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Special Report: Mass Shootings & Insurance

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

After the mass shootings at the Walmart in El Paso and at the mall in Ohio, the question most on the most minds is how to stop the carnage.

These days most retailers — at least the bigger ones — have plans in place to deal with an active shooter. However, Pat Murphy of Houston, Texas security company LPT Security Consulting said employee turnover makes it hard to keep everyone trained.

“The majority have a plan, but the turnover in a store with any retailer is high,” he said. “The employee gets bombarded on their first day with a bunch of training material and how often that’s revisited, who knows?”

Greg Shaffer heads up Shaffer Security Group. He agrees with Murphy. Most of us — he said — learn to stop, drop and roll if we’re on fire but active shooter responses are a whole different story. And these shooters pose a much greater risk to employees and customers than a fire.

Shaffer said repetitive training is a must. The number of times training is done is even more critical when you consider seasonal employees and teens that only work during school breaks.

The two consultants pointed out that most retailers have written active shooter plans. They just don’t do enough training and drills. As for malls, most safety training is delegated to security companies but retailers don’t want the payroll burden of sending employees to training meetings set up by those companies.

Murphy said, “Some don’t take it seriously and that’s just the way it is,”Murphy said.

Shaffer agreed and noted, “In retail, turnover is so great that the communication and training becomes problematic. Under duress in certain situations, people will freeze in fear. Retailers need to train that out of them.”

He suggests since 86% of shooters come in through the main entrance, training should include the ID of exits, and training on how to help themselves, other employees and customers to get out safely. Shaffer also points out that — in addition to training — employers need to invest in active shooter alarms.

Those alarms need to have a distinctly different tone than fire alarms.

“We need to treat active shooter plans like we treated fire in the last few decades,” Shaffer said. “There are very few fires in America in retail establishments because we’ve been so effective with sprinkler systems and drills. We need to do the same for active shooter.”

Businesses also need to have active shooter insurance. It has available since 2011. Demand from 2011 until now has been hit or miss. It comes as no surprise that after the murders at a Walmart in El Paso and the mall killings in Ohio, interest is growing again.

If you don’t know — or aren’t sure — about what active shooter insurance does, Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) has outlined what it covers. She said it is a supplement to general liability insurance and covers medical expenses and funeral costs for victims, property damage and loss of business income.

“As violence grows in schools, malls, universities and other venues, insurers found that many of the standard liability policies in existence were written prior to the rise in mass shootings,” she said and pointed out that it is important for businesses to check their general liability policies because “some liability policies even exclude gun-related violence entirely.”

McGowan Program Administrators said it sold 120 active shooter policies in July of this year alone. It took a year for McGowan to sell that many in 2016.

Tarique Nageer runs terrorism placement for Marsh. He said, “Many clients like these policies because they offer you crisis management services, medical expense coverage, job retraining and relocation and other supplements you might not have under your other policies.”

Worters said — as most of you know — limits and premium rates vary based on the venue, location of the venue and the number of employees and visitors. “For example, universities can be hard to secure, and the high volume of people present daily increase the chance of an armed individual entering a facility unchallenged,” Worters said.

She also pointed out that, “[Insurance] Companies look for security in place: Are there armed guards? What is the distance to the nearest police and fire station? Does the organization have an emergency response plan?”

At the highest end, a business owner can get $100 million in coverage. Most are looking for around $1 million. For that amount a small business might pay $1,200 but a concert could end up being out $3,500 to $5,000.

Nageer said active shooter insurance doesn’t cover everything. Some policies will limit the number of casualties, others exclude certain weapons like something biological.


Some big businesses — like Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon — want Congress to do something. He is calling for an assault weapons ban and better background checks. It’s a bit ironic because Walmart — to the ire of many of its customers — sells close to 2% of the weapons purchased in the U.S. That puts it outside of the largest sellers, but Walmart does sell about 20% of the nation’s ammunition.

“We believe the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness in keeping weapons made for war out of the hands of mass murderers,” McMillon wrote as part of the company’s latest earnings report. “We must also do more to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior.”

He — and the company — want policies and background checks that take weapons out of the hands of those posing the most danger to the rest of us.

So do a lot of other large corporations. It appears mass shootings have become a potential investment risk. Or so says information from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This is part of a requirement that says companies must tell potential investors and current investors about risks that could impact operations and the firm’s financial security.

SEC requires companies to inform their investors about various risks that could impact the company’s operations and financial security.

Source links: CNBC, Insurance Journal — link 1, link 2, Insurance Business America

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Balancing Work & Life — Some of the Best Cities are in the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Health experts are focusing more and more on the balance between work and a personal life. There are good reasons as a couple of studies now report. One is from the Tokyo University of Science and was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

In that study, professor Hideo Noda said men have a higher elasticity than women when it comes to personal time and leisure time. This — he says — likely means work-life balance is more important to women than men.

A second report from the technology provider Kisi looked at the best cities internationally and in the U.S. for work-life balance. In its report, Kisi said, “With an ever-increasing burnout rate worldwide, self-care and time management are becoming higher priorities. This study was conducted in the hope that it will bring awareness to the multiple ways in which cities and countries can contribute to the overall happiness and well-being of the workforce.”

Here are the top-five cities in the U.S. for work-life balance. The top three are cities in the PIA Western Alliance states:

1. San Diego, California  — total score — 54.82 out of 100

Work intensity rank: 1

Society & institutions rank: 12

City livability rank: 3

  Vacation days taken: 9.7

  Paid maternal & patently leave days: 117

  Commuting one way: 25.7 minutes

  Access to mental health care score: 48

  Gender equality score: 70.4

  City stress score: 33.7

  Leisure score: 61.8

2. Portland, Oregon — total score — 51.52 out of 100

Work intensity rank: 13

Society & institutions rank: 4

City livability rank: 1

  Vacation days taken: 10.1

  Paid maternal & patently leave days: 0

  Commuting one way: 24.8 minutes

  Access to mental health care score: 49.7

  Gender equality score: 69.1

  City stress score: 37

  Leisure score: 80.5

3. San Francisco, California — total score — 51.02 out of 100

Work intensity rank: 11

Society & institutions rank: 2

City livability rank: 4

  Vacation days taken: 9.7

  Paid maternal & patently leave days: 117

  Commuting one way: 32.8 minutes

  Access to mental health care score: 50.9

  Gender equality score: 70.4

  City stress score: 40.1

  Leisure score: 81.5

The other two cities:

4. Minneapolis, Minnesota

5. New City, New York

Source link: PropertyCasualty360.com

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Age Bias — An Over 40 Problem

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Age discrimination is a growing problem. Over 20% of those over age 40 have reported being discriminated against because of their age. A large percentage of the 21% are men says specialty insurer Hiscox spokesman Patrick Mitchell. He heads up the firm’s management liability product line and warned company managers that they need to be careful with their hiring and promotion practices.

“Age discrimination in the workplace is an increasingly serious issue for businesses and employees as older generations continue to maintain their professional careers longer than their predecessors,” he said. “Discrimination of any kind brings serious reputational and financial risks to any business and can negatively impact a worker’s career trajectory.”

The 2019 Hiscox Ageism in the Workplace Study found that age 51 is the point where most older workers first encounter age discrimination in the workplace.

  21% say they have faced age discrimination

  Yet just 40% filed a charge or a complaint

  54% didn’t because of fear of creating a hostile work environment

  24% said they didn’t know how to file a complaint

Men and women in the study:

  Men are more likely to feel getting older harms their careers

  43% of men say they think age is a barrier to finding a new job after age 40

  30% of women feel that way

  40% of men say age caused career advancement to stall after they turned 40

  24% of women say that

Other findings from the study:

  51% of employees say they’ve seen age discrimination but did not report it

  62% did not speak out because of fear of retaliation from their employer

  80% experiencing age discrimination say it impacted their career’s trajectory

  43% say they left a company due to age discrimination or after witnessing age discrimination

  67% of those 65 and younger plan to work after age 66

  62% have not received any age discrimination training in the last year

What the Hiscox study didn’t note is the sources of age discrimination. Many experts believe it is mostly due to generational differences. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll bears that out.

Workers under age 50 — the survey shows — view the aging workforce as a negative development:

  40% of those 18 to 49 view the aging workforce as a bad thing for America

  44% of those 18 to 29 believe the same thing

  Just 14% of those over age 60 think it’s a problem

Moody’s Analytics senior economist Adam Ozimek suggests that older workers are viewed as slowing down productivity and impacting wage growth. That’s the view but the evidence is something entirely different.

Ashton Applewhite is an aging activist out of New York. Older workers are not — he said — holding back younger workers. “In anxious times, we look for scapegoats. And old people are a ready scapegoat, especially if you are forced out of having a public presence or are forced (out of a job).”


Source link: Insurance Journal

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Solving the Problem of Robocalls — NOT!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Billions of robocalls are made in this country every year. That is — yes — billions with a capital B. Most are facilitated by small telecom carriers. They transmit them over the Internet.

That makes them even harder for to track for those doing battle in the robocall trenches.

They have no idea how to stop them and the jurisdictions trying to stop them disagree on the few suggestions being made to get the job done. Part of the problem is the income these small telecom carriers make from this service.

At a penny a call they earn millions based on volume.

USTelecom senior vice president Patrick Halley said the larger carriers have larger earnings so these calls aren’t a huge revenue source. “There are definitely repeat offenders who keep showing up as the sources of illegal robocalls,” he said. “Carriers that knowingly allow the origination of billions of illegal robocalls should be held accountable.”

So what to do about them? There’s the rub. As many of you know, rulings have been made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have attacked robocalls. The latest allows carriers to block such calls before they reach our phones. That ruling, however, isn’t real clear and doesn’t require carriers to try and differentiate between a legal and illegal robocall.

Yes, there are legal robocalls.

They are things like banks trying to let you know about a data breach. When they become illegal is when scammers use robocalls to try to get consumers to send money or personal information to them under false pretenses.

Or they can be dinged for making calls late at night which is against the legal robocalling rules.

Data service firm TNS inc. said just 13% of the calls being flagged as high risk come from major telecommunication carriers like AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile. It says — as just noted — most come from those small companies that are now being identified by USTelecom.

Since robocallers — legal or illegal — use similar technology, the smaller carriers claim it’s also hard for them to differentiate between a legal and an illegal robocall. That doesn’t matter to the FCC. It sent notice to eight small carriers and Internet-based calling companies to cooperate better in stopping illegal robocalls.

They — says The Wall Street Journal — have cut ties with those companies and shut down their suspected fraud calls.


Source link: The Wall Street Journal

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Surplus Lines — Huge Growth in First Half 2019

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas (SLTX) just released its first half of 2019 report for 15 excess and surplus lines stamping offices. Premiums hit $17.9 billion in 2019 mid-year. That is a 12.68% jump over 2018.

Translated that means 14 of the 15 service offices say they saw premium increases and 13 said they had policy filing increases.

Four of the PIA Western Alliance states — Arizona, California, Idaho and Oregon — were among those with the highest E&S premium increases:

  Arizona — 21.2%

  California — 18.2%

  Idaho — 15.7%

  Oregon — 11.1%

The other top-five states:

  Minnesota — 24.6%

  North Carolina — 18.9%

The one state seeing a slight premium decrease is the PIA Western Alliance state of Nevada. It saw a drop of 1.49%.

XLTX CEO Norma Essary said the modest drop in E&S policies is being attributed to timing and filing differences for agents and brokers.

“The slight reductions are not significant enough to be of concern; however, overall, the mid-year report from our business partners and peers support a number of different factors, all of which include robust state economies, consumer driven need (buyers & risk managers), expanded capacity of the surplus lines market, and a major reason – rate increases,” she said.


Source link: Insurance Business America

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Alaska — From the Division of Insurance: Notice of Proposed Changes on Credit for Reinsurance, Internal Audit Functions, Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure, and Medicare Supplement Insurance in the Regulations of the Division of Insurance

Additional:  Accreditation Regulations – Additional Regulations Notice Information (AS 44.62.190(d))

The Division of Insurance proposes to change regulations on Credit for Reinsurance and Audit Committees based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Credit for Reinsurance Model Regulations 786, Annual Financial Reporting Model Regulations 205, Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Regulations 306, and based on changes from the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (“MACRA”).

You may comment on the proposed regulations changes, including the potential costs to private persons of complying with the proposed changes, by submitting written comments to the Division of Insurance; Attention: David Phifer; 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1560, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3567; by e-mail to david.phifer@alaska.gov; or by fax to (907) 269-7910, and by electronic mail at insurance@alaska.gov. Comments may also be submitted through the Alaska Online Public Notice System, by accessing this notice on the system and using the comment link. The comments must be received no later than 5:00pm on September 28, 2019.

Oral or written comments also may be submitted at a hearing to be held on September 18, 2019, in Conference Room 1560, at the Atwood Building, 550 West Seventh Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska and in Conference Room B on the ninth floor of the State Office Building, located at 333 Willoughby Ave., Juneau, Alaska. The hearing will be held from 3 PM to 4 PM and might be extended to accommodate those present before 4 PM who did not have an opportunity to comment. If you are unable to attend the meeting in person and would like to participate by teleconference, please call 1-800-315-6338 and enter the access code 42070 followed by #.

You may submit written questions relevant to the proposed action to the Division of Insurance; Attention: David Phifer; 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1560, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3567. The questions must be received at least 10 days before the end of the public comment period. The Division of Insurance will aggregate its response to substantially similar questions and make the questions and responses available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System and agency website.

If you are a person with a disability who needs a special accommodation in order to participate in this process, please contact Sian Ng-Ashcraft at sian.ng-ashcraft@alaska.gov or (907) 269-7892 not later than September 8, 2019, to ensure that any necessary accommodations can be provided.

A copy of the proposed regulations changes is available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System and is available on the division's website at https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/ins/Resources/Notices.aspx and by contacting Jackson Willard at jackson.willard@alaska.gov.

A copy of material proposed for adoption by reference is available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System or though the Division of Insurance’s website.

After the public comment period ends, the Division of Insurance will either adopt the proposed regulation changes or other provisions dealing with the same subject, without further notice, or decide to take no action. The language of the final regulation may be different from that of the proposed regulation. You should comment during the time allowed if your interests could be affected. Written comments received are public records and are subject to public inspection.

Notice:  https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/11/Pub/INS_Notice_2019.08.pdf

Additional Notice Information: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/11/Pub/INS_Notice_Addtl_2019.08.pdf

Regulatory Order R19-03:  Order Exempting Air Ambulance Membership Agreements from the Filing Requirements of AS 21.42.120

The Director of the Division of Insurance Hereby Orders:

An air ambulance membership agreement covering Alaska residents is exempt from the filing requirements of AS 21.42.120 until further notice. This exemption applies to air ambulance membership agreements issued by air ambulance service providers specified in AS 21.61. The exemption does not apply to insurance for medevac coverage through an insurer or entity other than an air ambulance service provider. This exemption is not applicable to the registration requirements under 3 AAC 31.600 – 3 AAC 31.690.

Nothing in this order may be construed to prevent the director from requiring a form that is otherwise exempt from filing under this order to be filed with the director.

Any filings currently under review on the date this order is effective are not subject to filing and will be returned.

Regulatory Order R19-03:  https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/11/Pub/INS_R19-03.pdf

Bulletin B19-10:  Rate, Rule, and Form Filing Procedures and Effective Dates  (supersedes bulletins B05-09 and B95-03 as they relate to property, casualty, and title insurance.)

To:  Admitted Insurers Writing Property and Casualty or Title Business in the State of Alaska and other Interested Parties

This bulletin provides guidance related to filing requirements for certain rate, rule, and form filings; it is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be an exhaustive interpretive analysis of all applicable statutes or regulations. Please review Alaska’s insurance laws in their entirety to assure your compliance when submitting rate, rule, and form filings in this state.

This bulletin applies to rate and rule filings that are required to be filed per Alaska Statute (AS) 21.39.040 or AS 21.66.370 and form filings required to be filed per AS 21.42.120 (for kinds of insurance identified in AS 21.12.060 through 110) or AS 21.66.450, except it does not apply to:

Workers compensation filings that are subject to AS 21.39.043.

Title rate filings that are subject to AS 21.66.370(e).

Filings containing rates, rules, or forms that will be issued only to commercial risks that meet the definition and eligibility in regulation 3 AAC 29.545. (See AS 21.39.040(k) and AS 21.42.120(a), 3 AAC 29.500-550, and B05-06)

Filings subject to Orders issued under AS 21.39.040(f) or AS 21.42.120(d) or to any regulations that specifically alter the filing requirements to the extent those Orders or regulations conflict with the guidance and interpretation in this Bulletin.

Regulations applicable to filing procedures for Forms, Rates, Manuals, Rating Plans, and Rules are in regulations 3 AAC 31.200 – 299. Presently, additional information regarding filing procedure requirements can also be found within the instructions and rules in SERFF and the Rate & Form Filing section of our website.

If you have questions regarding this bulletin, please contact the Division of Insurance, P.O. Box 110805, Juneau, AK 99811-0805; (907) 465-2515; or via email at insurance@alaska.gov.

Bulletin B19-10:  https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/11/Pub/INS_B19-10.pdf

Bulletin B19-11:  NIPR Mobile App: All of your insurance licensing information at your fingertips

In June of 2018, the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) released their new mobile application, “NIPR Mobile. NIPR Mobile utilizes NIPR’s Producer Database (PDB) to provide all of your insurance licensing information directly to your mobile device.

Now, any Alaska licensee can use the app to view your license number, license expiration date, lines of authority, name and address information on file with the Division of Insurance, as well as other license details. You can even subscribe to receive renewal notification reminders directly to your mobile device.

NIPR Mobile can be downloaded for free by searching for “NIPR Mobile” in the Apple or Google Play App Store.

You can learn more about NIPR Mobile at: nipr.com/nipr_mobile.htm

If you have any other licensing questions, please contact the Alaska Division of Insurance by telephone at (907) 465-2515, or online at: insurance.Alaska.Gov

Bulletin B19-11: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/11/Pub/INS_B19-11.pdf


California — The 20-year Battle with Mercury Insurance Concludes: The California Supreme Court denied a petition for review by Mercury Insurance Company thereby letting stand a $27.6 million fine the Department of Insurance imposed on Mercury for charging illegal fees in violation of Proposition 103. The fine is the largest in the Department’s history against a property and casualty insurer.

In 2015, the Commissioner fined Mercury $27.6 million for charging consumers unapproved and unfairly discriminatory rates. Despite being advised for years by the Department of Insurance not to do so, Mercury continued to allow its auto insurance agents to charge consumers $50 to $150 in illegal fees on top of the premium the Department approved. Proposition 103, passed by the voters in 1988, prevents auto insurers from charging excessive rates and requires that rates be approved by the Commissioner.

“Since Proposition 103 was enacted, Mercury has looked for ways to evade the Insurance Commissioner’s regulation of its rates,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “The Department repeatedly told Mercury to stop this scheme, where Mercury implied its agents were brokers working for the consumers, but Mercury refused to do so. This is a victory for consumers that sends a message to insurers that they cannot circumvent Proposition 103’s consumer protection laws in an effort to increase their profits and that the Department will stay the course -- even if it takes twenty years -- to penalize insurers for illegal conduct.”

Under the scheme, Mercury illegally labeled its “agents” as “brokers,” implying that they worked for the consumers rather than Mercury, and allowed them to charge and collect unapproved fees on more than 180,000 transactions from 1999 to 2004, improperly collecting at least $27,593,562 from consumers. The scheme created a major incentive for Auto Insurance Specialists (AIS), Mercury’s largest independent agent, to place virtually all of its policies with Mercury to the exclusion of other insurers, and resulted in different Mercury customers paying different amounts for the same policy, depending on what the agent charged in fees.

During this time, AIS placed approximately 90 of its California automobile business with Mercury, nearly doubling the placed premium from $225 million in 1999 to $400 million in 2003 and 2004, premium that other insurers might have received if Mercury had complied with the law.

“Part of my responsibility as Insurance Commissioner is to ensure a vibrant insurance marketplace which requires all companies to obey the rating laws so no company gets an unfair advantage over the others. And here that advantage came at the expense of consumers who were charged unfairly discriminatory rates for their insurance,” added Commissioner Lara.



Lincoln County and incorporated communities have new FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps that will take effect on October 18, 2019. As a result of these new maps taking effect, many residents may reach out to local insurance agents, for information regarding flood insurance. Flood Insurance is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and through some private insurance companies. DLCD and FEMA Region X are holding flood insurance workshops for local insurance agents and other interested parties on August 27, 2019, in Newport Oregon, to assist local agents by providing NFIP training.

Scott Van Hoff, Senior Flood Insurance Specialist for FEMA Region X, will be presenting information on the National Flood Insurance Program via two separate insurance workshops, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each workshop will last for two hours and the same information will be covered at both (agents only need to attend one of the two workshops), for more details see the schedule below. There will also be an opportunity for agents to drop-in and ask questions or discuss matters informally between the two sessions.


The following topics will be covered at each of the two (2) hour flood insurance workshops:

  What changes in FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) means for insurance agents

  Writing Flood Insurance Policies

  Identifying the most beneficial premium/coverage

  Grandfathering policies

  Newly mapped policies

  Determining the lowest floor

  Type of rating with an Elevation Certificate and without an Elevation Certificate

All of these topics will be covered during each of the two sessions. So pick the session that works best for you and come learn more.


Date: August 27, 2019

Location: City of Newport Council Chambers, Newport City Hall, 169 SW Coast Hwy, Newport, OR 97365


Flood Insurance Workshop A*:  9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Drop-in Informal Question/Answer time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Noon)

Flood Insurance Workshop B*: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

*Please note, the same information will be covered at each of the two workshops, so each participant need only attend one workshop.


Celinda Adair, NFIP Coordinator, OR DLCD, celinda.adair@state.or.us, 503-934-0069

Lisa Phipps, North Coast Regional Representative, OR DLCD, lisa.phipps@state.or.us    

Oregon — 2019-20 Partner Agent Grantees have been Selected: Congratulations to the following agencies, which have been selected to participate in the 2019-20 Partner Agent Program for plan year 2020. These agencies have been awarded grants to help the Marketplace serve communities throughout the state, reaching and enrolling Oregonians in coverage.

Grantees were judged on multiple criteria, including their demonstrated ties to community networks, ability to reach underserved populations, and capacity to serve consumers whether they are eligible for HealthCare.gov plans or other programs, such as the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare.

Aaron Burns Insurance , Eugene

Abel Insurance, Newport, Florence, Coos Bay and Gold Beach

Bancorp Insurance, La Pine

Boone Insurance Associates, Eugene

Cascade Insurance Center, Bend

Chehalem Insurance, Newberg

Country Insurance, Sisters

FG Insurance, Portland, Forest Grove

Gordon Wood Insurance, Roseburg

Grace Insurance, Portland

Hagan Hamilton, McMinnville, Newberg, Junction City, Sheridan

HE Cross Company, Portland

Health Insurance Place, Grants Pass

Health Plans in Oregon, Portland, Beaverton

Healthwise Insurance, Portland, Beaverton

Healthy, Wealthy & Wise, Tualatin, Tigard

High Desert Insurance, Bend

Hillock Insurance Agency, Enterprise

Hudson Insurance, Tillamook

iCover Oregon, Albany

Insurance Lounge, Medford, Grants Pass, Portland

Insurance Marketplace, Medford

Klamath Financial Group, Klamath Falls

Linda Dugan Insurance, Astoria

Matthew Woodbridge, Salem and Woodburn

Pacific View Financial, Salem

Pfaff-Karren Insurance, Independence, Monmouth

Premier NW Insurance, Oregon City, Salem, Sandy

RJS & Associates, Philomath, Corvallis

Strategic Planning and Insurance, Hood River, The Dalles

Tomlin Benefit Planning, Eugene

Valley Insurance, LaGrande

WHA Insurance Agency, Wilsonville

CMS Plan Year 2020 Registration and Training is live

If you have not already done so, please complete the plan year 2020 agent registration and training at your earliest convenience. Agents and brokers must access training via the CMS Enterprise Portal. Log in to the CMS Enterprise Portal or create an account to get started.

When you have completed the training you can confirm your registration using the Registration Completion List.

For assistance with registration and training, contact the Agent/Broker Email Help Desk at FFMProducer-AssisterHelpDesk@cms.hhs.gov.

Medicare agent listings on our "Find local help" locator tool

Many Oregon insurance agents are listed in the "find help" directory on OregonHealthCare.gov. If you want yourself listed as a Medicare agent in the directory, follow the process listed here. The process includes submitting specific documentation and participating in a short webinar and test.

Being designated a Medicare agent in the directory is optional, so only those agents choosing that type of listing are required to participate in the Medicare process. If you do not participate, however, your listing on the locator tool will say nothing about Medicare assistance.

Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace




Washington — Motorcycle Insurance: Motorcyclists are now required to carry liability insurance. That requirement took effect on July 28th and now leaves just three that no longer let motorcyclists go without liability insurance. Those three states are Florida, New Hampshire and Montana.

Those with motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and speciality horseless carriages at least 40-years old are still exempt.

Source link: Chinook Observer


Washington — From the Office of the Commissioner: Revise WACS concerning SERFF General Filing Instructions stakeholder draft posted

We released a stakeholder draft for the Revise WACS concerning SERFF General Filing Instructions rule (R 2019-06).

We scheduled a stakeholder meeting to discuss the rule:

When: August 30, 2019, at 3:00 p.m.

Where: OIC Tumwater office - 5000 Capitol Blvd SE, Tumwater WA 98501

Directions to the Tumwater office.

There is no call-in option.

Please submit comments by August 30 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 text of the stakeholder draft, please visit the rule's webpage — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/revise-wacs-concerning-serff-general-filing-instructions-r2019-06?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

Technical Corrections for Producer Accounting Systems stakeholder draft posted

We released a stakeholder draft for the Technical Corrections for Producer Accounting Systems rule (R 2019-08).

Comments on the stakeholder draft are due August 23, 2019; please send them 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 text of the stakeholder draft, please visit the rule's webpage — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/technical-corrections-producer-accounting-systems-r-2019-08?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

Balance Billing Protection Act implementation -- arbitrators

Section 8 of the Balance Billing Protection Act (Chapter 427, Laws of 2019) directs the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) to develop a list of approved arbitrators or entities that provide arbitration for use by parties involved in balance billing disputes. The act calls for arbitrators to preside over disputes between health care providers, facilities and carriers.

OIC is seeking stakeholder input on the minimum qualifications of arbitrators for inclusion on the OIC list, and the processes to implement section 8 of the act.

Please submit comments by Aug. 30 to the OIC 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, please visit the Surprise Medical Billing web page — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/surprise-medical-billing?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=


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Special Report: Liberty Mutual, Safeco & the Millennial Myth

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Liberty Mutual and Safeco millennials are getting a bad rap. A lot of us say they’re lazy, lack loyalty and has zip for an attention span. And they don’t work as hard as generations past.

When it comes to insurance that attention span comes into play. The myth — says Liberty Mutual and Safeco — is that they don’t do much research and simply buy the cheapest insurance as easily as possible.

Liberty Mutual Business Lines and Safeco Insurance decided to see if any of this is true and checked with a group of millennials. What they found contradicts the myth that millennials are lazy, disloyal and can’t pay attention. But the insurer focus — says Tyler Asher who heads up independent agent distribution for both companies — is insurance.

Here are the survey’s conclusions:

  There are 73 million millennials in the U.S.

  45% of millennials own a house

  80% own a car



1. Millennials are more likely than older generations to buy insurance online. But half say they purchase exclusively through an agent.


2. Millennials are not more price-focused than baby boomers and Generation X. They have similar priorities and look for the most comprehensive coverage.


3. Millennials want agents to be seasoned insurance professionals who will help them understand insurance. The goal is to become a more informed consumer.


4. Millennials are more likely to do research and connect with agents via digital channels like online reviews and social media. Even though the contact is different, they still value the input of an expert advisor.


Purchasing factors:

  52% want the most comprehensive coverage for a good price

  49% want an agent with a reputation for good service

  36% like an easy purchase process

  50% want to understand their coverage completely

  40% price compare and want quotes from different, competing companies

  31% want the lowest price even if it is just a basic policy


And most importantly for the independent insurance agents of the PIA Western Alliance:

  80% want an agent to help them understand insurance


Here's what they want to know about insurance:

  58% want to know how the coverage they purchase works

  50% want to know what to expect if they have a claim

  40% want to know the unique features of their policy

  33% want to manage their policy online

  31% want additional products and services that are relevant to them

  29% want safety and loss prevention tips and tricks


Here's how millennials and other generations choose one agent over another:

Positive online reviews:

  Millennials — 43%

  Generation X — 35%

  Baby boomers — 25%


Represent a well-known company

  Millennials — 41%

  Generation X — 44%

  Baby boomers — 59%


Convenient location

  Millennials — 34%

  Generation X — 47%

  Baby boomers — 50%


Social media engagement

  Millennials — 28%

  Generation X — 10%

  Baby boomers — 3%


Modern website

  Millennials — 24%

  Generation X — 17%

  Baby boomers — 11%


Availability of an online chat

  Millennials — 19%

  Generation X — 12%

  Baby boomers — 5%


Nice-looking storefront

  Millennials — 15%

  Generation X — 7%

  Baby boomers — 3%


The ideal characteristics of an agent


Inspire trust

  Millennials — 50%

  Generation X — 47%

  Baby boomers — 62%


Be a seasoned insurance professional

  Millennials — 49%

  Generation X — 55%

  Baby boomers — 73%


Make a point to get to know me

  Millennials — 29%

  Generation X — 33%

  Baby boomers — 40%


Be a go-getter

  Millennials — 21%

  Generation X — 19%

  Baby boomers — 10%


Be tech-savvy

  Millennials — 19%

  Generation X — 18%

  Baby boomers — 10%


Be involved in the community

  Millennials — 15%

  Generation X — 11%

  Baby boomers — 9%


Be close to my age

  Millennials — 9%

  Generation X — 4%

  Baby boomers — 1%

Looking more deeply at the survey, Asher said it’s obvious millennials have the same insurance buying habits as older generations. And they are also not as price-focused as we tend to think. Millennials seem to like independent insurance agents and the choice and advice offered them. They also like how easy it is to work with an independent agent.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about millennials in the market. Our research showed us that price is a key purchasing factor for consumers of all ages, not just millennials,” Asher said. “In fact, 52% of millennials said they want the most comprehensive coverage for a good price. That’s a pretty common misconception that we dispelled through the survey.”

In other words, Asher says millennials not only want to be properly covered but they want the advice that only an independent agent can give. That took Asher to the survey’s second conclusion: millennials want to be better-informed insurance consumers.

“The survey found overall that millennials want to be well-informed and they want to understand all the coverages they have and how to use them. This desire stems from millennials tending to get married later, having deferred home ownership, and so having generally less experience with insurance,” he said. “To highlight that, 52% of baby boomers described themselves as insurance savvy compared to only 34% of millennials, which means there’s a great opportunity for agents to really drive consumer education through this demographic.”

Asher noted that millennials — at least the ones responding to the survey — are a little more worried about risks in the future and all life’s little what-ifs than their baby boomer grandparents. This — Asher says — is a positive for the independent agent.

He said millennials tend to see the world much differently than other generations. They have concerns, want to talk through them and look at those disconcerting what-ifs. To do that they need an independent agent to explain how things work.

“When it comes to the ‘what if’ scenarios, we think that’s a great opportunity for agents to communicate with real-life claim examples,” Asher pointed out. “Using a major hailstorm as an example, an agent can walk a client through their coverage, explain how the claims process would work, and talk them through some really tangible examples of things that could happen. Obviously, agents don’t want the conversation to be too negative, but if a client is concerned about those ‘what if’ worst-case scenarios, it’s a great opportunity for agents to step through specific examples.”

The last myth busted by Liberty Mutual and Safeco is that millennials only want to work with others their age. As you saw in the statistics, just 9% of those responding said they want their agent to be their age. What they want is a “season professional” and “someone they can trust.”

Those are two terms used most by the millennials that took the survey. 

“Millennials are really looking for that expert advice given their relative insurance inexperience,” he concluded. “From my standpoint, to attract younger consumers, an agent’s ability to really listen, educate, and talk through some of those ‘what if’ stressful scenarios is a great opportunity.”


Source links: Liberty Mutual / Safeco Survey, Insurance Business America

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California Commissioner Lara Under Fire

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Commissioner Ricardo Lara

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is under fire. At issue is a matter before the department that are pending and the other has to do with decisions made by an administrative judge that have been compromised by Lara.

First up is the sale of Applied Underwriters — a Berkshire Hathaway company — to its president Steve Menzies. He wants to move the company’s headquarters to the Cayman Islands. To sell the firm, the California Department of Insurance must approve.

It is a meeting that Lara had with Menzies that jump started the issue and leads to the heart of the controversy.

It involves a work comp case involving Menzies company Applied Underwriters. Two companies say they are going to file suit to overturn decisions by Lara and say his decision was swayed by the contributions to his 2020 campaign.

That takes us to Consumer Watchdog. The group alleges the commissioner took campaign contributions from people connected to Applied Underwriters and Independence Holding Company. The consumer organization has asked the California Department of Insurance for public records relating to Lara’s meetings with those representatives.

The commissioner has since agreed to return the close to $54,000.

A writ of administrative mandamus — an appeal to a court to review and reverse the decision of an administrative agency — has been filed by Oceanside Laundry and RDB Builders. They participated in the EquityComp workers’ compensation program — a three-year reinsurance-based, loss-sensitive work comp program — offered up by Applied.

It included a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA).

The California Department of Insurance declared them illegal because there are no rate filings for them. Lara originally agreed with the judge’s decision that the RPAs are illegal. Later — and where the controversy began — he decided to required the companies to pay the rates of a standard policy instead of the higher rates of the EquityComp program.

The change of mind — the companies allege — came after the Menzies meeting and after the controversial campaign donations.

The two companies claim they were lied to by Applied and say they overpaid when a standard workers’ compensation policy would have cost less and done the job. The companies want refunds.

Their attorney Larry Lichtenegger said if Lara’s decision — which forces them to pay for a standard policy or whatever Applied says is owed them — is left in place then his clients will be out hundreds of thousands of dollars they shouldn’t have to pay. He also contends it is not proper — and maybe even legal — for a commissioner to do other than what a judge says should be done with its decision.

Applied adamantly contends this shouldn’t be a problem and that it didn’t benefit from Lara’s decision. In fact, Applied’s lawyer says a writ will be filed on the issue. What the writ will be he wouldn’t say.

Lichtenegger’s writ for RDB Builders says, “Petitioners allege that on or about April 17, 2019, the Commissioner received campaign contributions totaling $53,000 from associates of Respondents intended to influence his decisions in matters effecting Respondents ongoing litigation before the Commissioner.”

The California Department of Insurance has no comment and says it can’t comment on ongoing litigation. It did say — though — that it is reviewing the sale of Applied to Menzies.


Source link: Insurance Journal

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AIG Delivers — An Underwriting Profit Guaranteed for 2019

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 13, 2019

We’ve all followed the financial and political downfall of AIG. Once one of the world’s biggest, and most successful insurance companies, the firm plunged into ignominy when its credit default swap crisis threatened the world’s economy.

The U.S. federal government was forced to bail the company out with a $180 billion loan.

From there it has been close to a soap opera. CEO after CEO and board after board could not put the proverbial Humpty Dumpty back together again. Current AIG President and CEO Brian Duperreault has finally managed some major progress.

After over a decade of losses — and upon Duperreault’s promise — AIG’s General Insurance unit will see an underwriting profit for 2019. The reason for the current crowing is because it’s the second quarter in the row.

AIG’s P&C division earned $147 million in underwriting profit for the second quarter compared to an $89 million loss a year ago. In the first quarter General Insurance grabbed a $179 million underwriting profit. So things seem to be cooking.

“General Insurance achieved its second consecutive quarter of underwriting profitability resulting from underwriting and expense discipline, and reinsurance actions, and remains on track to deliver an underwriting profit for the full year,” Duperreault said.

The combined ratio looks good, too. It hit 97.8 in the second quarter compared to 101.3 last year.

The rest of the news is good as well. AIG — overall — managed $1.1 billion in net income in the second quarter. That’s a large leap over the $937 million in the second quarter last year.

Duperreault said the company’s overall results are from foundational changes implemented to assure growth and stability. “Our strong second quarter performance demonstrated continued positive momentum through the first half of 2019,” Duperreault said. “The additional progress on our path to long-term sustainable and profitable growth reflected in this quarter’s results was driven by the foundational changes we implemented across AIG last year.”


Source link: Insurance Journal

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Worry about Workers

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) said on-the-job injuries are now being linked to a high-percentage of drug-related deaths and suicide. This comes from a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in July.

The study focused on workers’ compensation data from the PIA Western Alliance state of New Mexico. It looked at 100,806 workers injured in the state from 1994 to 2000. That data includes Social Security earnings and mortality data through 2013 and information from the National Death Index cause-of-death stats.

*** Weekly Industry News was surprised to find that there’s actually a National Death Index. The federal government apparently tracks all deaths. Are you surprised one exists?

The researchers at the NIOSH include Les Boden who a Boston-based professor. He said occupational injuries of women who took more than a week off had a 193% jump in the risk of drug-related deaths category, and a 92% rise in suicide.

For men, a lost-time injury saw a 29% hike in the risk of drug-related deaths and a 72% increase of risk of suicide.

The NIOSH also points out that injured workers have a higher chance of an alcohol-related deaths. That number is there but not statistically significant.

An earlier study showed injured workers have higher rates of opioid use and depression than the average person.


Source link: Business Insurance

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