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Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 

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Editorial Mission Statement: The goal of this publication is to provide readers a broad selection of what is being written about the insurance industry and related issues. Some articles may have a “tilt” towards a particular perspective one way or another. Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of any views or content; but report the various and differing views appearing in media.
  Friday, 02/15/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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The "Daily Insurance Report" publishes the life insurance, health insurance, and employee benefits news that matters.

CVS Health shows off new HealthHUB store design. Makeover includes dietitians, wellness rooms for yoga
CVS Health unveils its three new health-focused concept stores in the Houston area.
The renovated drugstores are part of CVS' $70 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna.
CVS' HealthHUBs offer more health services at its MinuteClinics and more health-focused products.
Angelica LaVito | Bertha Coombs / CNBC.com

CVS Health has unveiled its new health-focused concept store that's designed to help the chain become more of a health-care provider than a place to pick up prescriptions and greeting cards.

The three new pilot stores in Houston have been redesigned with much more space devoted to services to help customers manage chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

Called HealthHUBs, they are part of the company's vision for its $70 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna. In addition, each store has an expanded health clinic, with a lab for blood testing and health screenings. There are also wellness rooms for yoga and seminars, dietitians and respiratory specialists in the HealthHUBs.

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Health insurance plans could soon return as AVMA member benefit
R. Scott Nolen / American Veterinary Medical Association

AVMA LIFE logoThis summer, the AVMA could once again offer health insurance plans to AVMA members after a hiatus of roughly five years.

The new insurance plans are anticipated to be available as early as July 1, 2019, in at least 10 states—a number expected to grow in the future—to practices with between two and 50 employees. An ongoing legal challenge brought by several states against association health plans could postpone or threaten the plans' availability, but the AVMA is moving forward to make sure AVMA plans are available as soon as it is possible.

Health insurance plans were a member benefit for nearly 60 years, until 2013, when New York Life Insurance Co. announced it would no longer underwrite association health plans. Regulatory requirements of the Affordable Care Act were the cause for its decision, the company said. Other insurers declined to work with the AVMA, citing similar concerns.

The AVMA has since advocated through its Government Relations Division to make association health plans viable again. In conjunction with other professional associations, the AVMA helped launch the Coalition to Protect and Promote AHPs to work with state and federal insurance officials to implement the framework for association health plans to ensure that the marketplace is viable and successful.

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Record health care spending driven by rising prices, not increased services: study

Health care spending for individuals who receive employer-sponsored insurance has reached a record high, according to a study released Tuesday.

Average annual spending for people who get their health insurance through work was $5,641 in 2017, up 4.2 percent from $5,416 the previous year, the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) found in its analysis. The average includes the amount paid by workers, their employers and insurers.

Spending on health care is increasing because of higher prices, not because people are using more services, according to the study.

The overall use of health care services declined 0.2 percent between 2013 and 2017, while spending on health care increased 16.7 percent.

"For the most part, Americans aren't using more health care services, which means we’re essentially paying more and more for the same amount of health care," said Niall Brennan, president and chief executive of HCCI.

Spending on professional services, which includes doctor office visits, grew more than any other area, increasing 13 percent between 2013 and 2017.

Convergence of retirement planning and employee benefits is here
Advisers that leverage this trend will reap the rewards
Fred Barstein / Investment News

Ten years ago, only a small percentage of financial advisers offered fiduciary advice services, either because their broker-dealer would not allow it or because there was more money in selling commissioned products. Now, more advisers than not — especially in the 401(k) world — act as fee-based advisers.

Coming soon: the convergence of employee benefits, retirement, wealth management and insurance, equating to total human-capital risk management. This is not only appealing to employers, but also offers better outcomes and access for workers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, insurance and benefits firms such as Hub International, with 240,000 corporate clients, are aggressively pursuing retirement practices, evidenced by that firm's recent purchase of Sheridan Road Financial, a large national retirement advisory practice.

Why is the convergence of corporate benefits, retirement and insurance happening now? And how should retirement advisers and wealth managers leverage this opportunity?

JPMorgan is creating its own cryptocurrency
Chris Isidore / CNN Business

JPMorgan Chase, the nation's largest bank, is launching its own cryptocurrency.

Dubbed JPM Coin, the cryptocurrency has a fixed value redeemable for one US dollar. It won't trade freely like bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies.
JPMorgan believes JPM Coin can help lower its clients' costs and risks, by making money transfers instantaneous and by reducing the amount of capital they need to hold onto. JPMorgan moves trillions of dollars around the world every day on behalf of customers.
JPM Coin is designed to be used, at least initially, by major institutional customers, not individuals, although JPMorgan expects to roll it out to a broader range of customers later this year.

JPMorgan (JPM) said it is the first American bank to create and successfully test this kind of digital coin. But Signature Bank (SBNY), a much smaller bank based in New York, started handling transactions for its business clients on its own blockchain platform on Jan. 1. Like the JPM Coin, its transactions are pegged to the dollar, and do not use a freely traded cryptocurrency like bitcoin.

Why financial wellness can no longer be an afterthought
Nick Otto / ebn

Financial wellness: It’s an HR buzzword. But with a number of players involved — from the C-suite to benefits managers to brokers and employees — there often is confusion regarding the best kind of program, the best way to implement it and how to get employees engaged. That’s leading to a lot of discussion — but few concrete solutions.

“There are competing priorities, and not everyone is talking with one another,” says Denise Winston, CEO of Money Starts Here, a California-based financial education company. “There’s a lot of noise in this space, and there are so many demographics that we’re dealing with. It can be so confusing.”

Winston: It used to be all about health and wellness. Employers have finally made the correlation between financial stress and what it does on the health and wellness side. Not only is financial stress impacting healthcare costs, but also productivity. And the Affordable Care Act put additional financial stress on everyone that has made it hard to ignore. There’s a lot more cost-sharing. We need to be educated consumers, and the ACA has put a magnifying glass on the fact that we have a financial problem in our nation.

SOC Telemed Selected as Exclusive Telemedicine Provider for Prime Healthcare
Partnership Provides Telemed IQ Platform and Managed Services Support for all Prime Sites, Across Multiple Specialties

SOC Telemed (SOC), the leader in acute care telemedicine, today announces its selection by Prime Healthcare to deliver a scalable and flexible technology platform for Prime's national telemedicine operations. Prime Healthcare, one of the nation's leading healthcare providers with 45 hospitals in 14 states, will use SOC's Telemed IQ to support its standardization efforts across both clinical care and workflow.

"As one of the most prominent hospital systems in the country, it's natural to desire consistency when looking to scale," says Hammad Shah, CEO for SOC Telemed. "This selection enables Prime to achieve system-level control and visibility over its telemedicine initiatives – standardizing workflows, care and reporting capabilities using Telemed IQ's fully customizable offerings."

SOC will support consults in psychiatry, neurology, and critical care for all Prime hospitals, anticipating additional specialties as Prime Healthcare adds service lines into its telemedicine program in the future.

How A 172-Year-Old Company Is Innovating Life Insurance: Interview With CEO Eileen McDonnell
Robert Reiss, Contributor / Forbes

Reiss: Can you give us some examples of innovation in action at Penn Mutual?

McDonnell: Well, one recent innovation is our Accelerated Client Experience or ACE. Penn Mutual is the first life insurance company in the U.S. to introduce an automated application and underwriting experience that simultaneously allows our advisers to focus on better serving clients while eliminating the obstacles customers once faced in securing a life insurance policy. ACE allows us to speed up the underwriting process by automating and managing data flows in a way that eliminates blood and urine tests, EKGs and other impediments to implementing a life insurance policy.

Reiss: What impact has ACE had on the company’s operations?

McDonnell: ACE now accounts for 60 percent of the policies we write. That’s in an industry where only 15 percent of policies have any front-end electronic application at all. At the same time, ACE has vastly improved the effectiveness of our advisers, allowing them to increase their placement rate to an unheard-of 93 percent, compared to 73 percent for paper-and-pencil applications.


Monday, 02/11/19 - Why The Future Of Life Insurance May Depend On Your Online Presence

Tuesday, 02/12/19 - Why you have no idea how much a surgery really costs (before you have it)

Wednesday, 02/13/19 - Chatbots Using Artificial Intelligence are Selling Insurance in 2019

Thursday, 02/14/19 - Per-person spending is growing faster for private insurance than it is for Medicare or Medicaid, according to a new analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Friday, 02/08/19 - At this company, you can trade a vacation for student loan relief

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor