Daily Insurance Report

Monday,  03/08//21

Walt Podgurski



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Media Kit

Press Releases

Health Insurance Hassles Aggravate Employees, Cost Employers Billions of Dollars
New Stanford study also finds major impact on worker morale and job satisfaction
By SUSAN J. WELLS / Investopedia / / Read Article

It's a common affliction: People are often baffled by the time and effort it can take to manage their health benefits. Now, new research from Stanford University has put a price tag on the problem, finding the time employees spend on health insurance hassles adds up to about $21.6 billion a year. What’s more, the indirect costs may be even more dramatic, with employee turnover, absenteeism, and lost productivity actually exceeding the costs of ill health.1

New research quantifies the impact of healthcare "sludge"—or administrative hassles—on employees.

The study found that people who spent more time on the phone with their health insurer were less happy with their employer and more likely to be stressed, miss work, and feel burned out.

Employee surveys show a clear trend toward simplification and online self-management of health benefits.

Fewer than 1 in 5 Employers Offer Childcare Help

Arvorie provides a suite of benefits that enable employers of any size to sponsor childcare for all working parents in a tax-efficient way.

Arvorie’s proprietary childcare payment platform, enables employers to save up to 70% on their childcare contributions by accessing federal and state tax credits.
Register For a Complimentary online briefing to learn how Arvorie can leverage its platform to save employers and their employees money on their childcare spend .
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021, 2:00 P.M. EST
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Stimulus Bill Provides Extensive Pension Funding Relief
Many union-run multiemployer plans are severely underfunded
By Stephen Miller, CEBS / SHRM / / Read Article

The federal government would provide extensive financial support for underfunded pension plans under the stimulus measure that is moving through Congress.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) on Feb. 26, and the U.S. Senate did so on March 6. The bill will now go back to the House in order for the chamber to approve the amended Senate version.

The ARPA includes the Butch Lewis Act, which provides funding relief for both single-employer defined benefit pension plans and union-managed multiemployer pension plans.

An analysis by Segal, an HR and employee benefits consultancy, describes the following changes that the ARPA would make to funding single-employer plans:

Amortization of funding shortfalls. The Internal Revenue Code allows a plan sponsor to spread (amortize) contributions required to pay for plan underfunding. The bill lowers a plan sponsor's minimum required contributions by spreading amortizations over 15 years rather than seven years, among other relief.

Increase interest rates. The higher the interest rates a plan can use to value plan liabilities, the lower the value of the liabilities. The interest rates used for minimum funding are based on recent market interest rates, but the law places limits on these interest rates based on a corridor around a 25-year historical average of interest rates.

5 Insurtech Companies Disrupting the Insurance Industry
Chelsi Walker / Yahoo Finance / / Read Article

There's no way around it -- healthcare is expensive in the United States. One would think it would be much cheaper with health insurance, and while that is true, the fact of the matter is you get what you pay for. Good insurance is more expensive than bad insurance, and great insurance is out of reach for many average Americans. You're paying for quality of care, not necessarily conserving cash.

That's why more and more people turn to insurance alternatives these days to either replace traditional insurance or fill in the gaps in coverage -- and why insurance-powered-by-tech, or insurtech, companies are popping up to meet demand.

Whether you're trying to shop around for insurance, looking for a good telehealth provider or looking to replace or supplement your insurance with a monthly subscription plan, the following insurtech companies are leaders in their own right and in the alternative insurance industry at large.

Policygenius: Best Place to Find Insurance
Lemonaid: Best Online Health Service
Wisp: Best for Privacy
CareCredit: Best Medical Financing
Cerebral: Best Online Mental Health Service


Incentivizing and Engaging “Frontline” Workers

Another avenue to increase employee engagement might be through team-building activities. In today’s world, where gatherings may not be advisable and may be restricted by relevant law, such activities may be held virtually or may involve an in-person component that does not require a group gathering.

Companies have been sponsoring a variety of events from virtual puzzles and fantasy sports leagues to wine and cheese tastings. These activities can also have mixed virtual and in-person components such as sponsoring a “virtual 5k” where employees complete a 5k run or walk while wearing a Company t-shirt and then share photos of their activity.

The key for these activities is to secure employee buy-in through ensuring that all employees are invited, that the activity is consistent with the interests of employees widely, and that employees are engaged during the activity but are also professional and collegial. Typically, activities such as these, especially those that may occur outside working hours, may promote greater goodwill from employees if participation is encouraged but is not necessarily required.

Lionrock is the only telehealth provider that works directly with employers, as well as their benefit brokers, to offer the robust level of care specifically required to effectively treat SUDs, formerly known as addiction. By pairing their other telehealth benefits with Lionrock’s programs, employers can now address their employees’ substance use disorders, a serious mental health issue impacting every industry across the country.

Lionrock pairs secure video conference-based treatment services with flexible schedules that fit busy people’s lives. This allows clients to meet their work and home responsibilities while getting the help they need from the privacy of home. It also costs a fraction of expensive inpatient treatment, making it a more practical option for many people.


9 Ways Leaders Can Increase Productivity, Customer Satisfaction, And Employee Engagement
Amy Blaschka, Contributor / Forbes / / Read Article

And after more than a year of living and working in a prolonged state of uncertainty due to the pandemic, those leaders who care for their people and teams are not only appreciated by them; they’re helping them and their organizations thrive.

In her soon-to-be-released book, The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading With Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations, Younger shares why people will go the extra mile for leaders who show they are genuinely concerned not only with what employees can do but also with who they are and can become.

According to Younger, “caring leadership is about doing; expressing care for those we lead in clear and consistent ways.” Here are nine ways leaders can make their employees feel cared for to increase productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement:

1. Cultivate self-leadership skills
2. Make them feel important
3. Look for greatness in those you lead
4. Involve them
5. Lead the whole person
6. Create a listening culture
7. Provide them safe spaces
8. Empower them to make decisions
9. Build their resilience

Beyond pension debts, Wisconsin owes $7.1 billion in public-employee retirement benefits
APG Media of WI  / / Read Article

Net liabilities in Wisconsin for so-called other post-employment benefits (OPEBs), which consist mainly of health care obligations to retired public employees, stood at about $7.1 billion in fiscal year 2019, according to a new analysis from the Reason Foundation.

With a population of 5,822,434, the state posted a per-capita OPEB liability of $1,223, which represents the 29th highest value among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Reason study found.

In total, these liabilities amount to 6% of the U.S. gross domestic product, the researchers said. These debts are also geographically concentrated, with 15 government jurisdictions representing 50% of the total, the study found.


Predictions 2021: Workplace
Pete DeBellis / Deloite / / Read Article

Three types of workplaces in the new world of work

As we enter the new year, the structure of the workplace will depend on the organization and the work to be done, worker needs and preferences, and the beliefs and behaviors of leaders and colleagues. HR will need to work with business leaders to make decisions at both the strategic and individual worker level—and help the organization navigate those changes effectively. Given the opportunities presented by this year’s challenges, it seems inevitable that the workplaces of tomorrow will lean toward “hybrid” models that include some combination of workers who:

Work onsite at an employer facility
Work remotely / offsite
Work sometimes onsite and sometimes remotely

Hub International Acquires the Assets of Ohio-based Benefit Strategies Agency, LLC and Affiliate
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Hub International Limited (Hub), a leading global insurance brokerage, announced today that it has acquired the assets of Benefit Strategies Agency, LLC and Financial Strategies Agency, LLC (collectively, Benefit Strategies Agency). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Located in Findlay, Ohio, Benefit Strategies Agency specializes in employee benefits, retirement and financial planning. Brett Montague, Rod Wood, Lorie Montague and Terri Kuntz, all Managing Principals of Benefit Strategies Agency, will join Hub Midwest East.

Hippo to Go Public in Merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Z; Company is Transforming the Home Insurance Industry
BUSINESS WIRE / / Read Article

Transaction Represents Enterprise Value of $5.0 Billion for Hippo

Hippo Expects to Have up to $1.2 Billion in Cash to Fund Growth and Operations

Includes Fully Committed PIPE of $550 Million including Dragoneer, Lennar and Ribbit, Other Top Tier Mutual Funds and Reinvent Capital

Hippo is Building the First End-to-End Home Protection and Insurance Platform

69% CAGR in Total Written Premiums in Last Three Years

Photo Of The Day

Monday, 03/01/21 - - At Last, Democrats Get Chance to Engineer Obamacare 2.0

Tuesday, 03/02/21 - - Limiting Private Insurance Reimbursement to Medicare Rates Would Reduce Health Spending by About $350 Billion in 2021

Wednesday, 03-03-21 - - Annual workforce report reveals what insurance professionals want in 2021: flexibility, more time with clients and innovation

Thursday, 03-04-21 - -  16 Employee Perks To Attract And Retain Top Virtual Talent

Friday, 03-05-21 - - Sign-ups for Biden's Obamacare special enrollment period nearly triple
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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.