Zika virus rises to public health emergency status

February 4, 2016 Leave a comment

zikaLike so many other viruses or diseases that make media headlines, the Zika virus has proven to be the latest in a long line of “bugs” that has raised the public awareness of the dangers that appear from foreign lands and seem to be of an unknown origin. However, the truth of the matter lies far from perceptions and assumptions made in the media. What is not a myth is the risk that these types of pandemic exposures present to healthcare providers across the entire industry spectrum.

Unlike the most recent scare that made so many headlines, the transition of the Zika virus is very different from that of Ebola and other “bugs” that have caused pandemic headlines. Read more…

New tactic introduced to battle opioid crisis but comes with complications

pills 2The opioid crisis that exploded at the end of 2015 is making headlines again as we close out the first month of 2016. During Charlie Baker’s State of the State address on Thursday, January 21st, he noted that the opioid crises was “terrifying” and that four people die every day in Massachusetts due to opioid overdoses.  Many of these opioid addictions are linked to the overprescribing of the drug and lackadaisical manner of follow-up to prescription taking. Governor Baker pushed for a 72 hour prescription cap that would allow doctors to closely monitor the ingestion of the drug. Similarly, a new tactic for battling the epidemic has been made public; an implant used to fight the addiction of opioids. Read more…

One dead after Phase 1 drug trial in France

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment

er_testtubeA phase 1 drug trial is under scrutiny after one person has died and 5 others are in critical condition following ingestion of the drug. The private laboratory in France, Biotrial, has been testing a pain and mood disorder medication for Bial a Portuguese pharmaceutical company. The drug was a FAAH inhibitor and was supposed to act on the body’s pain, enocannabinoid, system. It had been tested on chimpanzees and just moved to the human phase earlier this month.

A multitude of media outlets have been reporting on the incident and additional details are becoming available to the public.  There are now reports of French prosecutors launching a manslaughter investigation into the unusual case, which shined a spotlight on the practice of testing drugs on paid, healthy human volunteers.
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A look at 2016 casualty insurance landscape

 As we settle into the New Year, increased geopolitical instability and cyber-attacks are causing more organizations to prepare for and respond to internal and external threats. Even with these uncertainties, the casualty market has a stable outlook for 2016. Premiums are growing in line with the economy and the necessity of mandatory coverages, such as auto, home and commercial property, help strengthen the sector. With the stability, however, does come some challenges.

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Protect your property from ice dams this winter

December 31, 2015 Leave a comment

ice_dam_2015According to the Insurance Information Institute, claims for winter storm damage in the U.S. totaled $2.3 billion in the first quarter of 2015. Property owners can avoid business interruption, limit financial losses, and other adverse effects of winter weather by planning in advance. One of the most damaging winter threats that people often forget to take precautions for is ice dams.

An ice dam is a buildup of ice at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining. Failure to properly remove snow from your roof may cause an ice dam to develop that is large enough to prevent water from draining off the roof. This pooling water can then back up underneath roof shingles and seep inside the property.

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IRS extends 1094-C, 1095-C filing deadlines

calendarAs employers anxiously prepared for the upcoming deadlines for the 1094-C and 1095-C filings, the IRS dropped another holiday week surprise. They extended the due dates for the filing of these 2015 forms (Notice 2016-4). This extension of time was also granted to health insurers who will be providing coverage information to individuals who are covered by fully insured plans.

Applicable large employers will have almost two additional months to issue Forms 1095-C to individuals. 1095-Cs must now be distributed by March 31, 2016 (the original due date was February 1). The deadline for filing the forms with the IRS, including the 1094-C, has been extended by three months. The new IRS deadline is now May 31, 2016 (via mail) and June 30, 2016 (electronically).  Read more…

SEC sets it’s focus on private equity

December 23, 2015 Leave a comment

cost_comparisonThe SEC took enforcement action via an order dated November 23, 2015 that JH Partners, LLC failed to disclose potential conflicts stemming from insider loans and a cross-fund investment, in addition to permitting violations of fund concentration limits. According to the order, JHP violated two sections of the Advisers Act of 1940: Section 206(2) prohibiting an investment adviser from participating “in any transaction, practice, or course of business which operates as a fraud or deceit upon any client or prospective client,” and Section 206(4) prohibiting any “fraudulent, deceptive, or manipulative act, practice, or course of business by an investment adviser to an investor or prospective investor in a pooled investment vehicle.”

The SEC has amped up their regulatory focus on private equity as of late, and consistently emphasized the requirement of disclosing any and all conflicts of interest. The action taken against JHP stresses the significance of providing disclosure to limited partner advisory committees and advance LPAC approval of investments that may result in potential conflicts, different priorities in a portfolio company’s capital structure, and different valuations for respective investments and cross-fund investments. Read more…

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