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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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Insurance Employment — Now & Soon

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) did an analysis of insurance employment and found insurance jobs up year over year from July of 2015 to the same month this year. Steven Weisbart, Ph.D is the I.I.I.’s senior vice president and chief economist. He said the only subsectors of insurance to lose jobs in that time frame is independent claims adjusting and third party administration.


Weisbart & His Organization's Findings:

Sector + or - change
Property and casualty direct carriers +2,100
Life direct carriers +400
Health/Medical direct carriers +3,400
Title and other direct carriers
Reinsurers +300
Agents/Brokers +0
Third-party administration -600
Claims adjusters -1,400

But how long will this growth last? A report from McKinsey says looming on the horizon is automation and it’s going to be a game changer. To start with, researchers Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi found the more repetitive the task, the greater the chance it’ll be automated.


If the work someone is doing is more people-oriented, then chances are the job will remain under human control. In other words, tasks will become automated not jobs.


Here’s an example given by the McKinsey researchers. It’s insurance prospecting. Online programs can now be purchased or firms using them can be hired to do prospecting for an agency. Agents simply follow up on the leads generated.


Another example is programs that track rules. So underwriters using them don’t have to review every single aspect of a policy application.


Still another example, applications themselves have become automated and can be done online which eliminates the need for data entry. That led McKinsey’s researchers to declare that data processing activities have a 69% chance of being automated in the near future. For data collection gigs, the chances are 64%.


A number of companies now offer solutions that automate entering paper and PDF invoices into computer systems or even processing loan applications. And it’s not just entry-level workers or low-wage clerks who collect and process data; people whose annual incomes exceed $200,000 spend some 31% of their time doing those things, as well,” the report said.


The report said it’s going to be a big challenge for the industry and a big change as “about 50% of the overall time of the workforce in finance and insurance is devoted to collecting and processing data, where the technical potential for automation is high. Insurance sales agents gather customer or product information and underwriters verify the accuracy of records. Securities and financial sales agents prepare sales or other contracts. Bank tellers verify the accuracy of financial data.”


All will be subject to automation but what you won’t see automated is management and the jobs of those with specific expertise. For management the odds are something like 9% and for the experts 18%.


Source links: PropertyCasualty360.com, Insurance Networking News



Tags:  Employment  Insurance Content  Insurance Employment — Now & Soon  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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The Greenberg: What Spitzer Started New York will Finish

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This is an on-going story and since this was written more has happened but it’s important to at least note the trial has begun.


It’s been 11 years since then New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued then AIG founder and CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg and his Chief Financial Officer Howard Smith. Spitzer — who later earned the nickname the Sheriff of Wall Street — said the two cooked the company’s books. He later took on other insurance topics like contingencies with Marsh & McLennan and other firms and radically — at least for a while — changed the face of insurance.


The Greenberg-Smith accusation filed in 2005 says the two added transactions that weren’t real to the books to make it appear AIG was in better financial condition than reality.


In the decade plus a year Greenberg’s legal team has managed to negotiate tricky legal turf in order to avoid trial and have the case dismissed. Spitzer’s successors now governor Andrew Cuomo and current AG Eric Schneiderman refused to budge and eventually the state supreme court said the trial will happen.


Spitzer’s charge contends the books were pumped up by $3.4 billion dollars between 2000 and 2001 to hide hundreds of millions in losses. The scandal led to Greenberg’s resignation and a $1.64 billion settlement with neither man admitting or denying guilt.


In his opening, New York Assistant Attorney General David Ellenhorn said, “The public deserves to know, and we’ll establish during this case that the CEO and CFO and senior officials who cause their corporations to commit major public frauds will be held accountable.”


Greenberg’s attorney David Boies said, “This case is devoid of any admissible evidence that ties Mr. Greenberg to anything that was improper with either of these transactions.”


Time and — since this is not a jury trial — Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos will decide whether Boies is correct. In the meantime, New York is not going after damages after all this time but it does want Greenberg and Smith to cough up the $53 million in bonuses they received for what — at the time — was a job well done.


Source links: Insurance Journal, Insurance Business America



Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  The Greenberg: What Spitzer Started New York will   Weekly Industry News 

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Is Google Going Again?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 20, 2016



A new report from Reuters says Google may have failed with Google Compare but it learned from its insurance experience.


Novarica’s Matt Josefowicz put it best. He said when Google closed Compare it didn’t mean to shut the door entirely on insurance. In fact, the year Google spent doing Compare showed it ought to stick with what it does best and that’s technology. Google — he said — sees a clear synergy between what it can offer via its technology programs and insurance carriers.


Best of all, Google is not afraid to test new ideas. “They may have realized it’s a better business for them to sell supplies than take the field themselves,” he added.


And with that he pointed to Nick Leeder who heads Google France. He and his staff are — quoting Leeder — “working with insurers in France like AXA and Allianz to develop bundles of products which blend technology and hardware with insurance.”


In other words, the company via its home device subsidiary Nest is able to offer insurers — and maybe agents — what they seek most. That’s people in their homes and on their computers.


Source link:

Insurance Networking News

Tags:  Google  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Is Google Going Again?  Weekly Industry News 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 20, 2016

California — Farmers Want Flood Reforms

Insurance premiums for flood insurance are out of control according to California’s farmers and growers. As a result a task force funded by the state is looking at recommendations to be presented when the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is reauthorized by Congress sometime next year.


The biggest problem is in the state’s Central Valley where flood zones were recently remapped. Some areas were moved into the most severe flood zone and that means higher rates and new building requirements.


The task force consists of local flood control officials and state water officials and others.


How bad is the problem? Colusa County Supervisor Denise Carter’s family owns Benden Farms. They mainly grow rice. If they had to get a federally backed mortgage or other financing, rates would go off the roof and would be as high as $32,000 a year. Just to put that into perspective, our liability policy on the same buildings is about $4,700 a year, so the increase is a big hit for agriculture. We live with risk, and that includes farming in a floodplain,” she said.


Farmers want a long-term fix and point to a 2014 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that said California farmers are being adversely affected by the new designations and FEMA’s guidelines.


Three years ago California Democrat Rep. John Garamendi — who was the state’s last insurance commissioner — introduced a bill to exempt structures like barns, sheds and silos from FEMA’s new building requirements. It stalled and went nowhere.


Source link: Capital Press


Idaho — Producer Law Class




Class # 3190578








Class Counts for 3 (ETHICS) continuing education credits


PRESENTERS: Dean Cameron, Director, Idaho Department of Insurance

Amy Lambrecht, Supervisor, Consumer Affairs

Karl Fromm, Consumer Affairs Officer


DATE: Thursday, October 6, 2016

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Registration begins at 12:30 p.m.



Idaho — September is National Preparedness Month

Maybe something to share with your personal lines clients.


The time to prepare for emergencies is before they happen. The Idaho Department of Insurance encourages Idahoans to review their insurance policies and understand their coverage during National Preparedness Month.


We are fortunate here in Idaho that we don’t have many of the major weather disasters that strike other areas of the country, but we are susceptible to wildfires and earthquakes,” says Department Director Dean Cameron. Now is the time to take steps to be prepared for any type of disaster.”


  Policy limits on homes and belongings can become outdated. Make it a habit to review your coverage with your agent annually to be sure it is adequate.

  Earthquake coverage is typically not included in a homeowner’s policy. Speak to your agent about obtaining coverage.

  If you are renting, you should know that your belongings are not covered under your landlord’s policy. Talk to your agent about renters insurance to protect your possessions.

  Flood insurance is also separate from homeowners insurance. Policies have a 30-day waiting period before they are effective. Your agent can help you with this coverage, or you can visit floodsmart.gov for information.

  Complete a home inventory such as the one found on the Department’s website, or by using a home inventory app.

  Make a list of insurance policy numbers, your insurance company and insurance agent’s contact information, and then send an electronic copy to someone you trust in the event you must evacuate your home.


For more information about this or other insurance-related topics, contact the Idaho Department of Insurance by visiting www.doi.idaho.gov or by calling 334-4250 in the Boise area or 800-721-3272 toll-free statewide.



Oregon — Information for Exchange and Medicare Agents

The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) has several critical items to share with resident health insurance agents who write (or have written) business on the federal health insurance exchange and/or Medicare.


Check our locator tool http://healthcare.oregon.gov/Pages/get-help.aspx and search for your agency by zip code to confirm the following:


Exchange agents


If you are writing business on the exchange, please check that your contact information is correct. In addition, if you want to receive our agent newsletter, please subscribe by going to https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDCBS/subscriber/new?qsp=ORDCBS_3.   


If you are no longer writing on the exchange but your information is listed, please contact us to have your information removed.


Changes need to be sent to agents.marketplace@Oregon.gov with Agent locator/FFM” in the subject line. We will process changes within 24 hours.


Medicare agents


The state will be adding a feature to the locator tool above that will allow consumers to search for local Medicare agents. This search function will be the first of its kind in the nation.


As this is a pilot project with interest at the national level from CMS, we are asking agents to submit specific documentation and participate in a short webinar and test in order to be listed as a Medicare agent on the locator.


Note this is a voluntary process, so agents are not required to go through this process unless they choose to opt in. If you do not participate, however, your listing on the locator tool will say you do not provide Medicare assistance.


This is available only to agents who have a brick and mortar location. As this is a pilot project, changes will be made over time.


Required documentation:

  Include the code of conduct language below in the response acknowledgment you agree

  Current AHIP certification

  Documentation showing current appointment with 2 Medicare carriers

  Medicare health insurance experience for at least 2 years

  No confirmed complaints with the Oregon Insurance Commissioner


Email this documentation to agents.marketplace@Oregon.gov with Agent locator/Medicare” in the subject line. Once all of the above are submitted and verified, you will be given access to the webinar training (15-20 minutes of key highlights) and testing program. Passage of the test with 80% or better score will initiate the process for adding your name in the locator tool.


As this is a new process, your patience is requested as we work through an anticipated heavy workload. We expect to roll out the Medicare help search function in the coming months.


Code of Conduct:


Participation in the agent locator tool will require the following:


  I will follow all of the guidelines spelled out by the Marketplace for participation.

  I will keep all of my required certifications & appointments up to date and current.

  I will follow all of the rules and regulations set forth by CMS regarding the sale of Medicare plans.

  I will do my best to find the best plan for each and every person based upon their needs.


By agreeing to the above, I also understand that my participation can be terminated at the discretion of the Marketplace.


Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace




Oregon — New Rule

Recently Adopted Rule ID 10-2016: Establishing standards for the adequacy of an insurer's network of health care providers


The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently adopted the following rule:


ID 10-2016: Establishing standards for the adequacy of an insurer's network of health care providers


Adopt: OAR 836-053-0300, 836-053-0310, 836-053-0320, 836-053-0330, 836-053-0340, 836-053-0350


In 2015, the Oregon Legislature enacted House Bill 2468. The bill instructs the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt rules pertaining to an insurer's network of health care providers. In promulgating rules, the director must prescribe annual network reporting requirements, define nationally-recognized standards to be used in demonstrating networks are adequate, and establish factors to be used when insurers demonstrate compliance with network adequacy requirements via the factor-based approach. The director must also adopt rules establishing provider directory requirements. HB 2468 applies to health benefit plans in effect on or after January 1, 2017.


Adopted: September 14, 2016

Effective: September 14, 2016


For more information, please visit the Division's website:



Oregon — SAIF Dividend

Oregon’s workers’ compensation board SAIF is giving a dividend to policyholders again this year. The amount will hit $140 million and it will come in two dividends. The first is $120 million and based on total premium and the second to safety performance. It totals $20 million.


This is the seventh straight year SAIF has returned a dividend. It is also the first time since 2000 that SAIF has handed out cash rewards for safety via a dividend.


SAIF President and CEO Kerry Barnett said, “We’re able to pay dividends because of strong financial results, and the best driver of those results are the injuries that don’t happen as Oregon workplaces become safer and healthier. More importantly, safety and health programs have helped thousands of workers avoid the pain and anguish of a workplace injury. That’s the best dividend of all.”


Source link: Insurance Journal


Washington: OIC Rule

The OIC has determined that rule-making is not necessary to implement RCW 48.43.016 and has withdrawn the CR-101 for R 2016-09.


Separate rule-making regarding the prior authorization process (R 2016-19) is still underway. A second stakeholder draft for that rule will be released in the next few weeks and another stakeholder meeting will be announced with the release of the second stakeholder draft.


For questions or comments, please contact Jim Freeburg at rulesc@oic.wa.gov



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

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Overtime Rule — Will this Impact Agencies & Companies?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In December a new Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division overtime rule goes into effect. Agencies and companies will be impacted. Tom Santos of the American Insurance Association (AIA) is among the concerned industry leaders. He said the rule will have negative consequences for employers and — just as big a concern — for employees.


The December rule will raise the salary threshold by which salaries for full time employees are entitled to overtime to $913 per week or $47,476 annually. That’s more than double the current $455 per week or $26,660 per year.


Due to the diverse nature of our industry’s workforce, these changes will not be helpful. The rules will not provide the workplace flexibility sought by employers and employees alike. We believe that this rule will result in a scramble to reclassify employees that will ultimately undermine job security and future opportunities for employees,” Santos said.


And from December going forward the overtime issue will be addressed and adjusted every three years. Some think by 2020 the threshold could hit $51,000.


Jules Gaudreau of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) added his group’s concerns and noted the rule will force employers into decisions about their employees they do not want to make, which will ultimately hurt the workers the rule is supposed to protect.”


As many as one million industry workers will feel the impact. Of those 250,000 are agents, brokers and other agency employees. Agencies will struggle to increase revenue to cover the cost of compliance since commission — as you know — is based on product price. Those prices are regulated by state insurance departments and commissioners and cannot be raised without going through them.


Agencies may end up turning salaried employees into hourly and then cutting back those hours during slow times. That will make up for having to pay overtime during times when the agency is busier. Agents under this rule may not be able to respond to clients in an emergency because emergencies often don’t happen during working hours.


While agent associations and those representing companies worry about December’s coming problems, two senators are sponsoring a bill to stop the madness. Republican Sen. Tim Scott (South Carolina) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) have introduced Senate Bill 2707. It’s titled the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act.


The bill stops what the Department of Labor is doing now and from redoing the rule until certain conditions are met. Their bill forbids the department from tying automatic salary thresholds to inflation. It also requires an analysis of the impact of such rules on small business and some specific businesses. 


If you’re concerned about the new rule you are encouraged to contact these two senators and your own representatives in Congress.


Source link: Insurance Business America


Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Overtime Rule — Will this Impact Agencies & Compan  Weekly Industry News 

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In Depth: Is the Affordable Care Act Unraveling?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The reinsurance payments from the federal government to health insurers participating in the Affordable Care Act exchanges ends this year. The money was put into the bill to help insurers with financial losses the first few years of ObamaCare.


BlueCross BlueShield wants Congress to extend the reinsurance. Some in Congress — mostly Republicans — say forget it and don’t even want this year’s payments to be distributed. In its statement BlueCross BlueShield — who insures 100 million people — said, Recently, some are proposing to stop the scheduled 2016 reinsurance payments to health plans, claiming these payments are a ‘bailout. This would result in higher premiums and less choice for consumers.”


Like other insurers participating in the ObamaCare experiment, BlueCross BlueShield has seen a huge influx of high risk, not very healthy people signing up. When the Affordable Care Act was put together, Congress factored that possibility into the law and established the reinsurance program and two other programs to help with losses and keep insurers in the program.


Last year there were 500 insurers participating in the reinsurance program. Each paid a fee into the account. Payments are then issued from that fund to the insurers losing the most money. The pool in 2015 hit $1.8 billion and almost every insurer received some of that money.


This is where critics are having trouble with the program. The law says the administration is supposed to give some of that money to the U.S. Treasury. Those payments have not been made. That has led Republicans in Congress to wonder why insurers have been placed in a higher priority than the people.


Critics — like the Americans for Tax Reform and Freedom Partners — call it a cash grab.


Another problem is the underestimation of the administration as to how much would be put into the pool from the three programs. It was supposed to be $10 billion the first year but ended up at just $8.7 billion.


Just 11.1 million people are enrolled now. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) thought by now there would be 24 million. So with enrollment hitting about half of the original projection insurers are either pulling out all together or they’re pulling out of the less-populated markets.


The Kaiser Family Foundation is very concerned. It predicts only those areas with large risk pools will survive. You only have to look at the PIA Western Alliance state of Arizona to know how bad it is getting. One county in that state will have no insurance plans available at all.


And small cities and sparsely populated counties around the country may soon suffer the same fate. Most — however — are remembering what the president said when ObamaCare went into effect in 2013. He said the law creates what he called a one-stop shop and people could compare costs like they do when looking for airline tickets.


Just visit healthcare.gov, and there you can compare insurance plans, side by side, the same way you’d shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon. You enter some basic information, you’ll be presented with a list of quality, affordable plans that are available in your area, with clear descriptions of what each plan covers, and what it will cost.  You’ll find more choices, more competition, and in many cases, lower prices,” Obama said.


That just hasn’t happened.


Oklahoma Deputy Insurance Commissioner Mike Rhoads said in his state — and others — many counties have just one insurer to choose from and, With only a single carrier out there, there is no competition.”


The Oklahoma Insurance Department has been actively recruiting insurers with no success. “They declined, citing the financial losses they suffered before. There's a little bit of giggling in the background when we ask this question, and we understand that they've been there, they've done that, they've taken their lumps,” he said.


Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak agrees with Rhoads and goes a step farther. She thinks the law is on the verge of collapse. Much of her state only has one insurer. And at this point I don’t feel like we have a successful exchange because, like I said, half of our counties have only one option on the exchange today and so having any change in the level of competition may not allow our exchange to survive.”


And by 2017 a lot of states will be struggling with the same issue. A report by Avalere looked at 500 regions in the U.S. and found by 2017:


  36% will have just one carrier

  19% will have just two


Avalere’s Elizabeth Carpenter said, Lower-than-expected enrollment in the exchange market and concerns related to both stability and the risk-mitigation programs have led carriers to reconsider their participation.”


This has led supporters of ObamaCare to insist that a government option or even a single payer system needs to be established. Both ideas have been received negatively by insurers. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said, A government-run plan would underpay doctors and hospitals rather than driving real reforms that bring down costs and improve quality. It’s time we focus instead on broad-based reforms that will ensure the affordability and sustainability of our healthcare system.”


The predictions of ObamaCare’s collapse are nonsense according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly said most shoppers will have multiple choices next year. All of this talk is just speculation and is premature and incomplete.”


Meanwhile the — what some call — failure of ObamaCare and its seeming collapses has put state insurance regulators under incredible pressure. McPeak said to keep insurers the Tennessee Department of Insurance has allowed premium rate hikes for three carriers of 44%, 46% and 62%.


I didn't feel like I had any choice but to approve those rates when it came back to be actuarially justified,” she said.


HHS officials pooh-pooh the notion this is a crisis. It says most consumers won’t feel the pinch because they get ObamaCare subsidies. Even if rates jumped 25% next year, 73% of those on the Medicaid supplements will be able to pick up a plan for under $75 a month.


However, about 15% of the 11.1 million enrolled now will have to bear the brunt of what will likely be very high price hikes.


President Obama also chimed in and said the reports of ObamaCare’s collapse are premature. In a visit to Tennessee last year Obama said, There were a lot [of] stories in the newspaper, just like there are this year, about, oh, premiums are skyrocketing and this is going to be terrible and all that. When all the dust settled and the commissioners who were empowered to review these rates forced insurance companies to justify what they were seeking, what you discovered was, is that the rates actually didn't go up as much as people thought.”


Source links: Three from The Hill — link 1, link 2, link 3, three from Insurance Business America — link 1, link 2, link 3, Employee Benefit Advisor


Tags:  Healthcare  HealthCare.gov  In Depth: Is the Affordable Care Act Unraveling?  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  ObamaCare  The Affordable Care Act  Weekly Industry News 

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P&C Operating Income — Double Digit Down

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fitch Ratings looked at financial statistics for the first half of 2016 from 44 insurers and reinsurers. The ratings firm said operating income for P&C insurers in North America was cut in half the first half of 2016. Investment income decline and a rise in catastrophe losses are the reason.


Earnings — Fitch spokesman Christopher Grimes said — on average fell 10.8% and ended up at $21.6 billion. Maintaining or improving underwriting performance will be the key to generating adequate returns on capital going forward.”


The combined ratio rose to 95.7 which is about 1.5 points higher than a year ago. Catastrophe losses are the big contributor there. Fitch said it added 5% to the overall combined ratio.


Investment income fell by 6.8% on average — up from last year’s 3.4% — and totaled $21.9 billion. That’s bad news but there is some good news. Fitch said investment games are about the same as 2015 at $2.4 billion.


Source links: Carrier Management, Insurance Journal


Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  P&C Operating Income — Double Digit Down  Weekly Industry News 

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Cyber Insurance Premiums Rise Significantly

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The cyber insurance market is growing and it’s healthy. Or at least it might be healthy. To start with Fitch Ratings said U.S. insurers took in $998 million in 2015. Breaking that down:


  $483 million is for standalone cyber insurance

  $515 million ties cyber insurance to other types of coverage


These figures come from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Where Fitch gets involved is in the analysis of the numbers and it says not all is rosy.


Each underwriter’s approach to assessing premiums from cyber risks in package policies will differ, leading to inconsistencies in the data. A significant portion of cyber-related exposures will not be captured [as] several large companies did not report premiums for [bundled] cyber policies in the supplemental filing,” Fitch spokesman James Auden said.


Consistency is critical and Fitch said insurers just aren’t there yet.


There are 120 insurers writing cyber business today. Three insurers have 45% of the cyber insurance business. They are AIG, Chubb and the XL Group. All three are very optimistic about the line’s future. Marsh & McLennan — also deeply involved in the line of insurance — thinks it’s going to jump three to five times higher by 2020.


And again, Fitch and Auden disagree. Industry estimates suggest that the global cyber insurance business could increase to $20 billion by 2020, but the lack of information on cyber insurance is a challenge for insurance companies, policyholders, regulators, and investors to evaluate and price risk. Challenges in isolating cyber related premiums and exposures from other risks within a package policy create limitations in analyzing the supplemental filing as total cyber insurance premiums are likely understated,” he said.


The most standalone coverage was written by XL Group and it hit $113 million. AIG wrote the most package-based coverage. That figure is $194 million — or about 34% of the line’s total market.


Source links: Fed Scoop, Insurance Journal


Tags:  Cyber Attacks: An Accelerating Crisis & Now the FI  Cyber Breach  Cyber Insurance  Cyber Insurance Premiums Rise Significantly  Cyber Security  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Business Insurance Magazine — Reprieve

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A couple of weeks ago Weekly Industry News reported the publication Business Insurance was closing its doors for good. Today we hear the words, “Not so fast.” Adam Potter — the publication’s CEO — said he’s purchased the magazine.


“I'm thrilled to share with loyal Business Insurance readers that I have purchased Business Insurance from Crain Communications. I am also very happy to announce that Peter Oxner, former Advertising Director, has been promoted to be Business Insurance's Publisher, and that Gavin Souter will continue to serve as Editor,” Potter said in a news release.


All existing subscriptions will be honored and — after a redesign — the magazine will be back both online and in print starting sometime in October.


“I hope that you continue to feel that Business Insurance is the independent source for the tools and information both online and in print to help you do your job better but, as a reminder, if you are ever not satisfied with Business Insurance for any reason, please contact us at info@businessinsurance.com,” Potter added.

Tags:  Business Insurance Magazine — Reprieve  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Insurance’s Personality Problem

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 7, 2016



The financial services sector is not well liked by American consumers. That’s common knowledge. Also common knowledge is insurance as part of that sector. New research from personnel solution software designer Entanglement Labs adds a bit more detail to that knowledge from an insurance brand perspective.


It looked at online and offline metrics and found when it comes to customer sentiment and conversations, insurance scores below average and even ranks below those very unpopular banks and credit card companies.


Spokesman Ed Keller said the good news for insurers is banks and credit card companies also score below average. Insurance companies are in a difficult spot in the market as people often need them, and in turn talk about, when things have gone wrong. We don’t see a large volume of offline conversations in the insurance category — people talking face-to-face or over the phone about these brands.”


Here’s where this is a huge impact for insurance. Estimates are that 2/3 of recommendation-based sales come from in person conversation. That leads to this advice from Entanglement Labs: focus on improving how people perceive your brand. If you don’t, you’ll lose business.


Not all — however — is lost. Keller said insurance companies — better than the rest of the financial services industry — excel at social media. Companies are using Facebook and Twitter quite effectively and share important real time information with consumers.


Where insurance fails is being too narrow in its focus. Although social media is an important channel for brands to leverage, it should not be the only social metric brands develop strategies around and measure. Focusing solely on online performance can be detrimental to a brand, as online social metrics almost never represent the entire picture,” Keller said.


Here’s how the study was scored in offline and online conversations:


  Volume: how much conversation there is about a brand

  Sentiment: how positive are the conversations about the brand

  Brand Sharing: how much sharing of brand content is occurring, including paid/owned/earned media

  Influence: whether consumer influencers are more engaged with the brand


This is how insurers — and in one case, government — fared under those metrics:

Ranking Company
1 Allstate
3 Blue Cross/Blue Shield
4 Aetna
5 State Farm
6 United Health
8 Medicare/Medicaid
9 Metlife
10 Humana Healthcare

Keller said the top-performing firms have big advertising and social media budgets but money spent is not the most important indicator of success. It is content quality that gets people talking positively and positive talking is the goal.


So more money poured into a campaign doesn’t necessarily lead to success.


As for independent insurance agents, Keller said, What is important for insurance agents is that they know their audience and what type of content their audience is more likely to engage with, including the base — who are the most influential. They can then effectively tailor their content to what the audience wants.”


Source link: Business Insurance America


Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Insurance’s Personality Problem  Weekly Industry News 

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