Monthly Archives: February 2017

Construction Insurance



On behalf of Duke Energy, secured settlement with insurer totaling $835 million for business interruption loss following damage to the Crystal River Nuclear Plant.


Represented general contractor on construction defect claims and insurance coverage issues arising from alleged faulty construction of high-rise condominiums in South Florida, with multiple recoveries in the tens of millions of dollars.


Represented the joint venture serving as construction manager in connection with the “Big Blue” collapse at Miller Park. Total insurance recoveries exceeded $200 million.




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Urban Jungle Insurance



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Total Equity Funding
Undisclosed Amount in 1 Round from 3 Investors
Most Recent Funding
Angel on February 28, 2017 / Undisclosed Amount

Date Amount / Round Valuation Lead Investor Investors
Feb, 2017 undisclosed amount / Angel 3

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Alabama lawmakers consider bill to require health insurance coverage for autism



A renewed push to require health insurance companies cover treatments for autism is brewing at the Alabama State House.

Alabama is one of 5 states that does not require insurance coverage for autism treatments, like applied behavior analysis, known as ABA. Many families in state pay expensive, out of pocket bills for the treatment.

Representative Jim Patterson filed a bill to mandate the insurance providers include coverage. Similar bills have been introduced in the past, but have not had success in Alabama.

At Mitchell’s Place in Birmingham, Reid called out names of letters during a therapy session Monday afternoon. The few words spoken come with a lot of significance for his mother, Kristen Bundren.

“When we started at Mitchell’;s place, he was nonverbal,” said Bundren.

Reid was diagnosed with autism 3 years ago. Bundren says ABA changed his life.

“He can tell us what he wants, what he needs,” said Bundren. “He says Mommy and Daddy and I love you.”

The results come with a price tag. The Bundren family pays $1,000 each week for Reid’s treatment.

“It was a shock to us when we sat down and we realized how much it actually cost to get treatment for him,” said Bundren. “It was a little bit mind blowing. It was a little bit frustrating because we have friends in other states. They pay in a year what we pay in a week.”

Senator Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) says the bill does not have a good chance of passing as it is written, pointing to the influence the insurance industry has in Montgomery

“It’;s one of those industries in Montgomery that have a lot of influence and it’;s hard to explain to a family with an autistic child to explain why it’;s not covered and why are you letting the insurance industry dominate on this issue,” said Waggoner.

Waggoner says his answer to families is to look for compromise.

“If both sides will agree to come to the table and say half a loaf is better than a whole loaf, let’;s go with this, it could still pass,” Waggoner told ABC 33/40.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, a major health insurance provider in the state, tells ABC 33/40 it is opposed to Rep. Patterson’s proposal.

In an email sent to ABC 33/40, a Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesperson said “Blue Cross opposes mandated benefit legislation which will increase costs and impact premiums and copays for employers, the state’s public health plans and our members. Mandated benefits remove the choice employers have each year to include the benefits most needed by their workforce.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama does cover some treatments for children affected by autism: pharmacy care, pediatric services, psychiatric care and psychological care along with enriched speech, physical and occupational therapies.

Blue Cross said the proposed legislation “would be the most liberal in the nation in terms of autism benefits.”

Insurance providers in Alabama are required to offer autism therapies like ABA to its customers. The legislation requiring this, the “Riley Ward Act” was passed in 2012.

Senator Cam Ward (R- Alabaster) tells ABC 33/40 this has helped and several companies in Alabama have opted to provide the insurance plans with the enhanced coverage. However, he said “there’s still a big gap” between the families who have access to the coverage and those who need it.

The proposal, HB 284, has had its first reading in the House and has been assigned to the House Insurance Committee.




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Car insurance bills to soar for 36m drivers: Over-65s face £300 hike after change to the way …



Older drivers face motor insurance rises of up to £300 a year after a Government ruling to boost personal injury compensation, experts warned last night.

In a move branded ‘crazy’ by the insurance industry, Justice Secretary Liz Truss announced a new formula for calculating compensation which will lead to bigger payouts for those who suffer serious long-term injuries.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) warned that up to 36 million individuals and businesses will see their motor insurance premiums go up to pay for the changes.

Older drivers face motor insurance rises of up to £300 a year after a Government ruling to boost personal injury compensation, experts warned last night

And the NHS faces a £1 billion jump in its annual compensation bill for clinical negligence claims.

Insurance premiums have risen even before the changes – going up by 4.9 per cent in the last 3 months of 2016 and adding £22 to the average fee.

The Ministry of Justice yesterday said it had no choice under current law, and said it was looking at more fundamental reforms to the way compensation is calculated.

But last night senior Tory MP Andrew Tyrie warned the Government’s decision had ‘a look of absurdity’, and said it would cause people’s insurance premiums to rise while hitting the public finances.

There are also concerns that the reforms could lead to bigger profits for personal injury lawyers. Simon McCulloch, of comparethemarket.com, said: ‘The concern is that the discount rate change will see much of the money move from the pockets of motorists and into those of personal injury lawyers, who campaigned for it.’ The row centres on a discount rate for compensations, which is set by Miss Truss.

Q&A

What has happened?

The car insurance premiums of 36 million drivers are set to rise in order to give bigger payouts to victims of serious accidents. The rises are due to a Ministry of Justice change to a rate which sets compensation payouts.

What is this rate?

It is known as the Ogden rate, and is a discount used by the courts to calculate how much money insurers pay to victims of major accidents.

How does it work?

If someone is injured, they are often awarded money up front which is equivalent to what they would have earned if they had been able to stay at work. But because this cash is handed over as a lump sum, it can be invested and earn interest. So insurers are allowed to knock a bit off the lump sum to take account for this payment. How much they can knock off is dictated by a discount rate set by the courts, which takes extra future income into account.

Why has it changed?

It is all to do with interest rates. Because interest rates are so low, it is assumed that compensation victims are getting less interest on their payouts. As a result, insurers have been told to give victims more money up front. So where before insurers were allowed to assume the interest victims received was 2.5 per cent, Justice Secretary Liz Truss now says the interest they get is minus 0.75 per cent.

What will it mean for drivers?

The extra cost to insurers will be paid for by higher premiums, meaning motorists’ bills will go up. An average policy is likely to cost £50 to £75 more each year, while young drivers could face up to £1,000 in extra costs. A few thousand accident victims will benefit but the charges will hit 36 million drivers every year.

The rate determines how much money insurers can shave off a payout to account for how much the claimant could earn by investing the lump sum. The lower this is, the more money accident victims get.

It currently stands at 2.5 per cent – but Miss Truss is putting it down to minus 0.75 per cent.

Analysts have predicted the changes will cost the insurance industry more than £5 billion.

Shares in insurance companies fell sharply on the announcement, with Direct Line slumping more than 7 per cent. But the ABI made it clear it would be customers that ultimately pay the price.

Accountancy firm PWC yesterday predicted the cost of the average comprehensive motor insurance policy would rise by £50 to £75. Older drivers could see their annual insurance bills jump by £300 and young drivers could be forced to pay up to £1,000 more. In an extraordinary personal attack on the Justice Secretary, Huw Evans, director-general of the ABI, said: ‘Cutting the discount rate is a crazy decision by Liz Truss.

‘Claim costs will soar, making it inevitable that there will be an increase in motor and liability premiums for millions of drivers and businesses across the UK. To make such a significant change to the rate using a broken formula is reckless in the extreme.’

Insurers warned that millions of firms will also see the cost of their employer liability insurance go up. These policies, which are compulsory, pay out if an employee suffers a serious injury at work. Opposition MPs described the Government’s decision as a blow to small firms and cash-strapped households, previously labelled the ‘Just About Managing’.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: ‘The “Just About Managing” have been slapped with a further tax hike by this Government. It makes a mockery of Theresa May’s claim that she wants to stick up for the poor in society.’ Miss Truss said her hands were tied, adding: ‘The law is absolutely clear – as Lord Chancellor, I must make sure the right rate is set to compensate claimants.

‘I am clear that this is the only legally acceptable rate I can set.’

Referring to the predicted £1 billion annual increase in NHS compensation payouts, Mrs May’s spokesman said: ‘The Government will make sure the NHS has the appropriate funding.’

How did the lawyers greet the changes? Let’;s open the Moet!

Personal injury lawyers celebrated Liz Truss’s announcement yesterday, with one saying he would ‘open the Moet’.

Peter Todd, a partner at London legal firm Hodge Jones and Allen LLP, sent a tweet to Vidisha Joshi, his company’s managing partner, saying: ‘Is it too early to open the Moet?’

She replied: ‘It’s midday somewhere in the world.’

Peter Todd, a partner at London legal firm Hodge Jones and Allen LLP, sent a tweet to Vidisha Joshi, his company’s managing partner, saying: ‘Is it too early to open the Moet?’ Peter Todd, a partner at London legal firm Hodge Jones and Allen LLP, sent a tweet to Vidisha Joshi, his company’s managing partner, saying: ‘Is it too early to open the Moet?’

Peter Todd, a partner at London legal firm Hodge Jones and Allen LLP, sent a tweet to Vidisha Joshi, his company’s managing partner, saying: ‘Is it too early to open the Moet?’

Mr Todd’s tweet has since been deleted, and he insists he was simply ‘expressing his delight’ that those with life-changing injuries will be properly compensated.

Experts fear the rate change will provoke a flood of personal injury claims.

And Anthony Wright, the Association of British Insurers’ head of communications, said: ‘It’s shocking that within minutes of the announcement the ambulance-chasers were already talking about opening champagne, especially as businesses, taxpayers and millions of motorists will foot the bill.’

Mr Todd, 49, who lives in a £1.3 million cottage in a village near Milton Keynes, and is married with 3 children, said his profession will not make more money because of the change because lawyers did not take a percentage cut of clients’ compensation payouts.

He said he had never received a percentage cut of someone’s compensation and neither had his firm, and that he received the same fee regardless of the amount of compensation given.

This is a type of no-win, no-fee agreement called a conditional fee agreement (CFA) where a client is charged a set ‘success fee’.

Speaking about his tweet, Mr Todd said: ‘It is good news for innocent victims of serious injuries that they will no longer have their compensation run out before the need has ceased, or have to risk losing their compensation in risky investment gambles. Lawyers will not make any more money.’

But industry insiders said other lawyers did take a percentage of the payout, meaning they could earn millions more thanks to Miss Truss’s announcement.

Mr Todd, 49, who lives in a £1.3 million cottage in a village near Milton Keynes Mr Todd, 49, who lives in a £1.3 million cottage in a village near Milton Keynes

Mr Todd, 49, who lives in a £1.3 million cottage in a village near Milton Keynes

 




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Insurance costs to keep rising to pay for awards, warns FBD boss





Former Cental Banker Fiona Muldoon has steered FBD back to profitability

Former Cental Banker Fiona Muldoon has steered FBD back to profitability

Ireland’;s compensation culture will continue to force car-insurance premiums up this year, but the pace of increases – which saw prices soar last year – has moderated, according to FBD chief executive Fiona Muldoon.

But she declined to predict by how much car-insurance premiums would be hiked by the stockmarket-listed insurance company this year.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is investigating suspected breaches of competition law in the motor-insurance sector. It relates to firms openly signalling upcoming increases in motor insurance premiums.

FBD – which yesterday released full-year results that saw the company return to the black with a €3.2m underwriting profit (it last made a full-year profit in 2013 and an underwriting loss in 2015 of €125.4m) – said that it hiked motor insurance premiums by an average of 16pc last year.

Just over 24pc of the €361.8m in gross written premiums generated by FBD last year were for motor insurance. Total gross premiums were down from €363.2m in 2015.

Many motorists felt the brunt of huge increases – often as high as 50pc or more – in their premiums last year.

“Our long-term sustainability is driven by making a profit and being capital accretive,” Ms Muldoon told the Irish Independent.

“For as long as claims are rising, and we’;re facing increasing costs, we have to cover those costs. We’;ve said they’;re stabilising, and not increasing by as much as they were.”

Read more: Benign winter heralds profitability, but tempests loom

Last month, a Government working group appointed to tackle rising insurance premiums published 33 recommendations and 71 associated actions that it said needed to be implemented to rein in charges.

Among them was the establishment of a Personal Injuries Commission to provide “enhanced guidance” for determining compensation for personal injury claims. It also called for automatic number plate recognition technology to enable Gardai to detect uninsured drivers.

“There’;s an awful lot of good sense in that report,” said Ms Muldoon, who argued that 71 action points was excessive. “You can’;t do 71 things well at the same time, so we’;re calling for a focus on the things where there will be the biggest payback.”

She said the priorities should include strengthening the Injuries Board, tackling non-cooperation, and benchmarking awards here with what is happening internationally.

“That’;s only going to show that our awards are higher here than they are elsewhere,” she said.

Ms Muldoon said despite High Court awards in personal injury cases having moderated somewhat, more claimants are hiring lawyers at an earlier stage in their claims process. That adds to the overall claims costs.

She added that the new so-called ‘Book of Quantum’;, an Injuries Board publication that provides guidelines on the amounts that can be awarded in personal injuries cases, appears to have increased award levels by about 5pc.

“It’;s still an inflationary claims environment,” she said. “We’;re seeking to make a profit, like any business, and for the long-term sustainability of FBD we have to make sure that our premiums cover our costs. It’;s to everybody’;s advantage to get costs down.”

FBD’;s total profit in 2016 was €11.4m, which included a one-off, €7m pension-related gain.

Irish Independent




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AL lawmakers push for more insurance coverage for Autism




Source: WBRC
Source: WBRC

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) –

State lawmakers are pushing a new law to require insurance companies to offer more coverage for children with autism.

Currently, Alabama is one of 6 states that does not require insurance agencies to cover therapy for autistic children.

The Arts and Autism program director says for parents the stress of having to pay for the service is financially and emotionally crippling.

“I’;m the mother of an autistic daughter and she’;s 22 years old now. But when she was young, I had to pay the equivalent of 3 mortgages in order to keep her in intervention,” Patricia Thomas said.

For that reason, Thomas felt inspired to work for Arts and Autism a non-profit facility that provides hands-on activities for autistic children through art.

Parents like Carol Hutchinson say they depend on free programs like this since they can’;t afford to pay for autistic services without help. She wants state legislatures and insurance companies to invest in all children.

“This is their lives. Our future, our children’;s future, we need to pass it,” Hutchinson said.

Thomas said it will cost a lot more money over a lifetime to support an autistic adult who might never become productive without early intervention as a child.  

Since insurance companies don’;t have to cover certain specialized services now, Arts and Autism can’;t contract speech or occupational therapists for their students.

“Provide services to our children, not just children with autism but all the children, as long as these peoples cannot stay here and make a living,” Hutchinson said. “They have to go to other states. Let’;s make it friendly for them, let’;s bring them over here and let’;s make Alabama grow.”

Representative Jim Patterson is the one pushing the Autism bill and says you should email or call your local lawmaker if you are in favor of it. Copyright 2017 WBRC. All rights reserved.





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Baloise Group and Anthemis Group Join Forces on Insurance and Risk Management Investment …



Anthemis Baloise Strategic Ventures Will Deploy CHF 50 Million on Investments in European, UK- and US-Based Startups

Baloise Group (Baloise), the Swiss-based European provider of insurance and pension solutions, and Anthemis Group (Anthemis), the leading digital financial services investment and advisory firm, today announced an investment partnership focused on powering the next wave of insurance and risk management companies. Baloise has committed CHF 50 million for Anthemis to help source, execute and manage investments in startups across Europe, the UK and the US.

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Baloise is a European provider of insurance and pension solutions with more than CHF 50 billion in assets under management. In Switzerland, the company operates as a focused financial services provider, offering a combination of insurance and banking services and also has a market presence in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg via its own sales organization as well as brokers and other partners.

Gert De Winter, Group CEO Baloise, said, “Insurance incumbents have a unique opportunity to capitalize on lessons learned from the financial services world’s venturing successes and mistakes. We could not find a better partner to give us a thoughtful view on innovation in insurance and risk than the team at Anthemis Group, who are known by startups and large institutions alike for their formidable track record in investing and advising.”

Nadeem Shaikh, Founder and CEO of Anthemis, said, “It’s clearer than ever that the road to innovation comes from collaboration between startups and incumbents. At Anthemis, our offering continues to evolve to make sure that we are best placed to provide the insights, counsel, support and execution corporates need to understand their industries’ fast-changing landscapes. The team at Baloise recognized our considerable experience in insurance – from investments in companies like Climate Corporation, Trov, Quantemplate and kWh Analytics – along with our track record of successful collaboration with incumbents on the advisory side of our business. We are thrilled to join forces with them on Anthemis Baloise Strategic Ventures and look forward to continuing our quest to transform the industry.”

About Baloise Group

The Baloise Group is more than just a traditional insurance company. The changing security, safety and service needs of society in the digital age lie at the heart of its business activities. The 7,400 or so employees of Baloise therefore focus on the wishes of their customers. The best possible customer service, combined with innovative products and services, makes Baloise the first choice for people who want to feel ‘simply safe’. Located at the heart of Europe, with its head office in Basel, the Baloise Group is a provider of prevention, pension, assistance and insurance solutions. Its core markets are Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. In Switzerland, with Baloise Bank SoBa, the Group also operates as a specialised financial services provider, offering a combination of insurance and banking services. The Group offers innovative pension products to retail customers throughout Europe from its competence centre in Luxembourg. Bâloise Holding Ltd shares are listed in the main segment of the SIX Swiss Exchange.

About Anthemis Group

Anthemis is a leading digital financial services venture capital and strategic advisory firm, focused on reinventing financial services for the 21st century. Anthemis believes the financial services industry is approaching the inflection point of a multi decade transformation driven by the development, diffusion and adoption of new information and communications technologies to fundamentally change the way services are designed, delivered and consumed. For more than a decade, Anthemis has worked with a diverse group of customers and partners, from startups to venture capital firms and financial institutions, to identify, catalyze and accelerate digitally native financial firms that are driving positive and disruptive change across the industry.




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Letter: Auto insurers support D-Insurance



Bankole Thompson’s Feb. 15 column on Mayor Mike Duggan’s plans to push D-Insurance (“Duggan moving forward with D-Insurance,” Feb. 16) accurately captures the need to reform our broken, outdated auto no-fault system that hasn’t been changed in 43 years.

But he inaccurately states that insurance companies are opposed to reform. Quite the opposite: auto insurance companies have been a strong advocate for fixing Michigan’s broken auto no-fault system.

Recently released data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners show Michigan residents pay the third highest auto insurance premiums in the country. The situation in Detroit is even more dire, which is why Duggan’s push is so important.

The reason auto insurance is so expensive is Michigan’s one-of-a-kind mandate that forces every driver to purchase unlimited lifetime medical benefits with their auto insurance policy. All other states limit how much medical coverage someone is required to purchase through their car insurance or has no mandate at all. In those states, health insurance covers a person’s medical expenses.

Auto insurance companies have been working for decades to find a solution to rein in the rising cost of auto insurance in the state. 3 commonsense reforms supported by the auto insurance industry include:

Cracking down on insurance fraud by requiring people to provide proof that they were injured in a car accident, such as a police report or information from a doctor on specific injuries.

Establishing set rates for what hospitals can charge auto insurance companies for certain procedures to help reduce medical costs and insurance premiums. Auto insurance companies currently pay 200 to 300 percent more than health insurers for the same medical procedure.

Allowing auto insurance companies to offer plans with different levels of medical benefits, much like a cell phone plan or cable TV package, so people have the flexibility to choose what works best for them and what they can afford.

A 2013 study on the medical costs of no-fault insurance conducted by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a non-partisan, independent research organization, found medical providers in Michigan charge more for care related to car accidents than other states — almost 25 percent more. The CRC also found that no check on providers existed to keep them from ordering or charging more for services that may not actually help the patient. No-fault reform would begin to fix that.

Unfortunately, the status quo is extremely lucrative for a number of special interests who routinely lobby against even a smidgen of reform in Lansing.

Auto insurance companies across the state stand with Duggan and look forward to working with him and members of the Legislature to fix a broken system and rein in the high cost of auto insurance in Michigan.

Mark Fisk, spokesperson

Michigan Insurance Coalition

Read or Share this story: http://detne.ws/2m5uV0V




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How distracted drivers are driving up insurance rates up in Florida



Even if you’re a safe driver, other bad motorists could be costing you big bucks.

Auto insurance companies tell CBS12 higher premiums are needed to cover the pay outs related to the increasing numbers of accidents, accident they largely blame on your smartphone.

West Palm Beach resident Loretta Heller said she was shocked to discover her auto insurance premium policy nearly doubled this year.

“I just leased a new car, and I had an old car before. I’m with the same company. This car has many more bells and whistles which is much safer than the last car, and my insurance went up,” said Heller. “People should be paying for that if they’re doing it.”

Heller is one of millions of people in the United States hit by the rising costs. It’s partly caused by more drivers distracted on their phones and getting into accidents.

“I don’t like it, but I understand it,” said Rena Strool. “The insurance companies are a business. They are going to make money.”

According to the Insurance Information Institute, premiums nationwide have spiked 16% since 2011.

“If accidents are on the rise, they should be targeting the people that are texting and driving,” said Jeff Eddy.

More than 40,000 people died on the road last year, based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.

Distracted driving, like texting, is accounted for 9% of road fatalities.

It’s not just teenage drivers.

Companies like State Farm tell CBS12, 36% all drivers text and drive, and it’s making everyone’s costs go up.

“Just be more responsible overall for the greatest and highest good of everybody around us,” said Strool.

Drivers also tell CBS12 doubling the fines for those caught texting and driving may help decrease these statistics.

Right now, it’s a secondary infraction in Florida.

The ticket fine for texting and driving is just $30.

For some perspective, littering will cost you a $100.




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Trump applauds 'great' meeting with health insurance CEOs



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