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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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Special Report: Inheriting the ObamaCare Mess

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The next president — and the next Congress, as well — is going to have to deal with the disaster known to the nation as ObamaCare. To be more technical and more accurate, it’s the Affordable Care Act and the fourth sign-up period starts just a week before the November election.


Enrollment numbers — as well see in a bit — are critical to the Affordable Care Act’s continuation. So is the number of insurers participating in the federal and state insurance exchanges or marketplaces as they are now known. Losses on insureds have some insurers thinking of dropping out.


That means either a president Trump or a president Clinton — when they take office — will need to make some critical decisions and quickly. What are their plans for ObamaCare? Corporate Synergies — an employee benefits consultancy — looked at what both candidates have said and did an analysis.


Surprisingly, they agree on more than they disagree. One area of disagreement is the Affordable Care Act itself. Clinton wants to build on ObamaCare successes. Her idea is to tweak it in some places and increase access to pharmaceutical benefits.


Trump wants ObamaCare repealed but he’ll keep some parts like the pre-existing condition regulations.


The two candidates agree on repeal of the Cadillac Tax. If you don’t remember, the Cadillac Tax puts an excise tax of 40% on every dollar spent for health insurance over $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family. It is set to happen in 2020.


On the high cost of coverage, Trump wants to increase consumer choices for health insurance. To help consumers pay for insurance he’d do tax relief for individuals rather than fund it through Medicaid.


Trump also wants to modify laws to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Clinton hasn’t commented on the topic.


Both Trump and Clinton don’t like what Corporate Synergies terms “health insurance monopolies.” Clinton — in particular — has a plan to dramatically cut out of pocket health insurance costs. Trump and Clinton are against the Humana and Aetna and Anthem and Cigna mergers.


They agree it leads to fewer options for consumers.


And when it comes to insurers, both want more transparency and Clinton says she’s going to do some work on surprise medical bills and will do away with them.


Trump and Clinton also agree on the cost of medication. It needs to drop and fast. The two agree Medicare ought to set drug prices to cut the cost of health care.


On the topic of consumer driven health care, Trump wants tax free HSAs and more access to CDHPs. Clinton has made no comments on the subject.


Here’s where they separate. As noted earlier, Trump wants to do away with the Affordable Care Act and Clinton says it just needs some fixes. Surprisingly, Trump says he’s open to a single-payer system and free health care for all.


And what do they need to fix? The number of people registering this year is critical to the act’s survival. And within that number more people need to be healthy. To date a huge percentage of those registering are not. Because of that insurers lost lots of money in 2015 and in the three previous years. Young, healthy people are needed in the marketplaces — or exchanges — to offset costs and losses. If more healthy people don’t register the cost of insurance will continue to go up and up.


The Kaiser Foundation’s senior vice president Larry Levitt said, The next open enrollment period is key.” How key you ask? The average price hike is going to be an unacceptable average of 9%.


At least that’s the analysis from data collected in 17 cities. Some will see even greater increases.


As a P.S. to that figure, most larger corporations say the health insurance costs to employees is only going up an average of 6%. While that’s unacceptably high, it’s much lower than what people forced to use the exchanges are going to see.


Last year 11 million people participated in the exchanges. That shocked the Obama White House because the Congressional Budget Office predicted a figure 21 million — or nearly double the actual amount.


That leads us back to the need for healthy people signing up. Without them insurers can’t make their participation work. In fact many like UnitedHealth are saying — to quote boxer Roberto Duran — “No mas.”


Adding to the problem is the failure of the administration’s market stabilization program. Cash strapped — probably because of the high number of unhealthy people signing up and the low number of healthy people participating — the program hasn’t been able to subsidize insurers as much as expected.


The original idea was to have insurers in the red at the end of two years. It didn’t happen and — again — without the government help via the market stabilization program insurers had access to just $1 for every $10 in claims.


That’s the bad news. The good news for insurers is the federal government’s reinsurance program helped control costs for insurers. The Commonwealth Fund — a nonprofit group — says insurer claims were just 2% higher than projected after the reinsurance payments.


And that leads some to think the exchanges — or marketplaces as they’re officially called — are on the brink of success.


On the brink or not, insurers — even at just a 2% loss — are close to having enough of ObamaCare. Aetna and Anthem both said they are scrapping plans to expand into exchanges they have not been involved with and all five insurers say they’re losing money.


And the government reinsurance program will soon be ending.


UnitedHealth consultant Michael Abrams of Numerof & Associations said, From a policy point of view, we’re basically seeing the exchanges unravel. More than anything else, it’s a serious symbolic blow to ObamaCare,” he said.


Source links: The Hill, Employee Benefit Advisor


Tags:  Healthcare  HealthCare.gov  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  ObamaCare  Special Report: Inheriting the ObamaCare Mess  The Affordable Care Act  Weekly Industry News 

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Business Insurance: Loss of an Insurance Information Source

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Business Insurance has been a major source of commercial insurance information since 1967. Many of you take the magazine and others — like Weekly Industry News from time to time — access the website for information.


Last week Business Insurance publisher Crain Communications discontinued the publication and the website. It was a 49 year run. The news release from Crain Communications Executive Vice President KC Crain said the closing of the publication is due to structural and consolidation in the industry since 2008.


As part of our ongoing revenue transformation efforts we have been actively investing in brands that provide the best revenue mix of print, digital, events and content marketing in markets with proven growth potential. The company is continually reviewing its portfolio against this strategy, and it became clear that Business Insurance did not fit these criteria,” he said.


Editor Gavin Souter said, It’s been a tough time for many publications over the past few years and for BI it has been particularly difficult due to the consolidation in the insurance industry. On the editorial side of the house, it’s given us plenty of stories to write, but it has also meant that many of our advertisers have been absorbed by other companies.”


Source link: Insurance Business America


Tags:  Business Insurance: Loss of an Insurance Informati  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Tickets & Driving: How they Relate to Insurance Costs

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 16, 2016



We all hate traffic tickets. For one thing, they’re expensive. Second, they could impact your insurance rates — as you know — if you receive too many of them. Driving habits are important and too much speeding may indicate you’re more likely to get into an expensive collision.


Speaking of tickets. Red cars and trucks — rumor has it — are targets and get more tickets than other vehicles. Not true says just about every commenting law enforcement agency in the country.


Insurance.com just did an interesting study on tickets and SmartAsset.com — yes, there is such an organization — did one on the worst drivers in the country and those states with the highest auto insurance rates. Three PIA Western Alliance states — Nevada, California and Montana — are among them.


Insurance.com's Ticket Magnet tool looks at the makes and models involved in 323,000 insurance quotes and tickets included with those quotes. The analysts at Your Mechanic — another auto group — took that data and divided it into segments:






  Sports cars




And they found who is getting the most tickets. But that comes with an asterisk says Your Mechanic’s Maddy Martin. Violations vary from state to state. He said — however — there are some tickets common to all states:


  Running a red light

  Running a stop sign

  Illegal turns

  Driving with headlights off at night

  Illegal parking

  And — of course — speeding


But the bottomline? This is a semi-scientific conclusion because it’s only based on data from insurance applications from one online insurance firm. And with that, here are the most ticketed vehicles in the U.S. with the percentage of the owners of those vehicles receiving tickets:


1.    Lexus ES 300 — 33.4%

2.    Nissan 350Z — 32.5%

3.    Dodge Charger — 32.1%

4.    Volkswagen Jetta GL — 31.4%

5.    Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS/LT — 30.8%

6.    Mazda 3S — 30.3%

7.    Volkswagen GTI — 30.3%

8.    Dodge Stratus SXT — 30.2%

9.    Acura — 30.1%

10. Toyota Tacoma — 30.1%


Lots of tickets but which states actually have the most ticketed drivers? We don’t currently have information on that but we do know where the nation’s worst drivers are housed. One of those states is the PIA Western Alliance state of Nevada which is the nation’s 10th worst.


Or at least that’s the conclusion of SmartAsset.com who looked deeply at info from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the percentage of insured drivers and the info available on them. The ranking comes from:


  DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers

  Vehicle-related deaths per 1,000 drivers

  Google trends on auto ticket-related searches

Here is the list of the states with the worst drivers in the nation:


1.    Florida

2.    Mississippi

3.    Oklahoma

4.    New Jersey

5.    Delaware

6.    Alabama

7.    Vermont

8.    Tennessee

9.    Texas

10. Nevada


Patterns emerged from the data — says SmartAsset.com — and they show the South and Southeast hold six of the 10 slots. Most of the problems there are DUIs and driving without insurance. The state with the least number of insured drivers — a scary thought — is Oklahoma. Just 74% are insured. Florida and Tennessee aren’t far behind in uninsured drivers.


That led to who pays the most for insurance. And the most ticketed states — other than Florida at number 5 and New Jersey at number 10 — are not necessarily those with the highest insurance rates.


The PIA Western Alliance state of Montana has the second highest rates — on average — in the nation and the PIA Western Alliance state of California is ninth.


Here’s the list:


1.    Michigan: $2,476

2.    Montana: $1,886

3.    Washington, D.C.: $1,799

4.    Louisiana: $1,774

5.    Florida: $1,742

6.    West Virginia: $1,716

7.    Connecticut: $1,690

8.    Rhode Island: $1,656

9.    California: $1,643

10. New Jersey: $1,595


Source links: PropertyCasualty360.com, Insurance Business America


Tags:  car insurance  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Tickets & Driving: How they Relate to Insurance Co  Weekly Industry News 

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The Latest Insurance Breach

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Newkirk Products makes health insurance enrollment cards. One of its servers has apparently been “improperly accessed.” Newkirk makes cards for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and North Carolina and for HealthNow New York and others. The total number of people served — 3.3 million.


In its press release, Newkirk said, The data subject to unauthorized access varies by plan but includes some combination of: the member’s name, mailing address, type of plan, member and group ID number, names of dependents enrolled in the plan, primary care provider, and in some cases, date of birth, premium invoice information and Medicaid ID number. The server did not contain Social Security numbers, banking or credit card information, medical information or any insurance claims information.”


So far there is no evidence the data has been used for anything. Newkirk said it will start calling agents and brokers and others impacted sometime in September.


Source link: Insurance Business America


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

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Life’s Only Constant — Change

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Philosophy 101. The only constant in the universe is change. Okay, maybe you didn’t exactly get that from your introduction to the topic back in college — or if you’re still in college — but you get the drift. Life and technology are changing at a lightning pace and soon some things Babyboomers — and in some cases Generation X, born between 1966 and 1976 and Millennials who were born between 1977 and 1984 — took for granted as a universal constant will be gone.


Here are some things that are doomed to be obsolete soon.


Privacy. Almost all of us are online one way or another. If not on a smartphone, then it’s email or the Internet at work or home. Here’s what that means. Every mouse click and keystroke is tracked by someone. The data generated from those clicks and keystrokes are often analyzed and stored. It’s used by the managers of websites for marketing purposes.


Hackers also use that information.


And — ironically — you gave everyone other than the hackers permission to long those mouse clicks and keystrokes. That permission is in the pages and pages of the agreement you signed to have this provider or that give you access to the web.


If that isn’t scary enough, there’s more. Appliances, lights, locks, HVAC systems and even your trash cans now have computers in them that let whoever sold them to you, or services them, access to everything you do with them.


Then there’s facial recognition software and cameras are everywhere. And we haven’t even touched on your smartphone which tracks everything you do and everywhere you go.


Not all is lost if you’re a seeker of privacy. Experts say encryption methods are getting better and they’re making it harder for these businesses and — supposedly — hackers to get access to what you’re doing.


Keys. Most offices already use cards rather than keys and some vehicles are now keyless as well. Look soon for both keys and cards to be done in by connections via bluetooth or the internet and you’ll be able to lock or unlock anything — car, home, office, etc. — with your smartphone.


And in the case of a car, you will soon be able to start yours remotely as well.


Fast food workers. Machines have been the bane of the existence of workers for a century or more. Now machinery is threatening to do away with burger flippers and other workers at fast food joints.


Here’s how. More companies are having diners ordering meals via touch screens. So the need for wait staff is dwindling. Plus, innovative firms are desperately looking at new technology to flip burgers and cook french fries and other fast foods. Technology companies are also working feverishly to develop dishwashers that load and empty themselves.


So all you’ll need in the future is a human or two to supervise the machines and repair them if they break. Oh, and a person or two will be needed to handle complaints and if the experience most of us have with technology holds true, there will be lots of them.


The clutch and manual transmissions in automobiles. Used to be an automatic transmission was more expensive. Today, it’s just the opposite. You can hardly find a manual transmission in a regular auto anymore. For specialty vehicles and high performance autos you can still find them but nowhere else except the lowest end vehicle of some automakers.


One reason is the efficiency of automatic transmissions. You can now get them in as many as nine speeds so it makes more sense from a driving and fuel efficiency standpoint to use them.


Even the manual transmissions made today are set to work electronically and without a clutch.


College textbooks — and maybe soon — all textbooks. For assigned reading on college campuses you’ll soon need a tablet or an e-reader. Students want digital everything these days and the demand will soon do away with the printed word.


K through 12 schools won’t be far behind.


There are a number of reasons from the teaching side of things that make digital books in demand as well. Interactive software means students can do their work more or less online. They can make digital notes and even simulate experiments when they don’t have access to a laboratory.


Also, this makes it easier for teachers and professors to plan lessons based on what they see as responses from assigned work.


Publishers aren’t happy about the idea but most will do okay switching from print to digital. However, education institutions are looking for more open-source sources for education opportunities.


Neighborhood mail collection boxes. Mail sent is down 57% from 2004 to 2015. That’s for the simple first-class stamped version of mail. We email these days or text. Few of us write or send postcards.


Since 1985 the U.S. Post Office has cut the number of those blue mail collection boxes by more than half. It costs money in wages and fuel to service them and if they’re not well-used, they go away.


Soon the only place you will see them is post offices or at malls, shopping centers or stops for public transit.


The incandescent lightbulb. You can still find them because merchants that still have them can sell what they have left in inventory. You can still use them if you can find them. But those nifty Thomas Edison invented 40 to 100-watt lightbulbs are now illegal to make.


It’s all part of the goal to make us use less electricity. The new order of things is compact fluorescents, halogens and LEDs.


You can — however — still legally buy and make those tungsten filament glass vacuum three-way bulbs of the 50, 100 and 150-watt categories. You’ll also be able to find heavy duty bulbs and appliance bulbs.


Blackouts. Long drops in electricity for some regions are still a reality but the impact of blackouts is being minimized by changing technology. Solar powered homes is one and homes with back-up batteries is another. Look for this being a reality and not theory by 2020.


Plus appliances are growing more efficient and don’t gobble as much energy as they used to. Same goes for lightbulbs. LEDs are becoming the norm.


Utility companies are also starting to invest in huge battery banks that they can roll into areas during a blackout.


The Modem. In 2013 just 3% of the nation’s households used one. So you’ll soon not see one anywhere. And by the way, in 2000 just 3% of U.S. households had broadband which was accessed by modems.


Today 70% have broadband they access without modems. And a lot of companies providing it have been offering modems as a courtesy but that’s going away, too.


The plow. In spite of what most of us think, few farmers use them these days. And plowing is expensive in terms of the cost of fuel. Environmentalists hate it because diesel fuel pollutees.


So most farmers now manage their lands and crops the new-fashioned way. They don’t turn the soil at all. Herbicides to take care of weeds and things like seed drills do the work plows used to do.


Source link: Kiplinger


Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Life’s Only Constant — Change  Weekly Industry News 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

California — Pacific Gas & Electric Pipeline

In 2010 an explosion of a natural gas pipeline in San Bruno — a city of 41,000 a bit south of San Francisco — killed eight people and injured 58 others. Federal charges came out of the aftermath. Pacific Gas & Electric was found guilty last week of obstructing the investigation and for violating pipeline safety regulations.


The fine will likely be the maximum of $3 million.


Source link: Carrier Management



California — Hot Tub Caused Wildfire

Faulty wiring in a hot tub caused a fire in Lake County and parts of Napa County that burned 120 square miles and killed four people. One person is still missing and presumed dead.


The fire last year destroyed more than 1,300 homes.


The property owners are being investigated for possible criminal charges. They may not have obtained a building permit when installing the hot tub and officials have found it was not installed according to building code. And officials are also looking at possibly charging them for the $57 million it took to extinguish the fire.


California — Watchdog News Release Misleads

This from California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. Consumer Watchdog issued a news release about State Farm that includes inaccurate statements and is misleading.


The Consumer Watchdog news release falsely stated that a judge made a decision "ordering the company [State Farm] to refund policyholders at least $85 million for overcharges" and "ordered that going forward, State Farm must decrease its homeowners insurance rates by 7.0%".


To the contrary, no such order has been issued by a judge or by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. No final decision has been made on the State Farm rate case. Commissioner Jones has the final authority in the case and will make a final decision at the conclusion of the case, which is still pending.


Commissioner Jones requests Consumer Watchdog retract its false and misleading news release and respect the Proposition 103 rate setting process in this case.


Consumer Watchdog is a party to the State Farm proceeding and knows that no order rebating rates or reducing rates has been issued in the case. The Consumer Watchdog news release confuses consumers and the media into believing that consumers are now entitled to a rate rebate and reduction, when no such order has been issued.


Instead of the order, which Consumer Watchdog falsely says was issued, an administrative law judge (ALJ) made a recommendation-a proposed decision-for Commissioner Jones to consider based on evidence and arguments made at the State Farm rate hearing.


Rather than issuing his final decision, Commissioner Jones ordered the case to be returned to the ALJ to take additional evidence regarding what interest rate, if any, might be applicable.


After evidence is taken by the ALJ the rate case will be formally submitted to Commissioner Jones to consider, after which he will make a decision and issue a final order. Until then, the case is still pending and there is no order rebating rates or reducing rates.


Idaho — Possible Health Insurance Enrollment Scam: This from the Idaho Department of Insurance.


The Idaho Department of Insurance has been made aware of a possible scam by a company using deceptive practices to market health insurance in Idaho. Your Health Idaho, Idaho’s health insurance exchange, has received complaints from consumers about an organization called National Enrollment Center. Multiple attempts to contact the company went unanswered or were disconnected.


We don’t really know what type of health insurance they are selling,” says Consumer Services Bureau Chief Elaine Mellon. When pressed for details about what company they sell for, what type of insurance they are selling, or licensing information, they hang up.”


The Department of Insurance has a list of tips and information for consumers who are contacted by anyone attempting to sell insurance:


  Open enrollment for health insurance will run November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017 – no special state enrollment period” for individual health insurance exists. Anyone offering insurance plans through an enrollment period” outside of open enrollment is not selling an ACA-compliant policy.


  No one offering ACA-compliant health care coverage will ask if you have a pre-existing condition.


  The federal government will not call you to sell you health insurance. Be wary of telemarketers from the National Enrollment Center,” “National Healthcare Center,” or other official-sounding names.


  Never provide bank account or health information or agree to any request to send money over the phone. If you are being pressured to provide this information, hang up.


  Purchase insurance only from a licensed agent. Ask agents for their license number and verify licensure by calling the Department or visiting the website, www.doi.idaho.gov. If a person refuses to provide licensing information, hang up.


  If you receive a sales call from someone selling health insurance, ask the caller to send you information in writing about the policy, including premiums. If they refuse, hang up.


People with questions about this or other insurance-related topics are encouraged to 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.


Washington — Drive for Hire Union Law: U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik said it’s too early to file a lawsuit challenging Seattle’s new law that allows drivers for hire to organize into a union. It’s the first such law in the nation.


Judge Lasnik said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is premature in filing its suit to overturn the city’s decision. It doesn’t have any standing anyway. The Chambers’ theory of standing relies on a speculative chain of events controlled entirely by the choices of third parties not currently before the court,” the judge wrote.


Source links: PropertyCasualty360.com, Insurance Journal



Washington — Kreidler Wins Primary

Mike Kriedler is the longest-serving state insurance commissioner in the nation. Kreidler — a Democrat — advanced along with Republican challenger Richard Schrock to the November general election. Kreidler, who is seeking a fifth term, captured 57.6% of the vote in the primary, while Schrock got 35.2% of the ballots.


In Washington, all candidates compete in the primary, with the top two finishers advancing to the general election. Libertarian Justin Murta polled 7.1% and was eliminated.


Washington — From the Commissioner’s Office

The stakeholder draft is now available for OIC proposed rule R 2016-07 regarding registration and regulation of pharmacy benefit managers.


 As the OIC previously announced, the stakeholder meeting will be on August 23rd from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.  The meeting will be in Olympia on the Capitol Campus in House Hearing Room D (O'Brien Building).


Specific details regarding the meeting:


  The meeting will be in-person only

  If there is a high turnout, the agency will limit testimony to three minutes per person

  The OIC will call stakeholders to testify in the order that they signed in

  In regard to in-person comments, the information that's most useful to the OIC is specific suggestions for proposed changes to the text

  The meeting will end at 2:30 p.m.


Despite the time limitations on in-person testimony at the stakeholder meeting, the OIC will accept written comments of any length, which stakeholders are welcome to submit to rulescoordinator@oic.wa.gov


The comment deadline for the stakeholder draft is Tuesday, August 30th.


For questions or comments, please contact Bianca Stoner, Senior Health Policy Analyst, at rulescoordinator@oic.wa.gov.


In another filing, the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner recently filed the following item with the Code Reviser’s Office:


Click here for proposed rule 2016-21




Under this rule, when consumers are applying for individual health plans using special enrollment rights, the Exchange and issuers would have the ability to voluntarily set the monthly enrollment deadline as early as the 15th of the month.


This process began in May 2016 with Rule 2016-13.  The OIC has withdrawn that rule, and 2016-21 replaces it.



The CR-101 comment period closes on September 16, 2016.


Stakeholder meeting


Tuesday, September 27, 2016 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

5000 Capitol Blvd. SE

Tumwater, WA 98501


The OIC will upload the stakeholder draft to this webpage by the end of the week

For questions or comments, please contact Bianca Stoner, Senior Health Policy Analyst, at rulescoordinator@oic.wa.gov.


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

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Annual PIA KKlub and Member Appreciation is Coming

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 9, 2016



The annual PIA Western Alliance Member Appreciation Day will be held September 8, 2016 at the Camas Meadows Golf Club in Camas, Washington. All agents, agencies and company personnel — members or not — are urged to attend.


This is the day to celebrate, network and recognize all our PIA members and with particular appreciation to our KKlub company members for two reasons: 


  First, it is a day of education, information and fun.

  Second, our KKlub carriers recognize the importance of preserving the independent agency system.


PIA Western Alliance Executive Vice President Clark Sitzes said, “Their support in partnering with us allows the association to work in depth on legislative issues that affect the industry and your business. Our PIA KKlub Appreciate Day is our way of saying thank you,” he said.


And — that said — he continued and urged your support, “It’s the perfect opportunity for industry professionals to gather for an informative day and competition on the golf course as we recognize our esteemed KKlub members. Our members are what drive the Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance. 


On the information side of the event, PIA Washington and Oregon Lobbyists Mel Sorensen and Lana Butterfield will talk about what’s happening at the Legislature and with the departments of insurance in their respective states and about the importance of KKlub support for PIA efforts in them.


Mel Sorensen is the PIA Washington lobbyist. He has been with Carney, Bradley, Spellman since 2000 and his emphasis is legislative and regulatory representation. This includes actions before the Washington State Office of Insurance Commissioner.


Lana Butterfield works tirelessly for the insurance industry in the Oregon Legislature and is the PIA of Oregon Lobbyist. She also is President of Butterfield Communications specializing in government relations.


Click here to register.



Thursday, September 8, 2016


9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Oregon & Washington Legislative/Regulatory Review with Mel Sorensen and Lana Butterfield.


12:00 PM

Tee off with Box Lunch


6:00 PM

Dinner and Golf Awards at the Course



The Camas Meadows Golf Club

4105 NW Camas Meadows Drive

Camas, Washington 98607


Click here to register.


We look forward to seeing everyone there.


Tags:  Annual PIA KKlub and Member Appreciation is Coming  Appreciation Day  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Agency Organic Growth Hits 5-Year Low

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Reagan Consulting took a look at independent agency and brokerage organic growth for 2016 in its recent Reagan Consulting Organic Growth and Profitability (OGP) survey.


Overall organic growth fell to a five-year low in the second quarter of this year. It’s 4.0% and down considerably from the 2015 second quarter growth of 5.9%. It’s also deemed the lowest quarter for organic growth since 2011.


Here are some stats from the survey:


  Commercial lines organic growth fell to 3.1%

  That’s down from 5.1% in the first quarter

  Employee benefits is the fastest growing line at +6.2%

  Personal lines rose 1.7%


Reagan Consulting’s Jim Campbell said, The powerful headwinds of soft commercial lines premium rates and a muddling economy are even stronger in 2016, after blowing for more than a year.”


Profit margins suffered, too. They’re down 23.1% from the 24.6% in the 2015 second quarter. The measurement comes from the EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). It’s the second lowest earnings since 2012.


Here’s more. Commercial rates — the report said — fell 3.7% in the first quarter. That figure comes from the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB) and is the biggest decrease since the soft market began in 2014.


Reagan Consulting got its information from 140 mid-size and large agencies and brokerages. Half of the largest companies in the industry participated. Average revenue is $18 million. Campbell said — in spite of the bad news in the survey — most said they expect a year of profitability and not losses. Some think they’ll hit 20%. If achieved, that would be generally consistent with the 20.1 percent margin achieved in 2015,” he said.


Source link: Insurance Journal


Tags:  Agency Growth  Agency Organic Growth Hits 5-Year Low  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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Employees & Health Insurance — Lots of Confusion

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Health insurance for employees has not only gotten more expensive, it’s become more confusing. Why? More responsibility for choosing is going to those employees and, while its saving money for employers, health insurance — even for those in the insurance industry — is confusing.


Alegeus — the technology firm — did a study of 4,000 employees about the management of their own health insurance and health care:


  66% say out-of-pocket costs are the biggest challenge they face

  It is also the most stressful part of managing their health care

  Over half say they don’t have the knowledge and tools to predict those costs


Spokesman John Park said, Many employees are being forced to make some decisions and understand how to pay out of pocket for the first time. Once they have more experience it will become easier. They’ll become smarter consumers.”


But for now, they’re challenged. Employees find these aspects of healthcare management costs the most challenging and stressful:


  Planning for out-of-pocket costs — 69%

  Managing healthcare finances — 62%

  Shopping for best value services — 62%

  Medical bill scrutiny and payment — 59%

  Choosing health benefits — 55%


Park said employers need to make things a bit simpler for their employees and that starts with more employee involvement. In a lot of cases, employees haven’t been engaged in the process as effectively as they could have been. Now, people haven’t fully processed their new responsibilities in a way that makes sense, and there are a lot of questions and anxiety at an employee. Employers can provide the guidance to help their employees learn and bring resources to them,” he said.


Source link: Employee Benefit Advisor


Tags:  employee insurance  Employees & Health Insurance — Lots of Confusion  health insurance  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News 

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MetLife Cutting Jobs: Number Unknown but Could be Lots

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 9, 2016

MetLife is going to be cutting jobs. Central bank policies have strangled MetLife’s bond-dominated portfolio. It’s valued at $500 billion or more. Second quarter profits of a variable-annuity business — that the company is trying to exit — fell 90% to $110 million.


The exit is part of its move to unwind its retail operation.


MetLife CEO Steve Kandarian says the squeeze is forcing the company to reduce annual costs by $1 billion or more by the end of 2019. That means job cuts for a company that had 69,000 employees in December of last year.


In light of the significant headwinds our industry is facing, MetLife must do even more to avoid simply running in place. We know this will require us to reduce headcount, which is never an easy step for an organization to take. Our overall goal is to be more efficient, so that we can better serve our customers and provide a fair return to shareholders,” Kandarian said.


As part of the cost-cutting process MetLife inked a deal with Computer Sciences Corporation to administer 7 million policies. Computer Sciences will provide a call center and information technology support. It will also offer jobs to 1,000 people currently working for MetLife in the United States and in India.


The company has been moving its retail operation to a new — and separate from MetLife — unit called Brighthouse Financial. At the same time, it was going to do share buybacks but that has been halted with no plan to resume.


Our first order of business is to work on the separation and make sure we have a clear understanding about capitalization of Brighthouse, the form of the separation. Once we get through that, we’ll focus on the issue of how we’ll use any remaining excess capital. We’re not at that point yet where we can really speak to when share repurchases may begin,” Kandarian said.


Source link: Insurance Business America


Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  job cuts  MetLife  MetLife Cutting Jobs: Number Unknown but Could be   Weekly Industry News 

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