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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By staff reporter, Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Around the PIA Western Alliance 

Arizona


Uber Crash Lawsuit: Last year Elaine Herzberg was hit and killed by an autonomous vehicle owned by Uber. The suit isn’t against Uber, but against the city of Tempe.

Herzberg’s husband and daughter each want $5 million in damages and say the city of Tempe created a dangerous situation when it installed a brick pathway across the median where people aren’t supposed to be crossing.

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

 

Idaho

From the Idaho Department of Insurance

A tip from a social media post helped lead to an insurance fraud conviction for a Bingham County resident.  Danielle Collins was sentenced in Bingham County District Court last week after pleading guilty to one count of insurance fraud following an investigation conducted by the Idaho Department of Insurance.

In court proceedings, Collins admitted to purchasing car insurance after damaging her vehicle.  She was placed on three years of supervised probation by Judge Darren B. Simpson and ordered to pay $800 in fines, $245 in court costs, $500 to the Public Defender’s office, and $536 in restitution to the DOI.  She also must complete 100 hours of community service.

Court records show Collins purchased an auto policy through Progressive Insurance on August 25, 2017.  Three days later she submitted a claim for an accident in which her vehicle sustained damage to its front end and both driver’s side tires.  However, Progressive officials discovered a Facebook post dated days prior to the reported date of the accident and claim submission in which Collins asked her friends and followers, “Who gets not one but two flat tires?? Meeee!!  The social media gaffe helped DOI investigators close the case against Collins.

“This is an example of how insurance fraud comes in all shapes and sizes,” said Director Dean Cameron.  “I’m proud of the work of our investigators because every case of fraud, no matter how big or small, adds up and becomes costly for all Idaho consumers.”

 

Medicare Workshop to be Offered in Idaho Falls

A free Medicare Workshop for individuals turning 65 and those approaching Medicare eligibility will be held Thursday, February 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Idaho Falls Senior Center, 535 W. 21st St., Idaho Falls.  Caregivers and all those interested in learning how Medicare works are encouraged to attend.

The workshop will be led by Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), a unit of the Idaho Department of Insurance.  SHIBA presenters will introduce the various parts of Medicare and explain some of the vocabulary associated with the program. 

Topics to be covered include:

 

  Timeframes for enrolling in Medicare

  Enrollment periods for Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans

  How the different parts of Medicare work together – and when they don’t

 

To register for the workshop, please contact the SHIBA Helpline at 1-800-247-4422.

 

Montana

Minimum Wage

Montana Democrat Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell of Helena wants the state’s minimum wage to go up from $8.50 an hour to $15. If her bill — HB 345 — gets passed, the wage will go to $12 an hour on July 1st of this year, and rise to $15 on July 1st in 2020.

The AFL-CIO and the Montana Federation of Public Employees and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry are supporting the bill.

Opposing the bill is the Montana Retail Association and the Montana Restaurant Association.

Source link: Independent Record

 

Oregon

Marijuana Audit

An audit done by the secretary of state’s office has found the inspections conducted in Oregon’s marijuana industry and not up to speed. The state says the testing system is weak and threatens consumers with contaminants.

Just 3% of the retailers have been inspected and just one-third of the state’s marijuana growers. Also — the report said — marijuana regulators are not doing much to address the black market sales.

However, so far, the legal pot market has generated $207 million in taxes for the state coffers.

 

Oregon’s Innovation Hub

The Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Division of Financial Regulation has opened its Innovation Hub to help insurance, financial, and technology companies bring innovative products, services, and tools to Oregonians.

Experts, thought leaders, and businesses are encouraged to visit dfr.oregon.gov/innovation to connect with the division’s Innovation Liaison and learn more about Oregon’s Innovation Hub.

“We want to engage and collaborate with businesses that are poised to leverage technology in a way that will benefit Oregonians.” said Andrew Stolfi, division administrator. “The Innovation Hub is here to help the businesses we regulate deliver emerging products, and services to Oregon consumers.”

The Innovation Liaison helps companies navigate regulatory guidelines in a way that enables new technology flourish within the state. The liaison helps the division develop and maintain a structure that that can adapt to innovation both now and in the future.

For more information or to connect with the Innovation Liaison visit dfr.oregon.gov/innovation

 

 

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  insurance content  insurance industry  pia western alliance 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By staff reporter, Tuesday, January 22, 2019

California

Lara & Federal Shutdown: Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara strongly urges that insurance companies assist Californians who are affected by the Federal Government shutdown and may face delays in paying premiums or cancellation of policies. The Commissioner is asking insurers to be patient and work with these California residents during this difficult time.

 “The Federal shutdown is putting Californians at unnecessary risk of losing insurance coverage over late or unpaid bills,” said Commissioner Lara. “I am asking insurers to partner with me to protect our federal workers and contractors in California to give them some peace of mind during this time of uncertainty.”

The partial shutdown of the Federal Government is negatively affecting many California consumers, specifically those employed by the Federal Government and contractors who are not being paid their regular salary or receiving reimbursements when normally due. This delay in payment affects these consumers’ ability to pay their bills on time including insurance coverage, mortgages or other loans.

Commissioner Lara asks insurers to take into consideration the difficulties California consumers are facing and will continue to face until the current shutdown has ended. He urges insurers to relax due dates for premium payments, extend grace periods, waive late fees and penalties, allow forbearance with regard to the cancellation/non-renewal of policies, allow payment plans for premium payments, and exercise judicious efforts to assist affected policyholders and work with them to make sure that their insurance policies do not lapse.

Source link: California Department of Insurance

Idaho

Medicare Workshops: Free Medicare Workshops for individuals turning 65 and those approaching Medicare eligibility have been scheduled in two Idaho cities.

The first is Thursday, January 24 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Syringa Hospital Soltman Center, 600 W. Main St., Grangeville, Idaho. 

The second is Monday, January 28, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, 415 6th St., Lewiston, Idaho.

Caregivers and all those interested in learning how Medicare works are encouraged to attend.

 The workshop will be led by Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), a unit of the Idaho Department of Insurance. SHIBA presenters will introduce the various parts of Medicare and explain some of the vocabulary associated with the program. 

Topics to be covered include:

• Timeframes for enrolling in Medicare

• Enrollment periods for Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans

• How the different parts of Medicare work together – and when they don’t

 To register for the workshops, please contact the SHIBA office at 1-800-247-4422.

Nevada

Highway Fatalities: the Department of Public Safety is worried. Nevada’s highway fatalities rose to a 10-year high. The department said 331 people died 2018 in 301 crashes.

Department spokesman Andrew Bennett said most of them were in Clark County. “In 2008 we were at 324, then we dropped to the mid 200s from about 2009 to 2013 and we then we saw a steady climb into the 300s in 2014,” he said. “So, 331 is on the high end in the last decade, but we have seen a 4 percent population growth over the past two years in the state as well.”

Pedestrian deaths in Nevada dropped from 98 in 2017 o 80 last year. Bennett said it is the first decrease in nine years.

Source link: Insurance Journal

Washington

The Commissioner’s 2019 legislative priorities: Surprise billing (HB 1065 and SB 5031 "Protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services")

This legislation will stop patients from getting an additional bill, after the patient’s health plan has paid the normal rate and the patient has paid their portion (such as a co-pay) when they receive medical care for an emergency at an out-of-network emergency room and when they have an approved surgery at an in-network hospital or surgery center but receive services, such as anesthesiology, radiology or lab services, from a provider who is out-of-network.

The prime sponsor of HB 1065 is Rep. Cody. The prime sponsor of SB 5031 is Sen. Rolfes.

HB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov) (PDF, 181.46 KB)

   HB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   HB Status: Public Hearing, January 23, 2019, 1:30pm

   SB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov) (PDF, 176.78 KB)

   SB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   SB Status: Referred to Health & Long Term Care Committee

Disaster resilience working group (HB 1040 and SB 5106 "Concerning the creation of a work group to study and make recommendations on natural disaster mitigation and resiliency activities")

This legislation will create a work group composed of legislators, state agencies, insurance companies and other key stakeholders to review and make recommendations on how to best coordinate and improve disaster resiliency work in Washington State, including possibly creating a central place for coordination and planning.

The prime sponsor of HB 1040 is Rep. Reeves. The prime sponsor of SB 5106 is Sen. Das.

  HB complete bill language (PDF, 68.24 KB)

   HB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   HB Status: Public Hearing, January 16, 2019, 8:00am/Executive Session, January 22, 2019, 10:00am/Executive Session, January 23, 2019, 8:00am

   SB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov)

   SB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   SB Status: Public Hearing, January 15, 2019, 8:00am/Executive Action, January 17, 2019, 8:30am

Medicare access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) (SB 5032 "Concerning Medicare supplemental insurance policies")

This legislation will align Washington law with recent changes in the Medicare and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) statutes, which seek to prevent overutilization of services. Washington must have these changes in place by January 1, 2020. The two key changes are:

As of January 1, 2020, new enrollees will no longer be able to purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan which provides coverage for the Part B deductible. This does not impact existing enrollees.

Allow but not require companies to offer a new Plan G with a High Deductible option. Currently, only Plan F has an additional High Deductible option.

The prime sponsor of SB 5032 is Sen. Cleveland.

   SB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov) (PDF, 86.39 KB)

   SB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   SB Status: Public Hearing, January 18, 2019, 8:00am

Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) Separate Funding (HB 1069 "Concerning the creation of the insurance fraud surcharge account")

This legislation will create a dedicated funding stream for the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s (OIC) Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU), who are charged with investigating and preventing insurance fraud. The legislation will also increase that funding to allow CIU to keep up with the increasing amount of fraud referrals by adding five new staff. The funding will be provided by dedicating a portion of the premium surcharge already collected by the OIC for CIU’s exclusive use.

The prime sponsor of HB 1069 is Rep. Stanford

   HB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov) (PDF, 82.11 KB)

   HB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   HB Status: Public Hearing, January 16, 2019, 1:30pm/Executive Session, January 18, 2019, 9:00am

Source link: Washington Department of Insurance

Kreidler and Innovators: Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is offering innovators in the insurance industry a new way to engage his office about potential products that may benefit consumers.

Kreidler announced an insurance innovation portal, Resources for insurance industry innovators.

Click here to access the portal that includes guidelines, a hotline and web form. This is designed to encourage companies, agents and insurance startups to contact his office early in the development of new products.

Kreidler noted that changing social and technological trends have created an opportunity for insurance entrepreneurs. 

“The insurance industry is constantly evolving and we want to make sure innovators understand the laws that guide insurance regulation in Washington,” Kreidler said. “We are eager to work with innovators as they prepare to bring products to market. We’re committed to fair and efficient regulation.”

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulates Washington’s $42 billion insurance industry. For more information, please visit www.insurance.wa.gov

Source link: Washington Department of Insurance

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  insurance content  insurance industry 

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Life’s Biggest Regret

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, December 18, 2018

We’re approaching New Year’s Eve and every year at that time we reflect and think and decide on resolutions. Many of us look back on the past and do so with regret.

That said, we all have regrets. The farther we travel down life’s — hopefully — long road the more the regrets pile up. Most of us think the biggest regrets are the things we did. Bagged a job. Broke up with what turned out to be the love of our life. Jumped the gun and bought that car or a home, or whatever when we knew it might be a bust.

The list goes on and on but you get the drift.

A study from psychologists at Cornell University titled The Ideal Road Not Taken counters that belief. In a story published in a publication called Emotion, the report says it’s not the things in life we did that cause the most regret, it’s the things we didn’t do.

The study starts with three things that make up who we are and our sense of self:

  Your actual self is the qualities you believe you possess

  The ideal self is the qualities we want to have

  The ought self is the person we feel we should have been according to the obligations and responsibilities thrust upon us

The researchers looked at six separate studies with hundreds of participants and found that 76% of those surveyed said their biggest regret in life is not fulfilling their ideal self.

The psychologists say this means we might have the wrong attitude toward how to avoid regret. Emphasis in our lives in this day and age is that if we just follow all the rules we’ll have a great life.

That means:

  Do all the things society expects of you

  Act like a good citizen

  Get married at the right time

  Make enough money to pay the bills

Do those things and you’ll be happy and fulfilled. However, those — they say — are associated with your “ought self” or the place where you have limited regrets. But when it comes to dreams and aspirations, people are more likely to let them go by unrealized.

That leads to regrets later in life.

The study said, “People are quicker to take steps to cope with failures to live up to their duties and responsibilities (ought-related regrets) than their failures to live up to their goals and aspirations (ideal-related regrets).”

Tom Gilovich — a Cornell psychologist — is the lead author on the study. He said, “When we evaluate our lives, we think about whether we’re heading toward our ideal selves, becoming the person we’d like to be. Those are the regrets that are going to stick with you, because they are what you look at through the windshield of life.” 

He terms the ought regrets as those potholes we run into in life. “To be sure, there are certain failures to live up to our ‘ought’ selves that are extremely painful and can haunt a person forever; so many great works of fiction draw upon precisely that fact. But for most people those types of regrets are far outnumbered by the ways in which they fall short of their ideal selves.”

His conclusion: It’s not enough to encourage people to just do the right thing. It’s important to let people know — and know early in life — that they need to act on their hopes and dreams.

It’s not normal to just keep putting them off indefinitely.

“In the short term, people regret their actions more than inactions But in the long term, the inaction regrets stick around longer,” Gilovich said.

That — it must be noted — implies we need to stop making excuses for inaction. Gilovich adds:

Learn the language you’ve always wanted to study

Take that backpacking trip through Asia you always wanted to do

Write that book

In other words the study said, don’t leave it for tomorrow. There’s only today.

 

Source link: MSN Lifestyle

Tags:  Insurance Content  insurance industry  life's regrets  Weekly Industry News 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Alaska

Unsafe Buildings: Since the 7.0 earthquake a couple of weeks ago in Alaska, buildings in Anchorage continue to be looked at for safety. To date more than 100 of them have been deemed unsafe.

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

 

California

Insurance Department Website: The California Department of Insurance (CDI) has sent letters to admitted property and casualty writers and trade associations to inform them that the department will be adding an "Insurance Marketplace" feature to its website to provide information to consumers about property and casualty specialty or niche products offered by admitted insurers.

The letter gives admitted property and casualty writers the opportunity to include their company as one of the insurers offering niche or specialty products and asks for their cooperation. The department urges insurers to utilize this free publicity.

The purpose of the "Insurance Marketplace" webpages would be to enable the CDI to provide consumers with a new, centralized resource in their search for harder-to-find products that may not be readily accessed through their local agents or brokers. This might include insurance for marinas, wineries, pet insurance, restaurants, schools, and much more.

CDI is not endorsing any of the listed participants over other licensees. Participation in the "Insurance Marketplace" by insurers is completely voluntary and the list is not purporting to be a complete listing of all insurers that write the listed products.

 

Oregon

Oregon to update driver license, ID card design: The next time you renew your Oregon driver license or identification card you may see a new design with new security features. DMV is rolling out a new card design starting this winter and early 2019.

The beauty of the new cards isn’t just skin deep. The enhanced colorful look is part of the new card’s advanced security features, making it harder to alter or duplicate.

Your current driver license or ID card will remain valid until its expiration date, so you do not need to replace your card before that date. You also do not need to replace your card when you move within Oregon – you can file your new address online at OregonDMV.com.

This is the first major upgrade to the card technology in Oregon since 2003. In addition to the new look and security features, the new card will provide a vertical layout for provisional driver license holders – drivers younger than 21 years old. This will make it easier to identify minors where age restrictions apply, such as the purchase of alcohol.

 

The new card will hold the same information as the current card, including name, address, issuance date and expiration date, as well as a small duplicate “ghost” image of the person’s photo. Driver license and ID card fees will remain the same with the new card.

 

Among the new security features:

  The card body is a durable plastic material made of a polycarbonate blend.

  Customer information is laser-etched in clear, highly defined lines.

  The colors are printed in tiny patterns that are difficult to see without magnification and difficult to duplicate.

  The clear laminate covering the card front shows a hologram of Oregon symbols at certain angles and light conditions.

 

 

For a preview of the new card design, watch a brief video on the ODOT channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzClU2yrAr0&feature=youtu.be

 

Insurance Bills for 2018

Here are the insurance-related Legislative Counsel (LC) bill drafts that are being released  during Legislative Days in committees which are sponsoring them. They will be renumbered with an actual bill number later.  But this gives you a sneak preview of some of the bills to come. Remember that many other non-committee bills will be released during the second week of January.  Please let me know if any of these cause you concerns.

 

LC 2638

https://apps.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017I1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/153260

Provides that injured worker is eligible for vocational assistance unless average weekly wage exceeds 95 percent of weekly wage paid for employment in which worker was engaged at time of injury. Includes value of employer paid health insurance benefits in definition of earned income for purposes of determining whether worker is entitled to vocational rehabilitation because worker cannot engage in suitable employment. Provides that for purposes of determining suitable employment, worker’s weekly wage must be at least 95 percent of the average weekly wage paid for employment that was worker’s regular employment.

 

LC 2843

https://apps.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017I1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/153264

Permits Department of Consumer and Business Services to issue licenses and conduct criminal records checks through Nationwide Multistate Licensing System. Requires certain applicants for licenses department issues to submit fingerprints for individuals with ownership interests in applicant and for individuals with supervisory authority over applicant’s operations. Becomes operative on January 1, 2020. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.

 

LC 2869

https://apps.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017I1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/153266

Specifies procedures Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services may use to investigate violations of Insurance Code. Permits complainant to submit complaint of violation to director and specifies required contents of complaint. Specifies procedures for director to investigate complaint and provides dates by which director must complete investigation. Permits director to engage in negotiations to settle complaint or to enter into remediation agreement to remedy violation. Requires director to issue order to remedy violation if settlement negotiations or negotiations for remedial agreement fail. Provides for person to bring action for violation of Insurance Code in specified circumstances. Becomes operative January 1, 2020. Declares emergency, effective on passage.

 

LC 3108

https://apps.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017I1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/153268

Permits attending physician or authorized nurse practitioner to refer worker for treatment by chiropractic physician that is not member of managed care organization under specified circumstances.

 

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

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Wildfire Claims to Top $10 Billion 2nd Year in Row

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Aon’s annual Global Catastrophe Report has bad news for the industry. For the second year in a row claims payouts for wildfire losses will top $10 billion.

The worst wildfire was California’s Camp Fire. It destroyed most of the city of Paradise and killed 88 people. Dozens are still missing so the death toll is likely to rise even more.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) 19,357 homes, businesses and other structures were destroyed in the fire. At the same time, another 2,000 structures were destroyed in the Woolsey Fire in Ventura and and Los Angeles counties.

Economic losses for both fires are staggering and have been predicted to be from $12 to $15 billion. Insurer losses will be way over $10 billion when you consider these are just two of the large fires experienced in the state in the last year.

And that’s just California. Other states have experienced huge losses from wildfires, too.

Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting director and meteorologist said, “With annual wildfire industry payouts expected to exceed $10 billion for the second consecutive year in the United States, the standard assumption of wildfire being a secondary peril may evolve in the future,” he said. “While insurers remain firmly in position to handle the volume of claims in the aftermath of recent events, these heightened losses put a further spotlight on the growing risk of the peril around the world.”

Bowen added that wildfires keep hitting the same locations on a regular basis. He suggests it may be time to look at more ways to mitigate losses.

Source link: Carrier Management

Tags:  insurance content  insurance industry  insurance news  wildfires 

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Would you mind if I took a look at your E&O?

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, December 11, 2018

PIA Members & Non Members alike can take advantage of Utica's E&O policy discounts!

 

Q: How can I earn 10% off my agents' E&O premium?

A:  There are 3 ways you can save...

1.  Conduct an annual exposure analysis program reviewed by Utica (5% credit)

2.  Professional training & development of your staff

3.  Attendance at an approved E&O seminar (5% credit)

 

Q:  Is this program available in my state?

A: This program is available in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

 

 

Q:  Why Utica?

A:  Utica is the only company that separates property and casualty E&O from life and health E&O. Both Utica Mutual and Utica Life & Health are specifically geared toward that type of agency. Utica has been providing agent E&O coverage for more than 40 years and has nearly $2-billion dollars in assets. They continue to be one of the standard bearers in the industry, offering a superior product at a competitive price.

 

Q:  What do the Utica policies include?

  • DIRECT access to the underwriter
  • Dedicated claims specialist
  • Full prior acts
  • Defense costs in addition to limits of liability (Wow!)
  • First-dollar defense coverage
  • Optional loss and litigation deductible and an aggregate deductible that caps your annual deductible exposure
  • Advertising and personal injury coverage
  • 5% loss control credit. Attend a Utica approved 3 hour E&O course for credit
  • 5% credit for Professional Training & Development. 60% or more agency staff achieve recognized designations including CPSR, CISR, ACSR, CPCU, CIC, and CPIA
  • Flexible payment plans and an A+ claims department
  • Optional Coverage's include-Financial products coverage, real-estate coverage, mutual funds and variable annuities, and employment practices liability
  • Optional extended reporting periods that reinstate the aggregate and offer options of as long as 10 years
  •  

Specialty Markets

"Call me...I am able to quote from several markets for hard-to-place or start-up programs."

 

Tags:  e&o  insurance content  insurance industry  pia western alliance 

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NAIC Profit Report — 2018 is a Very Good Year ​

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, December 11, 2018


The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) issued its most recent insurance profitability report. The NAIC Profitability Report — like many recent reports — has all kinds of positive information.

 

  In 2017 total direct premiums earned jumped $25 billion more than 2016

  Direct premiums earned hit $623.7 billion

  That’s up 4.3% over the $598.2 billion from 2016

That’s good news but fire, medical professional liability, workers’ compensation and financial guaranty all saw declines in direct earned premiums.

Commercial auto losses is the NAIC’s biggest concern

  Losses rose for the fourth straight year

  They were 70.2% of the direct premiums earned in 2017

  Direct written premiums were up 7.7% to $34.7 billion

  That compares to $32.2 billion in 2016

The NAIC data report is based on financial statements and exhibits filed with the NAIC by 2,887 P&C insurers.

 

Source link: Business Insurance

Tags:  insurance content  insurance industry  naic profitability report 

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Just for Fun — Is too Much Christmas Music Bad for Your Health?

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Grinches and Scrooges the world over already know this. Or at the very least, they already believe what many psychologists are saying, and that is too much Christmas music is bad for year mental health.

The statement also has those very same Grinches and Scrooges cheering wildly. They already can’t stand songs like Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and a dozen others. Psychologist Linda Blair says these Christmas music haters are right because, “You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”

She points out that workers in retail shops around the country suffer from repeatedly hearing these songs over and over. They have to tune them out somehow or they’d not get anything done. That said, a good mix of Christmas music and Christmasy smells are good for shoppers and shopping.

However, outside of the shopping experience — or if you’re stuck working in a retail shop — the first couple of times you hear a holiday song it can make you nostalgic. However, the 10th time a song is heard can lead to annoyance or — Blair said — even distress.

Another psychologist Victoria Williamson put it a different way. He said these overdone songs can make you stress about money, traveling and seeing relatives. The effect is similar to the Stockholm Syndrome.

For those not familiar, the Stockholm Syndrome is where — in a hostage situation — a person begins to identify with their captor.

Dr. Rhonda Freeman is a clinical neuropsychologist. She agrees at first Christmas music can lead to positive nostalgia. “Our response to Christmas songs depends on the association,” she said. “Many of us associate this music with childhood and a happy time of presents and traditions and all the specialness that happens around that time of year. When the brain makes these associations with something very positive and pleasurable, the rewards system is being activated [which triggers] a number of chemicals including dopamine.”

However, Freeman says there also can be a negative that comes with the positive.

“Some people had abusive childhoods, or they experienced a loss of some kind or a person someone passed away,” she noted and explained, “Because our prefrontal cortex is less developed when we are children, so we are more emotional beings when we are little. That becomes a part of our memory.”

Musicologist — yes, there are such designations — Phil Gentry from the University of Delaware says Christmas music is more positive than negative. Addressing the nostalgia, he said, “It’s a very diverse set, with everything from Mariah Carey to Silent Night. What makes it so unusual, at least in the U.S, is that it’s really the only set of songs we hear widely at the same time of year, every year. We don’t really have that with anything else, which is partly why it can make us so nostalgic.”

He said Christmas songs are among the last vestiges of the tradition of passing history on via the oral rather than the written.

“You learn it as a child, and it’s one of the few bodies of songs that people have deep inside their memories,” Gentry said. “When I ask my students what are songs you could teach without referencing any [document]? The answer is often a Christmas song.”

Source links: Independent, Business Insider, Big Think, NBC

Tags:  Christmas  insurance content  insurance industry 

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​ 2018 So Far — P&C Numbers Looking Good

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, December 4, 2018


A.M. Best is happy with what it sees through the first three quarters of 2018. In summary the First Look report said there are three reasons:

  Improved net underwriting income

  Growth in net written premiums

  Flat losses

The biggest improvement is in underwriting. In the first nine-months of the year, insurance companies billed $3.5 billion in net underwriting income. In 2017 the first three-quarters saw underwriting losses of $21.2 billion.

Looking at more detail, net written premiums rose an average of 11.3%. Policyholder dividends jumped 3% which offset a 12.2% increase in underwriting expenses. At the same time, an increase in written and earned premiums topped losses and expenses for the first nine-months.

The result? A much-improved combined ratio of 97.6.

The first nine-months of 2018 also saw catastrophe losses returning to what is considered “normal.” That fact — A.M. Best said — accounted for 5.1% of the combined ratio compared to 9.9% in 2017.

Net investment income rose $6.2 billion. It — however — is offset by the $5 billion drop in realized capital gains and a $4.8 billion jump in taxes. Together that boosted net income to $49.1 billion. That’s a $27.1 billion increase over 2017.

The $27.1 billion rise in net income added to the $2.8 billion in contributed capital has also offset $23.9 billion in stockholder dividends. That means industry surplus has grown by 4.3% from the end of last year to $775.2 billion.

Source links: Reinsurance News, Carrier Management

Tags:  2018 results  A.M. Best  First Look report  insurance content  insurance industry 

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What's keeping your bosses up at night?

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, December 4, 2018


 

Many of you are officers of your company. What is your main worry? Cyber attack? Probably. Another worry? Regulatory claims that involve you and your directors and officers insurance.

Willis Towers Watson’s sixth annual D&O: Personal Exposure to Global Risk checked in with 161 directors and officers about cyber attacks and other subjects, and found 44% have experience a significant or sizable data loss in past year.

A year ago that figure was 24%.

The other top risks:

  Regulations

  Investigations

  Health and safety legislation

  Criminal and regulatory fines

 

This is where D&O comes into play:

  43% of large employers experienced a regulatory claim involving a director in the last year

  38% of all companies surveyed reported the same thing

  60% say company behavior is being changed because of a focus by regulators on personal accountability of directors and officers

 

The Willis Towers Watson report said many company leaders wonder whether a D&O policy will be able to respond to claims in all jurisdictions. That led to worries about:

  How claims against directors and officers will be controlled and settled

  A broad definition of who is insured in clear, easy to follow policy terms

  Whether there is coverage for the cost of advice in the beginning of an investigation

 

Source link: Business Insurance

Tags:  boss worries  company officers  cyber attack  Cyber Breach  insurance content  insurance industry  insurance news  weekly industry news 

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