Archive

Archive for May, 2012

D&O coverage on the rise for nonprofits

Faced with a growing list of potential liabilities and risks, an increasing amount of nonprofits are seeking to purchase insurance coverage for their directors and officers, according to underwriters and industry consultants. Whether or not they realize it, nonprofit board members and executives face the same potential risks as their for-profit counterparts. Yet unlike a private or public institution, nonprofits often face greater difficulties fighting claims, mainly because most lack the necessary balance-sheet protection to support litigation.

Liability experts say that as more and more nonprofits gain awareness of their risk exposures, many are seeking advice and looking at coverage options, particularly those that include Personal Umbrella policies. Personal liability Read more…

Employer’s rights to passwords

On May 2nd, Maryland became the first state to enable legislation that prohibits employers from demanding usernames, passwords and other means of access to social media sites of their employees as well as job applicants. This background for this law involves a situation with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections Services practice of requesting officers to provide login information for Facebook and other social media websites. A former corrections officer enlisted the help of the ACLU after he was asked for his Facebook password during a recertification process.

While Maryland is the first jurisdiction to enact this type of legislation, many other states, such as Washington, Illinois, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Massachusetts are currently considering similar bills. The Massachusetts bill also prohibits prospective Read more…

RACs are here to stay…

While ambiguity remains about the future path of healthcare in America, it seems certain that CMS will intensify the effort to collect improper Medicare/Medicaid payments from healthcare providers. The “Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006” created the Medicare RAC (Recovery Audit Contractor) program. Four recovery audit contractors administer the program in their respective region of the country. These contractors operate as private entities and are paid on a contingency fee basis – receiving a percentage of the improper overpayments they collect from providers (between 9-12 percent of any overpayments). CMS reports collecting over $1.27 billion in overpayments since October 2009.

The recouping of over one billion dollars to an already financially strained Medicare/Medicaid program has not gone unnoticed by CMS. PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010) ushered in a new wave of RACs, most notably by creating the Medicaid RAC program and Read more…

UK Pension Reform: first wave scheduled for October

To encourage savings and help mitigate the current pension crisis, the UK government will introduce “Personal Accounts” to all pension plans. The new legislation will require all UK employers to offer a pension plan, automatically enroll employees who meet certain eligibility requirements, and make a minimum contribution. This is the latest phase of the reform efforts proposed by the Pension Act of 2008.

Eligibility Requirements

Employees between the ages of 22 and 75 with current annual earnings of £7,474 or more must be automatically enrolled in an employer-sponsored pension plan. This includes part-time and contract workers, and re-enrollment will occur every 3 years. Employees Read more…

A personal tale that accentuates the importance of Long Term Care

May 16, 2012 Leave a comment

During my nearly 30 years working as an employee benefits consulting  professional, I’ve helped popularize many benefit-related insurance products, despite sometimes harboring a lack of personal affinity with the primary intended audience. Long Term Care Insurance (LTC) emerged many years ago as just such a product – a concept pitch by the insurance industry seeking a new channel to tap into the buying power of baby boomers approaching retirement age.

Read more…

Data breach lawsuit against Pentagon highlights vendor management risks

Another example is unfolding of why almost every company’s data security risk management practices should include a hefty dose of vendor management. And below the surface, there lurks questions that may lead others to investigate their own practices and insurance coverage.

The Department of Defense runs a health insurance program, called TRICARE, for military personnel, retirees and their families. Last September a contractor for TRICARE disclosed that up to 4.9M of its health records may have been breached. The records were contained on computer backup tapes stolen from a parking garage. The information on the tapes was not encrypted, but the contractor – Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) – asserted that there is little risk to patients because reading the tapes would require knowledge of and access to specific Read more…

What’s behind the Massachusetts proposed 19.3% Workers’ Compensation rate increase?

The Worker’s Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts (WCRIB) recently proposed a 19.3% increase in average rates for all new and renewal policies effective September 1st. There has been continued pressure on Workers’ Compensation insurance underwriters coming from an increase in losses coupled with interest rates being held down to nearly zero percent through 2014.

In a phone conversation with the WCRIB last week, the bureau was quick to point out that no decision had been made and that it plans to continue the rate review process for some time. The current belief is that any rate increase will be significantly lower than 19.3%, especially given the filing history of Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation rate filings proposed versus approved.  Rate increases have been very small to a slight negative, even more so amid a struggling economy, when the state is likely to view an increase as a Read more…