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Health policies canceled in latest hurdle for Obamacare
The Obamacare rollout is leading to the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of health insurance plans nationwide, contradicting President Barack Obama's repeated pledge that people who like their coverage can keep it. The notices started to arrive in recent weeks, compounding the political headaches for the White House from the troubled start of its health exchange, the federal website created to give millions of people access to new plans by Jan. 1.
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Success: PIA Washington/Alaska and IIABW's Annual Conference
An amazing amount of business was done
between agents and company
representatives at this year's PIA
Washington/Alaska and IIABW Joint
Conference. It was held Oct.
20-22 in Seattle.
PIA National: New, less expensive MVR source
Do you run a lot of MVRs? As you know, it's
expensive and often not so accurate. Help is
on the way.
PIA National has an exclusive partnership
with Drivers History and an excellent new
MVR program called DocIT. It's a Web-based,
proprietary database of driver violation data that is available to agents at a
fraction of the cost of a typical MVR.
Accurate? Fraction of the cost? Now we're talking.
Health insurance options aren't limited to government exchanges
The New York Times
With so much attention being paid to the troubled debut of the Obama administration's health insurance exchanges, another alternative has largely gone unnoticed: unless you live in Washington, D.C., or Vermont, you can also buy insurance outside the exchanges — by going directly to insurance brokers, agents or company websites.
A new Deductible Reimbursement Insurance is now available to all residents of the Western Region (except Alaska). Licensed insurance agents may now sign up on the ZeroDeductible website and offer deductible reimbursement insurance to their clients directly for their auto, home and boat policies.
Click here to learn more!
After insurance industry pow-wow, White House delays Obamacare's individual mandate
Chief executives of 12 major health insurers — including Aetna, Humana, WellPoint and Kaiser Permanente — trudged to the White House to "discuss ... ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act." The meeting was off the record, but we have a pretty good idea of what happened. Insurers were likely to urge the White House to delay the implementation of Obamacare's exchanges until the website, Healthcare.gov, gets fixed. And it appears they got their wish. The White House recently confirmed that it intends to delay the enforcement of the individual mandate by as much as six weeks.
| Industry News from PIA Western Alliance|
Analysis: Obamacare website woes
The federal government's health
insurance exchange serves 36 states.
First, it's not an exchange anymore.
Neither are those run by the states.
The official name from the
administration is marketplaces. Okay, the marketplaces or the
exchange is not
running very well. And almost a
month into the rollout of a key provision
of the Affordable Care Act, the website is still a mess.
That consumers cannot access the site is a known problem. More unknown is that
those managing to get registered are finding their information is being sent to insurers.
But that information isn't correct.
Obamacare Exchanges: Consumers better off using agent
The Obama administration officially has
changed the name of the exchanges where
millions of people will now be making that
required purchase of health insurance.
They're now called marketplaces.
Meanwhile, on the exchanges or marketplaces — whatever you want to call them — millions
of people are struggling to access that insurance. The federal government's website is
fraught with problems. PIA National suggests there is an alternative and one you — the
member PIA agent — may want to exploit.
Farm bill, crop insurance: The negotiation begins
The nation has been without a farm bill for too long.
Part of the farm bill is crop insurance and what
happens with crop insurance impacts farmers and
farms, the insurance industry and independent PIA member agents who sell crop
insurance. Now, 41 negotiators from the House and the Senate Agriculture Committees will
hunker down and see if they can come up with a compromise that will give the nation a farm bill.
Special report: Insurers, cyber risk
One of the industry's growing lines of insurance is cyber
security insurance. The more cyberattacks we see, the
more popular cyber insurance becomes.
There was a roundtable on cyber risk at the recently
finished annual meeting of the Property Casualty
Insurers Association of America. The conclusion
of the panel is that insurers have a big role to play in
helping other industries and companies combat the problem.
Prudential ends systemic designation fight
Prudential Financial is one institution insurers designated by the
Financial Stability Oversight Council as a
systemically important financial institution or SIFI. In
other words, if Prudential collapses for any reason, it could cause major harm to the
entire U.S. financial system.
Questionable property claims on the rise
The National Insurance Crime
Bureau released some
alarming statistics. From the end
of 2010 to the end of 2012,
questionable personal property
claims rose 19 percent. The numbers in
2011 were 13,394. It jumped to
19,958 the following year.
The number of submissions is up, too. It rose an astounding 46 percent.
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Green building insurance industry 'booming'
The green building insurance market is competitive and growing, the Insurance Journal reports, with green construction industry driving this growth.
By 2015, between 40 percent and 48 percent of new nonresidential construction, when measured by value, will be environmentally friendly. That equates to a $120 billion to 145 billion opportunity for the insurance market, the news service reports.
Getting rid of Congress and the government shutdown
While the people of the U.S. are glad the
stalemate between the Republicans and the
Democrats and the president over the debt
extension and money to run the federal
government is over, they're still really angry
with Congress and the administration.
Federal government shutdown insurance impact
The federal government shutdown has impacts all
over the place. One place it won't impact is flood
insurance. The Federal Emergency Management
Agency managed National Flood
Insurance Program is allowed by law to
continue activities because the NFIP is funded by
Industry income: A portrait of 2013's 1st half
A.M. Best said in the first six-months
of 2013 property and casualty
insurers posted their first underwriting
profit since 2007. It gets better. Net
income rose by 65 percent and pretax
operating income jumped 40 percent when
compared to the same time period in
2012. Fewer catastrophes and catastrophe
losses, more stable investments and income from them, pricing boosts and more
exposures in a recovering economy are the reason.
The administration changes its mind: The individual mandate delay
Very recently, the federal government
was shutdown partly due to a dispute over
the individual mandate of the Affordable
Care Act; that, and Republicans in the
House once again refusing to fund the law. Realizing the defunding push was going
nowhere, cooler heads in the Republican
party then asked the administration to at
least delay the individual mandate for a
year. Consumers — they insisted — were confused by the law and their responsibility to
Employees: Disengagement is costly
Dr. James O'Brien is a writer who
covers business, technology, social media,
marketing, the profession of writing and
news. He recently did an analysis of a
Gallup Poll on American workers titled
"State of the American Workplace."
O'Brien's conclusions are as fascinating as the poll's statistics are disturbing.
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.
Interview: Oak Street Funding's Rick Dennen
Rick Dennen is the founder, president and CEO of Oak Street Funding. Located in
Indianapolis, Oak Street is a family of diversified financial services companies
offering commission-based commercial financing exclusively for insurance professionals
and third-party loan servicing for financial institutions. Oak Street Funding is a K-Klub Member of the PIA Oregon/Idaho, PIA Washington/
Alaska, PIA Montana and in the PIA Group states of Alaska, Arizona, California and
Weekly Industry News recently talked with Dennen about Oak Street Funding and
about the insurance industry.
Wildfires: Space technology as a firefighting tool
If the word "plague" could be used to describe
the plight of states and cities in the Western part
of the United States, then the plethora of
wildfires experienced in the last several years
Officials are desperately looking for solutions,
more money, more firefighters and better ways to fight and contain fire.
Where big data can't replace human insight
There are some reservations about the role of big data analytics in decision making in the insurance industry. In particular, relying on automation to make decisions for us. For low-level operational decisions, the application of technology to sift through big data and run it through algorithms makes perfect sense. Renewing a policy with updates and price adjustments or flagging an instance of potential fraud, for example, are straightforward processes that can be handled by the machines. However, high-level strategic decisions — such as expanding the number of claims adjustors for a certain region or opening new offices — may always require human guidance.
Understanding and utilizing digital marketing
By Archita Datta Majumdar
Adobe's recent report on digital marketing is quite an eye-opener. For this generation of marketers who brag about their digital prowess, their fast-paced actions and responses, and their potential to harness the emerging technologies, the reality seems to fall short of their claims. There has been a major paradigm shift in the entire concept and nature of marketing, and most marketers do not feel adequately trained or equipped to handle the constant change and evolving technologies, which has led to rising insecurity.
Hey you! Out of the pool — the gene pool that Is
Every year, a website known as the "Darwin
Awards" hands out awards named in honor of
Charles Darwin, the father of evolution. The Darwin Awards commemorate those who —
in the opinion of the website creators — improve the human gene pool by removing
themselves from it.
It is amazing how creatively stupid some people can be. Here are some of the 2013
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