Daily Insurance Report

Wednesday,  03/10//21

Walt Podgurski



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Press Releases

Cyberattack cripples communications at Pan-American Life Insurance Group
Tony Mcauley / The Times-Picayune / SECURITYINFOWATCH.COM / / Read Article

Pan-American Life Insurance Group suffered a cyberattack in February and has been without much of its communications since, leaving customers with only an emergency email and an overloaded phone service to get in touch about health and other benefits.

The New Orleans-based insurer, which serves a large client base across the U.S. and in Latin America from its headquarters on Poydras Street in the Central Business District, could not be reached directly through its phone system on Thursday or Friday.

Through an external public relations firm, the company said it took its systems offline after detecting "suspicious activity" and that it has engaged outside experts to investigate the attack and get back up and running.

Pandemic Relief Bill Fulfills Biden’s Promise to Expand Obamacare, for Two Years
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times / / Read Article

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill will fulfill one of his central campaign promises, to fill the holes in the Affordable Care Act and make health insurance affordable for more than a million middle-class Americans who could not afford insurance under the original law.

The bill, which will most likely go to the House for a final vote on Wednesday, includes a significant, albeit temporary, expansion of subsidies for health insurance purchased under the act. Under the changes, the signature domestic achievement of the Obama administration will reach middle-income families who have been discouraged from buying health plans on the federal marketplace because they come with high premiums and little or no help from the government.

The changes will last only for two years. But for some, they will be considerable: The Congressional Budget Office estimated that a 64-year-old earning $58,000 would see monthly payments decline from $1,075 under current law to $412 because the federal government would take up much of the cost. The rescue plan also includes rich new incentives to entice the few holdout states — including Texas, Georgia and Florida — to finally expand Medicaid to those with too much money to qualify for the federal health program for the poor, but too little to afford private coverage.'

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.


Six Hopeful Healthcare Trends For 2021
Bill Frist, Contributor / Forbes / / Read Article

In an uncertain and changing healthcare landscape, shaped by the pandemic and a new administration, here are six hopeful trends that will characterize the next 12 months.

Heightened attention to health equity
Greater focus on mental and behavioral health
Increased bipartisanship in healthcare
Expanded adoption of telemedicine and virtual care
Reentering WHO and the Global Health World Stage
Reenergizing the Affordable Care Act

AgentSync Raises $25M to Accelerate Growth of Comprehensive Producer Management Platform for Insurance Industry
Valuation grows by 10x as carriers, agencies, and MGAs turn to AgentSync for broker onboarding, licensing, and compliance
PRNewswire / / Read Article

AgentSync, the company modernizing the tools and infrastructure powering the insurance industry, today announced a $25 million Series A. AgentSync will use the funds to accelerate product development as the company builds the industry's most trusted and comprehensive producer management solution. The round was co-led by Elad Gil and David Sacks' Craft Ventures, with participation from Marc Benioff, Caffeinated Capital, Operator Collective, and Nine Four Ventures. This brings the company's valuation to $220 million, ten times higher than when the company raised its seed funding in mid-2020.

AgentSync is empowering the insurance industry to scale by reducing friction, increasing efficiency, and maintaining compliance. The company is improving the broker onboarding and contracting process with its best-in-class licensing validation tool built for agencies, carriers, and MGAs that integrates with National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR). AgentSync was founded in 2018 by Niranjan "Niji" Sabharwal and Jenn Knight and was named one of Forbes Magazine's Cloud 100 Rising Stars in 2020.

This Husband-And-Wife Duo Increased The Valuation Of Their Startup 10x To $220 Million In Eight Months
Alex Konrad / Forbes / / Read Article

Entrepreneurs Niji Sabharwal and Jenn Knight had it much easier raising funding recently than during their seed round in June 2020. Then, the AgentSync founders had just showed up in Denver – a city where they’d previously only spent a long weekend – with a loaded-up minivan and a new empty house. Knight, the startups’ CTO, was pregnant. “I knocked on neighbors’ doors to get a WiFi password,” says Sabharwal, its CEO.

The husband-and-wife founder duo had a much easier time with AgentSync’s new Series A funding round, a $25 million round that valued the business at $220 million — up 10x from its valuation just eight months ago. This time, the startup, which tracks insurance broker licensing data for agencies and carriers, raised without needing an updated pitch deck.

As first reported in the Forbes Midas Touch newsletter on Sunday, AgentSync’s new round came together fast, the result of a mix of founder credibility, fast growth, and a popular product. Once at the center of Zenefits’ high-profile regulatory problems in 2015 – licensing cut corners that could’ve benefited from AgentSync — Sabharwal turned to Zenefits’ founder and former CEO, Parker Conrad, for his first check when starting out. It was through Conrad that he met many of the startup’s seed investors, led by Elad Gil and Caffeinated Capital’s Raymond Tonsing in August 2020.

Ease Report Reveals Smallest Businesses Rehired Furloughed Workers At Highest Rate During the Pandemic
Report shows companies with 1-10 employees rehired 37% of staff
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Ease, a leading HR and benefits software solution for small businesses, insurance brokers, and insurance carriers, today released its second annual SMB Benefits and Employee Insights Report, which uncovered how SMBs across the country are recovering from the economic fallout of the pandemic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 18 million workers were furloughed by April 2020. The report, which draws on data from 75,000 SMBs and 2.5 million employees nationwide, found that businesses with 1-10 employees have since rehired an average of 37% of furloughed workers, the highest rehiring rate of SMBs.

"As we come out of the pandemic and the economy slowly recovers, our goal with this report is to help employers make informed decisions - backed by data - about the benefits they offer to help drive recruitment and employee engagement," said David Reid, CEO and co-founder of Ease. "We've found that small businesses that survived the downturn were able to adapt and do more with less—and even rehire many of their employees. But with premiums on the rise nationwide, small businesses need to look for more flexible, affordable plan options and voluntary benefits to help attract new talent and compete with larger companies."

Fewer than 1 in 5 Employers Offer Childcare Help

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Employers have hit a wall with remote communication and engagement
By Alyssa Place / ebn / / Read Article

Burnout, disengagement and mental health challenges are leading many employers to rethink how they operate and communicate with employees, in an effort to prevent costly fallout.

Ninety-five percent of employers say they plan to make changes to their company culture and procedures in 2021, according to a survey by insurance company Gallagher. Forty percent plan to implement new ways of working and 37% will use new technology and collaboration tools to meet their goals.

“However you may feel about it, remote work is here to stay,” says Ben Reynolds, global managing director of employee communications at Gallagher. “Employers can do a better job assessing and adjusting their employee experience strategies, which can reduce operating expenses and improve their employees' well-being.”

Financial Wellness Matters to Employers and Employees
Steff Chalk / 401kTV / / Read Article

Although they’d been told the importance of having an emergency fund for years, many didn’t truly understand the nature of those dire warnings. That is until 2020. During 2020, job losses and reduced hours forced workers to take a hard look at their personal finances. At that time all workers learned why and exactly how financial wellness matters.

The silver lining is that employers are now more focused than ever on implementing effective financial wellness programs. Employees now look to take control of their own financial wellness matters.


Hub International Acquires The Assets Of Pennsylvania-Based Incentive Systems, Inc.
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Hub International Limited (Hub), a leading full-service global insurance broker, announced today that it has acquired the assets of Incentive Systems, Inc. (ISI). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Located in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, ISI provides innovative employee benefit solutions, helping clients maximize the value of the health, life disability and voluntary programs. Michael Jacobson, President of ISI, will be joining Hub Northeast.

"Hub and home" office strategy could shape the future of work
Nick Halter, author of Twin Cities / AXIOS / / Read Article

Prime Therapeutics has unveiled a post-COVID-19 strategy for how its employees will work in the future. It could be a sign that big corporations won't need nearly as much office space as they did before.

Driving the news: The company said late last week it will use a "hub and home" hybrid model in which employees will use their home offices for individual work and then go into the company's Eagan headquarters for collaboration and socialization.

State of play: Prime Therapeutics, a pharmacy benefits manager, employs around 2,200 people in the Twin Cities. It recently finished a 400,000 square foot office in Eagan in 2018 and 2019.

Context: Last summer the company polled its employees and found that 93% of them were OK or better working from home, but that two-thirds wanted to also spend time at the office.

What's new: Under the hub and home strategy, most local employees will continue working from home 50% to 65% of the time, with their teams meeting in the office on certain days of the week or month.

Agency Revolution Releases New Capabilities and Content to Drive Revenue Growth
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Agency Revolution, an FMG Suite company and a leader in insurtech marketing solutions, today announced the addition of new capabilities to its SaaS-based insurance marketing automation platform, Fuse™. These new capabilities are designed to increase marketing efficacy, improve business intelligence, and streamline agency operations.

"With a 70 percent increase in customers, Fuse™ remains the leading marketing automation platform for independent insurance agencies," said Scott White, president and CEO of FMG Suite. "The new features coupled with Fuse's integration with the leading agency management systems unlocks critical data to give agencies, carriers and networks the power to deliver sophisticated marketing campaigns that drive revenue."

Photo Of The Day

Monday, 03/08/21 - - Health Insurance Hassles Aggravate Employees, Cost Employers Billions of Dollars

Tuesday, 03/09/21 - - Can we keep Medicare from being insolvent by 2024?

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.