Daily Insurance Report     Friday, 10/23/20

Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 
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Insurance execs think pandemic will lead to fundamental changes – BlackRock
JAMES COMTOIS / Pensions & Investments

In the money manager's ninth annual Global Insurance Survey, which gathered the opinions of 360 executives from the global insurance industry between June and July, 73% of respondents said they believed the COVID-19 pandemic will necessitate fundamental changes within the industry.

Most insurers (78%) believe that COVID-19 is accelerating their focus on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance), with an increased emphasis on the social and governance aspects. More than half of respondents have invested in specific ESG strategies in the last year, while 52% have made ESG an essential aspect of assessing investment risk assessment for new investments.

Nearly one-third of insurers (32%) have declined an investment opportunity in the past 12 months over ESG concerns.



Covid vaccine will drive healthcare spending in tumultuous 2021
The Economist

After declining in 2020, global healthcare spending will rise by 6% in 2021, driven in part by Covid-19 care, especially vaccine procurement.

However, public and private healthcare budgets will be tight and pricing pressures may force restructuring among healthcare funds, providers and suppliers.

Asia will have among the fastest growth in health spending as countries, including China, make yet more progress towards universal healthcare.

Our new report “Industries in 2021” has estimated that health spending will accelerate in 2021 after declining in 2020 amid a slump in non-Covid care. Even so, the report predicts a tumultuous year for the healthcare and pharmaceuticals sectors, with social distancing measures and the economic downturn threatening both funding and healthcare provision.






Human Connections for Employees — a New Necessary Benefit
Listeners On Call (Corrected Link)

With our nation’s mental health taking center stage, plus isolation and separation creating a new normal, maintaining true human connection has become a necessity for organizations caring for their employees. Listeners On Call, the leading provider of consumer listening service, has introduced a solution for businesses to offer private, anonymous one-on-one conversations for employees: PERCS™.

Brokers & Agents now have a new, affordable solution to offer clients interested in providing human-centered care and attention to their employees. Listeners On Call’s PERCS program is a great starting point for small and medium-sized businesses looking to offer employee assistance without committing to more complex programs. Listeners On Call has been embraced by brokers and investors alike who recognize the opportunity to reach and impact millions of employees through their mission-driven service.

PERCS, Personal Conversation for Employees, brings Listeners On Call to the workplace through pre-paid access to trained Listeners who connect on real-world topics like Social Isolation, Feeling Alone, Race Relations and Needing to Vent. Employees browse and select their own Listener based on shared experiences and voice profiles, while maintaining anonymity throughout the process. Any company can now provide an affordable avenue for true human connection and support with ease for their employees.



Minneapolis health insurance startup Bind Benefits raises $105 million
The startup is launching fully insured health plans in dozens of states in 2021.
By Christopher Snowbeck / Star Tribune

Minneapolis-based Bind Benefits says it has raised $105 million to support the startup company’s continued growth in the market where employers buy health insurance.

Last month, Bind announced plans to start selling coverage to employers with 50 or more workers seeking “fully insured” coverage — a new set of customers beyond the company’s initial business providing administrative services to “self-insured” employers that take the risk for health plan costs.

The coverage is sold in partnership with Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group, which operates the giant health insurer UnitedHealthcare. The company is one of three previous backers at Bind who also are providing the latest round of financing, said Tony Miller, Bind Benefits chief executive, in an interview.



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Employers, Here Are 5 Ways You Can Adjust Your Perks And Benefits To Meet The Needs Of The Virtual Workplace
Heidi Lynne Kurter / Senior Contributor / Forbes

This pandemic and the plunge into remote work has accelerated the need for companies to redesign their workplace perks and benefit plans. Regardless of whether their employees are in-office or remote, employers who offer robust remote perks improve employee health and wellness, nurture happier people, boost retention and loyalty, optimize productivity and enhance the overall remote culture.

Since the shift to remote work, the money companies spent on traveling and physical office space can now be invested back into the employees to keep them engaged. According to Global Workplace Analytics, a U.S. company adopting a remote work program can save more than $11,000 per employee per year.

Here are five ways employers can adjust their perks and benefits to meet the needs of the virtual workplace.

Offering Flexible Work Arrangements
Providing A Home Office Stipend
Giving A Mental Health And Wellness Allowance
Pivoting Existing Perks Into Remote-Friendly Ones
Expanding Health Insurance Benefits



Healthcare Consumerism Surges in Pandemic’s Financial Fallout
Patient financial responsibility has remained stagnant, prompting experts to consider the pandemic's effects on increased healthcare consumerism.
By Sara Heath / PATIENT ENGAGEMENT HIT

Healthcare consumerism is on the rise, as patients seek out price transparency and work to mitigate their own finances during the COVID-19 economic downturn, according to a TransUnion Healthcare report obtained via email.

Specifically, patient interest in price transparency is at an all-time high, despite patient financial responsibility staying stagnant compared to years past. This indicates that other changes outside of high healthcare costs are fueling trends toward healthcare consumerism, the report authors said.

In its second annual patient survey, which garnered responses from over 3,000 adult patients nationwide, the researchers determined that the global pandemic may have played a role in this increase in healthcare consumerism.




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Mercer Advisors Launches Insurance Solution For Clients
JACQUELINE SERGEANT / FA (FINANCIAL ADVISOR)

As defined by the CFP Board of Standards, advisory firms are expected to provide six aspects of the financial planning process – Basics of Financial Planning, Retirement Savings & Income Planning, Risk Management & Insurance Planning, Investment Planning, Tax & Estate Planning, and Education Planning – in order to truly provide comprehensive financial planning services.

But Mercer argues that many firms usually do not deliver on providing insurance planning due to the unique regulatory and product nature of providing insurance solutions. “While many RIAs and financial planners list insurance and risk management as services they provide, they typically do not have specialists on staff and most often refer clients out to third parties with no insight or control over the client experience,” the release said.

Mercer Advisors Insurance Solutions aims to fill that gap. The offering is supported by insurance specialists and will utilize a network of vetted strategic partners, the release said, adding that it includes comprehensive insurance services, from an initial risk assessment to determine coverage against financial goals, to product recommendations, and hands-on assistance throughout the underwriting and implementation process.



USI Insurance Services Enters Into Agreement to Acquire Findley, Inc.
AP / GLOBE NEWSWIRE

USI Insurance Services (“USI”), a world leader in risk management, employee benefit and retirement consulting, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Nashville, Tennessee-based Findley, Inc. Subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in November 2020.

Founded in 1969, Findley is a leading independent human resources and employee benefits consulting firm, providing actuarial, benefits and administrative consulting services to private and publicly held companies, the public sector and non-profit organizations. Findley employs more than 250 associates, serving clients across the country from seven office locations in the Midwest and Southeast.



HCCA releases new edition of book on healthcare privacy compliance
By Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) Oct 21, 2020
PRNewswire

The Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) has updated its popular manual on healthcare privacy with new guidance for keeping patient information secure. Released this week in print and digital formats, Health Care Privacy Compliance Handbook, Third Edition offers practical guidance for healthcare professionals tasked with privacy compliance duties.








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