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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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2014’s $50 Billion in Profits & its Relation to Catastrophe

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) President Dr. Robert Hartwig has been crunching numbers for 2014. He believes when the counting is done profits thats net income after taxes will be $50.3 billion. 

Its the second best insurance has done since the recession hit in 2008. The 2013 figure of $63.8 billion is best.

Hartwig made his prognostication at a natural catastrophe media event hosted by the I.I.I. and Munich Re. And with that, Hartwig said fewer catastrophes is a good place to start for the profit figure. Catastrophe losses or the lack thereof are defining events in determining the profitability of the industry.

He pointed to the relationship of catastrophe to profits and return on investment:

  In 2011 tornadoes that came in bunches gave the industry a 4.7% ROE.

  In 2012 Superstorm Sandy saw the ROE take a hit and end up at 6.2%

  In 2013 fewer catastrophes saw a 9.8% ROE.


And then Hartwig predicted a 7.7% ROE, and a record surplus hitting somewhere around $675 billion. The investment income part of the $50.3 billion is going to be around $45.7 billion. Thats down from $47.4 billion in 2013.

Munich Res NatCatSERVICE puts U.S. catastrophe losses at $15.3 billion for last year. Company spokesman Carl Hedde said 80% of that is from severe thunderstorms. Here are the cat losses:

2014 Events
 2014 Losses  2013 Events 2013 Losses
 Severe thunderstorms  62  $12.3 billion 69  $10.3 billion
 Winter Storm  13  $2.3 billion
11   $1.9 billion
 $700 million
48  $625 million
 119  $15.3 billion
 $12.8 billion

Here are other catastrophe stats presented at the media event:

  The tornado season in 2014 was late but the $12.3 billion in losses is the fourth highest on record.

  The Eastern U.S. had the coldest winter in a decade and damages topped $2.3 billion.

  The 980 natural catastrophe events is the highest total in a decade.

  The most expensive earthquake in 2014 was the Napa quake.

  Ironically, between 1983 and 2013, the most expensive catastrophes have been earthquakes.

  The 7,700 fatalities worldwide paled in comparison to the 21,000 in 2013.

  It is also way below average for the past 10-years of 97,000 and for the 56,000 average for the last 30.


Source link: Carrier Management

Tags:  2014’s $50 Billion in Profits & its Relation to Ca  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  national catastrophe  Weekly Industry News 

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The Bad Hire: Costly but not how you think

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We all know hiring the wrong person can be costly. Employees even those with insurance experience do cost to train. Those without an insurance background are even more expensive.

So when one is a bust its costly from that standpoint, and if theyve alienated a client, or two, or three, that adds up, too.

A study by Robert Half says yes, those costs are important they arent the biggest cost to a company. In fact, the study of CFOs asked to comment on the problem said financial cost isnt at the top of their list and isnt the biggest risk of a new hire.

Whats impressive about financial not being at the top, is a bad hire ending up costing 30% of that persons annual salary. We know 30% of low to high five-figures or even six is a lot.

No. Robert Halfs Greg Schileppi said the biggest cost is morale. At 41% that tops the list. Loss of productivity is second at 34%. Hiring a bad fit or someone who lacks the skills needed to perform well has the potential to leave good employees with the burden of damage control, whether it be extra work or re-doing work that wasn't completed correctly the first time. The added pressure on top performers could put employers at risk of losing them, too, he said.

Oh. We almost forgot. The aforementioned financial losses came in third and a distant one at that at 19%.


Source link: Insurance Business America

Tags:  Employment  hiring  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  The Bad Hire: Costly but not how you think  Weekly Industry News 

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Is Documentation Really that Important?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Curtis M. Pearsall

by Curtis M. Pearsall, CPCU, AIAF, CPIA, President, Pearsall Associates, Inc. and Special E&O Consultant to the Utica National E&O program


For some strange reason, this is a common question among agency staff. For those staffers who have never experienced an errors-and-omissions claim, possibly it is hard for them to truly and totally comprehend the value of good quality documentation. Hopefully, the agency veterans can emphasize the significant value documentation provides related to the direction E&O claims can take.

An important element

Documentation is one of the most important elements of a quality E&O culture and commitment within an agency. However, for an agency staff member to state that he or she documented the conversation in the file may not be good enough. What does the documentation say? What story does it tell? A number of components are essential for documentation to possess its true value.

The documentation should be performed promptly

This does not mean at the end of the work day or when I have a minute. Ideally, it means as soon as the conversation has concluded. For those that can multi-task, documenting the discussion while you are having it is great as it enables you to accurately note the various items/topics being discussed.

The documentation should include details such as with whom you spoke, what was discussed, whether there are any open items and who has what responsibilities and duties moving forward.

The documentation should be professional

This may fall into the common sense category, but there is the possibility that the discussion was emotional in some manner. The agency staff should be careful to ensure the documentation does not reflect this emotion. The saying dont put anything in the file that you wouldnt want a jury to read comes to mind. For example, the following statements recovered from actual files did not help the agencys defense:  Im sorry I could not get back to you sooner and Ive been too busy.

The documentation should tell a story

If the customer calls back and the initial staff member is not available, the staffer helping the customer will be able to read the documentation, know exactly what was discussed and determine what any next steps are.

At times, the file should reflect some form of written communication (e-mail, letter, etc.) that memorializes the conversation. When a person documents a conversation, he or she is, in essence, documenting his or her version of it. Is it possible there was a misunderstanding or that the customer didnt provide the information he or she thought?

This does happen, so documenting the details of the conversation back to the customer is a solid E&O loss prevention tool. The goal is to make the customer accountable for his or her insurance decisions.


Documentation is key

If agencies followed these straightforward concepts, there would be fewer E&O claims and a greater percentage of E&O claims that did develop would be closed for no pay. Unfortunately, this does not always occur and, invariably, the most important document in the E&O matter is the one that is not in the file. It involves those declinations/deletions of coverage and explanations or answers to various insurance-related questions.

It is amazing how at the time of an E&O claim, one of the parties (typically the insurance professional) will be adamant that he or she had a conversation with the customer and can almost recite chapter and verse details of that conversation. Ironically, the other party (the customer) will have a totally version of that conversation or may actually allege that he or she does not even remember the discussion ever happening. Therefore, is it to be assumed that this will happen and that everyone will have a different story? Perhaps. This in itself shows the value of good quality documentation.

Imagine an E&O claim has occurred and you are asked to produce various documents as is typically the case. As the agency producer/CSR on the file, you produce records of detailed conversations with the customer. Lets presume that your customer, who will be asked to produce his or her various documents, has nothing. Who do you think will have more credibility in the eyes of the court? Showing a solid track record of providing consistent quality documentation will certainly enhance your credibility.

Now take the opposing perspective. You as the agency staff member comment that you remember explicitly the exact conversations you had with your customer. However, when you are asked to produce details of those conversations, you have nothing. A common phrase used by attorneys in E&O matters is If its not in the file, it didnt happen. Your memory of those conversations will not carry the same weight as the necessary detailed documentation.

There have been a significant number of E&O claims where good quality documentation heavily determined the direction of the claim. In fact, many E&O carriers state year after year that they are closing 2 out of every 3 E&O claims for no payment. That is an impressive statistic which speaks to the quality of the defense counsel, the agencies the carrier insures and the agencies strong commitment to solid E&O loss prevention.

Unfortunately, there have been a significant number of E&O claims where the lack of quality documentation resulted in the agency being responsible for the damages when it probably should not have been. There were cases where the CSR stated that he or she was just too busy to do the proper job of documentation. Imagine being on a jury and hearing that!

Clearly, good quality documentation is the key. As Aristotle once stated, Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Sounds like a pretty smart man.

Tags:  E&O  Errors and Ommissions  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Is Documentation Really that Important?  Weekly Industry News 

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The Workspace: Critical to Job Performance

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We spend more time in our offices than anywhere else. Or at least most of us do. And in the insurance biz thats very true of most employees and employers. That makes our workspace a priority.

Most of us do put at least some personal touches on our workspace.

In some cases those personal touches just dont happen. Or cant in the case of larger and often smaller firms where cubicles and cramped working conditions rule. Drab, stuffy workspaces can dampen employee enthusiasm and keep a positive employment experience from happening.

That can in many cases cost companies money in productivity and in terrific employees who cant stand the environment and go elsewhere.

So what to do? Managers. Owners. CEOs. Pay attention. Office design expert Kevin Ackerman of Portland, Oregon via a Staples.com article says there are things you can do and theyre not that expensive to spruce up those workspaces. Here are some ideas:

  Color: A splash of paint is critical and this is especially true if your company has walk in clients. Brighten the place up a bit. Color says youre fun and color is welcoming.

  Let employees make their desks more personal: We all work differently. A desk organization system that works for one, may not work for another. This not only applies to color but to the personality of the worker. Let them show off hobbies and interests. Or do some Zen things like Bonsai trees.

  Desks and seating: Traditional chairs and seating and desks and tables dont work for everyone. Standing desks where the employee has the option of sitting or standing is a nice touch. So are beanbag chairs and other ergonomic features.

  Creative thought: Most companies have meetings on various topics or brainstorming sessions. Those spaces need creative work, too. Or there are places where employees gather. This is the proverbial water cooler. Give these spots color and personality as well.

Ackerman also says companies benefit when clutter is cleaned up. A clean, modern workspace, he notes, will inspire collaboration and improve performance.


Source link: staples.com

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Jobs  The Workspace: Critical to Job Performance  Weekly Industry News 

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Smartphones: The Latest Cyber Threat

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Smartphones are the newest target of cyber thieves. Actually, for the last few years it has been a problem but the problem is now growing more serious. And when you think about it, check around anywhere people gather restaurants, lounges, theaters, bus stops, medical facilities, shopping malls, grocery stores, and even insurance agencies and companies and look at how many are on their phones.

A lot of them. And theyre on them a lot.

Pew Research finds 90% of us have a cell phone and 58% of us possess a smartphone. We are major league addicted to them. A lot of us over 44% in 2012 wont shut them off to go to bed. We dont want to miss anything. In 2012 a whopping 29% of us said we cant live without them.

Today the 2012 figures are no doubt higher. 

Two more important statistics. One, 81% of us use our phones for text messaging. And two, 60% of us access the Internet with them. 

Heres what you need to know. Cyber thieves knows this and that leaves you vulnerable to malware, chargeware and adware.

  Malware plants viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomeware and spyware onto our phones.

  Chargeware corrupts your phone and manipulates you into purchasing programs or services without really letting you know this is what youre doing.

  Adware interferes with the use of your phone and can if youre not aware collect personal data that you dont know youre giving.


The 2014 Mobile Threat Report says these are programs you need to watch out for:

  NotCompatible: This was the top Trojan threat of last year. It puts a mobile bot on your phone that does the planters bidding. It can be used by a hacker to purchase items through your phone.

  ScarePackage, ScareMeNot, ColdBrother: ScarePackage pretends to be a an Adobe flash update and once set up pretends to be the FBI and that as the FBI it found illicit content on the phone. To avoid criminal prosecution the fake FBI sends a message that you have to pay to regain control of your phone and to avoid prosecution. ScareMeNot and ColdBrother are similar.

  Koler: This one pretends to be a media app and snags control of your phone and you must pay a ransom to get control back.

Experts say the best way to protect yourself from these programs programs that rely on malware placed inside mobile applications is to purchase mobile applications from a legitimate application store.

Applications asking for an inordinate amount of personal data should be avoided.

By the way, the mobile security firm Lookout who is the source of most of the advice in this story says Android phones and devices are impacted more than Apples iPhone and iPads. Androids and similar devices can download apps from more sources than an iPhone or iPad. And Apple does a better job of making sure products are safe via its application store than the Android sources.


Source link: PropertyCasualty360.com

Tags:  Cyber Breach  Cyber Security  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Smartphones: The Latest Cyber Threat  Weekly Industry News 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

California, Arizona, Oregon Dog Bit Claims

The PIA Western Alliance states of California, Arizona and Oregon are in the top-15 states for the costliest dog bite claims in 2014.

Dogs biting cost the insurance industry $483.7 million last year according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm Insurance. They track these things.

Heres the top-10:

1.    California 449 claims, $14.7 million paid

2.    Illinois 309 claims, $8.9 million paid

3.    Ohio 221 claims, $4.2 million paid

4.    Texas 207 claims, $4 million paid

5.    Pennsylvania 180 claims, $5.8 million paid

6.    Michigan 162 claims, $3.9 million paid

7.    New York 149 claims, $6.4 million paid

8.    Indiana 46 claims, $3.5 million paid

9.    Minnesota 120 claims, $4 million paid

10.    Georgia 106 claims, $2.1 million paid

11.    Arizona 105 claims, $2.8 million paid

13.    Oregon 91 claims, $1.4 million paid

I.I.I. Vice President Loretta Worters said, The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 45 percent in the last decade (2003-2013), due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing.

The U.S. Postal Service also released statistics on dog bites. It says last year 5,581 postal workers and letter carriers were bitten by dogs in 2014.

Source link: Insurance Business America


Alaska Earthquake Record in 2014

The Earth shook more in Alaska in 2014 than ever. Or at least in recorded history. The 40,686 quakes measured by the Alaska Earthquake Information Center topped the previous high of almost 32,000 in 2003. And it tops the 2013 number of 28,000 by no pun intended land slide.

Seismologist Michael West said, Weve blown away those benchmarks. Theres never been a year where we identified 40,000 earthquakes in a year.

Most of the earthquakes were not felt by people and hit magnitude 2 or 3.

West said he cannot explain the increase.


Idaho NIPR Switch

This from the Idaho Department of Insurance.

Effective January 23, 2015, we will be transitioning from NIPRs current ACR (Address Change Request) to their CCR (Contact Change Request) service!

What this means to our producers:

  Individuals will be able to update email and phone numbers in addition to addresses

  Expanded sign-in options including:

  NPN and Last Name

  State and License number

  SSN and Date of Birth

  New interface is intuitive and easy to use, featuring drag and drop technology and displays multiple states at once

  Producers without a home state license (such as Designated Home State licensees) can submit changes electronically

  Non-residents can now process state-to-state address changes, provided their new resident home state license is active and showing on the Producer Data Base (PDB)

  This will remain a free service through NIPR for Idaho address changes

Additionally, in recent months we have been moving our notification processes to email rather than standard mail. We are currently sending renewal notifications via email, and residents will receive their Continuing Education status letters electronically as well.


Oregon Uber Fined in Eugene

Eugene, Oregon has fined the ride share firm Uber $120,000 for operating within the city without a license. Each day Uber operates without one the company will get hit with another $2,000.

The ride share companys lawyers say it isnt required to have a license because the vehicles being used dont belong to the company.

The city will hold a hearing on the fine on February 2nd.


Oregon TRIA 2015 Forms

This from the Oregon Insurance Department.

To file forms for TRIA2015 in Oregon, please follow the below steps:

All Forms are Prior Approval. Please file forms by the line of business they belong to. If a form meets the definition of multi-line, it can be filed using CMP coding. The program name should state TRIA2015. Only TRIA2015 forms are to be sent in the Form Schedule tab nothing else.  Oregon will provide an expedited review for all TRIA2015 form filings. Please Do NOT use the NAIC expedited filing transmittal document. It is not necessary in SERFF for Oregon. The Insurance Division will issue a formal bulletin on this subject.

You can view or update your subscriptions, password or e-mail address at any time on your User Profile Page. All you will need are your e-mail address and your password (if you selected one).

This service is provided to you at no charge by Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. Visit us on the web at http://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/. 


Oregon Long Term Care Rules

This from the Oregon Insurance Department.

Long-Term Care Insurance Rules comment period extended:

The last day for written comments is now February 13, 2015.

In order to allow additional time for the public to submit written testimony, the department has extended the comment period through and including February 13, 2015 (formerly January 26, 2015).

Rule Caption: Rulemaking to Establish New Rule and Revise Existing Rules for Long Term Care Insurance Contracts

The Oregon Insurance Division recently filed proposed rules regarding the above with the Secretary of State.

The rules establish new policy requirements for Long Term Care Partnership Policies to protect the consumer while still complying with federal requirements. In addition, the rules incorporate the desired pieces of the August 19, 2014 NAIC Long Term Care Insurance Model Regulation.

For further information we invite you to visit our website at:


Oregon Uniform Prescription Drug Authorization Form

This from the Oregon Insurance Department.

Adoption of Uniform Prescription Drug Prior Authorization Form comment period extended:

The last day for written comments is now February 13, 2015.

In order to allow additional time for the public to submit written testimony, the department has extended the comment period through and including February 13, 2015 (formerly January 27, 2015).

Rule caption: Adoption of Uniform Prescription Drug Prior Authorization Request Form

This new proposed permanent rule adopts requirements for payers to accept a uniform prescription drug prior authorization form. This requirement was established by the 2013 Legislative Assembly in Senate Bill 382 (SB 382). Acceptance of a uniform form by all payers in Oregon is expected to streamline and simplify requests for prior approval for prescription drugs prescribed by providers. The proposed rule applies to payers as defined in ORS 743.061.

For further information we invite you to visit our website at:


Oregon: Discretionary Clause Rule

This from the Oregon Insurance Department.

Discretionary Clause Rule comment period extended:

The last day for written comments is now February 13, 2015.

In order to allow additional time for the public to submit written testimony, the department has extended the comment period through and including February 13, 2015 (formerly January 27, 2015).

Rule Caption: Insurance Division Rulemaking to Establish Rules for the Use of Discretionary Clauses in Insurance Contracts

The Oregon Insurance Division recently filed the proposed rules regarding the above with the Secretary of State.

The proposed rule provides guidance for insurers and establishes limitations on the use of discretionary clauses in insurance contracts. The rule making is necessary to assure that insurance benefits are contractually guaranteed and avoid conflict of interest that may occur when contract wording gives the insurer sole discretion to determine payments or credits that are due.

For further information we invite you to visit our website at: http://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/insurance/legal/laws/Pages/rulemaking.aspx

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

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Accenture Survey: The Direct Sales Era & Independent Agents

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Accenture did an important and fascinating study of independent insurance agents and their new and main source of competition: direct sales online. The conclusion of the study outlines the importance of associations like your affiliate chapter of the PIA Western Alliance. Accenture Stragegys Michael Lyman said membership in something like the PIA and by banding together, you will have greater power than you would have on your own.

Agents need additional capabilities to compete in the future. By sharing investments, independent agents can benefit from economies of scale and cost-efficiently access a broad set of core operational capabilities such as agency [and] customer management solutions, which could help them improve efficiencies and take share from online competitors with more effective digital channels of their own, Lyman said.

Heres info on the study. It included 1,100 independent insurance agents. The study also notes that independent agents account for over half of the nations P&C insurance sales. The biggest threat from direct sales online according to 71% is lower prices. Another 48% said direct sales competitors had a brand name advantage and did a better job of marketing.

Erik Sandquist of Accenture said, Changing consumer behavior and the continued rise of the direct channel are threatening agents dominance of insurance distribution. So are new insurance players, with new distribution models, that are making a determined effort to entice customers away from agents. Leading independent agents will take advantage of innovative digital technologies and big data analytics to develop greater customer knowledge and insights, improve their ability to reach their target markets, and deliver a superior customer experience.

These are the top-10 most pressing concerns agents have from the surveys 12 priority areas:

  Retaining existing customers 7.4

  Better, more consistent, overall customer experience 6.6

  Servicing customers 6.6

  Access to competitive products 6.6

  Attracting new customers 6.1

  Carriers getting increased compensation 5.9

  Improved customer service capabilities 5.7

  Claims process quality and timeliness 5.4

  Web-based policy service and claims 5.4

  Underwriting appetite 5.2


Lyman analyzed the pressing concerns and said, It is understandable that they [agents and agencies] are focused on keeping existing customers, especially in light of capital constraints that make it challenging for most agencies to add sales capabilities to grow their business. New technologies can make agency operations more efficient, but they can also be used to create new digitally driven market opportunities to boost reach to new customers. The question is how to make these technologies both affordable and easy for agencies to use.

Another survey done by Accenture shows agents being surpassed by insurer websites and search engines. They have become the preferred source of insurance information and prices by consumers. Sandquist said agents surveyed downplayed their ability to provide superior advice and to market that as a competitive advantage.

And thats a mistake.

However, insurance consumers trust the advice provided by independent agents more than any other source. Independent agents are well positioned to understand customer needs, provide risk management advice, and recommend personalized and tailored solutions. Serving as an effective risk manager will increasingly require insights derived from the Internet of Things and big data, Sandquist said.

Again, this is where the power of a membership organization like the PIA comes into play. There is power in numbers and with the marketing tools available to you from the PIA, you can position yourself as an insurance expert to consumers.

And thats critical.

Here are a couple of other facts found in the survey. Accenture asked the 1,100 surveyed if they had additional staff how would they use them?


  Prospecting 5.1

  Cross-sell/up-sell 4.7

  Account reviews/ renewals 4.3

  Customer transaction/service processing 3.4

  Process streaming/ system integration 2.8

  Carrier relations 2.5

  Recruitment training 2.5

  Extend customer support hours 1.2


Another question from the study. How would you prioritize the following digital capabilities?


  Web-based service and claims 5.4

  Web-based quoting 4.8

  Digital marketing 3.5

  Mobile CRM capabilities 3.4

  Customer engagement via social media 3.0

  Mobile quote 3.0

  Mobile bind 2.5

  Mobile lead management capability 2.0


Source links: Insurance Networking News and PropertyCasualty360.com

Tags:  Accenture Survey: The Direct Sales Era & Independe  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Sales  Weekly Industry News 

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It’s official … or close to it: The hard market is over

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Richard Kerr of MarketScout was the first person to declare insurance had officially entered a hard market. He said it happened in November of 2011. While a lot of economic experts disagreed with Kerr at the time, most of us found the statement correct.

We enjoyed the good time but here we are 37-months later and Kerr has declared the hard market over. We are on a cusp of a soft market. Throughout 2014, the composite P&C rate slowly drifted towards renewing as expiring, and in December we finally hit that mark, he said.

Kerr thinks well see an entrenched soft market early this year. But it may not be as bad as you think. We don't expect the aggressive pricing that occurred in the last soft market cycle; however, smart companies will be prepared for a changing rate environment.

The positive in the decreases involves a positive economy and a forecast of economic growth for 2015. That means increased exposures and more insurer appetite. With that growth Kerr said independent insurance agents such as yourselves will enjoy increased revenues as their insureds grow.

That said, Kerr warns insurers and others in the industry to be prepared. If you budgeted for increases in rates in 2015, you best change that portion of your business plan now. We suggest planning for slight rate decreases beginning at the end of the first quarter and slowly increasing to a reduction of 4 to 5 percent by the end of 2015.

MarketScouts analysis is fueled by pricing surveys conducted by the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research.

Commercial rates were down on average in December by 1%. On one end employment practices liability rose 2%, and on the other commercial property and commercial auto dropped 2%.

Kerr said, The personal insurance market has been relatively stable in 2014 with rate increases ranging from 2% to 4%. We expect continued pricing stability in 2015 absent cataclysmic events.

In December homeowners rose 3% for homes valued at up to $1 million and those over a million saw prices jump 2%. Auto is up 2% and personal articles rose 1%.


Here is what MarketScout is reporting by coverage class:

  Commercial property flat or zero

  Business interruption flat or zero

  Inland marine flat or zero

  Workers Conversation flat or zero

  Fiduciary flat or zero

  Crime flat or zero

  Surety flat or zero

  General Liability up 1%

  Umbrella/excess up 1%

  Commercial auto up 1%

  BOP up 1%

  Professional liability up1%

  D&O up 1%

  EPLI up 2%


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

Tags:  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  It’s official … or close to it: The hard market is  marketInsurance Content  Weekly Industry News 

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State Regulation of Insurance: How Your State Rates

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Every year the free market think tank R Street Institute does an analysis of how insurance is regulated throughout the United States. Its titled the 2014 Insurance Regulation Report Card.

The PIA Western Alliance states of California, Montana and Washington are on the worst list. None of the nine PIA Western Alliance states made the very best list but five of them rank high.

R Streets Editor-in-Chief R.J. Lehmann authored the study. He said his organization believes in limited, effective and efficient government and is dedicated to an open and free insurance market [that] maximizes the effectiveness of competition and best serves consumers.

The report covers 12 areas of regulation including:

  Insurer solvency and how well it is monitored

  The policing of fraud

  Consumer complaint response

  The efficiency with which they spend insurance taxes and fees

  How competitive are home, auto and work comp markets are within the state

  How easy is it for insurers to adjust rates and do rating criteria as they want

  Transparency and politicization of the regulation of insurance is checked

  How willing is the state to employ cutting edge regulatory modernization


There is good news for regulators. Lehmann said, Reviewing the data on insurance in 2014, we see mostly stable trends in consumer and business freedom in state insurance markets.

He also concludes that states do a very good job on average of encouraging competition and making sure insurers are solvent. The down side is too many states have stultifying regulations that lead to inefficiencies and that stifle competition. Many are also way too slow on modernizing regulations.

That said, R Streets policy on insurance is this: In this context, that means states should regulate only those market activities where government is best-positioned to act; that they should do so competently and with measurable results; and that their activities should lay the minimum possible financial burden on policyholders, companies and, ultimately, taxpayers.

The report said the best regulated state in the nation is Vermont. It excels in consumer protection, politicization, a good environment for auto and homeowners, rate freedom and the clarity of regulation and the number of restrictions.

California got a failing grade because of its inflexible Proposition 13 regulatory system but it is North Carolina that got the lowest grade because of an inflexible rating bureau system.

As noted earlier, none of the PIA Western Alliance states are in the top-5. Heres that list:

1.    Vermont A+

2.    Tied for second Virginia, Illinois and Iowa A

3.    Tied for third are Maine, Utah, Ohio and Kentucky A-


The PIA Western Alliance states of California, Montana, Washington got an F, D- and a D+ respectively. Four of the PIA Western Alliance states got scores in the B+, B and B- range. They are Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico.

Here are all the PIA Western Alliance state grades:

State 2014 Grade
2013 Grade
 Alaska  C+  C  59.8  31
 Arizona  B  B  64.7  20
 California  F  D  44.2  50
 Idaho  B+  B-  67.4  9
 Montana  D-  D+  46.7  48
 Nevada  B  B  66  17
 New Mexico
 B  C  64  23
 Oregon  B  C  65.1  49
 Washington  D+  D  51.3  42

In addition to California, Montana and Washington, the states getting failing grades are:

  North Carolina


  New York







As a footnote, Lehmann said the report is not intended as a referendum on specific regulators. He added a score of F doesnt mean an insurance commissioner or regulator is inadequate any more than an A+ means theyre perfect.

Lehmann notes often state Legislatures control conditions in the insurance department as much as the regulator.


Source links: insurancejournal.com and the 2014 Insurance Regulation Report Card

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  State Regulation of Insurance: How Your State Rate  Weekly Industry News 

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Special Report: Insurance & Other Jobs in 2015

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bloombergs Consumer Comfort Index is now 43.6. Its up from 42.7.With a rise in eight of the last 10-weeks, the index is at its highest level since October of 2007. Employers it is said are hanging onto more workers and, in particular more seasonal workers.

Full and part-time workers are also feeling more confident.

Thats good news for those seeking work in the insurance industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said demand for insurance pros is up. The current prediction is insurance jobs will increase by 10% by 2022.

Thats close to the average for all occupations.

Insurance Business America did an analysis of the BLS statistics and uncovered the states where insurance jobs are most in demand. The PIA Western Alliance state of Arizona is number-one.

1. Arizona 37% growth and 600 new jobs

2. North Carolina 27% growth and 570 new jobs

3. Utah 27% growth and 170 new jobs

4. Florida 25% growth and 2,100 new jobs

5. Iowa 24% growth and 290 new jobs

6. Colorado 21% growth and 460 new jobs

7. Texas 17% growth and 2,050 new jobs

8. Delaware 17% growth and 50 new jobs

9. Wyoming 17% growth and 30 new jobs

10. Illinois 14% growth and 830 new jobs


Dr. Steven Weisbart the chief economist of the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) is most impressed with Arizonas statistics. The bursting of the housing bubble hit Arizona pretty hard and put a lot of people out of work. Their recovery from that burst would put them in a faster growth margin than other states that didnt suffer as badly.

Weisbart also said the huge numbers of people moving to the Southwest are doing so because of its warmer, drier climate. That also accounts for the impressive growth in Texas and Utah insurance jobs.

And as long as were looking at jobs, what are the best potential careers in the future? While none are insurance, some relate directly to the industry. Those jobs involve financial planning, management planning, security, technology and big data, areas where insurance jobs are growing.

Much of this information comes from a report done by Kiplinger online editor Stacy Rapacon and is gathered from information presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. She explains why financial advisor is a top-10 job, Once the economy got rockier in 2008, more people needed help with their finances. Plus, aging Baby Boomers need advice with or getting into retirement, and that has driven need for advisors.

She also explained how the bureau rates jobs. The BLS puts out employment projections every two years, and we look at the change of numbers for each job and the rate of change for each job. We also take into account the median income for each job and the typical educational requirement, Rapacon said.

The bureaus projection is always 10-years and it estimates job growth nationwide to be 10.8% in all occupations. The average salary will range from $22,670 to $56,860.

These are the top-10 jobs starting with number-one:

1. Health Specialties Professor

  10-year growth projection: 36.1%

  Annual salary range: $55,340 to $138,070

  Typical education: doctoral or professional degree


2. Financial Advisor

  10-year growth projection: 27.0%

  Annual salary range: $49,410 to $124,680

  Typical education: bachelor's degree


As Americans age and pensions become a thing of the past, the value of good investment advice will only grow. Overall, aging Baby Boomers is the big driver for this need. Plus, the job scores pretty low on the stress scale, which is a nice benefit, Rapacon said.


3. App Developer

  10-year growth projection: 22.8%

  Annual salary range: $72,290 to $116,630

  Typical education: bachelor's degree


This is a field that is also growing in importance for the insurance industry. Kiplingers report said, We are talking about the fact that these jobs involve mainly working with mobile technology, which is tied to the increasing use of mobile devices. We are all always using smart phones these days.


4. Information Security Analyst

  10-year growth projection: 36.5%

  Annual salary range: $67,120 to $113,100

  Typical education: bachelor's degree


This is another area of importance to insurance. With the increase in digital threats, businesses are looking to protect customer and business information. This is critical to healthcare and finance which are major targets of hackers.

Rapacon said, Information security analysts are like cyber-security specialist, but they specifically work on networks and not just online.


5. Management Consultant

  10-year growth projection: 18.6%

  Annual salary range: $59,360 to $106,950

  Typical education: bachelor's degree


Again, another area that is important to insurance. Larger firms need professionals who can help boost company efficiency, cuts costs where they can and help increase profits.

Rapacon said, They work on bigger-picture issues rather than things like store locations and price points. These consultants focus on how a business can move up or expand its client base, for instance.


6. Civil engineer

7. Physical therapist

8. Dental hygenist


9. Market Research Analyst

  10-year growth projection: 31.6%

  Annual salary range: $44,110 to $85,310

  Typical education: bachelor's degree


Another position that strongly relates to insurance. This career helps businesses improve relationships with clients and insurance is a client-based business and much of what we now do is based in big data. Rapacon said, Analysts are needed to deal with this and to crunch numbers that benefit businesses, which are looking for employees with a mathematical mindset and analytical thinking.


And last number 10 is brickmason

WalletHub the financial advisement website did a study of the best cities in which to find a job in 2015. Five are PIA Western Alliance cities. Three are in Arizona, one is found in California and the city of Seattle tops the list.

The WalletHub list is based on 16 key metrics including median monthly salary, unemployment rates for high school grads, employment growth and the affordability of housing. These are the top-10 Cities of the 150 measured starting with number-one:

1.    Seattle

2.    Des Moines, Iowa

3.    Gilbert, Arizona

4.    Sioux Falls, South Dakota

5.    Fremont, California

6.    Chandler, Arizona

7.    Omaha, Nebraska

8.    Salt Lake City, Utah

9.    Scottsdale, Arizona

10.  Plano, Texas


The same website also lists the worst places in the U.S. to try to find a job. Five of the cities are in the PIA Western Alliance states of California (4) and Arizona (1). Here they are starting from the bottom of list, number150:

150. San Bernardino, California

149. Moreno Valley, California

148. Detroit, Michigan

147. Hialeah, Florida

146. Memphis, Tennessee

145. Fresno, California

144. Modesto, California

143. Tucson, Arizona

142. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

141. Newark, New Jersey


Source links: PropertyCasualty360.com, PropertyCasualty360.com, PropertyCasualty360.com, IBAMag.com

Tags:  Employment  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Special Report: Insurance & Other Jobs in 2015  Weekly Industry News 

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