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Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 

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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.
  Friday, 03/08/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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The "Daily Insurance Report" publishes the life insurance, health insurance, and employee benefits news that matters.

Colonial Life program helps employees ease student loan debt

Colonial Life clients can now ease their employees’ worries over student loan debt, thanks to a new partnership with FutureFuel.io

Colonial Life’s new program can aid employers in their efforts to support a debt-free future for the growing U.S. workforce saddled with student loan debt. This program is designed to reduce the life of each user’s student loan debt through education, refinancing options and making it easier for employees and their employers to contribute.

Student debt now tops an estimated $1.5 trillion, and more than 25 percent of full-time workers between 23 and 53 named finances as the top cause of daily stress in a recent Colonial Life survey.

“We know that student loan debt can be a major cause of stress for millions of America’s workers, so offering our customers a chance to relieve some of that burden is an easy decision for us,” said Tim Arnold, president and CEO of Colonial Life. “Working with a strong partner like FutureFuel.io allows us to engage employees and their employers in a new and exciting way that helps take control of student debt.”

FutureFuel.io has different options that a client can select for what best fits their employees and company. Each option consists of the following features: Employees have the ability to manage all of their student debt in one location through a “roll up” feature, educational content is provided to keep employees informed about managing their debt, and there’s a refinancing tool for employees who are looking to combine multiple payments or potentially reduce the interest rates on their student loans.

FutureFuel.io’s Round Up + Refinance option uses “rounding up” technology to automate spare change to make payments on their debt. The Repayment + Refinance option allows employers to make monthly contributions toward their employees’ student loan debt.

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Aon is abandoning its $24 billion takeover attempt of Willis Towers Watson (AON, WLTW)
Aon says it is abandoning its plans to buy Willis Towers Watson.
Aon was in the preliminary stages of an all-share deal valuing Willis at $24 billion.
Media reports forced Aon to disclose its interest because of regulations.

In a quick reversal, Aon says it is abandoning its $23.5 billion takeover attempt of Willis Towers Watson.

Bloomberg reported the possibility of a deal early Tuesday, forcing Aon to disclose its interest. Because Willis is an Irish company, Aon was required to publicly announce its intentions under Irish takeover regulations that kick in once media reports surface.

"As a result of media speculation, those regulations required Aon to make the disclosure at a very early stage in the consideration of a potential all-share business combination," Aon said Tuesday in a press release.

Lessons for advisers from 401(k) lawsuits
Blaine Aikin / InvestmentNews

Perhaps nothing causes as much anxiety for retirement plan advisers as the potential for a client to be hauled into court to face accusations of fiduciary breaches. Even in the best-case scenario where the plan successfully defends itself, dealing with litigation is a disruption and drain on resources that otherwise could be spent on helping participants achieve their investing goals.

A survey of recent 401(k) litigation reveals two truths. First, the risk of litigation is real and the costs are great.

A recent study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College shows 107 complaints related to 401(k) plans were filed in 2016 and 2017, the most in a two-year period since 2008 and 2009 after the financial crisis. Those cases have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements, heavy reputational damage to the companies involved, and countless hours spent by plan sponsors and service providers in dealing with litigation.

There are five forms of particularly risky behavior for plan fiduciaries:

• Neglecting to have and follow prudent fiduciary policies, procedures and practices;

• Incurring unreasonable costs;

• Failing to avoid or mitigate conflicts of interest;

• Offering inappropriate investment choices; and

• Lacking transparency about information that is material to participants' decision-making.

Amazon's joint health-care venture finally has a name: Haven
Hugh Son / CNBC.com

The joint health-care venture between Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway finally has a name: "Haven."

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett last January announced they were teaming up to tackle rising health-care costs. They formed a nonprofit company and named renowned surgeon, author and speaker Dr. Atul Gawande as CEO in June.

"We want to change the way people experience health care so that it is simpler, better, and lower cost," Gawande said in a statement on Wednesday. "We'll start small, learn from the experience of patients, and continue to expand to meet their needs."

Prior to the big reveal, many industry insiders referred to the venture as "ABC" or "ABJ." The company said the name choice of "Haven" lines up with its mission to be a "partner" to care providers and to focus on the health-care needs of the 1.2 million Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P Morgan workers.

How News Corp. revamped its benefits communication
Caroline Hroncich / ebn

After seeing its employees struggle with understanding — and engaging in — benefits, media company News Corp. decided to revamp one of the most important elements of its benefits communications: its website.

Ahead of open enrollment in 2017, the media company — which owns brands including The Wall Street Journal and New York Post — decided to ditch its traditional consulting firm partnership and try something different. It wanted to develop a communications strategy that was easily accessible to the average, non-expert, employee. So with a little help from a design firm, News Corp. launched its own public-facing personalized benefits website.

“When you are finding that there’s frustration [with] things like engagement rates, you just have to say, ‘I can’t do this the same way again,’” says Marco Diaz, global head of benefits at News Corp. “If I want to change, I need to do something differently.”

The company's main goal? Make it easy for its 6,300 U.S. employees to find out about offerings.

Now, when employees enter the News Corp. website, they can select the subsidiary they work for from a drop down menu. Once they select the subsidiary, they have the option to choose what kind of benefits they want to review: healthcare, financial planning, exploring benefits, family benefits, legal and regulatory or company perks.

Employer 401(k) contributions hit a six-decade record
By Jon Vogler, Senior Analyst, Retirement Research / Seeking Alpha

Employers are contributing an average of 5.1% of pay to their employees' 401(k) accounts, the highest percentage ever recorded.

The use of automatic enrollment to boost participation hit new highs, with 61.2% of plans offering the feature.

Roth contributions have doubled in the past decade and were available in 70% of all plans in 2017.

Employer contributions to 401(k) plans have hit a new record, according to a recently released survey from the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA). The survey, which collected data from 2017, found that employers were contributing an average of 5.1% of pay to their employees' 401(k) accounts, the highest percentage ever recorded in the 61-year history of the PSCA survey. Employees chipped in an average of 7.1% of their pay, according to the survey.

The survey - the 61st Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans - noted that the most-used benchmarks for retirement plan success remained participation and deferral rates (cited by 90.8% and 75.8% of plans, respectively, in the latest survey). Only 31.4% of plans said they use participant income replacement ratios as a success measure, and 57.5% reported using average account balances as a plan success benchmark.

Your Attention, Please: Emerging Trends In Employment And Employee Benefits

In a presentation at McDermott’s Employment and Employee Benefits Forum, our lawyers discuss the patchwork of state and local laws surrounding pay equity for similarly situated employees doing the same job. Particularly in California, new developments have emerged further clarifying pay equity laws. For best practices, they recommend:

• Establishing compensation ranges across substantially similar jobs

• Taking into account job-related factors when establishing and evaluating employee compensation

• Conducting pay equity analysis under privilege

• Performing a thoughtful time analysis and remedial action

Please see full Presentation: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/your-attention-please-emerging-trends-42981/

OneDigital Announces Virtual FutureCast, a Premier Digital Event Summit Focused on Employee Benefits and HR Innovation; Lindsey Pollak to Deliver Keynote

OneDigital Health and Benefits, the nation’s largest company focused exclusively on employee benefits and HR, is proud to announce its new conference, Virtual FutureCast, a premier digital experience designed to help employers take charge of their business by delivering a holistic approach to managing benefits, HR and technology. The half-day, virtual summit will take place on April 3, 2019, and will feature New York Times bestselling author Lindsey Pollak, the leading expert on Millennials and the multigenerational workplace, as the keynote speaker. Attendees will also hear from industry experts providing aggressive fresh-thinking while experiencing the advanced technology that today’s modern employer expects.

The Virtual FutureCast offers multiple tracks, including a recommended track for the HR and benefits professional and one for the C-Suite executive, while allowing customization based on the individual and organizational needs. Attendees will have the opportunity to earn one HR (General) recertification credit hour per each session attended toward a PHR™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ re-certification through HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®). This program is valid for 1 PDC for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP.

WEX Announces Completion of Discovery Benefits Acquisition
Zacks Equity Research

WEX Inc. yesterday announced the completion of previously-announced acquisition of Discovery Benefits, Inc. (DBI). The transaction is valued at $425 million in cash, which includes $50 million to be deferred till January 2020.

Discovery Benefits is a high-growth employee benefits administrator serving more than one million consumers across 50 states. The company has been in a longstanding partnership with WEX’s Health division, hence the takeover formalizes its status.


Monday, 03/04/19 - DNA Privacy: Test Results Could Affect Your Life Insurance Coverage

Tuesday, 03/05/19 - Could state retirement plans create opportunity for advisers?

Wednesday, 03/06/19 - Will $14.5 billion plug GE's long-term care insurance hole? Some experts say 'No'

Thursday, 03/07/19 -
How much your healthcare costs in all 50 states

Friday, 03/01/19 - 2019 TOP 100 Retirement Plan Advisers List

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor