Daily Insurance Report  
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.
  Thursday, 10/18/18 - www.DailyInsuranceReport.com

The "Daily Insurance Report" is now subscribed to by almost 25,000 insurance industry influencers who receive it Monday - Friday at 5:05 am EDT, and have a quick overview of what is appearing in the media regarding the insurance industry; with an emphasis on life, health, and employee benefits.

Employees face 'ridiculous' price swings in healthcare choices
By Nelson Griswold / Employee Benefit Adviser

With no guidance to choose high-quality, low-cost healthcare providers, employees are forced to make a tough choice with their employer’s money and their own health.

Healthcare prices are out of control, pricing abuse is rampant, pricing disparities are ridiculous, and quality is hit-or-miss. Despite the availability of cost and quality data, employees must navigate the healthcare system blind and alone, unaware of the potential for huge cost savings and the health risks from low-quality providers.

For example, a recent Consumer Reports survey of U.S. pharmacies found that a basket of five popular generic prescription drugs ranged in price from just $66 for all five medications at online mail-order pharmacy Healthwarehouse.com to $928 for the same five drugs at CVS/Target. That’s a price difference of over 1,300%…for the exact same drugs. The report also identified plenty of pharmacies charging a fraction of CVS/Target prices.

Yet no one alerts employees to these price differences and guides them to fill their prescriptions at lower-cost pharmacies, despite the epidemic of prescription non-compliance due to high drug costs.

401(k) co-creator: Next financial crisis may be worse
By Richard Stolz / ebn

EBN: In fact you write that we shouldn’t think of 2008 as a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

Benna: 2008 was pretty nasty, but I’m expecting the next one to be worse because individuals, municipalities and the federal government are in much worse shape financially today in terms of their debt loads, than they were going into 2008. So they won’t be as well-equipped to step in and provide assistance.

EBN: So are you suggesting that sponsors should think twice about using target date funds as their QDIA?

Benna: No, because most participants who are defaulted in are younger and in the accumulation stage, so they’re not as vulnerable.

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The 15 most popular employee perks
By Kathryn Mayer / ebn

Forget onsite gyms, health coaching and pet-friendly offices. The most coveted employee benefits have to do with time away from the workplace. That’s the conclusion of a poll of 1,227 working adults from benefits provider Unum, which found that the most desired perks have to do with flexible work options and absence management.

The company gave survey participants a list of 15 perks — that were non-insurance or retirement benefits — and asked the survey participants to choose their top five options. These are the 15 benefits, ranked by popularity.
Paid Family Leave
Flexible / Remote Work Options
Professional Development
Sabattical Leave
Gym Membership / Onsite Fitness Center
Student Loan Repayment
Onsite Health Snacks
ID Theft Prevention
Financial Planning Resources
Fitness Goal Incentives
Public Transit Assistance
Pet Insurance
Pet Friendly Offices
Health Coaching
Dedicated Volunteer Hours

Analysis: Nevada's largest counties see rising payouts for unused employee benefits
By Michael Carroll / Watchdog.org

Clark and Washoe counties currently owe public employees more than $600 million in unpaid sick leave and vacation time, according to a recent newspaper investigation that concluded this debt had grown 26 percent between 2007 and 2017.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal's numbers didn't come as much of a surprise to the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI), which has been tracking public employees' overtime and other benefit payouts through its government transparency project at TransparentNevada.com.

“It's an issue we've looked at quite a bit because it's pretty widespread in government,” NPRI spokesman Michael Schaus told Watchdog.org. “... The idea that you can bank unused sick leave time in perpetuity and then cash it out before you retire – it tends to take most government employers by surprise when somebody's accumulated a lot and decides to retire.”

North Charleston group of Obamacare ‘navigators’ will be SC’s 1st nonprofit insurer
By Mary Katherine Wildeman / The Post and Courier

The Palmetto Project, formerly a health insurance “navigator,” is now a bona fide insurance agency. The help it offers to anyone signing up for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act will still be free. But now, it won’t rely on government grants to keep the doors and the phone lines open. The new organization is called Insure SC.

Since 2014, the Palmetto Project paid the so-called health insurance navigators with federal dollars, and those workers walked people through the process of buying insurance. About 200,000 people sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act in South Carolina every year.

Trouble came when the Trump administration said it would cut federal funds to the navigators. There were only two such groups in South Carolina, the Palmetto Project and the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce. The funds awarded were decided by how many people the organizations enrolled.

Shelli Quenga, program director for the Palmetto Project, said she was expecting a 20 percent reduction. The actual cut totaled more than half.

Big changes ahead for healthcare, says practical futurist Michael Rogers
During this podcast, Rogers says IT has "come along just in time" to transform the healthcare delivery system.
By Mike Miliard

Michael Rogers is a self-described "practical futurist." He's "not interested in flying cars," he explained. "I'm interested in things that will actually happen." (True, flying cars could still happen too – "but we've been promised them since 1958," he said).

Few industries are poised for as much change in the near-term future as healthcare, said Rogers, who will give the opening keynote at the HIMSS Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum in Boston on Oct. 22.

Healthcare is "one of the disciplines that's going to benefit the most" from technology innovation, he said – "and just in time, because the wheels are coming off."

The good news is that IT is well-positioned to transform the "overall healthcare delivery system" in fundamental ways, said Rogers, who launched Newsweek's technology column, served as vice president of The Washington Post Company's new media division and recently spent two years as futurist-in-residence for The New York Times.

Pinellas Co. businessmen indicted in $1 billion insurance fraud scheme
By: FOX 13 News staff
CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - Four Bay Area businessmen have been indicted in an alleged scheme that defrauded patients, doctors, and insurance companies out of almost a billion dollars.

From June 2015 until April 2018, Assad, Bolos, Palso, and Smith are accused of conspiring to deceive tens of thousands of patients, more than 100 doctors, and insurance companies through their telemedicine and compounding pharmacy companies.

According to the indictment, they set up an elaborate scheme using one of their companies, a telemedicine business based in Clearwater called HealthRight, to fraudulently solicit insurance coverage information and prescriptions from patients. Records show doctors would approve the prescriptions, not knowing “the defendants were massively marking up the prices of the invalidly prescribed drugs, which the defendants then billed to private insurance carriers.”

Avoiding Double Taxation from Selling a C-Corp – Not Easy but Possible
John Ingrassia, Tax Partner / Anchin Alert

When the owner of a C-Corporation sells their business for a profit, the profits will be taxed twice: once at the corporate level and again when money is distributed to the owner/shareholders as a dividend. However, in some circumstances there may be a way to avoid the double taxation. It’s a difficult strategy to pull off but could be possible under the right conditions.

Kashable Secures $100 Million Credit Facility from MidCap Financial

Kashable, a leading alternative consumer lending solution, announced today that it has secured a $100 million credit facility from MidCap Financial, a premier specialty finance firm managed by Apollo Capital Management, L.P. focused on delivering flexible and creative capital solutions. This credit facility supports Kashable's growth and accelerates the Company's ability to extend affordable financing to consumers across the United States.

Kashable's enhanced underwriting and repayment processes allow employees to access Socially Responsible Credit™, which is typically their most competitive unsecured borrowing option in the market.

Applied Systems Announces Minority Investment by CapitalG, the Growth Equity Investment Fund of Google Parent Company Alphabet

Applied Systems (“Applied”), the leading global provider of cloud-based software that powers the business of insurance, today announced an investment from CapitalG, Alphabet’s growth equity investment fund. CapitalG’s investment will bring Applied access to Google expertise across artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digital marketing. Other CapitalG investments include Lyft, Airbnb, SurveyMonkey, and Zscaler.

Over the past five years, Applied has more than doubled in size and revenue by significantly growing its product portfolio and customer base throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. As the insurance industry’s trusted technology partner for more than 35 years, Applied continues to serve the industry and its expanding global customer base through an innovative product portfolio and industry leading services and support.

Applied Systems Acquires Dynamis Corporation
Acquisition to drive greater automation for employee benefits insurance agencies

Applied Systems today announced the acquisition of Dynamis Software Corporation, a leading provider of employee benefits software solutions in the US. This acquisition expands Applied’s employee benefits offerings and demonstrates the company’s commitment to employee benefits agency automation.

“At Applied, we recognize the challenges that benefits agencies face automating their business,” said Reid French, chief executive officer, Applied Systems. “This transaction brings the leading provider of agency management systems globally with Dynamis, a leading provider of employee benefits solutions in the US, to deliver an integrated solution for employee benefits agency automation.”

Greenlight Capital Re Invests in Click2Sure

Greenlight Re Innovations, part of Greenlight Capital Re, a specialist property and casualty reinsurer, has invested in Click2Sure, the South African startup offering a digital platform for distributing, managing and purchasing insurance at the point of sale via API.

Launched in 2017, and led by Daniel Guasco and Jacques Van Niekerk, Click2Sure, which is funded by Team Africa Ventures, enables retailers, service providers, distributors and brokers to offer a selection of over 20 custom developed insurance products at the point of sale. With this latest investment from Greenlight Re, the company plans to scale their business globally.

Developing Ideas

One of the clearest examples of what skilled professionals’ need to know about the place they are going to work at is seen in the title of this text and its reference to a glass-door revolution. Historically, companies have protected themselves in relation to aspects such as their culture, values, ways of doing things, innovation processes, etc. Today, however, the most prestigious organizations—and those most often targeted for employment by top professionals—use openness and transparency as one of the their most powerful marketing tools. Google does not only sell “what it does.” The aspirational aura of everything around it has more to do with “why does it do it?” “how does it do it?” and “who does it?” College students who consistently target this company for their career seem not to care if they end up working on Gmail or Maps. What truly fascinates them is the realization they could be part of a brilliant, non-conformist community working to shape the world’s future.


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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor