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Welcome to the PIA West News Brief
PIA Western Alliance
Welcome to PIA West News Brief, PIA Western Alliance's weekly news brief. We are excited to deliver our NEW e-news brief to your inbox every week! PIA West News Brief brings you the latest news and issues impacting the insurance industry. This new PIA West publication allows us to provide you with timely news articles from PIA Western Alliance and other major news sources. Enjoy!
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 News from PIA Western Alliance


The future is here: PIA Oregon/Idaho's Expo
We're less than a week away from the unveiling of the future of insurance industry gatherings. PIA Oregon/Idaho's pioneering even EXPO happens Monday, May 20 in Portland, Ore. If you’re an Oregon — or even a Washington agent nearby — it's not too late to register and attend.
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Fitch on underwriting profits 2013
Fitch says the outlook for property/casualty is stable. It will likely remain so. The rating firm notes that rates have improved quite a bit across most lines of insurance since part two of 2011. The hitch — says Fitch — is continuing underwriting losses. And the good news is that is causing rates to rise and will keep them up through at least the end of 2013.
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April: Commercial rates continue their rise
Commercial rates continue their much appreciated rise. April's composite rate rose 5 percent according to MarketScout's monthly report. It's the same jump we saw in March. MarketScout CEO Richard Kerr said, "The market is bumping along in a continued slow but steady path towards overall increases. For the rest of 2013, we expect some months with lower composite increases than prior months but the general direction of rates will be upward, unless new capacity enters the market."
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Rising: Insurance jobs
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics said March was a pretty good month for insurance employment. The industry added 900 jobs when most other sectors of the economy shrunk. Insurance Information Institute President Dr. Robert Hartwig does a monthly analysis of the bureau's stats and said, "P&C carrier employment has generally risen every month since February 2012 — the lone exception: -400 in August 2012 — and is now 7,100 above the February 2012 level."
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How solid is your agency's personal E&O commitment?
by Curtis M. Pearsall, CPCU, AIAF, CPIA, President, Pearsall Associates Inc. and Special Consultant to the Utica National E&O Program
Here's a hypothetical scenario: you manage an agency with 10 staff members, eight of whom have a strong commitment to errors-and-omissions loss prevention. The other two just don't seem to have the necessary commitment. One day, an E&O claim is made against your agency. If you had to make an educated guess, which employee(s) do you think are alleged to have made the "error or omission?" If you believe one or both of the two employees who are somewhat lacking in their commitment are the likely focal point of the summons and complaint, you are probably right.
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TRIA renewal: The debate rages
The insurance industry is worried that the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act — or its current version — will not be renewed at the end of 2014 when it expires. The act was done by Congress after the attacks of 9/11 because the industry cannot take the potential high losses of another attack similar to that of the World Trade Center. Consumer Federation of America head Robert Hunter disagrees.
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Sick days: Expensive for employers
The losses are staggering. Businesses in the U.S. lose $84 billion a year because of sick days. Some industries — says a study by Gallup and Healthways — have higher sick day losses than others. The top and bottom of the list are doctors and service workers. Here's an interesting twist to the report. The industries that report the fewest sick day losses have the nation's unhealthiest workers.
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PIA National: Disaster is expensive
PIA National says the United States does not have a comprehensive approach to disaster relief. The association believes we need one. Daniel Weiss and Jackie Weidman did a new study and found Congress has spent at least $136 billion on disaster relief since 2011. That spending — however — is spread out and not coordinated.
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Fighting fire in the air
Wildfires have become a curse to the western portion of the U.S. California has been hit especially hard and it seems like the state is on fire 24/7, 365 days a year. Colorado's deadly fire near Colorado Springs in 2012 hit national news. Idaho, Oregon and Washington have been hard hit, too. So has New Mexico and Arizona. Making matters worse is on-going drought conditions around the nation. The U.S. Forest Service is trying to bump up the odds. It was recently announced that bigger, faster planes are going to be added to the firefighting arsenal.
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Insurers in the Fortune 500
There are 46 insurers in the Fortune 500 in 2013. Of the 46, there are 11 insurers in the top 100. That's down three from 2012 when 14 insurers were there. One of them is Berkshire Hathaway who moved up the list to number five from number seven. The only companies ahead of Berkshire Hathaway are Wal-Mart and energy firms Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Philips 66. Here's the top 200 on the list with 2012's number in parentheses.
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Obama on ObamaCare
President Barack Obama celebrated Mothers's Day by promoting the benefits of ObamaCare. His angle was free mammograms and birth control. "Moms take care of us. Women know the unfairness of being charged more for their health care just because they are a woman." ObamaCare makes that illegal and bans gender discrimination in premium costs.
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Medicaid, ObamaCare: Who will take the new patients?
In October, people without health insurance and those working for small businesses not offering insurance will begin going to the insurance exchanges established in each state. Estimates are 7 million people will enroll in ObamaCare in the first year and many million more the second, third and so on. In the exchanges, Medicaid money will help subsidize the newly insured.
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Insured health care costs dropping
From 2009 to 2011 those with health insurance saw their health care costs drop. This information comes from two studies and the bottom line is that it could cut health care spending by the federal government by billions.
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Some info on serious illness
Siemens Healthcare took a look at catastrophic illness and at our perception and wants when it comes to serious illness. The survey found 92 percent of us say knowing exactly what's wrong with us is as important as having access to a doctor. And 78 percent say they want to have a diagnosis to determine exactly what's wrong even if there is no cure for the disease.
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Around the PIA Western Alliance states
Updates on PIA Western states.
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 Industry News


Survey: Homeowners confused about insurance coverage
Los Angeles Times
Many homeowners do not understand what exposures are covered under their home insurance policy, according to a new consumer survey. More than 2 in 5 people wrongly think that the policies cover mold damage and 73 percent don't realize that the policies do cover personal items that are stolen from a car, according to the poll by InsuranceQuotes.com.
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Top 50 apps for independent agents
Insurance Journal
Mobility technology is changing the way the insurance industry operates. But when it comes to working on the go, nothing is as important as mobile device applications. But what apps do independent agents use most? What apps are the most useful in business and personal life? Insurance Journal asked these questions to several industry experts and polled readers via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find the top apps for independent agents today. This report is a small glimpse at the apps used on an independent agent's mobile device.
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Retirement woes expected to worsen with each generation
Insurance Networking
Globally, many younger employees expect that it will be necessary during their own retirement to also provide financial support to aging family members, according to a new study, titled "The Changing Face of Retirement: The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2013," while 12 percent are "very optimistic" about having enough money for retirement. For the study, conducted by the nonprofit foundation Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in collaboration with Aegon, 12,000 workers and retirees from 12 European, North America and Asian countries were surveyed.
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 Just for Fun


Just for fun: Your brain and multitasking
We are overwhelmed by technology. It interrupts our daily lives continually. Who hasn't had an email pop up while reading something like this? Who hasn't had a text message or a Twitter tweet or a phone call while in a meeting or talking with a friend or family member? Carnegie Mellon University has a Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Yep, someone is researching how all of this is distracting and — worse — sapping your brain power. Not only is all this communication technology distracting you but it is making you dumber.
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PIA Weekly Industry News
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Rebecca Eberhardt, Content Editor, 469.420.2608   
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Gary Wolcott, Writer for PIA Western Alliance, 503.724.9028   

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