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Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com


Tuesday, 05/12/20
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The "Daily Insurance Report" is now subscribed to by 25,000 elite insurance industry influencers who receive it Monday - Friday and have a quick overview of what is appearing in the media regarding the insurance industry; with an emphasis on life, health, and employee benefits. The "Daily Insurance Report" publishes the life insurance, health insurance, and employee benefits news that matters.




Life Insurers Halt Sales As Hopes for Profit Dim — WSJ
By Leslie Scism / MORNINGSTAR / Provided by Dow Jones

U.S. insurers are doing the once unthinkable, turning away business from some Americans who want a life-insurance policy.

The driving force behind the action: a collapse in interest rates tied to the spread of the new coronavirus and an expectation from insurers that rates won't rebound significantly anytime soon.

Life insurers earn much of their profit by investing customers' premiums in bonds until claims come due. In simplest terms, when they price policies, they make assumptions about how much interest income they will earn investing these premiums years into the future. The less they earn, the more they may need to collect in premium or fees to turn a profit.

For now, a wave of stopgap measures is hitting potential buyers even as some companies say more consumers are seeking out life insurance during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to suspending sales of some popular products and raising prices, insurers are also scaling back policy sizes and reducing benefits.





Working from home is here to stay, even when the economy reopens
Ari Levy / CNBC

Companies in technology, financial services and insurance have invested in remote work tools, and there’s no indication they’ll be returning to the old way of doing business.

The first batch of employees to return to the office will be the ones who are itching to get back, but even that won’t start happening for weeks or months.
“We’re going to see this come back more slowly than you might have expected,” said Liz Fealy, who runs the global workforce advisory group at EY.

We asked experts in various fields for their best predictions on what the world will look like when the coronavirus pandemic finally recedes. In this segment of our series, “The Next Normal,” we examine what happens when office life reopens and what becomes of remote work.

Long commutes have been replaced with heavy Zoom use, and workers in big cities are in no hurry to sit on crowded subways and buses during rush hour.

Corporate leaders are waiting for some reliable combination of mass testing, therapeutics, contact tracing and possibly even a vaccine, before they’ll consider it a worthwhile risk to send employees back into the traditional work place. Another consideration is childcare, and with schools closed across much of the country and summer camps unlikely to proceed as planned, kids are likely to be at home during the day at least for the next few months.





Nationwide to make work-from-home permanent
The strategy includes a hybrid operating model that will shift employees at most locations to a permanent remote work environment.
By Allison Bell / NU Property & Casualty/ The original version of this story was published on ThinkAdvisor

Nationwide announced a plan to permanently transition to a hybrid operating model that includes working-from-office in four main offices and working-from-home in most other locations.

Nationwide says having employees work at home in response to the COVID-19 crisis is going so well that it plans to shut down at least five of its traditional brick-and-mortar offices by Nov. 1, 2020.

The employees and other workers associated with those offices will shift to working permanently at home, Nationwide announced on April 29.

The Columbus, Ohio-based insurer said that it will keep four main brick-and-mortar offices in place and that it will also keep some other, smaller brick-and-mortar offices open.



12% of Employers Surveyed Suspended 401(k) Matching Amid Pandemic
By Alex Padalka / Financial Advisor IQ

A significant portion of U.S. employers have suspended 401(k) matching or are planning to do so amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, although far more are easing access to their 401(k) plans, according to a recent survey.

Willis Towers Watson found that 12% of employers have suspended matching their employees’ contributions to 401(k)s, while 23% are planning or considering doing so this year, according to a survey conducted the week of April 20 of 816 firms collectively employing 12 million workers.

But, as a result of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, 65% of employers have increased access to in-service distributions from 401(k) accounts and 16% are considering or planning on doing so this year, Willis Towers Watson found. Furthermore, 64% now allow plan participants to defer loan repayments and 48% raised the caps available for plan loans, with a further 17% planning or considering making adjustments in that regard this year, Willis Towers Watson says.

In addition, 63% of employers are promoting financial counseling services they already have in place and 20% are considering or planning to do so, according to the survey. But only 9% have introduced new financial counseling services, although 26% are planning or considering doing so this year, Willis Towers Watson found.



These North Texas businesses bought insurance, only to learn coronavirus-related losses aren’t covered

Restaurants are among those suing insurers for denying their claims, but the insurance industry says viruses were never included.
By Kevin Krause / The Dallas Morning News

Abraham Salum had no choice but to close the restaurant he’s owned for 15 years in Dallas’ Knox Henderson area.

The safer-at-home orders issued in March by the city and Dallas County to limit the spread of COVID-19 devastated his business. The chef and owner of Salum restaurant filed a claim under his business interruption insurance policy. It was quickly denied, even though local authorities had shut him down.

“It was just very confusing,” he said.

Salum isn’t alone. Small businesses across North Texas and the nation have awakened to the stark reality that they are in for a lengthy fight after their insurance companies denied their business interruption insurance claims. He and at least four other North Texas business owners, including other restaurateurs and dentists, have sued their insurance companies to try to collect what they say they’re owed.

Legal experts are watching to see how the courts will sort out the legal quagmire, complicated by the absence of any case law. Business advocates say the insurance industry and its powerful lobby are trying to escape liability during the global public health crisis. But insurers argue that the policies were never intended to cover catastrophic losses from a pandemic, and the number and extent of the claims would put them out of business.



Up to 43m Americans could lose health insurance amid pandemic, report says
Prior to pandemic, 160 million got insurance through their job – but up to 7 million are unlikely to find new plans, say researchers
Jessica Glenza / The Guardian

As many as 43 million Americans could lose their health insurance in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute.

Prior to the pandemic, 160 million Americans, or roughly half the population, received their medical insurance through their job. The tidal wave of layoffs triggered by quarantine measures now threatens that coverage for millions.

Up to 7 million of those people are unlikely to find new insurance as poor economic conditions drag on, researchers at the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation thinktanks predict.

Such enormous insurance losses could dramatically alter America’s healthcare landscape, and will probably result in more deaths as people avoid unaffordable healthcare.

“The status quo is incredibly inefficient, it’s incredibly unfair, it’s tied to employment for no real reason,” said Katherine Hempstead, a senior policy adviser for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “This problem exposes a lot of the inadequacies in our system.”



Bought By Many said to raise £78m in funding from a private equity firm
FINTECH GLOBAL

UK-based pet insurance platform Bought By Many has reportedly closed a £78m investment from private equity firm FTV Capital.

Additional support to the round came from a number of unnamed backers, according to a report from Sky News.

In line with the deal, FTV Capital partner Mike Vostrizansky will join the Bought By Many board of directors.

Having closed the round, the company will look to hire more staff and deepen its product suite, the article claims.

Bought By Many offers a wide variety of pet insurance policies for dogs, cats parrots, rabbits, tortoises and more. It also sells business and liability insurance products for those working with animals such as taking animals to work.





Archives

Monday - 05/11/20 - - Will a Wave of Workplace Lawsuits Follow the Return to Work?

Tuesday - 05/05/20 - - Salesforce releases a set of new tools to help businesses and public agencies reopen safely

Wednesday - 05/06/20 - -  First Dollar raises $5 million for a consumer-friendly healthcare savings accountts eligibility requirements

Thursday - 05/07-20 - Britain’s Billion Dollar Babylon Health App Set To Launch For ‘Millions’ Of New Yorkers

Friday - 05-08-20 - - The Future of Voluntary Benefits




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.
 
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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor
440-773-1108
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com