Daily Insurance Report
Friday, 07/30/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Employee Loyalty Reaches Lowest Level in More Than a Year, According to Energage Research
BUSINESS WIRE / / Read Article

An underlying problem driving the tight labor market is dropping levels of employee engagement, according to data collected by Energage for its Top Workplaces awards program. There has been a steady drop in employee engagement levels since the start of the year, indicating that employees just aren’t that into their employers right now.

“In many companies, initial hiring freezes and lay-offs have been hard to reverse, leading to more work for fewer employees. In other situations, burnout is high because remote work has created situations where employees never feel like they are off the clock.”

“What we’re hearing from employees through this data is that they are rethinking their commitment to their employers,” said Greg Barnett, chief people scientist of Energage, the company that collects and crunches the data used in the nationwide Top Workplaces awards program. “We’re seeing lower levels of loyalty as employees leave their employer for a new one.”

According to Energage, survey data collected from employees at more than 4,000 companies show that employee engagement levels have fallen to a level lower than anytime during the pandemic.

Data shows that employee engagement sharply increased in April 2020 as companies scrambled to ensure employees that they were prioritizing their health and well-being during the pandemic with initiatives such as work-from-home. After this initial spike, engagement declined but started inching up at the end of the year, before falling again in 2021.

Proposed Law Would End Health Insurance 'Birthday Rule' That Snags New Parents
By Cara Anthony / Kaiser Health News / WFSU PUBLIC MEDIA / / Read Article

For Charlie Kjelshus, "the birthday rule" meant that dad Mikkel's plan ― with a high deductible and coinsurance obligation ― was deemed her primary coverage after her NICU stay as a newborn. Mom Kayla's more generous plan was considered secondary coverage. This left her parents with a huge bill.

When Kayla Kjelshus gave birth to her first child, the infant spent seven days in the neonatal intensive care unit, known as the NICU. This stressful medical experience was followed by an equally stressful financial one. Because of an obscure health insurance policy called the "birthday rule," Kjelshus and her husband, Mikkel, were hit with an unexpected charge of more than $200,000 for the NICU stay.

Now, six months after Kaiser Health News and NPR published a story about the Kjelshus family's experience, new parents may be spared this kind of financial uncertainty if lawmakers pass a bill that would give parents more control when it's time to pick a health insurance policy for their child.

The new proposed law would eliminate the birthday rule. That rule dictates how insurance companies pick the primary insurer for a child when both parents have coverage: The parent whose birthday comes first in the calendar year covers the new baby with their plan first. For the Kjelshuses of Olathe, Kan., that meant the insurance held by Mikkel, whose birthday is two weeks before his wife's, was primary, even though his policy was much less generous and based in a different state.

Long-Term Care Insurance Prices Compared, Costs 2016-2021
American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) / / Read Article

Long-term care insurance Costs 2016-2021 Male“For men, rates actually may have declined slightly from where they were five years ago,” explains Jesse Slome, director of the long-term care insurance organization. ”Policy costs for women are about the same until you add an inflation growth option, then there is a significant increase.”

The analysis is based on a comparison of the Association’s annual long-term care insurance Price Index data. “In 2016, a 55-year-old male would pay $1,015 annually for a policy that provided $164,000 in long-term care benefits,” Slome shares. “According to the 2021 Price Index, a 55-year-old male would pay $950 yearly for the same level of coverage. Adding the three percent compound inflation option did not dramatically increase what a male would pay for coverage.”

LTC Policy Costs 2016-2021 For Women
The same is not true for single women. “Women account for the vast majority of long-term care insurance claims so it’s to be expected that costs for their coverage would be higher,” Slome notes. “Policy benefits that are guaranteed to grow by three percent annually are going to cost more because we are in such a low interest rate environment.”

In 2016 according to the AALTCI Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index a woman age 55 would have paid $2,580 for $164,000 of immediate benefits growing to $400,000 at age 85. In 2021, the Association reports coverage with the inflation growth option will cost $3,700 annually at the time of purchase.

Long-term care insurance Costs 2016-2021 WomenCosts for policies with no inflation growth option cost more for women (than men) BUT the costs have NOT increased over the five year period. “As interest rates drop, insurers need to charge more for a policy that is designed to grow,” Slome adds. “However, today, women can find policies that will grow at 1 or 2 percent annually and those will cost less than one growing at 3 percent yearly.”

InSourceRx Announces Partnership With MDsave
Patients will gain new access to prescription medicine and medical procedures.
InSourceRx / / Read Article

InSourceRx, a Nebraska-based pharmacy discount card company, and MDsave, a healthcare e-commerce technology company, announced a partnership that combines cash savings for medications with those for procedures and screenings throughout the U.S.

InSourceRx partners with nonprofit associations, benefit consultants, third-party administrators and other business entities in agreements that pass medication discounts on to those organizations’ members or employees. InSourceRx also generates revenue for the foundations and nonprofits that sponsor the program.

MDsave currently operates in 35 states where it partners with trusted local hospitals to offer medical screenings and procedures at significant savings for patients paying out of pocket, helping them get access to needed care.

“We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with such a dynamic and growing company as MDsave,” said Bob Gevelinger, InSourceRx co-founder and president. “This partner espouses the same principles of helping those in need as we do at InSourceRx. We are proud to be offering healthcare consumers the ability to make informed decisions when it comes to spending on healthcare across a wider spectrum and in no way compromising patient safety.”

Insurtech Agentero Raises $13.5 Million in Series A led by Alma Mundi Ventures to drive growth for independent insurance agencies
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Agentero, a digital insurance network, today announced that it has raised $13.5 million in a Series A investment funding led by Alma Mundi Ventures. Independent insurance agents use Agentero to access modern carriers and to boost their revenue. Agents save time and deliver a superior customer experience through efficient product distribution to partners. Existing institutional investors including Foundation Capital, Union Square Ventures, Financial Venture Studio, and Two Culture Capital also participated in the round.

Founded in 2017 to bring superior insurance experiences to independent agencies and their customers, Agentero's smart algorithms combine agents' existing data with third-party information sources to identify new business and cross-sell opportunities. Agentero then connects agents with carriers in real-time to instantly quote, and to provide communication and automation tools so they can efficiently write more new business.

"Agents are the present and future of insurance distribution, and they must become more digital. Our technology strengthens their ability to use data analytics to write new policies with an end-to-end digital experience for their customers," said Luis Pino, CEO, at Agentero. "Independent agencies want access to modern carriers and there's no better digital solution than Agentero to take advantage of today's best insurance products and technology."

Insurtech startup Spot brings in $17.5M equity, debt to fill insurance gaps for accidental injuries
Christine Hall / Techcrunch / / Read Article

Affordable healthcare continues to be a major problem in the U.S., with roughly 30 million people without comprehensive healthcare and high medical costs causing many to go into debt. Spot is tackling this issue with a digital, on-demand injury insurance product that can be as-is or as a complement to traditional health insurance.

Headquartered in Austin, the company raised $15 million in equity and $2.5 million in debt in a round of seed funding led by GreatPoint Ventures, with participation from Montage Ventures, Mutual of Omaha, MS&AD and Silverton Partners.

Spot’s business model takes a holistic approach by providing customized injury insurance policies through both direct-to-consumer and strategic partnerships with companies and organizations. For example, one of the company’s first partners was the Austin Marathon, selling one-time injury policies to the participants. Randall wasn‘t sure if people would buy them, but they ended up selling over 1,100 policies.

That led to applying the same idea across youth sports, ski resorts and cycling organizations. It now has over a dozen partners, including USA Cycling, Powder Mountain, USA BMX, National Ski Patrol and athleteReg, and covers tens of thousands of people.

Employers join Just Capital, PayPal in push for worker financial wellness
Katie Clarey, Editor / HR Dive / / Read Article

Dive Brief:

Just Capital and PayPal are seeking to make worker financial well-being a priority among C-suite executives and investors. The two organizations announced July 13 the first group of companies to join their initiative, a cohort that includes Chipotle, Chobani, Even, Prudential Financial and Verizon.

The companies will assess their workers' financial vulnerabilities and identify ways to improve their fiscal well-being in the long term. Participants may choose to assess employer-provided benefits or living wages, or they may elect to embark on an employee survey. Such assessments mirror the purpose of the initiative itself, Just Capital said in a press release, by aiming "to ensure that corporate leaders are aware of workers' financial wellbeing."

Just Capital and PayPal worked with the Financial Health Network and the Good Jobs Institute to launch the initiative. The organizations will provide participating companies a number of resources, including some designed for HR and compensation professionals.

Highmark begins marketing new line of services for businesses
KRIS B. MAMULA / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / / Read Article

Highmark Health has begun marketing a new line of services for businesses to increase revenue and improve efficiency as the health insurance and hospital giant expands its reach to other Blue plans and health care providers.

Lumevity is a new, wholly owned Highmark Health subsidiary that promises large-scale transformation for clients by eliminating inefficiencies, increasing revenue and employee engagement. Lumevity, which began as an internal consulting service, made a $500 million bottom line impact over three years at the Downtown-based health insurance and hospital network giant while freeing eight million employee hours for other tasks.

Targeted clients include other Blue plans, hospital and health systems and other employers.

Amwell scoops up two digital health companies for $320M as tech M&A heats up
by Heather Landi / FIERCE Healthcare / / Read Article

With the addition of SilverCloud Health and Conversa Health's capabilities, Amwell plans to develop new digital care workflows and programs to improve patient engagement and care team reach, as well as to advance care delivery outcomes.

Amwell is acquiring two digital health companies for $320 million to expand its services beyond telehealth visits.

The virtual care company is scooping up SilverCloud Health, a digital mental health platform, and Conversa Health, which offers automated virtual healthcare.

The addition of the two companies' technology will help to differentiate Amwell from other telehealth players, company executives said.

Cohere Health Announces a Groundbreaking Collaboration with American College of Cardiology to Advance High-Quality Care / / Read Article

Cohere Health, an emerging high-growth digital health company, today announced a new solution for health plans in partnership with the American College of Cardiology (ACC) that actively engages physicians, patients, health plans and clinical ecosystem partners in shared patient decision-making to improve the quality of cardiology care, further avoid unnecessary medical expense, and improve patient experiences. Cohere’s partnership with the ACC will integrate the medical association’s evidence-based content into Cohere’s episode-based, digital prior authorization platform.

How Andrew Taylor Used Insurance Sales To Find Financial Freedom
By Storyhub / Westword / / Read Article

Andrew Taylor’s success story has been an inspiration to many, especially in the insurance industry. He started as a grocery bagger at a supermarket while he was in college and showed little to no interest in creating his own business. That was until he read a book called “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki that changed his perception of life forever.

Andrew, who was just 18 years old, was introduced to the world of insurance by a high school friend. He was fascinated by the connections he previously read in the “Rich Dad Poor Dad” book and how they compared to the concepts in insurance sales. This prompted him to get into the industry, a decision that paved the way for him to become the president of Family First Life USA.

Family First Life USA, aka FFL USA, is an independent marketing organization that began operations in 2016. As its founder, Andrew Taylor was driven to develop life insurance professionals that have a sense of integrity and love for the job. The agency has mentored over 500 agents to make $100,000 in insurance sales.

Making his mark in the insurance industry for over 12 years, Andrew Taylor, now 31, is highly motivated to do more. Recently, he helped close a partnership with Integrity Marketing Group, a bold move that consequently made him a partner in the organization. The acquisition of Family First Life USA by Integrity Marketing Group allowed both parties to collaborate on marketing strategies and operations.

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, 07/28/21 - -
Walmart Is Rapidly Expanding Its Presence In Healthcare

Thursday, 07/29/21 - - 
America's largest retailer will cover 100% of college tuition for its workers

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.