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Archive for November, 2013

The risk of bitcoin

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment

bitcoinYou cannot pick up a newspaper these days without reading about bitcoin and the other digital currencies that are vying to be an alternative to traditional fiat money issued by nation states. The price of a bitcoin has skyrocketed this year. If only we had ditched the stock market and put all of our coin in bitcoin last January.

But, some business writers are starting to question the premise of digital currencies. The latest skeptic is Andrew Ross Sorkin writing in the New York Times. Sorkin hints at the problems, but I find that even he understates the risks, both of the currency itself and potential problems for organizations that choose to trade in and support digital currencies.  Read more…

Duty to Defend/Non Duty to Defend – Do you understand the difference?

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

smallclaimspixInsurance professionals frequently encounter “duty to defend” clauses in general liability policies and while handling third-party claims for clients.  However, insurers and policyholders are often less-familiar with the language surrounding “non duty to defend” provisions, especially those found in Director’s and Officer’s Liability (D&O) and Employment Practices Liability (EPL) policies.

The comparisons below describe the differences between the two clauses, and highlight the rights and duties of the insured and insurer in each type of case.

Duty to Defend: in a duty to defend policy, the insurer has the right and duty to defend a claim.  Read more…

Extensions for individual policies under the ACA: Will it really help?

November 20, 2013 Leave a comment

websiteLast week, under political pressure to save his historic legacy health care legislation, President Obama announced a one-year extension for insurance policies that were due to be canceled in 2014. Rather than smoothing out the already rippled waters caused by the difficulties of the Exchange roll out, the latest move may have opened the floodgates for more disruption and confusion.

State regulators and insurance companies have been developing plans to meet the Affordable Health Care (ACA) rules for the last three years, and overnight the game has changed. State regulators (who are a key group in deciding the direction the extensions will take) were not kept in the loop and were simply caught off-guard by the latest announcement. Questions and concerns now abound over this unforeseen and surprising announcement by the President. Read more…

FDA proposal could give generic drug makers independent labeling rights

November 18, 2013 Leave a comment

genericEarlier this month the FDA proposed a new rule that would grant generic drug manufacturers permission to update product labels independently with new safety information, without having to wait until the brand-name counterpart drug makes similar changes. The ruling would permit generic makers to submit a “changes being effected”(CBE) supplement to the FDA; the agency could either accept the changes or reject them at a later time. The proposal comes on the heels of several U.S. Supreme Court rulings that limited the liability of generic manufacturers. Those previous decisions, which required generic labels to match brand name products, protected generic makers from failure-to-warn suits since they had little control over what safety information was provided to patients.

Supporters say the proposal encourages generic manufacturers to participate more directly with the FDA to ensure that patients and health care providers receive the latest safety information on Read more…

PPACA Review: Timeline for effective provisions

November 12, 2013 Leave a comment

ppacarecapEven though the Employer Shared Responsibility mandate, commonly known as “Play or Pay,” has been delayed until January 1, 2015, other provisions of the Affordable Care Act are still in effect. The main reason behind the delay is to allow time for the Obama Administration to simplify and clarify the reporting requirements outlined in PPACA and, in turn, give employers, insurers and third parties time to prepare for these requirements.

The delay is an opportunity to properly prepare for the requirements in 2015. Employers should use these additional twelve months to determine whether the Play or Pay mandate will apply to them (Counting Period for Play or Pay) and which employees will be affected (Measurement Period for Play or Pay).

In an effort to prepare for ACA Requirements in 2014 and 2015, below is a summary of provisions that have been delayed and those that remain in effect.  Read more…

TRIA options as we near expiration

November 7, 2013 Leave a comment

TRIAAs we approach yet another possible extension or expiration of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), set to expire on December 31, 2014, it’s a good time to revisit the details of the law and the coverage that it provides.

As a reminder the latest version of the three bills – TRIA (2002), the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act (TRIEA 2006) and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIPRA 2008) – contains the following provisions:

  • Covered loss must exceed $5 million to “qualify”
  • TRIA loss must be certified by the Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary and the U.S. Attorney General
  • Country loss must be in excess of $100 million in an annual period Read more…

One year later: Lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy

rebuildingJust over a year ago, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. The storm killed nearly 300 people, destroyed over half a million homes and cost $70 billion in total economic loss. Insured losses totaled nearly $26 billion, with private insurance companies accounting for 70% of the total. Businesses made up just under half of that 70% leaving many middle-market employers who did not have flood/wind insurance facing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Below is a summary of key takeaways and lessons learned from Sandy, and should serve as a checklist for industry professionals going forward for handling future extreme storms. Read more…