Archive for June, 2012

Deadly start to 2012 tornado season threatens availability of insurance coverage

Due to the deadly start to the 2012 tornado season, property insurance executives have warned that many reinsurers are pushing back on tornado coverage and have been forced to reconsider the risks of coverage, especially in the most storm prone parts of the country.

According to industry experts, following the high frequency and extreme tornadoes, wildfires and floods last year (all of which were higher than hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis) many reinsurers were uncomfortable including unrestricted coverage this year and have had to rethink how they handle the underwriting process should they reoccur. These risks are also often under modeled in insurer and reinsurer portfolios, meaning underwriters have less of an understanding of their aggregate exposure and causing them more concern when including Read more…

Employers: the key to healthcare costs is not the government or the carriers, it’s your employees

Call me an optimist, or a pessimist, but regardless of the outcome of the SJC ruling on PPACA, little will change in the current healthcare delivery system. Yes, some employers may punt to the exchanges, some will subsidize an individual market purchase, and some will cancel coverage, but most employers will continue to bear the burden of medical costs that have been far too expensive for too many reasons. Whether it is struck down, upheld, or tweaked, PPACA has done, and will do nothing to control the cost of healthcare. Carriers have also failed at controlling claim costs and will continue to fail in an existing or post PPACA environment.

So what’s the solution? It’s your employees. Of course it is.

They are spending 90% of the money in the healthcare system on medical care. It’s your Read more…

Freezer malfunction signals warning to R&D companies

After a recent freezer malfunction at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital in Belmont caused severe damage and decay to a collection of the world’s largest autism brain samples, scientists have been left with a devastating loss that could potentially set their research back years. The freezer’s alarm failure halted numerous critical medical studies. While the cause of the malfunction remains under investigation, there is still much that can be learned from this incident.

It should also be mentioned that the setup at Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (HBTRC) served as a classic example of risk management and loss control. There were duplicate brain samples – 52 of which were bisected with one side stored in formalin, the other side in the freezer. With temperature gauges and two alarms to notify Read more…

A report on medical malpractice litigation against U.S. physicians

A recent report by the American Medical Association examined the outcomes of medical malpractice claims by physician specialty. The report is unique in that there has previously been little study of the proportion of claims that result in litigation or the outcomes of the litigation process.

The report examined all claims closed between 2002 and 2005 that involved some defense cost (cases without defense costs were excluded as they were often a “medical incident” reported by the physician which never resulted in an allegation of malpractice). A brief summary Read more…

Disney says no to junk food

Disney CEO, Robert A. Iger reportedly announced on Monday that Disney will restrict junk-food ads on its child-focused television channels. Candy, sugared cereal and fast food advertising will no longer be allowed. The move is surprising on several fronts, particularly coming in the wake of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial soda cup size restriction. Perhaps more significantly, Disney admits that they will lose advertisers and advertising revenue in the short term.

However, Iger is reported to have also said that “This is not altruistic. This is about smart business.” Disney obviously sees an advantage to its brand name in the long-run and recognizes that nothing promises a stream of profits better than a brand that commands premium pricing. Disney is going further with what it calls Mickey Check, a rating system Read more…

FDA warns Fetanyl patches pose serious risks to children’s health

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued new warnings recently about the lethal dangers to children exposed to pain relief patches containing fentanyl, an opioid pain reliever. The drug, which is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, is designed to treat patients in constant pain by releasing the medicine over the course of three days but can cause serious illness, even death, if a child either swallows the patch or applies it to his or her own skin. While the drug has been introduced in various forms for personal use, including the Actiq lollipop and Fentora tablets, transdermal patches are now the most widely used synthetic opioid in clinical practice. Several other delivery methods are currently in development as well, including a sublingual spray for cancer patients.

The warning comes after a recent FDA investigation into a series of 26 cases of pediatric accidental exposures, prompting officials to reinforce the need for patients and their families Read more…

Occupational fraud is a universal threat

From health care fraud to identity theft, mortgage fraud to Ponzi schemes, the term fraud covers a wide range of definitions and categories. Nonetheless, no matter what type occurs, fraud cases almost always involve a violation of trust and leave victims to face dire consequences. Among the most damaging forms, occupational fraud – or “the use of one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misappropriation of the employing organization’s resources or assets” – is a serious threat facing companies around the world.

The 2012 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse provides an in-depth analysis of over 1,300 occupational fraud cases worldwide. The data, issued on behalf of The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners  (ACFE) reveals important findings, Read more…