Daily Insurance Report  
Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com

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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.
  Monday, 10/15/18 - 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.


Short-term health insurance meets needs of millions
Goal should be to maximize insurance coverage, not scoring political points
By SHAUN GREENE / MarketWatch

The ACA has helped millions of Americans gain insurance coverage and receive much needed health care. However, at the same time it has created financial stress for millions of Americans who are not eligible for the subsidies and can neither afford rising insurance premiums nor tax penalties. What is the solution?

In many ways, the Affordable Care Act was a political compromise in that it passed because coverage for all Americans is essential, but it passed with flaws. In the divided political years that have followed, the flaws have been fought about, but not fixed.

Short-term health insurance has been a staple individual health insurance product for decades. My first experience with it was in the mid-90s when I resigned my Army commission to attend business school and had a three-month gap between my Army health coverage and university coverage. The plan certainly did not have all the bells and whistles of today’s ACA plans, but it covered my family for accidents and illnesses at an affordable price.

In the past few years, many Americans have been priced out of the ACA market and have discovered the affordability of short-term health insurance.



Holidays for Mr. and Mrs. Employer!
Tanya Boyd, Most Influential Woman In Benefit Advising X 3

Are you a business owner? Do you know a business owner? In Texas alone, many individuals are faced with few choices and zero PPO plans that cover pre-existing conditions. And unless you qualify for a tax credit based on income, you might find the price, um, uncomfortable. And while all the buzz is around the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period for individuals, (November 1 - December 15) we aren’t hearing too much about the Special Open Enrollment Period for Small Employers.

November 1 – December 15 is a Special Enrollment Period for small employers (1– 50). They get a holiday and don’t have to meet participation or contribution requirements! That’s right. This little-known part of the Affordable Care Act requires health insurance companies to offer an annual Special Enrollment Period (From 11/01 to 12/15 for January 1st effective dates).

This means employers do NOT have to meet the normal 75% participation requirement or 50% premium contribution rule. So, if you have 20 employees and only 1 wants it, that’s cool. It doesn’t matter. And the contribution amount, well, you set it up how you want to, but it can be way lower than 50%, and you can even charge 100% to the employees.


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Hurricane Michael Caused Estimated $8 Billion in Insured Losses
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

An insurance company that produces models for catastrophes is estimating Hurricane Michael caused about $8 billion in insured losses.

Boston-based Karen Clark & Company released the estimate Thursday. It includes the privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and automobiles. The figure does not include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.



Employee Demand Makes Voluntary Benefits Mandatory for Employers
Matt Straz, GUEST WRITER, Founder and CEO of Namely / Entrepreneur.com

Voluntary benefits are appealing to employees because they offer a nice flexibility to everyone’s compensation package. But why are voluntary benefits important to employers? Here’s what the data has to say:

1. Employees want them.
Voluntary benefits may seem like a nice-to-have option, but employees see them as an important part of a benefits plan. Among employees surveyed in the 2015

2. They relieve financial pressure.
When offered voluntary benefits, employees are more likely to be confident in their financial future, according to the Aflac survey. This financial confidence translates to happier, less stressed employees.

3. They’re cost-effective.
Voluntary benefits are pleasing to both employees and employers’ bottom lines.



Kronos, Even partner to offer employees access to advance payday
By Kathryn Mayer / ebn

Kronos has partnered with financial app Even, allowing employers using its platform to provide its employees early access to their pay, the companies said Thursday.

The new partnership will add Even’s financial wellness app to Kronos Workforce Dimensions Marketplace, enabling businesses that use the cloud-based workforce management tool to offer the Even app to their employees. HR software maker Kronos, which private equity firm Hellman & Friedman took private in 2007 for $1.8 billion, is based in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The partnership “will enable millions of people who work at companies that use Kronos for scheduling and payroll to better budget their earnings every pay period,” says Jon Schlossberg, Even’s CEO and co-founder.



Obamacare premiums will get cheaper for the first time
By Katie Lobosco and Tami Luhby / CNN

It will cost a little less to buy Obamacare coverage in 2019. The average premium for the benchmark silver plan will decline by 1.5%, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Thursday.

It's the first time average premiums have fallen since the Affordable Care Act exchanges opened in 2014 — but the decline comes after a 37% spike for this year's benchmark silver plan. Americans who buy those plans will save $6 a month over this year's rate, on average, but will still be paying $105 more a month than in 2017.



Healthcare groups blast proposed rule penalizing immigrants for using public benefits
By Harris Meyer / Modern Healthcare

A proposed rule issued by the Trump administration Wednesday would penalize legal immigrants for using government benefits like Medicaid, alarming a wide range of healthcare and public health organizations.

Leaders of many healthcare organizations, including the American Hospital Association, America's Essential Hospitals, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, warn that the proposed rule would hurt public health efforts and reduce their ability to serve millions of low-income children and families. They have joined a broad coalition of advocacy groups seeking to block the rule.

The proposal, published in the Federal Register by the Department of Homeland Security, would allow federal immigration officials to consider legal immigrants' use of public health insurance, nutrition and other programs as a strongly negative factor in their applications for legal permanent residency.



Walmart makes reducing health-care costs a top priority — for customers, too
Angelica LaVito / CNBC.com

Walmart is looking for ways to reduce health-care costs — for its customers in addition to its employees — as the nation's largest employer and retailer makes it a top priority this year.

Insuring its 2.2 million workers across the world is the company's second-largest expense on its profit and loss statement, behind wages, company executive Lori Flees said this week at the Manova Summit in Minneapolis.

Rising health costs are also cutting into its potential sales, she said, because customers have to spend more of their income on medicine and doctor's visits than on backpacks and home goods. Walmart customers will need to spend an estimated $750 billion more on out-of-pocket health-care costs in five years than they do today, compared with $250 billion in additional estimated spending on retail goods, Flees said.



6 ways to help clients access cash after natural disasters
By Loreen Gilbert / Financial Planning

Mother Nature has been on a tear this year and Hurricane Michael is just the latest natural disaster to ravage the United States. The importance of savvy, strategic financial advice for clients cannot be overstated during a crisis. Many clients impacted by a catastrophe need cash in short order to help them fund transportation, home repairs, remodels or even get a small business up and running again.

2) Your clients’ next stop may be their workplace retirement plan. Prior hurricanes prompted the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017. If these rules are extended for Hurricane Michael, it would allow for more generous access to retirement funds. For example, it would allow for up to $100,000 per person to be taken from a retirement plan versus the $50,000 cap under normal ERISA law.



How roboadvisors and 401(k)s reacted to the market drop
Ethan Wolff-Mann / YAHOO FINANCE
Senior Writer

Two of the big roboadvisor players, Wealthfront and Betterment, similarly did not see upticks in log-ins or customer behavior.

“We haven’t seen any major changes in activity given the recent market changes,” Betterment’s Danielle Shectman told Yahoo Finance.

A spokesperson for Wealthfront called it “a very quiet non-event” from their point of view.

“We don’t really see a crazy spike when the market dips like this,” said Wealthfront’s Kate Wauck. “We make sure in our boarding process that people are signing up to be long-term passive investors.”

If these platforms were to experience a rush to sell, both have behavior finance tools and strategies in place to calm investors that might otherwise panic-sell.



ABA Insurance Services to be Acquired by American Financial Group, Inc.

​WASHINGTON — The American Bankers Association (ABA) today announced that American Bankers Mutual Insurance, Ltd. (ABMI) has reached an agreement to sell ABA Insurance Services Inc. (ABAIS) to American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: AFG). Based in Shaker Heights, Ohio, ABA Insurance Services is the ABA-endorsed provider of D&O and other complementary insurance solutions for banks. The company also offers insurance for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Following the sale, ABA Insurance Services will continue to operate under the ABAIS brand and will become a member of AFG’s Great American Insurance Group as its 34th specialty property and casualty (P&C) business unit. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter, following customary regulatory approvals.




   


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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor
440-773-1108
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com