Archive for September, 2013

Distracted driving and your employees: policies can minimize risk

September 26, 2013 1 comment

textA key underlying principle of risk management is minimizing losses, particularly the potential of severe losses. As the number of business professionals who use mobile devices on the job continues to grow, an area of considerable risk is distracted driving. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the U.S. and so far this year, and there have been an estimated 757,698 crashes involving driver’s texting or calling on mobile devices. That’s about one every 30 seconds. And when these crashes occur the potential for loss is multi-faceted, the driver (Workers Compensation), the automobile and any third parties. Employee-related car accidents expose employers to tremendous risks, from huge financial burdens to property damage and loss of productivity. Whether you are a small employer with a few sales people on the road or a logistics company with a huge fleet, everyone should adopt distracted-driving policies that establish clear rules Read more…

Obamacare now set to attack self-funding for small businesses

September 23, 2013 1 comment

opEd-medflagAs businesses prepare for the great “premium rate” unknown, medical rate fluctuations beginning in 2014, consulting firms like WGA are spending a significant amount of time and energy on strategies to keep the premium pricing appropriate and FAIR. Like businesses of all sizes across the US, our clients are evaluating every aspect of the new law, from plan design to wellness incentives, contribution strategy to funding risk. Likewise, carriers who have been vilified by the administration during this process, are working feverishly to develop plan design and risk sharing options, to help their clients who would otherwise be hit with unjustified rate spikes due to the mind numbing disarray of new pricing regulations. I have blogged about the unfair pricing model coming to your state here.

As the date draws closer and the picture clearer, I am convinced that in order for companies to continue to offer health care to their employees at fair or at least appropriate price, they will need Read more…

Lloyd’s Chair warns middle market to be watchful

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment

nelsonThe insurance industry is rarely thought of as a vehicle for financial innovation and experimentation. The fundamentals of the industry often seem very basic to non-insurance people. In short, you pay a premium to cover claims made against the insurance policy. The trick for the insurance carrier is to take in more premiums that losses paid out in claims. Seems pretty simple, right?

For those of us who live in this industry, that simple model is actually much more complicated. Complex risks and alternative risk transfer options do offer the industry the opportunity to be innovative and, believe it or not creative in the risk financing world. However, we can never ignore the fundamentals for too long before an insurance company faces insolvency or the insurance buyers face higher premiums for their coverage needs. It is exactly this concern that the Chairman of Lloyds of London raised Read more…

Working through the Medicare and ACA information overload

September 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Confusion is abundant in the Medicare world due to the Affordable Care Act. Advertising for state exchanges, media coverage about employers moving their retirees to private exchanges and Medicare Open Enrollment all overlapping have resulted in much confusion for Medicare beneficiaries.

Both national and regional carriers are offering plans to both Medicare beneficiaries and to the non-Medicare population on the exchange platforms. In years past, only Medicare eligible plans have been advertised in the fall. With the new state exchanges launching their open enrollment on October 1st for under 65ers, advertising has commenced for a wide variety of plans. Medicare beneficiaries are not eligible for these plans, but this distinction is not evident to many Medicare consumers. In addition to that, IBM and other mega-employers have been in the press Read more…

Green upgrades from homeowner carriers

September 12, 2013 Leave a comment

greenhouseThe green movement continues across the nation – from recycling to solar panels, Americans are doing more and more to help protect the environment. For many homeowners, that includes plans to make their home more green with renovations.

Building materials that go into a green home are different from traditional building materials in that they are often recyclable and free of certain toxins that traditional building materials may contain. A standard homeowner’s policy would not necessarily offer coverage to replace or repair a home built with these sustainable materials with the same type of material, it would only pay to make repairs or to replace with traditional building materials. Read more…

Early renewals under the Affordable Care Act: Are they right for you?

September 9, 2013 Leave a comment

EarlyrenewalOn January 1, 2014 certain rating changes under the Affordable Care Act will impact how individual and small group plans (under 50 lives) will be priced. In accordance with the ACA rules only four factors will be permitted when setting rates: Age, tobacco use, family composition and geography. Factors no longer permitted include health status, claims experience, gender, industry, and group size.

As a result of these changes it is anticipated that some groups could experience large rate increases in 2014. Vendors are anticipating increases in a 20% to 40% range. However, they are also quick to point out that not all groups will experience these large increases. In fact, some groups may benefit Read more…

All eyes on IPO activity as JOBS Act’s crowdfunding measure gets SEC approval

September 3, 2013 Leave a comment

crowdfundingOn July 10th, the SEC voted in favor of Title II of the JOBS Act (also known as the crowdfunding provision), lifting a ban on general solicitation or general advertising for securities offerings, giving small companies greater access to capital and investors. The final ruling amends Rule 506 of Regulation D of the Securities Act to permit issuers to use general solicitation to offer securities, so long as they take the reasonable steps to verify that purchasers Accredited Investors, and that all purchasers of the securities qualify as accredited investors under Rule 501. Industry experts say all companies must also complete a more comprehensive filing process with the SEC prior to doing any solicitation.

While Title II was expected to be completed within 90 days following passage of the JOBS Act in April 2012, the SEC asked for comments and feedback about the provision for over a year before finalizing the ruling. Questions remain as to whether the delay may have hurt the overall success Read more…