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Wednesday, 07/28/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Walmart Is Rapidly Expanding Its Presence In Healthcare
Sai Balasubramanian, M.D., J.D.Contributor / Forbes / / Read Article

One of the most important aspects to consider with this initiative is Walmart’s significant market penetration with its stores. As of April 2021, the company boasts more than 5000+ stores in the United States alone, and almost 5000 more worldwide. If Walmart is able to expand its healthcare offerings to even just 25% of its stores, it could significantly change the face of primary care in hundreds of communities.

Furthermore, if brick-and-mortar offerings weren’t sufficient, Walmart announced in May that it would be acquiring telehealth provider MeMD, highlighting the company’s bold commitment to enter the rapidly growing telemedicine market. According to the official statement, the initiative will “allow Walmart Health to provide access to virtual care across the nation including urgent, behavioral and primary care, complementing our in-person Walmart Health centers.”

Data from Flimp Communications' Open Enrollment 2020 Report Shows 72 Percent Average Engagement
 / / Read Article

Flimp Communications, a leading developer of digital employee communication and engagement solutions, today announced the results of the Open Enrollment 2020 Case Study and Trends Report.

With benefits fairs and in-office benefit-orientation meetings canceled, HR leaders and brokers turned to Flimp Communications for self-guided solutions like decision-support tools, videos, Virtual Benefits Showcases and Digital Postcards to educate employees on benefits options.

For the 2021 benefits open enrollment period*, Flimp analyzed results from nearly 200 annual benefits-enrollment campaigns that were served up to nearly 750,000 employees and realized near-record-high average engagement rates of 72 percent. Campaigns that leveraged decision-support tools saw engagement rise to 76 percent. Several industries realized impressive higher-than-average engagement this year with Construction leading the charge at 91 percent.

Benefits open enrollment report highlights at a glance:
• Average Engagement Rate: 72%
• Average Time on Content: 3 minutes 17 seconds
• Campaigns: 196
• Total Targeted Employees: 749,213
• Total Actions Taken (includes video views): 689,345
• Average Response Rate: 1.86 actions per view
• Average Mobile Views: 16%

Secure Retirement Institute: Second Quarter U.S. Annuity Sales Jump Nearly 40%, Marking the Highest Sales in More than a Decade
LIMRA / / Read Article

Total preliminary U.S. annuity sales were $67.9 billion in the second quarter, up 39% from second quarter 2020. Year-to-date, annuity sales were $129 billion, 23% higher than prior year, according to preliminary results from the Secure Retirement Institute® (SRI®) U.S. Individual Annuity Sales Survey.

“Strong equity market gains and lower volatility, as well as rising interest rates all contributed to the remarkable rebound in the annuity market,” said Todd Giesing, assistant vice president, SRI Annuity Research. “We expected sales to improve as the country opened up and the economy normalized. There is significant pent up consumer demand for products providing tax-deferred investment growth and guaranteed income. The last time quarterly annuity sales surpassed this level was fourth quarter 2008, during the Great Recession.”

Total variable annuity (VA) sales were $32.8 billion in the second quarter, up 55% from prior year. This represents the highest quarterly VA sales in nearly six years. In the first six months of 2021, total annuity sales were $62.8 billion, 33% higher than prior year.

Traditional VA product sales benefited from the strong market growth and low volatility. In the second quarter, traditional VA sales were $22.7 billion, a 37% increase from second quarter 2020. Year to date, traditional VA sales totaled $43.6 billion, up 16% from prior year.

Hybrid Return-to-Office Plans: Infinite Possibilities—and Problems—for Employers
David Barmak / Bloomberg Law / / Read Article

There are an infinite number of approaches employers can take to hybrid work arrangements, says Mintz employment law attorney David Barmak. But they also give rise to an innumerable set of legal and HR issues, many that lack clear answers, he says, including taxes, performance management, and workplace safety.

Probably the biggest trend in employers’ approaches to return-to-work protocols is the adoption of hybrid plans—partly allowing continued work from home or other remote work, while requiring or encouraging presence in the office on some regular basis.

Sounds simple, right? Not so much. First, there are virtually an infinite number of approaches employers can take to hybrid work arrangements, which can range from incredibly flexible to quite rigid. Second, hybrid work arrangements give rise to an innumerable set of legal and human resources issues, many of which lack clear answers.

What Is Hybrid Work?
Providing a Safe Workplace
Paying Taxes
Managing Performance

Work-from-home benefits could stir up new battles between workers and their bosses
By Austan Goolsbee / The New York Times / The Seattle Times / / Read Article

Millions of Americans have gotten a taste of working from home during the pandemic, and, boy, have they liked it.

Almost two-thirds of U.S. workers in a McKinsey survey at the start of the year said they wanted to work from home at least three days a week when the pandemic was over.

But battles are coming. People tend to think the fights will be over whether employers will allow remote work in the future. But a more vexing struggle may be over whether employers take most or all of these newfound benefits for themselves — not by prohibiting remote work but by expecting more hours from employees once the labor market is not as favorable to workers as it is right now.

SURVEY SAYS: Has Your Company Experienced ‘The Great Resignation?’

After seeing several news reports about what is being called “The Great Resignation,” brought on in part by the pandemic, I asked NewsDash readers, “Has your company experienced a greater resignation of employees than usual in the past six months to a year?” and “What were some of the reasons employees left?”

Eighty-three percent of respondents work in a plan sponsor role, 9% work for recordkeepers/TPAs/investment consultants and 9% are advisers/consultants.

More than half (52%) said their companies have not experienced a greater resignation of employees than usual in the past six months to a year, while 48% reported that they have.

More than one-third (34.8%) of responding readers said non-pandemic-related dissatisfaction with the job/found a new job was a reason employees left. A desire for a more flexible work arrangement as the company goes back to the office, a desire for a new career and “don’t know” were each reasons cited by 17.4% of respondents. Thirteen percent said some employees realized they were able to retire early, and 4.3% reported that a need to stay home and care for children or other loved ones was a reason some employees left.

Property & Casualty Insurers’ Q1 Net Income Grows, Profitability Ratios Worsen
U.S. industry notches strong first quarter, but catastrophes hamper underwriting performance, according to Verisk and APCIA / / Read Article

Private property/casualty insurers in the United States saw their net income after taxes increase in the first quarter of 2021 from a year earlier, while their combined ratio – a key measure of underwriting profitability – worsened, according to a new report from Verisk (Nasdaq:VRSK), a leading global data analytics provider, and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA).

Insurers’ net income after taxes increased to $20 billion in the first quarter of 2021, from $17.9 billion in the first quarter of 2020. Growth was fueled, in part, by an increase in realized capital gains and a modest rise in earned premiums from a year earlier.

However, insurers' overall and underwriting profitability deteriorated. Insurers’ combined ratio—a key measure of losses and other underwriting expenses per dollar of premium—worsened to 96.1% for the first quarter 2021 from 94.9% in the first quarter of 2020. Insurers also saw a modest dip in their annualized rate of return on average policyholders' surplus to 8.7% in first quarter of 2021, from 8.8% a year earlier.

Employee health benefits company Peppy raises £6.6M
The digital health startup is a part of Europe’s shifting employee benefits scene.
BY RIDDHI KANETKAR / Sifted / / Read Article

London-based digital health startup Peppy has raised a £6.6m Series A round, another example of a new generation of employee benefit startups that are attracting capital in the post-pandemic world.

The telehealth company connects users with qualified health practitioners who can offer advice through a mobile app, by instant messaging, video consultations and live events. The company sells directly to companies that can then provide access to the app to their employees as a benefit. The round was led by Felix Capital; previous investors Outward VC, Seedcamp and Hambro Perks also participated.

“Digital health has had an amazing time during lockdown; we were in the right place at the right time with market momentum,” says Mridula Pore, cofounder of Peppy.

While Peppy’s services have centred on menopause, baby care and fertility, it aims to use the funding to scale its new and existing products — and grow an international team.

States overpaid almost $13 billion in unemployment benefits, according to the GAO
Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool / USA TODAY / / Read Article

When the coronavirus pandemic first hit home, millions of jobs were shed within weeks. Thankfully, lawmakers stepped up and boosted unemployment benefits at the start of the pandemic to help jobless workers who may not have had savings to fall back on.

But a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that state unemployment programs overpaid jobless benefits by a whopping $12.9 billion during the first year of the pandemic. And that's a lot of money to go to waste.

HR Tech Platform Zimyo Forays into Embedded finance, Launches Employee Benefits Platform
APN NEWS / / Read Article

The one-of-a-kind HR platform offers employee management solutions such as core HR, payroll management, performance management and employee benefits to help top-performing to growing businesses build an empowered workforce.

Gurugram: Zimyo – one of the fastest-growing unified HCM platforms known for offering robust HR and payroll solutions has now embraced embedded finance and launched its new module- ‘Benefits’ to empower organizations to support their employees’ financial wellness. The company has partnered with various insurance companies, NBFCs, AMCs to unveil an extensive “Employee Benefits” module offering Advance Salary, Payday Loans/Personal Loans, Health & Term Life Insurance, Tax Saving Investment Plans, Mutual Funds, Expense Cards/Credit Cards, Retirement Plans and much more.

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic brought to light how uncertain life can be. Contingencies such as a disability, accident, layoff, or even death can totally disrupt the life of employees and their families. It is more important now than ever to ensure that the provider’s immediate family has some financial support in the event of any unforeseen circumstance.

Photo Of the Day

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

Tuesday, 07/27/21 - - Insurance brokers Aon and Willis Towers Watson scrap their $30 billion merger

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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