Daily Insurance Report   
Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 

Tuesday, 05/19/20 https://DailyInsuranceReport.com  

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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.

Tranzact to Hire 1,200 Health Insurance Agents
The Willis Towers Watson unit will interview candidates by video.
By Allison Bell

TZ Insurance Solutions LLC says it hopes to hire about 1,200 insurance sales agents in time for the Medicare plan annual enrollment period.

TZ Insurance — a Fort Lee, New Jersey-based company that does business as Tranzact — wants to fill all of the posts by September.

The Medicare annual enrollment period traditionally runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

Marc Byron started TZ, as Paradigm Direct, in 1997. He sold it in 2000, then bought it back, with help from Halyard Capital, in 2003, He changed the name of the company to Tranzact around that time.

The company sells Medicare supplement insurance policies, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, and ancillary products, such as dental insurance and life insurance, as well as Medicare Advantage plans.

COVID-19 shreds Sutter Health's finances in matter of weeks

Dive Brief:

Sutter Health, one of California's largest and most powerful hospital networks, is getting pounded by losses related to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a report issued to bondholders.

Sutter posted an operating loss of $236 million for the first quarter ending March 31, and a net loss of almost $1.1 billion. That's even though California officials did not begin locking down activities in the state until the second part of March. Sutter saw an operating loss of $360 million in April alone, after the first quarter concluded, suggesting net losses for the second quarter could be even larger.

Much of the losses are attributed to the abrupt cutoff of patient flow to Sutter hospitals, clinics and medical offices. Only 5.7% of its intensive care unit beds are being used to treat COVID-19 patients, Sutter reported, and almost 32% of its ICU beds were unused as of May 11.

CommonSpirit Health sees $145 million operating loss at outset of Covid-19 pandemic
By ELISE REUTER / MedCity News

Nonprofit health system CommonSpirit health reported a $145 million operating loss in the quarter ending on March 31. The system faced decreased patient volumes and investment losses as a result of the pandemic. The system faced decreased patient volumes and investment losses as a result of the pandemic.

Ease and Ameritas Partner to Improve Core Employee Benefits Experience

brokers and HR administrators with better access to core employee benefits.

“This partnership demonstrates our commitment to improving the digital benefits experience for brokers, employers, and their employees”

With this connection, Ameritas will become Ease's latest EaseConnect+ partner, enabling brokers to safely and securely submit enrollment data and changes directly from Ease to Ameritas. Clients now have round-the-clock access to information and an easier, modern way of updating their benefit selections to best fit their needs.

“We’re proud to partner with Ameritas’ forward-thinking team to address the challenges and changes in the ever-evolving insurance industry,” said David Reid, CEO of Ease. “This partnership is a fantastic opportunity for both brokers and their clients.”

UnitedHealth, Microsoft launch COVID-19 screening app for employers
By Rebecca Pifer / HEALTHCARE DIVE

Dive Brief:

UnitedHealth and Microsoft have launched an app aimed at helping employers reopen their offices as most states have begun easing shelter-in-place restrictions against the advice of public health officials.

The Microsoft-powered smartphone app, called ProtectWell, screens employees for COVID-19 and notifies their employers and coworkers in a push to provide peace of mind for employees returning to the workplace. Any workers found at-risk for the virus are directed to get a test, while the app notifies employers of the tests' results.

Kustomer acquires Reply.ai to enhance chatbots on its CRM platform
Ingrid Lunden

Today, Kustomer is announcing some M&A that will help in that strategy: it is acquiring Reply.ai, a startup originally founded in Madrid that has built a code-free platform for companies to create customised chatbots to handle customer service enquires that use machine learning to, over time, become better at responding to those inbound contacts.

Kustomer, which has raised more than $170 million and is now valued at $710 million (per PitchBook), said it is not disclosing the financial terms of the deal.

Reply .ai — whose customers include Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Samsung, and a number of retailers and major ad and marketing agencies working on behalf of clients — had by comparison raised a modest $4 million in funding (with the last round back in 2018). Its list of investors included strategic backers like Aflac and Westfield (the shopping mall giant), as well as Seedcamp, Madrid’s JME Ventures, and Y Combinator, where Reply.ai was a part of its Startup School cohort in 2017.

InsurTech startup Fenris receives funding from CIT

Fenris, which help to streamline and modernise the process of quoting insurance products, has received an investment from the Center for Innovative Technology.

Fenris offers a suite of APIs to streamline the process of generating insurance quotes. The company recently released the LicenseSnap tool which can be embedded into a company’s existing online form to remove the risk of poor data entry or mid-application abandonment.

The InsurTech claims to hold one of the largest insurance data repositories in the industry, including more than 400 million records on adults, households and small businesses.

The Case for M&A in a Downturn
by Brian Salsberg / Harvard Business Review,

Most companies are still in the early days of assessing the impact from the Covid-19 crisis on their business. But as they begin planning for the future, there may be opportunities to make one or more long-sought acquisitions.

Businesses are, or should be, examining their existing lists of potential acquisition targets and should be prepared to act, as deal premiums are likely to come down and assets that companies had been reluctant to sell may become available.

But the window for maximizing value could be relatively short, if history is any indication.

Evidence from the global financial crisis (GFC) from late 2007 through early 2009 shows that companies that made significant acquisitions during an economic downturn outperform those that did not.

Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act
Leo Peng, Foster Garvey PC / JDSUPRA

Companion pieces of legislation have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate that aim to alleviate some of the long delays for medical professionals seeking to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.

Specifically, this legislation proposes to recapture 40,000 unused immigrant visas from past years and make them available for doctors and nurses. Fifteen thousand of these visas would be made available to doctors and 25,000 would be made available to nurses. These visas would be allocated based on priority date without regard to country of birth. Unlimited visas for spouses and children of these visa applicants would also be available.

The legislation also includes a directive to the Departments of Homeland Security and State to expedite these application processes as much as possible.


Monday - 05/11/20 - - Why Papa, Humana think it's crucial to 'make noise' about the impacts of loneliness amid COVID-19

Tuesday - 05/12/20 - - Life Insurers Halt Sales As Hopes for Profit Dim — WSJ

Wednesday - 05/13/20 - -  Benefit Plan Deadlines Extended – COBRA, Special Enrollment, Plan Disclosures And More

Thursday - 05/14-20 - Doctors are turning to GoFundMe to stay afloat during the pandemic

Friday - 05-08-20 - - Democratic senators — including Manchin — submit brief to US Supreme Court backing ‘Obamacare’

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