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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.
  Monday, 03/11/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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

HealthJoy raises $12.5M Series B to help employees make the most of their healthcare benefits
Catherine Shu / TechCrunch

Healthcare in the United States is so complicated that even employees with good benefits might have a hard time navigating their options. HealthJoy wants to help with a health benefits platform that uses AI to answer questions. The Chicago-based startup announced today that it has raised $12.5 million in Series B funding led by U.S. Venture Partners, with participation from Epic Ventures and returning investors Chicago Ventures, Sidekick Ventures and its co-founders.

This brings HealthJoy’s total funding, including a $3 million Series A announced in August 2017, to $9 million. The company will use its Series B to double its team to 250 people over the next 10 months. It currently has about 200,000 users, grew by 610 percent last year and expects to grow by 250 percent this year. USVP general partner Jonathan Root will join HealthJoy’s board.

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Trump's new push for selling insurance across state lines
Sam Baker / AXIOS

Remember when President Trump campaigned on a health care platform of eliminating "the lines around the states?" Well, that particular white whale has re-emerged.

Driving the news: The Trump administration posted a 15-page document Wednesday asking for public comment on a range of questions related to the interstate sale of health insurance — including questions about using part of the Affordable Care Act to make that change.

How it works: Critics see this as a backdoor way to deregulate insurance. If a patient in New York can buy a lightly regulated policy from Iowa, what good are New York's rules about what plans have to cover and how they have to cover it?

There are logistical hurdles: It's pretty hard to set up a network of doctors and hospitals that will work for patients in both Iowa and New York.

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CON: Americans are in no mood for another health care upheaval
By Grace-Marie Turner, Tribune News Service

(Note: The writer is answering the question: “Should America join other rich nations and provide universal health care?”)

Conservatives and progressives agree that everyone should be able to get health insurance and have access to quality health care. But the divide over how to accomplish that goal is wide and deep.

Progressives believe the government should make decisions about allocation of the resources in our health sector while conservatives believe these decisions should be controlled by individuals and families.

The sales pitch for Medicare for all is appealing — universal coverage, free access to doctors and hospitals, and no insurance premiums, copayments or deductibles.

But then come the tradeoffs: Washington bureaucrats would decide what services are covered and how much doctors and hospitals would be paid.

Everyone would be required to give up the coverage they have now — including 173 million American who get health insurance at work — and taxes would be much higher to finance $32 trillion in added government spending over the next decade. For comparison, federal revenues last year totaled $3.4 trillion.

10 things to know about TDFs
Greg Iacurci / InvestmentNews

Target-date funds are booming, with combined assets in mutual funds and collective investment trust funds approaching $1.8 trillion, according to Sway Research. The average 401(k) plan holds roughly 22% of its assets in TDFs, up from 8% a decade ago, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America.

Following are some stats about these increasingly important and prevalent funds, from Sway's annual report assessing the state of the TDF market.

Concentration at the top is increasing

The 10 largest TDF providers control more than 90% of the assets. To be exact, only 7.7% of assets are held by firms outside the top 10. The top five — Vanguard Group, Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price, BlackRock Inc. and American Funds — have the lion's share, with 78%. And that share is growing — it's up 1.5 percentage points in three years.

The New 401(k)? Employer-Sponsored 529 Plans Shift into High Gear
Brian O'Connell / Savingforcollege.com

Parents saving for college tend to look under every rock and couch cushion for some extra cash to cover future college costs. Now, employers are helping by providing easy access to 529 college savings plans with payroll deduction and matching contributions.

Increases in Sticker Prices Spur College Savings Anxiety
Average one-year college costs for 2018-19 stand at $21,370 for public colleges (in-state) and $48,510 for private non-profit colleges, including only tuition, fees, room and board, according to the College Board’s Trends in College Pricing.

Average four-year college costs are likely to total about $90,000 for public colleges and about $200,000 for private non-profit colleges.

But, according to Sallie Mae’s How America Saves for College, parents have saved an average of $18,135. Parents of high-school age children have saved an average of $22,985. That’s about a quarter of current college costs at an in-state public college.

Employers Help Employees Save for College

One place college-savers may go for college savings help is their own workplace. Increasingly, more and more companies are stepping up and offering employer-sponsored college 529 savings plans, including helpful provisions like direct deposit, matching contributions and automatic payroll deduction.

Gradifi And EVERFI Team Up To Provide Financial Wellness Education Programs As An Employee Benefit

Gradifi, a leading provider of student loan and college savings employee benefits, today launched a nationwide initiative to offer financial wellness education as an employee benefit in collaboration with EVERFI, the nation’s leading education technology company.

EVERFI’s award-winning curriculum teaches money management basics about a wide range of topics, including savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, credit scores and identify theft. The three-to-10-minute modules also cover sophisticated personal finance matters, such as budget, tax, and financial planning; securing a home mortgage; refinancing student loan debt and saving for education; developing an investment strategy; understanding retirement accounts; and managing risk and insurance.

Gradifi will offer EVERFI’s interactive content and tools to the more than 700 organizations using any of the following three solutions from Gradifi:

Student Loan PayDown, which enables employers to make direct contributions to pay down an employee’s student debt;
Gradifi Refi, which gives employees immediate access to leading student loan refinancing lenders with exclusive offers at no cost to the employer;
College SaveUp, which facilitates employer contributions to employees’ 529 college savings plans to head off the burden of student debt.HR’s solution for helping younger workers retire: Automatic enrollment

A lot of younger employees don’t save for retirement — so their employers are doing it for them.
Kayla Webster / ebn

Every year that an employee delays retirement can cost large companies $2 million-$3 million, according to Prudential research. Employers already experience those financial consequences with baby boomers, which is why many are stepping up their retirement savings efforts to prevent the losses as much as possible with younger workers.

One way they’re doing so? By automatically enrolling new employees in 401(k) plans. That’s according to a group of HR professionals who spoke Wednesday during a roundtable discussion at Advizr, a New York financial wellness company.

Petaluma's Arrow Benefits Group forecasts $9.5M in revenues, triples in size

Arrow Benefits Group has expanded its footprint, recently announcing the completion of a merger, four acquisitions and a new national partnership.

All told, Petaluma-based Arrow is forecasting $9.5 million in revenues for 2019, said Stephen McNeil, managing partner.

“Arrow has tripled in size in just four years, and the creation of our new national partnership promises continued expansion of our size, strength and capabilities,” he said. “It also allows us to deepen our already-substantial commitment to our North Bay communities.”

Arrow closed out 2018 by completing its acquisition of four independent agencies from the Bay Area: Advanced Benefits of Santa Rosa, Mission Benefits of Sunnyvale, Copeland Insurance of San Rafael, and Ahern Insurance of Novato. The transactions also help to expand Alianza, Arrow’s Spanish Language Division, he said.

The acquisitions deal coincided with Arrow co-founding with 17 other agencies a new national retail insurance agency called Patriot Growth Insurance Services, Inc., which launched Jan. 1, McNeil said. As a co-founder, Arrow became an incorporated business, but will retain the Arrow Benefits Group brand, he said.

AssuredPartners Acquires Employee Benefits Broker Duffy & Livingston, LLC

AssuredPartners, Inc. is pleased to announce Duffy & Livingston, LLC of Manasquan, New Jersey has joined AssuredPartners as the 5th acquisition for 2019. The energetic team of four will remain under the operational structure and leadership of Duffy & Livingston's managing partners, Mark Duffy & Jeff Livingston. The agency currently reports $1.5 million in annualized revenues.


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, 03/08/19 - Colonial Life program helps employees ease student loan debt

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor