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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.
  Wednesday, 03/13/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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

Top 1200 Financial Advisors
Steve Garmhausen / Barron's

The ability to help investors keep a cool head is increasingly important, now that the easy monetary policy and fiscal stimulus that muted volatility throughout the second-longest bull market in history are no longer sure things. “Investors have had a very solid run with equities, courtesy of both fiscal and monetary policy over the past 10 years,” says Merrill Lynch advisor Edythe DeMarco, in Providence, R.I., who is ranked second in her state. “That will moderate.”

Our annual Top 1,200 ranking recognizes outstanding advisors from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. It’s our largest, most comprehensive listing, and it encompasses everyone from independents, who own and operate their own practices, to employees of the big Wall Street firms.

This special report names the top advisors in each state, with the number of ranking spots distributed in proportion to state population and wealth. Many of the ranked advisors work in or around locales of great wealth—Silicon Valley, New York City, South Florida, to name a few. However, the breadth of this ranking ensures that standouts in less populous and less wealthy areas receive the accolades they deserve.

Our rankings are based on assets under management, revenue generated by advisors for their firms, and the quality of their practices. Investment performance isn’t an explicit criterion, because it is often a function of each client’s appetite for risk. In our evaluations, we examine regulatory records, internal company documents, and 100-plus data points provided by the advisors themselves.

This year’s ranking features many new names. More than 15% of the 2019 Top 1,200—88 advisors—weren’t in last year’s listing. Among those who were ranked last year, several made significant jumps, including Ken Witover of UBS , who moved up 75 spots in New York; Alan Yonack of Morgan Stanley , who rose 38 positions in Texas; Lisa Reed of Neuberger Berman, up 18 in California; and Jennifer Marcontell of Edward Jones, up 17 in Texas. In addition, precisely a third of the states (plus D.C.) feature a new No. 1 this year (see tables).

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NerdWallet: Can your employer cure your money woes?
Liz Weston, NerdWallet / South Bend TRIBUNE

Millions of Americans get their health insurance and retirement accounts through their employers. Now some are getting help with their debt.

Companies including insurer Aetna and accounting firm PwC help employees pay down student loans. Others partner with startups to offer debt solutions as an employee benefit. Among the approaches:

MedPut negotiates discounts on medical debt and offers interest-free loans that are repaid through payroll deductions.
Brightside connects workers to debt consolidation loans and student loan refinancing.
HoneyBee, PayActiv and TrueConnect, among others, provide payday advances or emergency loans so struggling workers can avoid the payday loan trap.

Financial stress takes a toll

Employers increasingly are aware that money worries can reduce productivity and increase absenteeism. More than half of the 1,600 full-time employees polled by PwC in 2017 reported feeling stressed about their finances, and human resources company Mercer has estimated financial stress costs U.S. businesses up to $250 billion a year.

Debt appears to play a leading role in creating that stress. Seven out of 10 employers in a survey last year said that debt was the No. 1 financial challenge faced by their employees, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Programs to help workers pay student loans were among the first debt-focused employee benefits companies offered, but they’re still not common.

Uber to pay $20 million to settle driver classification lawsuit
Joel Rosenblatt / Bloomberg News

Uber Technologies will pay $20 million to settle California lawsuits challenging the company’s classification of drivers as independent contractors, and not employees owed the benefits of traditional employment.

Resolution of the long-standing fight over benefits and pay comes as Uber is preparing for its initial public offering later this year. The litigation attacked the ride-sharing company’s business model of treating its drivers as contractors to avoid the costs of paying a minimum wage, overtime, sick leave and health insurance.

The cases turned on whether drivers were essentially forced by their contracts to resolve any conflicts one-on-one, behind the closed doors of private arbitration and forbidden to join forces in class-action lawsuits. Drivers argued Uber made it onerous for them to opt-out of the arbitration provisions.

Investors can get ‘Bernie Madoff insurance’ to protect their money from fraudsters
Insurers will pay out if your adviser makes off with your money

Barely a week passes without news of another financial adviser ripping off his or her clients. In many tragic cases they steal everything, and when the scam is finally uncovered there is nothing left.

Bernie Madoff is the most infamous of the embezzlers. But he is by no means alone. There are more than 650,000 financial advisers in the U.S., and according to an analysis by the University of Chicago about 7% have been disciplined for some sort of misconduct, from the minor to the egregious.

Now, a new insurance product aims to offer investors some protection.

Capital Shield Insurance Services, a new company set up in Ft. Myers, Fla., is this month unveiling “embezzlement insurance” for investors underwritten by insurance company Berkley FinSecure. “Think of Bernie Madoff,” says Capital Shield managing partner Mark Levine. “That’s exactly the kind of thing this policy would cover.”

They promise the policy will pay out as soon as your adviser is indicted “and the handcuffs are on.” You won’t have to wait for a conviction.

More than 600K Michigan health care customers affected by data breach
Company says it does not believe personal information was extracted

The information of more than 600,000 health care customers in Michigan may have been compromised in a data breach.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita G. Fox today urged Michiganders affected by the data breach sustained by Detroit-based Wolverine Solutions Group to take extra precautions to help safeguard their information that may have been compromised.

It is believed the information of more than 600,000 Michiganders may have been compromised by the breach, including customers of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Health Alliance Plan, McLaren Health Care, Three Rivers Health, and North Ottawa Community Health System.

According to the company website, exposed information could include names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, insurance contract information and numbers, phone numbers, and medical information. The company says it does not believe personal information was extracted.

Life insurance locator helps people find lost life insurance policies for free
Deb Stanley / The Denver Channel

When a loved one passes away, it can be difficult to find their life insurance policies. While some people put all their important documents in one place, others do not.

But the State of Colorado has help. The life insurance policy locator can help beneficiaries find old life insurance policies.

“People don’t talk much about their life insurance, so lost policies are fairly common," said Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. "I encourage anyone in this situation to use the locator to find the details and get it figured out."

The life insurance policy locator is free to use, but it can take up to 90 days to get a response.

Since it launched in November 2016, the life insurance policy locator has matched 515 Coloradans with lost or misplaced life insurance policies or annuities, leading to $8,339,656 being returned to those beneficiaries.

Combined Insurance Donates $50,000 to Veteran-Related Charities

Combined Insurance donated $50,000 to two military and veteran-related charities as part of the company's continued commitment to the nation's military communities. To date, the company has given a quarter of a million dollars to charitable organizations that work with military members and their families.

Luke's Wings, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit that provides families of wounded warriors and veterans with free travel and travel planning to visit their loved ones during recovery and rehabilitation was the recipient of a $30,000 donation. And, Chicago-based organization Heartland Alliance, received $20,000 donation for its Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, which provides housing assistance to at-risk and homeless veterans.

Rally Health Launches Next-Generation Consumer Digital Health Platform

Rally Health, Inc., today announced its next-generation consumer digital health platform. The new Rally® platform enables users to access and manage in a single, comprehensive experience their employee benefits, well-being programs – including behavior-change programs – and their health care needs such as finding, pricing, scheduling and paying for care.

“Today we’re taking our Rally platform to a new level by making traditionally disparate elements of the health and health care ecosystem work together seamlessly in a unified consumer experience – even across multiple health plans”

For employers, the new Rally digital health platform optimizes employee health engagement to help lower costs and improve health outcomes. The platform enables benefit leaders to drive utilization of benefits from multiple health plans through an all-in-one experience that offers personalized decision support for members. With Rally, employers are able to work with a single company to deploy a comprehensive benefits hub that helps employees easily find and access the many resources available to them, and make better-informed and more cost-effective decisions about their health and health care.

Are you one of EBN’s 2019 Digital Innovators?
Kathryn Mayer / Employee Benefit Adviser

More in HR Technology Benefits technology Workforce management Workplace management
Employee Benefit News is now accepting nominations for its Digital Innovators Awards, which recognize individuals leading the digital transformation of the HR and benefits industry. Winners will be featured in upcoming online and print editions of EBN.

Digital Innovator nominations are open to employee benefit professionals; HR executives; benefit and HR technology company executives; benefit advisers, brokers and consultants; and others at the leading-edge of HR and benefits technology development, adoption and deployment.

Along with editors from Employee Benefit Adviser, EBN editors will review nominations, looking for individuals who are using technology to disrupt the industry and create new offerings for employees and employers.


Monday, 03/11/19 - HealthJoy raises $12.5M Series B to help employees make the most of their healthcare benefits

Tuesday, 03/12/19 - Should your 23andMe results make your insurance costs spike?

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