Monthly Archives: May 2017

Republican lawmakers, Scott Walker administration remain at odds over self-insurance plan

The Republican leaders of Wisconsin’;s budget-writing committee remain staunchly opposed to Gov. Scott Walker’;s plan to implement self-insurance for state employees, citing a new analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. 

But while Joint Finance Committee co-chairs Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, say the memo bolsters their argument against the proposal and raises new concerns, Walker’;s administration says it proves the move would save the state money. 

The LFB analysis, released Wednesday, projects the state would save about $47 million over the 2017-19 budget period by switching to self-insurance. That’;s about $13 million less than the estimate contained in Walker’;s budget proposal. The $47 million figure is a midpoint estimate in a range of $30 million to $64 million in savings. 

“We just disagree with the governor that we’re foolish not to take the savings,” Darling told reporters, reaffirming the committee’;s plans reject the proposal.

Walker and his administration have made a strong push to convince legislators to approve the plan. The governor told reporters on Tuesday he doesn’;t know “why anyone would walk away from tens of millions of dollars of proven savings.”

Officials in Walker’;s administration held a press conference last week warning lawmakers they would need to find $103.4 million in budget savings to offset the impact of rejecting the self-insurance plan. 

The governor’;s administration submitted self-insurance contracts to the Joint Finance Committee earlier this month that they say would save the state a guaranteed $60 million during the 2017-19 budget period.

But on Friday, they said the cost of rejecting the proposal would be larger than that due to $22 million in Affordable Care Act fees that would be avoided under self-insurance and $21.4 million in costs from health insurance premium increases. The administration has budgeted for 7 percent premium increases, but new projections put the hike closer to 10 percent without a switch to self-insurance, officials said.

The new LFB memo revises the estimated Affordable Care Act fee to $18 million. According to the analysis, health insurance premiums for state employees increased by an average of 3.7 percent per year over the last 9 years. Removing 2 potential outlier years would put the average increase at 5.3 percent per year.

“Governor Walker’s budget reforms government to make it more accountable to the taxpayers,” said Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel in a statement. “While the LFB uses lower estimates, they conclude the savings from self-insurance are real and amount to tens of millions of dollars.”

A key point of contention in the dispute is the state’;s health insurance program reserves, which grew by $63 million last year. At the end of last year, program reserves exceeded the maximum recommended level by $18 million.

The state Group Insurance Board’;s consulting firm recommended those reserves not be tapped into in 2016 or 2017 in order to build a “solid starting reserve” as the state prepared to move to self-insurance. 

But Nygren and Darling said they plan to request an audit of the state health plan.

“If they have all of this growth and these huge reserves, why didn’t they give the money back to the consumer?” Darling asked.

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The lawmakers said they believe they can find a similar amount of savings to the $60 million initially projected in Walker’;s proposal by making changes to insurance plan designs.

Walker’;s budget directs that $60 million to fund a portion of a $649 million boost in per-pupil aid for K-12 education and a portion of pay and benefit increases for University of Wisconsin employees.

Under the self-insurance model, the state would contract with insurers and third-party administrators to pay for public employees’; medical bills directly rather than pay premiums to insurance companies.

The state would move from paying premiums to 18 HMOs across the state to contracting with 6 health insurance companies to administer the self-insurance program in 4 regions — north, south, east and west — statewide.

Self-insurance is the “best option to save the most taxpayer dollars, avoid an ObamaCare tax, and provide the least disruption to state employees,” according to a Department of Administration news release.

Department of Employee Trust Funds spokesman Mark Lamkins has said without the approval of self-insurance, the only way to reach the savings target would be to freeze insurer premiums or shift “significant costs” to state and local government employees.

“I believe that plan design change can save an equal amount of money to what the governor proposed and not even be short by $13 million,” Nygren said. “Take it to the bank.”

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Fiscal bureau: Self-insurance savings $13 million less than projections

Gov. Scott Walker’;s proposal to self-insure state employees would save $13 million less than previously thought, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported Wednesday.

The report dealt another fatal blow to the proposal, which legislative Republicans had already rejected, but Walker tried to revive last week with warnings about double-digit premium hikes under the current group health insurance plan system.

The nonpartisan fiscal bureau found premiums have increased 3.7 percent since 2009, far less than the 10 percent the Walker administration warned about Friday.

The fiscal bureau also reported health insurance program reserves were 28.6 percent of claims last year, which was expected, but higher than the Group Insurance Board’;s policy target of 15 to 25 percent. That’;s $18.4 million more than the maximum amount and $68.8 million more than the minimum.

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The Republican leaders of the Joint Finance Committee highlighted the findings Wednesday as reasons for why they are rejecting the governor’;s self-insurance plan and called for a legislative audit of the health insurance program.

“If they have all this growth, why didn’t they give the money back to the consumer?” Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills. “They kept the money themselves. We’re concerned about that.”

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Gunfighters show no more due to lack of insurance

For the Cody Gunfighters, the show will not go on.

In April the Cody City Council voted to allow the continuation of the nightly show, per a list of safety conditions, and the gunfights were scheduled to resume June 1. 

However, one of those conditions could not be met, as the Gunfighters were unable to secure liability insurance. 

Tom Moore, Cody Gunfighters secretary/treasurer, said though they tried to acquire liability insurance for their performances, no company would insure them. 

“We can’t get insurance, so no gunfight,” Moore said. “We’re all very disappointed.”

Moore said he is hopeful the inability to get insurance isn’t a permanent problem and perhaps in the future the show could go on.

“We just don’t know,” he said. “The city requires us to have liability insurance, so we’re up a creek.”

The gunfights were suspended after a gun loaded with bullets rather than blanks was fired toward spectators during a performance July 29, injuring 3 bystanders. The Gunfighters show was shut down through the 2016 tourist season. 

Charges were later filed against Cody Gunfighter Steve Winsor who admitted to police he mistakenly used a gun loaded with live rounds in the performance.

Following the incident, Cody Police Chief Chuck Baker developed a list of safety procedures including assigning an independent third party as a designated site safety manager familiar with the blank munitions the troupe uses and providing proof of background checks to ensure participants were allowed to possess firearms.

During the April 18 City Council meeting, Baker said that as long as the Gunfighters followed the new conditions, he believed it would be a safe show.

The group had until June 1 to provide Baker with names and contact information of designated safety managers along with a roster of all Cody Gunfighters. Also required was proof of liability insurance.

“There’s nothing we can do about it,” Moore said of the show’s discontinuation. “It’s just the way it goes.”

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When Life Insurance Isn't a Lifetime Investment

Even when a client purchases a “permanent” type of life insurance policy (such as a whole life policy), situations can arise in which the investment may simply no longer make sense. If this is the case, the client may consider either selling or surrendering the policy in order to free up those assets for allocation toward more advantageous investment products. However unnecessary a life insurance policy investment may have become, the client must be sure to carefully evaluate the detailed tax consequences that the IRS has outlined in a variety of rulings in order to gain a comprehensive picture and ensure that a sale or surrender is a wise choice.

Tax Consequences Upon Sale or Surrender

While life insurance policy loans and death proceeds are generally received income-tax free, the same favorable tax treatment does not necessarily apply upon sale or surrender of a policy.

Gain on a life insurance policy is measured as the difference between the client’s basis in the policy (usually the amount of premiums that he or she has paid) and the policy’s cash value. The cost of insurance is also subtracted from the amount of premiums the client has paid to arrive at the basis figure.

Generally, when a life insurance policy is sold to an investor (a transaction often referred to as a “life settlement”), the policy owner will be required to recognize ordinary income to the extent of his or her “gain” on the contract. If the client receives amounts in excess of the cash value upon the sale, that excess amount is taxed as capital gain.

One problem that clients will often encounter is how to determine the cost of life insurance protection that must be subtracted in order to determine the contract’s basis. While the IRS does not offer definitive guidance, this figure can usually be obtained from the insurance company issuing the policy.

If the policy is surrendered, the client’s tax liability must be calculated by first determining his or her investment in the policy under IRC Section 72. Investment in the policy is generally the amounts paid for the insurance minus any amounts that had already been received under the insurance policy (loans, for example) that were excluded from gross income. The excess of what is received over the investment in the contract is taxed as ordinary income.

The Typical Candidate and Other Non-Tax Considerations

Clients may decide that a life insurance policy investment is no longer advantageous or necessary for a variety of reasons. Frequently, the client may simply find that the policy itself is no longer the best option or that the individuals that the policy was purchased to protect no longer strictly need the same degree of financial protection (i.e., because children have grown into responsible adults).

However, clients who choose to sell or surrender a policy because it has become difficult to pay the policy premiums should first evaluate whether it would be difficult to obtain a similar life insurance policy (perhaps because of health reasons) as a replacement in the future. Further, the funds obtained from sale of a policy can make it more difficult for clients to qualify for Medicaid (if, for example, they require care in a nursing home).

Clients should also remember that they may be able to borrow from whole life insurance policies on a tax-free basis if the policy has accumulated substantially. This can provide an alternative route for clients looking to sell a policy because they need the extra funds, but still anticipate that the policy can provide value through its death benefit in the future.


While there are a variety of reasons why a client may choose to sell or surrender a life insurance policy, the sometimes-complicated tax consequences must be taken into account as part of the equation in determining whether such a sale is really the wisest choice.

— For previous coverage of life settlements in Advisor’s Journal, see

— For in-depth analysis of the tax treatment of life insurance, see Advisor’s Main Library:

— Your questions and comments are always welcome. Please post them at our blog, AdvisorFYI, or call the Panel of Experts.

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Public hearings to be held for insurance rate hike requests in Connecticut

(WTNH) — Health insurers, Anthem Health Plans and ConnectiCare Benefits, Inc. (CBI), have been notified by Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade that their will be public hearings for health rate requests for 2018 on June 14th.

Anthem is requesting an average increase of 33.8 percent for policies marketed both on and off the state exchange. Access Health CT has requested an average increase of 17.5 percent for policies sold exclusively on the exchange.

The hearings are part of the Department’s statutory review of health insurance rates in the fully insured market. The hearing for Anthem will begin at 9:00 a.m. The hearing for CBI will begin no earlier than 1:00 p.m.

The hearings will be held at the Department’s 7th floor hearing room on 153 Market Street, a public building that also houses the Federal Social Security Office, Capital Community College, and the Hartford Board of Education.

During the hearing, you will have 2 opportunities during the hearings to comment; at the beginning and end of each hearing. Every person is limited to 3 minutes per person.

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Auto insurance in UNITED KINGDOM hits report high since tax price on monthly premiums increases

The average price of car insurance may hit a list high as being a higher price of taxes on rates comes into impact, pushing upward prices even more.

According to evaluation website comparethemarket. com, the regular policy may reach £800 next month, an increase of 14% on a yr earlier plus £200 greater than in 06 2015.

The rate associated with insurance high quality Tax (IPT) will increase on Thursday night from 10% to 12%, adding regarding £15 towards the typical plan. IPT has grown rapidly recently, with drivers paying simply 6% within 2015 just before a series of outdoor hikes.

The particular tax provides generated regarding £13bn in the last 5 many years, said the particular Association associated with British Insurance companies, and is likely to raise £5bn in 2016-17.

The particular steep within the average auto insurance premium arrives despite initiatives to deal with the ballooning costs associated with whiplash pay-out odds. Comparethemarket. possuindo said this calculated the regular policy price based on “hundreds of a large number of quotes for each month” using the average depending on “the 5 cheapest costs presented to some consumer, in which a consumer provides clicked to buy”.

The insurance market has been remaining stunned bygovernment changes towards the way honours are computed for motor vehicle accident injuries or even botched healthcare operations.

In Feb the lord chancellor, Liz Truss, announced a big change to the Ogden discount price, which is used in order to calculate payment awards just for serious personal injury, to ensure pumpiing does not go the future associated with a pay out.

But competitors said the particular change will certainly add up to £75 to auto insurance premiums, along with landing the particular NHS by having an additional yearly £1bn expenses.

Claire McCulloch associated with comparethemarket. possuindo said: “This is fairly of a watershed moment pertaining to car insurance. The price of an average plan has increased by in regards to third within 2 years.

“One of the most notable causes of these types of rises could be the doubling associated with insurance high quality tax in the last 2 years. Similarly, the current decision with the Ministry associated with Justice to improve how payment is computed, has also additional substantial quantities to the typical person’s plan. ”

Drivers seeking to prevent big raises in their monthly premiums are always recommended to shop close to, with many amazed to find that will buying extensive cover is currently usually less expensive than third-party fire plus theft insurance policies.

One current innovation is certainly discounts regarding dashcams. Insurance providers such as Axa and Swiftcover offer special discounts of 10-12. 5% regarding drivers that install the unit, of which regarding 3m are usually believed to be being used in UNITED KINGDOM cars. The particular cameras are usually particularly helpful for drivers looking to keep their particular no-claims reward after any sort of accident where they could use movie evidence to demonstrate they were not really at fault.

Carrot Insurance Enhances Productivity with Eclipse's Proclaim Debt Recovery Case Management …

BRADFORD, England, May 31, 2017 (PR Newswire Europe via COMTEX) — BRADFORD, England, May 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —

Eclipse Legal Systems [ ] , the sole Law Society Endorsed legal software provider, is implementing its Proclaim Case Management Software solution at Cheshire-based insurance company, Carrot Insurance.

Based in Crewe, Carrot Insurance was founded in 2012 with 2 aims – to make the experience of car insurance more rewarding for its customers, and to make the roads a safer place for young drivers. Using the latest telematics technology, Carrot Insurance has designed a range of products, and delivers an award-winning service from its committed team of experts.

Carrot Insurance has selected Eclipse’;s Proclaim Debt Recovery Case Management system [ ] to automate case progression for collections against customers that haven’;t paid their car insurance.

Proclaim’;s ability to automatically produce and send emails, letters and text messages at the click of a button will significantly reduce the amount of time staff spend entering information, enabling them to instead focus on providing enhanced client service. Additionally, the flexibility of Proclaim’;s in-built reporting suite will mean management can not only monitor internal KPIS, but also report upon the stage of a case, and as a result, compare a range of aspects on case progression and case outcome.

To ensure high standards of effective recovery are achieved, Eclipse’;s Consultancy team will work in conjunction with Carrot Insurance to create bespoke documents that will react to the status of a debt, and workflows to export data to a third party debt recovery specialist when necessary.

Alex Jones, Collections Manager at Carrot Insurance, comments:

“Although we had number of specific requirements, the off-the-shelf Proclaim Case Management system [ ] met the majority of these seamlessly, and for those minor tweaks, we’;re more than confident that the expertise of Eclipse’;s Consultancy team will enable us to hit the ground running.

“In such a competitive market, it’;s imperative for us that we have a system with the ability to improve operational efficiencies without our team needing to constantly make amendments. This is exactly what we’;ll have with Proclaim. It will be fundamental to our future success, providing an excellent fit for high volume work such as ours, and allowing us to offer even greater transparency – both internally and externally.”

About Eclipse

Eclipse Legal Systems, part of Capita Plc, is the UK’;s leading provider of legal software solutions, employing over 160 staff at its Yorkshire HQ.

The firm’;s Proclaim software system is in use by 24,000 professionals within a vast range of market sectors, territories and work areas. Proclaim is Endorsed by the Law Society (the only solution of its type to hold this accreditation) and integrates all case management, accounting, document management, reporting, time recording, task and diary functions into one desktop solution.

TouchPoint+ is Eclipse’;s unique self-service system, providing an always-on, platform agnostic portal for law firm clients and business partners.

Proclaim clients include:

- Eversheds - Usdaw - Co-operative Legal Services - Carrot Insurance - Carillion plc - QualitySolicitors (Howlett Clarke, Lockings, Oliver & Co, and others) 

Eclipse’;s market territories include:

- UK and Ireland - Latvia - Australia - Canada - Nigeria - Zambia - British Virgin Islands 

For further information, please contact or

Alternatively, call +44-(0)-1274-704100 or visit [ ]

Copyright (C) 2017 PR Newswire Europe

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IR – Personal Lines Insurance

May 31, 2017

–Insurtech attacking all components of insurance value chain

(Hartford, CT) May 31, 2017—Technology-focused investments are pushing business model changes across industries, and insurance is not immune to these pressures, according to a new study by Conning.

“Innovative technologies are targeting different segments of the personal insurance business system,” said Alan Dobbins, a Director, Insurance Research at Conning. “The technologies are rooted in mobile and digital—but include a wide range of categories, with fundamental changes in communication, data availability, and computation. Underlying these changes are several critical enabling technologies, from connectivity to analytics to artificial intelligence.”

The Conning study, “Emerging Business Models in Personal Lines Insurance: Innovation-Based Disruption” examines the changes that are underway in personal lines and the potential impacts on the insurance business model, focusing on product development, client acquisition, risk analysis, and claims. The study identifies a number of near-term possible outcomes and business model changes for the industry.

“Insurtech investments are attacking different links in the personal lines insurance value chain, including product development, client acquisition, underwriting, and claims,” said Steve Webersen, Head of Insurance Research at Conning. “Digital capabilities and the arrival of new competitors carving off pieces of the insurance value chain may well drive a significant restructuring of the industry. For personal lines insurers, the key will be trying to figure out which parts of this evolving system are areas where you provide the most value and how you are going to connect to the customer.”

“Emerging Business Models in Personal Lines Insurance: Innovation-Based Disruption” is available for purchase from Conning by calling (888) 707-1177 or by visiting

Conning ( is a leading global investment management firm with almost $113 billion in global assets under management as of March 31, 2017.*  With a long history of serving the insurance industry, Conning supports institutional investors, including pension plans, with investment solutions and asset management offerings, award-winning risk modeling software, and industry research. Founded in 1912, Conning has offices in Boston, Cologne, Hartford, Hong Kong, London, New York, and Tokyo.

*As of March 31, 2017, represents the combined global assets under management for the affiliated firms under Conning Holdings Limited, and Cathay Securities Investment Trust Co., Ltd. (“SITE”). SITE reports internally into Conning Asia Pacific Limited, but is a separate legal entity under Cathay Financial Holding Co., Ltd. which is the ultimate controlling parent of all Conning entities. [5792174]

Contact:               Michael Warner               
                                Conning, Inc.

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Operations Specialist

Our client, a leading Insurance Company is looking for an Operations Specialist – Insurance Administrator for a 6 month assignment.

The Operations Specialist would be providing support to Client Facing Brokers in transactional support (e.g.: processing and fulfillment of Auto ID Card requests, processing and fulfillment of Certificates of Insurance), efficient and timely production of all related documentation, including sending documentation to appropriate parties.

• Ensure timely and accurate production/processing of:
o Certificates of Insurance
o Auto ID cards
o up to date computer system records
o current and outstanding documentation follow ups
o all other documentation (e.g.: third party forms)
o Certificate Renewal listings
o up to date computer system records
o current and outstanding documentation follow ups
o all other documentation (e.g.: approvals, third party forms)

• Work for a reputable company
• Pay rate: $21/hr
• Downtown Toronto Location (Near Union Station)
• ASAP start (6 month contract with potential for extension)

• Bachelor’s Degree
• Extremely quick learner and comfortable in an uncertain/changing environment
• 1-2 years’ operations work experience, with 1 year previous insurance or financial services experience preferred
• Advanced MS Excel, Word, and Outlook skills
• Must be willing to work overtime hours when needed


Phone Number:
Fax Number:

Randstad Canada is committed to fostering an inclusive, accessible environment, where all employees and customers feel valued, respected and supported. We are dedicated to building a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customers and communities in which we live and serve, and creating an environment where every employee has the opportunity to reach her/his potential. We welcome applications from: women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, visible minorities, and others who may contribute to diversification.

As part of our commitment to accessibility for all persons with disabilities, Randstad Canada will, upon the request of the applicant, provide accommodation during the recruitment process to ensure equal access to applicants with disabilities. Please contact your Randstad Recruiter/Consultant about your needs, and we will consult with you to ensure suitable accommodation is provided.

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

For all feedback on equity and accommodation needs, please contact your local Randstad Canada Branch.
Randstad Canada

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What not to do: social media horror shows

What not to do: social media horror shows

Misspelling the company name in your own logo; links on your site that look like spam; sending out a press release that doesn’t name the person quoted.

You wouldn’t turn up drunk, stinking of cigarettes in last night’s rumpled work clothes to a business meeting. So you shouldn’t do the equivalent online.

In insurance, as in other industries, your website is the online face of your business. Insurance Business, within the scope of story research and outreach, comes across some dire online insurance presences. So we asked an expert – Kelly Donahue-Piro, president of Agency Performance Partners – to examine a couple of the very worst examples and to give some tips on what not to do.

One agency may take the cake for poorly executed insurance websites.

If you click the “Marijuana Insurance” tab on its website, you are redirected to a page for a GoDaddy site where you’re given the opportunity to buy the domain. The tab for “Trampoline Insurance” takes you to the site where there is a rambling Japanese tale. When translated with Google, the final sentence reads: “I’m scared, but I feel like I’m getting into the mood like riding the table.”

Donahue-Piro said the agency’s website was “like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

“It’s unprofessional. Your web presence is the first step in your customer’s experience. So if the first step is broken and unprofessional, how do you think people are going to consider your actual services? To me it really shows that you just don’t even care about your business or your customers.”

Aside from just the broken links, Donahue-Piro said the site was also antiquated and unoriginal. Insurance agents needed to do more to stand out from the crowd, she said.

“You have to have something that stands out and screams, ‘This is why you should do business with me’,” she noted.

But that’s far from the only case of insurance players swinging-and-missing.

One UK insurance “practitioner”, who claims to specialize in social media for independent insurance agencies in the UK, US, and Canada, recently pitched a press release to publications in the US and UK [including Insurance Business].

The website link he advertises is blank, save for a banner that says “coming soon”. If you were to persevere and click on the link to “download our broker presentation!” you are taken to an external page that reads: “404 – File or directory not found.”

The press release that accompanied the email also had several typos in it – including mixing up “you’re” and “your”, and starting paragraphs with lowercase letters – and it did not include the full name of the “practitioner”.

The company name, in its own logo, was also misspelled.

Donahue-Piro said this example was “very alarming”: “His program wasn’t ready yet, so all of the links, etcetera, went nowhere. He doesn’t even have a website. [In terms of social media] I don’t know what you would even learn from him.”

So what simple lessons can agencies learn from these shockers?

“Your website has the greatest reach. You can only be in one place at a time, but your website is working 24 hours a day. It should be the most polished piece of brass in your arsenal,” she said.

“If you are going to be online, you have to embrace the idea that you’re going to have to tend to this stuff. If you’re not qualified or you can’t handle it, you need to find someone that is [by outsourcing or with an intern]. You sell insurance – let someone with a little marketing experience bring that special stuff out front and center and make it real for your consumers.”

Related stories:
You’ve built a broker website – now what?
4 giveaways of an awful website

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