Daily Insurance Report
Thursday 05/20/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Brokers have seen mixed impacts to their voluntary business as a result of COVID-19, according to Eastbridge Consulting Group
Eastbridge Consulting Group / PRNewswire / / Read Article

Over the past 12 months, brokers have seen significant variability in quote activity, sales, and enrollment activity/requests due to COVID-19, according to Eastbridge's 2021 Brokers and Voluntary Benefits in a COVID-19 World Spotlight™ Report. The study found, for example, that a third of brokers have seen voluntary sales decrease, just under a third have seen no change, and just over a third have seen increased sales.

COVID-19 also drove a majority of brokers to change their most frequently used enrollment method. The study found that Benefit Brokers most commonly used online, self-service enrollments for the 2020 enrollment season, while Voluntary Brokers most frequently used the call center. The resulting impact to participation as a result of the change in enrollment method varied for Benefit Brokers and Voluntary Brokers.

Looking ahead, brokers voice optimism for their voluntary business. Both Benefit Brokers and Voluntary Brokers are expecting increased sales in 2021, with less than 10% of brokers expecting sales to be lower in 2021. They also expect employers and employees to be more enthusiastic about voluntary benefits as a result of COVID-19, though to varying degrees depending on the broker type.

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Measuring the financial health of Americans
Jennifer Tescher and David Silberman / BROOKINGS / / Read Article

The time has come to establish financial health as the clear North Star for economic and social policy and for the federal government to build an effective system to measure and report on the state of financial health for the country as a whole and for those communities that historically have been discriminated against, marginalized, or otherwise underserved.

The key to such a system is a simple and easily-understood way of measuring the financial health of families—one that brings together in a composite index a number of discrete, family-level indicators that together provide a picture of families’ financial health—the interrelationships and interactions between spending, saving, borrowing, and planning.

Student loan debt is crushing employees’ mental and financial wellness. Is it time for employers to take action?
By Amanda Schiavo / EBN / / Read Article

Walker isn’t an outlier. Outstanding U.S. student loan debt reached a staggering $1.7 trillion at the end of 2020 according to the Federal Reserve, and there’s no sign this ballooning debt is slowing down. Sixty-five percent of college educated adults have student loan debt, owing an average of $39,351, according to data collected by First Republic Bank.

That burden can have a crushing effect on a person’s mental health, impacting their ability to perform at work or achieve and celebrate major life events — not to mention strain their finances and impact their ability to retire comfortably. Walker admits that she’s had many sleepless nights worrying about her student loan debt.

“So often in the mental health field we might not think about financial stress, but there’s actually really strong links between financial stress and mental health,” says Myra Altman, a psychologist and the vice president of clinical care at Modern Health. And together, the two can create an endless cycle of worry and stress. “Financial stressors will impact your mental health, and there's an interesting relationship in the opposite direction: When struggling with mental health concerns, finances become harder to manage.”

Mark43 Elevates Employee Benefits Offering with Competitive New Package that Includes College Loan Repayment Matching
PRNewswire / / Read Article

On the tails of being named to Inc. magazine's annual list of the Best Workplaces for 2021, Mark43, the leading cloud-native public safety software company, today announced a new, competitive benefits package available to all current and future Mark43 employees.

The mighty package competes with the likes of benefits packages offered by major technology organizations across the U.S. In addition to the current offerings of fully paid medical, dental, mental health, and vision coverage for employees and their families, included in the new offering is a generous 401k match, paid parental leave extended to up to 18-weeks for both primary and secondary caregivers, college loan repayment matching, and one-month paid sabbaticals for employees that have been with Mark43 for a minimum of five years. Understanding that an investment in sustaining a positive work culture helps to deliver better experiences for its partner public safety agencies–and the communities these agencies serve–Mark43 will continue to prioritize its employees' benefits and wellbeing.

Behind The Screen: Meet The Startup Powering Telehealth That Just Raised $50 Million
Katie Jennings / Forbes / / Read Article

Wheel doesn’t provide branded telehealth services like the Teladocs of the world. Instead, it offers tools that enable health providers or even employers to offer telehealth services. Before the pandemic, Wheel had already developed a software platform that would vet, train and credential virtual care clinicians and match them with patients in real-time for other companies’ virtual care programs. Its white-labeled platform allows any company to launch virtual care. With a $50 million Series B funding round announced Wednesday, Davey and the Wheel team are looking to scale up and sustain its newfound growth in the post-pandemic world. The company is also branching into solutions for speciality care, including behavioral health.

Wheel is positioned to meet the demands not just of telemedicine companies, but a whole new crop of startups that want to introduce a virtual care component, says Ling Wong, a senior advisor at Lightspeed Venture Partners who is joining Wheel’s board. Lightspeed led the round with participation from existing investors CRV, Silverton Partners, Tusk Venture Partners and J.P. Morgan. Future Shape joined as a new investor. Wheel has raised $66 million to date.

Insurtech startups compete head-on with traditional carriers
PitchBook / / Read Article

Insurtech startups raised $2.2 billion across 110 deals globally, with commercial lines attracting about one-third of total capital invested in the vertical.

Late-stage valuations jumped during the quarter without significant changes in median deal sizes, potentially indicating that late-stage founders are decreasing equity share offerings.

Embedded insurance is expected to be the fastest-growing distribution channel in the decade to come.

Ro, a health care start-up, will acquire Modern Fertility.
Alisha Haridasani Gupta / The New York Times / / Read Article

The deal is priced at more than $225 million, according to people with knowledge of the acquisition who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not public. It is one of the largest investments in the women’s health care technology space, known as femtech, which attracted $592 million in venture capital in 2019, according to an analysis by PitchBook.

Wellness travel platform Vacayou raises $3.3M
By Mitra Sorrells / PhocusWire / / Read Article

Vacayou, a new online platform for discovering and booking wellness travel experiences, has raised $3.3 million in combined angel and seed rounds to support its launch.

The funding is led by investor and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, Relevance Ventures and additional angel investors.

Vacayou is launching in beta with more than 100 package options such as spa getaways, wellness retreats and active travel experiences.

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“Wellness tourism is one of the fastest growing trends in the travel industry and is projected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2027,” says Muirelle Montecalvo, Vacayou’s founder and CEO.

ApexEdge Now Included in YouDecide’s Voluntary Benefits & Corporate Discounts Platform, Realizes 81% Success Rate for Customers
BUSINESS WIRE / Tech Decisions / / Read Article

ApexEdge, a partner-enablement platform that offers monthly bill and subscription management solutions to support the financial health of consumers, announced today its integration with YouDecide, the leading Voluntary Benefits Outsourcing® (VBO) firm in the marketplace, to enable YouDecide’s corporate clients to help their employees save money on recurring monthly and service bills through ApexEdge. To date, 81 percent of those employees who have utilized ApexEdge through YouDecide have realized savings on their bills.

Photo Of The Day

Monday, 05/17/21 - - Pandemic accelerating employers' interest in voluntary benefits: WTW survey

Tuesday, 05/18/21 - -
CVS Health and Aetna tackle skyrocketing mental health issues among women

Wednesday, 05-19-21 - -
Amazon to roll out health, wellness program to all US employees by 2022

Thursday, 05-13-21 - -  Amazon confirms nationwide expansion of telehealth services

Friday, 05-14-21 - -
8 low-cost apps to help employees manage their mental health

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