Daily Insurance Report
Tuesday, 07/27/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Insurance brokers Aon and Willis Towers Watson scrap their $30 billion merger
Reuters / CNBC / / Read Article


Insurance brokers Aon and Willis Towers Watson said on Monday they had agreed to terminate their $30 billion merger agreement and end their litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The deal would have put London-headquartered Aon ahead of the world’s largest insurance broker Marsh & McLennan.

In June, the Justice Department sued to block the deal, saying it would reduce competition and could lead to higher prices.

Aon ranks second and Willis fifth among U.S. commercial insurance brokers in the U.S. market, according to a survey by Business Insurance magazine.

The other largest brokers in the United States are Marsh & McLennan, Arthur J Gallagher and Alliant Insurance Services.

In April, insurance company Chubb said it was no longer looking at buying smaller rival, Hartford Financial Services, after the latter rebuffed Chubb’s takeover bids post declining to engage in talks on the $23.24 billion buyout proposal.

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Fourteen healthcare groups support the Value in Health Care ActThe bill would extend the 5% Advanced APM incentive payments for an additional six years.
Susan Morse / HEALTHCARE FINANCE / / Read Article

The bill increases Medicare Shared Savings rates, updates risk adjustment rules, eliminates the artificial distinction between "high" and "low" revenue ACOs, addresses ACOs' "rural glitch," and restarts the ACO Investment Model, according to the National Association of ACOs and other groups.

The bill also reinforces the shift to value-based care by extending the 5% Advanced APM incentive payments for an additional six years and authorizing a study of the overlap of various Medicare alternative payment models.

The bill also mandates a report by the Government Accountability Office on health outcomes and racial disparities in Medicare patients cared for by ACO participants compared to traditional Medicare and not assigned to any other APM.

"The Value in Health Care Act of 2021 makes a number of important reforms to strengthen Medicare's value-based care models and Accountable Care Organizations to ensure that these models continue to produce high quality care for the Medicare program and its beneficiaries as well as to generate savings for taxpayers," the letter to Congress states.

The letter was signed by AHIP, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, America's Essential Hospitals, AMGA, America's Physician Groups, Association of American Medical Colleges, Federation of American Hospitals, Health Care Transformation Task Force, Medical Group Management Association, National Association of ACOs and Premier.

Millions took early distributions from retirement accounts due to COVID
By Michael Cohn / Accounting Today / / Read Article

The Internal Revenue Service notified taxpayers last year about provisions of the CARES Act allowing them to take penalty-free early distributions from their 401(k) and IRA plans to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions took advantage of it, according to a new report that warned of potential noncompliance with the requirements.

The report, released Thursday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, found the IRS took several steps to oversee the retirement-related provisions of the CARES Act, which Congress passed in March 2020. That included educating taxpayers and developing high-level compliance plans to enforce taxpayer compliance with the provisions. While taxpayers were allowed to take the distributions, there were various qualifications in both the CARES Act and IRS rules, including that the person or their spouse was diagnosed with COVID-19; that they were laid off, furloughed, had their work hours or pay reduced as a result of COVID; or that they were unable to work due to child care issues. A related provision of the CARES Act allowed taxpayers to delay taking required minimum distributions from their retirement plans after age 72 without penalty.
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Views: Your employee benefits package should include legal benefits post-COVID
By Ingrid Tolentino / / Read Article

While the pandemic may be winding down, many employees will continue to face the long-term impacts and are consequently unsure about how to weather the financial and social pressures of the new normal.

To help prepare for the unexpected, many employees are beginning to turn to employer-offered benefits as a lifeline for the road ahead. One, in particular, may surprise you: legal plans.

According to MetLife’s new survey on legal services, 52% of employees have considered seeking legal counsel since the pandemic began and nearly one-third expect to spend upwards of $5,000 on these services.

Unfortunately, for many employees, these costly and time-intensive processes can often be debilitating, leading to lasting impacts on their mental and financial wellness. Thankfully, equipped with a legal plan, employees can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the knowledge that they will be supported through this process.

In Rockstars Rocking Podcast by Ryan Miller / Eric Silverman, Voluntary Disruption  / / Read Article

This episode of the #RockstarsRocking podcast features my rockstar friend, Kevin Trokey, Founding Partner and Coach, Q4intellignce, out of the Greater St. Louis, Missouri area.

Episode Highlights:

– Being a self-proclaimed “Insurance Industry Antagonist”
– How he believes benefit pros perpetuate damaging myths, systems, and practices
– It’s better to make less profit then be out of business
– Advisers turning away business because they refuse to meet prospects where they are
– Marketing is mandatory for insurance and employee benefit advisers
– Balancing the prospecting vs. the marketing dial to keep a steady pipeline of business
– How critical it is to actually be involved in your marketing
– Your clients don’t expect free, they expect great results

IRS Updates Self-Correction Program for Retirement Plans
By Stephen Miller, CEBS / SHRM / / Read Article

According to a summary of the 140-page regulation by the Ferenczy Benefits Law Center in Atlanta, major changes to EPCRS made by the new guidance include:

Lengthening the time for self-correcting significant operational failures and document failures.
Modifying the overpayment rules, particularly for defined benefit pension plans.
Increasing the "de minimis" overpayment amount, for which no action needs to be taken, to $250 from $100.
Reinstituting the safe harbor correction methods for failure to automatically enroll participants in 401(k) features, permitting timely corrections to avoid any employer cost for the missed deferral opportunities if the problem is discovered and remediated within 9 1/2 months after the end of the affected plan year.
Making it easier to correct an operational error by amending the plan to match the plan's actual administrative procedures.

Embracing the Magic of Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) and Private Placement Variable Annuities (PPVA)
Law Office of Gerald R. Nowotny / JD Supra / / Read Article

PPLI is a customized no-load variable universal life insurance policy that allows the policyholder to customize the investment options within the policy. Imagine customizing the investment platform so that you can transfer low basis capital assets that can accumulate without taxable gain within the policy?

Imagine investing in asset classes ordinarily generating taxable income outside of the policy but are not taxable within the policy.
Imagine transferring an investment portfolio on an installment sale basis without gain and the inclusion of the promissory note in the taxpayer's estate.
PPVAs can provide for tax deferral as well serve as a vehicle to avoid unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) in pension plans and IRAs.

Your financial wellness program may not be enough
Rahkim Sabree / Ceoworld Magazine / / Read Article

Your employees may be experiencing financial difficulties that create anxiety, guilt, and even fear in the workplace regardless of income level or financial education. These feelings often fly under the radar but manifest themselves via workplace distractions, decreased engagement, employee burnout, or even impacts to their mental and physical health. An examination of the financial wellness programs you offer might be worth it in making the difference between a financially educated and a financially empowered staff. This is important because the difference often rests in their willness or confidence in execution. The stats on financial literacy are alarming and include but aren’t limited to:

Here are four ways investing in the financial empowerment of your employees can make a difference in your business.

Employee Retention
Diversity & Inclusion
Pay It Forward

Photo Of the Day

Monday, 07/26/21 - - Three Ways Insurance Brokers Can Use Technology To Help Small-Business Clients

Tuesday, 07/20/21 - - Child Tax Credit 2021: Payments to be disbursed starting July 15 — here's when the money will land

Wednesday, 07/21/21 - -
Carriers see positive momentum in key voluntary sales metrics

Thursday, 07/22/21 - - 
Gig Workers Paying 54% Less For Health Insurance, New Data Shows

Friday, 07/23/21 - -
Empower to buy 4,300 retirement plans from Prudential in deal worth $3.55 billion

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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.