- Written by Super User
- Hits: 269
Imagine a world where a worker punches the clock and slips on a heart-rate monitor thats tracked by an insurance company.
The worker turns on a truck, which alerts the insurance company its on, and drives to a warehouse, which alerts the insurance company that someone is there.
Every inch, every activity, monitored and measured by the insurance company.
According to analysts at Citi, this is the future of work, and, despite its Orwellian overtones, its a good thing.
Todd Bault, James Naklicki, and Alex Gifford at Citi identified numerous trends that could disrupt the insurance industry as its constructed, and one of the most interesting was their idea of the Feed.
The Feed would be a real-time link that connects businesses, equipment, facilities, workers, and the insurance company, providing real-time updates on how risky a given situation is.
But the potential here seems higher for commercial lines: with fewer or no privacy issues, and existing pervasive automation, it seems like a smaller step to embed IoT into industrial (manufacturing) and service (venues) processes, not to mention commercial auto activities like trucking and livery, said the analysts. Employees in certain high hazard occupations could even be wired and monitored, though there could be resistance here.
By monitoring these operations in real time, the analysts think this could lead to a multistage revolution in the insurance industry.
First, since data can be compiled by the insurance providers themselves, they can use that to make a quote and receive a claim, possibly cutting insurance brokers out of the process.
Next, the report envisions that insurance companies could adjust their prices based on the level of risk being undertaken by the company at different points in the work process and time of day.
With continuous monitoring of the Feed, we could learn when companies present exposures or not (eg, the plant is closed, the venue is empty) and with what intensity (eg, the plant is running hot, the venue is only at half capacity), wrote Bault, Naklicki, and Gifford. This could allow insurance to be metered like a utility, and at different rates depending upon exposures and intensity.
Further developments -- like tailored risk-management training and the ability for companies to shop individual elements of their business to different insurance firms -- could also follow.
The analysts admit there could be a few problems, including worker-privacy concerns and regulatory hurdles, but they think that it could draw significant interest from the insurance industry.
- Written by Super User
- Hits: 288
The controversial co-founder and former CEO of life insurance giant Conseco Inc. (now CNO Financial Group Inc.) spearheaded the purchase of a small life insurance company operated out of Texas and plans to gradually build up its operations here.
Hilbert and his wife, Tomisue, joined with seven other investors to pay $7.2 million for Sterling Investors Life Insurance Co., according to documents filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance before it approved the official move of the company to Indiana.
Sterling Investors, which had been legally based in Georgia, had $19 million in assets as of June 30 and turned a profit last year of $420,000, according to documents filed with the Georgia Office of Insurance.
But Hilbert, 69, touts the fact that Sterling Investors is already approved to sell in 46 states. His plan is to pitch Sterling Investors to independent marketing organizations who can then carry the companys products around the country.
Our goal is to make a small company into a medium-sized company and create good-paying jobs here in Indiana, said Hilbert, who is now chairman and CEO of Sterling Investors.
Hilbert co-founded Conseco in 1979 and raised the capital for the company via door-to-door sales around Indiana. The company started operations in 1982 and three years later went public. From then until Hilberts forced resignation in April 2000, the companys assets skyrocketed from $102 million to more than $52 billion. Its workforce ballooned to 17,000.
Hilberts undoing at Conseco was the March 1998 agreement to purchase Green Tree Financial Corp., a Minnesota-based consumer finance company, which started seeing heavy losses in late 1998. Hilberts successors at Conseco blamed that acquisition, as well as poor integration of the firms Conseco acquired, for the companys entering bankruptcy reorganization in 2002. Hilbert, however, always maintained that Consecos fatal mistakes with Green Tree came after he left.
The one thing I committed to everybody is, were not going buy a finance company, Hilbert said with a hearty chuckle. You can be absolutely certain.
Hilbert described Sterling Investors as the first buy by the investor group hes leading, which includes William Stone, CEO of Hartford-based SSamp;C Technologies, a maker of software for the financial services industry. Hilbert said the group would certainly look for acquisition possibilities, but that it is primarily focused on organic growth.
Were excited about selling life and annuity products, he said, one policy at time.
Greg Hahn, a former chief investment officer at Conseco, said he expects Hilbert will succeed again. Hahn recalled evaluating roughly 120 companies alongside Hilbert during their days together at Conseco.
You always bet with Steve, said Hahn, who is now chief investment officer of Indianapolis-based Winthrop Capital Management. Hes just a solid businessman.
Hilberts timing appears on target this time. The corporate bond marketwhere life insurance companies invest much of the money they receive from their policyholdersonly recently resumed paying interest rates high enough to allow life insurance companies to cover their expenses and make a profit, Hahn said.
Fixed annuitieswhich are a form of life insurancetypically guarantee yearly payouts to retirees of at least 3 percent of the value of the policy. So life insurers need to make more than 3 percent on their investments to have a chance of paying their expenses and turning a profit.
Life and annuity is mostly a spread business. Youre trying to earn a spread off your securities, Hahn said. Until April 2014, the spread between corporate bond yields and the guaranteed rates on annuities was just not large enough to make it viable for life insurance companies.
Hilbert started looking to buy a life insurance company in early 2014. The year before, he had lost control of a portfolio of businesses he and Tomisue managed for MH Private Equity, a $600 million investment fund Hilbert had co-founded in 2005 with hardware store founder John Menard.
But Menard and Hilbert had a falling-out in 2011 that ultimately led to a series of court battles between the two. Menard accused Hilbert of mismanaging the companies. Tomisue Hilbert said Menard pressured her to have sex with him and his wife and, when she refused, he retaliated via the lawsuits.
Two major lawsuits are ongoing in Eau Claire, Wisconsinwhere Menard Inc. is basedand in Noblesville.
Scott Matthews, the former general counsel at New Sunshine LLCone of the companies owned by MH Private Equitywill serve as general counsel of Sterling Investors.
Hilbert signaled he wants to reassemble some of his team from earlier days. For example, Jim Adams, who was Consecos treasurer, is on board as Sterling Investors vice president of finance.
As we grow, those will be my first people to go to, Hilbert said, noting that Sterling Investors will outsource most of its work until it has enough scale to hire its own people. Under its previous owner, Texas-based Puritan Life Insurance, Sterling Investors had only six employees.
Hilbert even expects to rely on his contacts among insurance salespeople to launch Sterling Investors into the market.
The people that were there [as insurance marketers] are generally the people that are still there, Hilbert said.
As he did at Conseco, Hilbert plans to aim Sterling Investors at middle-market customersan area that most of the biggest names in life insurance are not focused on.
Were not going to be selling million-dollar policies. Were going to be selling to middle Americans. Thats always been my view of things, he said.
Hilbert said hes excited about trying to grow another company, rather than move into retirement.
Some folks play golf or fish. Im not into any of that, Hilbert said. This is what I love to do.bull;
- Written by Super User
- Hits: 278
Many of the municipalities listed in the report reflect the largest population areas in the state, with their bigger life insurance payouts correlating to their populations. For example, Fairfax County, which has the highest population in the state with over a million residents, recorded the largest number of life insurance payouts at $687.9 million.
Newport News and Hampton are the fifth- and seventh-largest cities, respectively, in the state, according to 2014 census estimates.
Life insurance is a popular part of long-term financial planning, according to financial experts, with some policyholders purchasing multiple plans that can range from $20,000 to $1 million per policy.
Benefits are typically paid when the original owner dies, and the beneficiary, who is listed on the policy, files a death claim with the insurance company.
But in the past 20 years, some life insurance companies have designed policies that allow their customers to borrow against the face value of their policy to cover costs associated with terminal, chronic or critical illness. Owners can also use their long-term policy as a retirement nest egg borrowing from the policy to cover other purchases, such as buying or paying off a home.
In recent years, economists have turned to life insurance payouts as a sign of positive economic activity since in many cases much of the money is redistributed back into the local economy.
Overall, the Hampton Roads region experienced some of the biggest life insurance payouts in the state, especially in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake where life insurance payouts topped a combined $900 million.
James City County payouts reached nearly $90 million the third-highest on the Peninsula and 29th-highest in the state, according to the report.
York County and Poquoson topped $62.2 million and $17.8 million, respectively, in life insurance payouts. .
ONeal can be reached by phone at 757-247-4744.
- Written by Super User
- Hits: 306
Auto insurance companies are always offering some kind of discount.
One company won't raise your rates after a crash. Another will reward you for a clean driving record. And another company offers to tailor your rates to your driving habits.
Metromile launched last month per-mile auto insurance coverage in Pennsylvania, which the company says is the third-most expensive state nationwide for auto insurance.
The company has developed the insurance coverage so that low-mileage drivers are not subsidizing high-mileage drivers, Metromile CEO Dan Preston said.
"It's more fair," he said. "We found, in our recent survey, that more than 60 percent of Pennsylvania drivers drive less than 20 miles per day, and are considered low-mileage drivers who drive less than 10,000 miles per year. Our survey also showed nearly 48 percent of Pennsylvania residents drive less than 10 miles per day."
Metromile said researchers analyzed 191,699 trips from 384 Metromile customers:
? On average, they found a 6 percent decrease in driving after they switched to per-mile car insurance.
? Overall, 54 percent of test-drivers drove less after switching to pay-per-mile insurance.
? Looking at users who drove more than 20 miles per day, more than 80 percent drove less after switching.
With 253 million cars on the road in the US, if people drove six percent less:
? We could save $6 billion on road maintenance and $26 billion in accident-related costs.
? There would be 60 million metric tons less of CO2 emissions.
? There would be 150 billion fewer miles driven.
Metromile tracks the number of miles a driver travels with a gadget that connects to the driver's on-board diagnostic port and wirelessly obtains and transmits data to the Metromile driving app, which can attach to your smartphone. From the app, drivers can then access insights to personalized driving trends and diagnostics. Progressive Insurance's Snap Shot program also offers a device to attach to your vehicle that notes the distance, time of day and how you drive.
Every insurance company offers similar discounts in different ways, said Brian Earley, a partner in the Earley-Polli Agency in Conyngham, a broker who represents several different companies. Mr. Earley said the per-mile approach is Metromile's way.
"With any insurance company, there are rating factors tied to your driving history that determine your rates," he said.
Residents in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas could benefit most from the per-mile idea, he said. Mr. Preston agreed.
"Drivers in the big cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have access to a wide variety of public transportation in addition to bike-friendly commute options," he said. "Ultimately, those Pennsylvanians who own cars they rarely drive are overpaying for auto insurance."
Pennsylvania marks the second state on the East Coast to offer Metromile's per-mile insurance. Founded in San Francisco four years ago, it was launched in Oregon. It is also found in California, Illinois, Washington and Virginia.
Contact the writer:
- Written by Super User
- Hits: 264
More than 400,000 had their insurance canceled, nearly four times as many as last year.
The Obama administration says it is following the letter of the law, and this year that means a shorter time frame for resolving immigration and citizenship issues. But advocates say the administrations system for verifying eligibility is seriously flawed, and consumers who are legally entitled to benefits are paying the price.
Same dog, different collar, said Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, evoking an old Spanish saying about situations that do not seem to change. The bottom line is people got taken off health insurance when they applied in good faith.
The National Immigration Law Center says it believes the overwhelming majority of the 423,000 people whose coverage was terminated are legal US residents and citizens snared in a complicated, inefficient system for checking documents.
Angel Padilla, the centers health policy analyst, said it defies common sense that that many immigrants without legal authorization to be in the country would risk alerting a federal agency by applying for taxpayer-subsidized benefits.
Somebody who is trying to submit documents over and over ... is someone who believes they have an eligible immigration status, Padilla said. By comparison, a total of 109,000 people lost coverage because of citizenship and immigration issues during all of 2014.
President Barack Obamas health care law specifies that only citizens and legal US residents are entitled to coverage through the new insurance markets that offer subsidized policies. The administration says this year the law provides just a 95-day window for resolving documentation issues that involve citizenship and immigration. There was no such clock in 2014 because it was the first year of HealthCare.govs coverage expansion.
Last year, we had the authority to provide consumers more flexibility we were not taking action on the strict timeline, said Ben Wakana, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2015, we moved to the timeline of about three months, so consumers need to act quickly to submit supporting documentation.
Padilla said a shorter time window might not be so much of a problem if the administration would clearly communicate which documents are needed. If it was clearer what the consumer needed to do, we wouldnt have the numbers that we have, he said.
The administration says it is continually making improvements to help consumers.
Hispanics, the nations most numerous ethnic group, have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act. The uninsured rate for Latino adults ages 18-64 dropped from nearly 41 percent in 2013 to about 28 percent in the first three months of this year, according to a government survey. But Hispanics are still more likely to be uninsured than people of other ethnic and racial backgrounds. Signing up more Latinos is a priority for the administration and the laws supporters.
The administration is highly sensitive to Republican accusations that it is dispensing health benefits to people who are not legally entitled to them, including those who cannot prove their citizenship or legal status. Investigators for the congressional Government Accountability Office successfully enrolled fictitious characters through HealthCare.gov in 2014, and at least initially, renewed their coverage for this year.
But the nonpartisan probe also found evidence of problems with HealthCare.govs consumer communications about problem applications.
For example, the federal insurance marketplace asked eight of the GAOs bogus beneficiaries to submit additional documentation to prove citizenship and identity. But GAO said the list of suitable documents that could be sent in consisted of paperwork for verifying income. After documents were sent in, HealthCare.gov failed in some cases to say whether they were acceptable.
HealthCare.gov did not always provide clear and complete communications, said the GAOs report this summer. We did not always know the current status of our applications or specific documents required in support of them.
The number of coverage terminations could actually be higher. The 423,000 figure only represents states served by the federal health insurance market. That does not include immigrant-rich California and New York, which run their own insurance exchanges.