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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.
  Tuesday, 10/01/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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The "Daily Insurance Report" publishes the life insurance, health insurance, and employee benefits news that matters.

Bank of America, Morgan Stanley eye growth in employee-benefits management
Elizabeth Dilts Marshall, Imani Moise / Reuters

Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) are expanding the employee-benefits services they offer, hoping to gain market share in the dull-but-reliable business of managing wealth for companies and employees.

The banks, which operate the two biggest U.S. wealth management firms, are focused on different parts of the benefits business, executives told Reuters. But both strategies create opportunities for the firms to market to younger and middle-class clients.

Morgan Stanley is building on its $850 million purchase of Solium Capital, which manages employee stock plans for some 3,400 companies and 2.7 million employees.

Morgan Stanley has renamed it Shareworks and is looking to roll out deferred compensation management, health savings accounts and student loan refinancing. The firm is also considering partnering with a payroll company.

Meanwhile, Bank of America has focused on retirement services, with significant growth in its 401(k)s and health service accounts businesses.

The bank now manages plans for about 30,000 companies covering 5 million people. It ranked No. 7 on PlanSponsor.com’s annual list of 401(k) record-keepers by assets last year, three notches higher than in 2017.

ICMG Annual Conference
Orlando, Florida, January 29-30, 2020
ICMG's Annual Conference has a history of offering networking events where executives from insurance and financial product manufacturers and distributors meet and successfully develop business partnerships. Our next conference will be no exception!

Those that have attended for several years know the ICMG Annual Conference is the place to network and get deals done. If you're looking for a new product, someone to design a new product for you, or you're looking for distribution for new or existing products, chances are you can find what you're looking for at the ICMG Annual Conference.

WHO ATTENDS: Senior level executives and decision-makers from insurance carriers, fraternal, and financial organizations, marketing organizations and distributors, operational and sales support providers, and others involved in creating business relationships and strategic alliances.

See More and watch the video to get a feel of what you can expect at an ICMG Annual Conference!

Best strategies for implementing a student debt benefits program
By Amanda Schiavo / ebn

Employers have begun making greater investments in their employees’ overall well-being and placing a bigger emphasis on student loan debt as a source of financial stress.

Managing student loan debt is an issue that impacts more than 44 million Americans and has exploded to a national total of more than $1.5 trillion. Employers are in a unique position to offer employees help paying down their loans, while also reaping some rewards themselves.

The rate of companies offering student loan benefits is expected to grow to 32% of all U.S. employees by 2021, Greg Poulin, co-founder and CEO of Goodly, a student loan repayment benefit platform, said at the 2019 Benefits Forum and Expo. However, currently only 8% of employers offer student loan repayment benefits to workers, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management, though that number did rise from just 4% in 2018.

Students loans aren’t just the burden of the millennial and Gen Z generations. Baby boomers and Gen Xers too can be impacted by student debt, whether it is from furthering their own educations or by way of helping their children pay for college.

NXT Employee Benefits Investor Forum

AMPS Launches Comprehensive Cost Containment For Self-Insured Employers
Company to introduce new All In One solutions portfolio at SIIA Conference; designed to cut facility medical claims by up to 70%

Advanced Medical Pricing Solutions (AMPS), the pioneer in cost containment for the self-insurance industry, announced today a comprehensive cost containment solutions suite that will help self-funded employers significantly control healthcare costs in 2020. The company's new All In One solutions suite encompasses both pre-care and post-care pricing approaches—offering ultimate flexibility to employers in how they contain costs for employee healthcare. The All In One solutions suite also includes expanded services to enhance member experience, with Care Navigators and new Provider Finder technology to help guide members to providers offering "fair for all" pricing.

Taking full advantage of the All In One program can reduce facility medical claims costs by up to 70%. The program includes both pre-care and post-care pricing capabilities, as well as intelligent pricing, balancing member satisfaction and savings while enhancing member experience with Advocacy and Care Navigation.

Health insurance premiums increased more than wages this year
Alicia Adamczyk / CNBC

The average annual health insurance premiums for family coverage for employer-sponsored health plans has topped $20,000 for the first time, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual employer benefits survey.

On top of higher premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses are also on the rise for over half of the non-elderly U.S. population covered by employer insurance.

Here are some of the key takeaways from KFF’s report:

Premium increases have outpaced wage growth

The average annual premiums for single coverage in 2019 are $7,188, and $20,576 for family coverage for workers covered by their employer’s plan. That’s a 4% and 5%, respectively, increase over 2018. At the same time, wages increased by 3.4% and inflation by 2%.

“The average premium for family coverage has increased 22% over the last five years and 54% over the last ten years, significantly more than either workers’ wages or inflation,” the report notes.

Workers don’t pay that full amount, but the portion they are on the hook for is also steadily increasing. Singles will pay $1,242 this year, on average, while families will pay $6,015, an increase of 71% in the past decade. Earnings have grown by 26% during the same time frame.

A Total Compensation Approach to Employee Benefits
By Elliot Dinkin / Newsmax.com

First, employers should develop a strategic plan that will work across all their benefit programs. The piecemeal approach of cost shifting, freezing and cutting benefits has not worked. Instead, employers should identify key elements that will frame the strategic plan, including:
Cost containment
Flexibility in meeting diverse employee needs while preventing administrative nightmares
Competitive advantages that will increase retention and motivation

Employers also should examine the existing workforce and consider:
Are appropriate employees in strategic areas that drive profitability?
What is the age and service of the employee population? (Knowing employee demographics can assist in development/implementation of programs that are highly valued by specific subsets of the workforce, increasing the ability to attract, retain and motivate employees).
Do we have the talent needed to meet our customers’ current and future expectations?

The next phase is to review each aspect of total compensation:

SEC Exploring Private Equity in 401(k) Plans
Morningstar cautions against complexities; others say it’s doable.
By Nick Thornton / Credit Union Times

Should the average 401(k) investor have greater access to private equity in their retirement plans?

That concept has been percolating for several years, with proponents arguing that defined benefit plans sponsored in the public and private sectors have benefited from private equity allocations.
Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission is exploring the question in a concept release– Harmonization of Securities Offering Exemptions.

The concept release is broad, exploring the existing regulatory structure of investments that are exempt from registering with the SEC.

The SEC issued 138 questions to stakeholders. One explores the potential for wider utilization of private equity in 401(k) plans.


Monday, 09/30/19 - Online comparison shopping for healthcare services increased 257% since 2012: UnitedHealthcare survey

Tuesday, 09/24/19 - GM caves on increasing employee health costs

Wednesday, 09/25/19 - Healthcare May Eventually Become A Bigger Business For Best Buy Than Selling Electronics

Thursday, 09/26/19 - Mayo Clinic, Google to Form Healthcare Partnership

Friday, 09/27/19 -
American Airlines sees engagement soar with new benefits tech

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor