a return to risk-based pricing which was the point of Biggert-Waters.

At the heart of this issue is the fact that the NFIP does not charge rates that match the risk a property faces from flooding. As long as that continues to be the case, the program will continue to go deeper and deeper in debt to the taxpayers, and the marketplace for private-sector flood insurance will continue to struggle to develop. Private insurance companies cant borrow billions from the Treasury, and they cant compete with a government program that charges significantly less than the private sector would need to in order to offer policies, Grande said.


Source link: insurancejournal.com

Tags:  Congress Starts Looking at Private Flood Insurance  flood insurance  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Organic Growth, Renewals & 3rd Quarter Results

Posted By PIA Western Alliance, Monday, November 24, 2014

Reagan Consultings Organic Growth and Profitability Survey said organic growth in the third quarter is below predictions. It hit 6%. Thats down 0.8% from 2013s third quarter but up 0.2% from the second quarter.

That has some optimistic.

The beginning of 2014 prediction said organic growth would be 7% by the third quarter. Reagan Consulting President Kevin Stipe said, Organic growth is a bit slower than a year ago, and concerns about a softening market in commercial property and casualty insurance are building.

He and others however are looking for a better fourth quarter. Despite falling short of 7% in each of the first three quarters, brokers are holding to their 7% for the year. We hope their optimism proves to be well-founded, Stipe said.

EBITDA profit margins thats earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization is 22.4%. That 1.3% higher than the end of the third quarter in 2013.

Thats a positive. The negative is profit margins normally drop in the fourth quarter. However, many are anticipating a record fourth quarter margin of 20% which will be a first.

Renewal rates arent looking good either. Amlin P.L.C issued a report showing the average insurance and reinsurance renewal rates plummeted 3.5% in the first three-quarters of 2014. The report blames a challenging underwriting environment.

Another problem is a lack of major catastrophes in 2014.

Gross written premiums for the first nine-months of 2014 says Amlins CEO Charles Phillips hit $3.59 billion. Thats up 4.2% for quarters one through three of 2013.

We are pleased with our progress to date in 2014 and are confident that we can continue to deliver healthy returns for shareholders. Against a backdrop of intensifying competition as a result of increasing industry capital, we have successfully maintained underwriting discipline while making good progress in building a more diversified business which is better suited to meeting the challenges of the current environment, Phillips said.

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW) said the third quarter earnings are iffy. The bps basic point earning gains for personal lines underwriters was 230. Reinsurers dropped 300 bps. Standard commercial lines fell 200 bps.


Source links: PropertyCasualty360.com, Business Insurance, Insurance Networking News

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Organic Growth  Renewals & 3rd Quarter Results  Weekly Industry News 

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