Daily Insurance Report - Walt Bernard Podgurski

Daily Insurance Report  
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, 06/10/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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.

Regulators must scrutinize advice by insurance agents

"An unpoliced market." That's how one investor advocate described the practice of insurance agents who are not licensed to conduct securities transactions advising investors to roll over 401(k) funds into insurance products.

The rollover market for 401(k) funds is especially tempting right now because so many baby boomers are retiring. In many cases, they have hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of dollars, in their accounts, that they have saved over a lifetime.

Advising rollovers can be a tricky business, even for financial advisers. While in some cases, it might make sense to roll over 401(k) funds into an individual retirement account where other investments might be considered, in other cases it may not. The client's best interest should be made the highest priority.

That may not be happening when an insurance agent is giving the advice. As reporter Greg Iacurci recently pointed out, insurance agents who are advising clients to take funds invested in the stock market out of a 401(k) account to buy insurance products such as annuities are in violation of the law if they are not also licensed to conduct securities transactions.

But enforcement has been spotty at best. The insurance industry is largely regulated by states, and enforcement varies state-by-state. The Securities and Exchange Commission has jurisdiction over nonlicensed individuals conducting securities transactions, but it rarely goes after insurance agents in rollover cases.

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'Mental health parity' is still an elusive goal in U.S. insurance coverage
Politics Graison Dangor / Kaiser Health News

The 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act required large group health plans that provide benefits for mental health problems to put that coverage on an equal footing with physical illness. Two years later, the Affordable Care Act required small-group and individual health plans sold on the insurance marketplaces to cover mental health services, and do so at levels comparable with medical services. (In 2016, parity rules were also applied to Medicaid managed-care plans, which cover the majority of people in that federal-state health program for low-income residents.)

The laws have been partially successful. Insurers are no longer permitted to write policies that charge higher co-pays or deductibles for mental health care, nor can they set annual or lifetime upper limits on how much they will pay for such care. But advocates for patients say insurance companies still interpret mental health claims more stringently than those for physical illness.

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A retirement readiness benefit that addresses the financial challenges of aging
By Brian Harrington / ebn

Long-term care costs are generally not covered by Medicare or health insurance, and they can be substantial. According to Genworth’s 2018 annual Cost of Care Survey, the cost of long-term care continues to rise year over year in most care settings, but especially for services in the home, where most people choose to receive care.

Nationally, the median monthly costs for the services of a homemaker or an in-home health aide for 44 hours a week are $4,004 and $4,195, respectively. The national median monthly cost of a private nursing home room is $8,365; assisted living, $4,000 per month; and adult day services, $1,560 per month.

Long-term care insurance is a voluntary benefit that consumers not only want the option of buying at work, but actually prefer purchasing through their employer versus an agent, according to an omnibus survey Genworth conducted to gauge consumers’ knowledge about long-term care insurance. Four out of five respondents (82%) said they want their employer to offer LTC insurance as an optional benefit, and 68% said they would prefer to buy it from their employer.

Walgreens cuts long-time health benefit for retired employees in ‘unusual’ move
Angelica LaVito / CNBC

Walgreens said in a September letter reviewed by CNBC that it would no longer subsidize medical benefits for its former employees who hadn’t turned 64 by March 31, citing “rising and unpredictable healthcare costs.”

Some 550 retirees receive the subsidies from Walgreens before they turn 65 and are eligible for Medicare.

Benefits experts said it was unusual to take away subsidies from retirees already receiving them.

Washington Law Limits Enforceability of Noncompete Clauses
Holland & Knight LLP / JD SUPRA

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed House Bill 1450, which limits the enforceability of noncompete clauses in written and oral employment contracts between employers on one hand and employees and independent contractors on the other. The new law also imposes penalties upon employers who seek to enforce an unenforceable noncompete clause after Jan. 1, 2020.

Sick leave policies punish honest employees and reward dishonest ones
BY DOUG AND POLLY WHITE / Richmond Tiems-Dispatch

By almost any standard, the company’s leave policy was generous.

We suspected that some of the employees were abusing the sick leave policy by using sick days as additional vacation.

We analyzed five years of data and discovered some interesting findings.

Many employees had taken no sick leave at all. About 80% of employees had used fewer than the maximum five sick days in at least four of the five years studied. On average, this group used fewer than two sick days per year.

Conversely, about 20 percent of the employees had used all five sick days in each of the five years studied.

Further, for the group that had used all of their sick leave, 90 percent of the sick days taken were adjacent to weekends or holidays.

Nike is expanding its daycare benefit, and its employees are furious
JUN 08, 2019 | 7:00 AM

But, the move, aimed at making more Nike families happy, may have achieved the opposite. Within weeks, a petition to keep the program Nike-run and on-campus had more than 1,300 signatures, including about 130 from parents currently on the waiting list or who had tried to get a spot but never got in, according to several employees who had seen or signed the letter. They asked to remain anonymous because they feared retribution from Nike.

Employees don’t want the center to move off campus, according to emails sent to Chief Executive Mark Parker and other senior leaders at the company and reviewed by Bloomberg. They’re skeptical about Endeavor, a for-profit national network of daycares and schools owned by Leeds Equity Partners, a New York-based private equity firm.

They’re also upset by the decision to effectively lay off more than 100 Nike teachers and caregivers who run the program now.

Wells Fargo will pay customers $386 million over unwanted auto insurance
Jonathan Stempel / Reuters

Wells Fargo & Co will pay customers at least $386 million to settle class-action claims that the bank signed them up for auto insurance they did not want or need when they took out car loans.

The proposed settlement was disclosed in filings on Thursday with the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California, and requires a judge’s approval.

National General Insurance Co, an underwriter, will pay an additional $7.5 million, making the total customer payout at least $393.5 million, according to the filings.

Wells Fargo denied wrongdoing but said it settled to avoid the risks, cost and distraction of litigation, and has set aside enough money for the payout. The defendants will also pay up to $36.5 million for the customers’ legal costs, court papers showed.

In an email, Wells Fargo called the settlement “an important step in making things right for customers.”


Monday, 06/03/19 - JPMorgan Chase to pay $5 million settlement in parental leave case

Tuesday, 06/04/19 - 5 Workplace Benefits Today's Employees Want, but Don't Have

Wednesday, 06/05/19 - Pennsylvania Moves to Take Over Health Insurance Exchange

Thursday, 06/06/19 - CVS to open 1500 stores focused on healthcare

Friday, 06-07-09 - Younger Workers Put Student Loan Aid Near Top of Desired Benefits
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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor