September 1st, 2015

Auto insurance affordability improves across all income groups

Personal auto insurance is becoming more affordable for all income groups. According to a new report conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), auto insurance has become more affordable for the nation as a whole and on a state level.

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Buying Life Insurance Is Like Sending A Love Letter

They may not exactly be love letters in the tradition of great writers — or lovers — but it’s the thought that counts.

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How to Know What Insurance Customers Want

What do today’s customers want from insurance providers?

They want understanding, interaction, even a relationship. But they vary in when and how they wish to learn, interact and build a relationship.

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Insurance companies are best in the U.S. at handling customer calls

Insurance companies are the best businesses at handling customer calls, reveals a new study. The study, conducted by PH Media Group, a London-based audio branding specialist, showed that of the 2,234 U.S. customers observed more than 41% of callers were satisfied with the manner in which the industry handled the calls.

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August 25th, 2015

What’s Behind Japanese Life Insurers Acquiring U.S. Companies?

Recent billion-dollar acquisitions of U.S. life carriers by large Japanese life insurers don’t necessarily mark the beginning of a trend, as very few Japanese insurers are large enough to execute such transactions, an analyst said.

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New tool will compare costs and benefits of cancer treatments

As options for cancer patients become increasingly complicated and expensive, the most influential source for U.S. oncology treatment guidelines will for the first time offer a tool to assess the costs versus benefits of available therapies.

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Progressive Insurance CEO on 5 Macro Trends of Note

By his own admission Progressive Insurance CEO Glenn Renwick (and his company) may not be right about the impact certain macro trends will have on the insurance industry, but in his view “it’s important to have some views.”

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US: Why drivers should care about their car insurance

Even if the car industry is putting a lot of money into advertising to attract drivers into paying for car insurances or change their auto insurance company, it seems that their tactics are not enough for consumers to do so.

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25% Of Companies Seeing Double-Digit Health Premium Increases

Despite the healthcare reforms implemented under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 90 percent of employers are facing increases in the premiums they pay for employee health plans, with nearly 25 percent of employers seeing rate increases in the double digits according to a new survey of 3,031 U.S. employers.

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Marketers Have Lost Control of Insurance Buying Process

After careers spent crafting and controlling their companies’ messaging to customers, insurance marketing and advertising professionals have lost control.

Customers and prospects have taken over.

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August 18th, 2015

ACA open enrollment periods associated with improved coverage, access to care and health

Results of a national survey that included more than half a million adults indicates significant improvements in trends for self-reported insurance coverage, access to a personal physician and medications, affordability and health after the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) first and second open enrollment periods, according to a study in the July 28 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on Medicare and Medicaid at 50.

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Factors Unrelated to Driving Can Affect Car Insurance

ARE you married or single? Have you been widowed or divorced? Is your credit history less than stellar? Your answers to those questions can affect the rates you pay for car insurance.

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Auto Losses Seen Cutting P/C Insurance Profits Until 2016

The property/casualty insurance industry has made money on its personal lines underwriting since 2013 but that is likely to change in 2015. At the same time, commercial auto insurance should still make an underwriting profit in 2015 although it is likely to shrink.

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New Law Regulates Pet Insurance Industry

Pet insurance policies are often just as difficult to understand as policies for people.

Madison Voss with the California Department of Insurance says over the last decade it has received numerous complaints from pet owners who realized too late that a procedure isn’t covered.

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In U.S., Uninsured Rates Continue to Drop in Most States

Arkansas and Kentucky continue to have the sharpest reductions in their uninsured rates since the healthcare law took effect at the beginning of 2014. Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington join them as states that have at least a 10-percentage-point reduction in uninsured rates.

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August 11th, 2015

More insurers offer products to cover long-term care

An estimated 7 in 10 Americans will need some form of long-term care, and the costs can be staggering. But more insurers are starting to offer policies that could help ease the burden.

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When Are You Too Old to Buy Life Insurance?

People who buy life insurance are generally looking to cover the years when their families depend on them for financial support. That often means shopping for life insurance when you get married or have children, milestones that typically occur in your 20s, 30s and 40s.

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New Life Insurance Product Provides Incentive For Cigarette Smokers To Quit

Sentry Life Insurance Company and the National Association of Insurance Marketers (NAIM) announced today a joint marketing agreement to offer Commit to Quit, a new term life insurance product designed specifically for cigarette smokers who want to live smoke-free.

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POLL: Highly Dissatisfied Obamacare Enrollees Find Out Health Insurance Isn’t Healthcare

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

According to a new poll conducted by Deloitte, the vast majority of people enrolled in Obamacare are dissatisfied with their insurance coverage and do not believe they will be able to receive care when they need it.

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August 4th, 2015

Allstate Refuses To Be Caught Off Guard By Self-Driving Cars

Allstate is bracing for self-driving cars to upend its most lucrative business.

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Would a life insurance company like you on social media?

Many of us use our social media accounts to give family, friends or total strangers a glimpse into our lives: what we’re doing, where we’re going and, in some cases, how we’re feeling.

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Ugly truth about auto insurance rates?

Policyholders have pondered whether their auto insurance rates truly reflect their risk to their insurer, or whether they may be paying more because of other factors such as their income, their credit rating or their blind loyalty to their insurer.

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Increased Competition Kept Lid on Health Insurance Inflation, U.S. Says

The Obama administration said on Thursday that many consumers were benefiting from increased competition among insurers under the Affordable Care Act.

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2Q Earnings Slide In Insurance Sector

Second quarter earnings reports dominated the news from the world of life and annuity companies this week. Among the developments of note in the earnings reports was that second quarter was a good one for American Equity Life, which took advantage of two competitors who scaled back on their annuity offerings, allowing American Equity to gain market share.

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July 28th, 2015

Hartford Losing Its Ties To The Insurance Industry

In the mid- to late-1950s, Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. shook the foundation of the city’s venerable insurance industry when it built a suburban office complex in Bloomfield — becoming the first insurer to move out of downtown Hartford.

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Anthem announces it will buy Cigna to create new health insurance giant

Anthem, the nation’s second largest health insurer by revenue, will acquire Cigna, the nation’s fifth largest, the companies announced Friday, creating a health insurance behemoth that raises fresh questions about competition in the industry.

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Insurance mergers are all the rage

As befitting Shark Week, insurance great whites have been gobbling up some equally substantial brand-name competitors lately in what industry sources say is the start of a feeding frenzy in the sector.

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Firms Interested in Driver Data Collected by Auto Insurers

The restaurants and doughnut shops that consumers pass on their commute would love to predict when they’ll be driving by. Their auto insurer may already know, and could be looking for a way to profit from that information.

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P&C insurance under attack: Potential outcomes and solutions [Study]

According to a new study by Conning, the property & casualty insurance industry faces unprecedented challenges including alternative capital, changing technology, emerging risks and a decline in the relevance of the industry’s traditional products.

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July 21st, 2015

Will Aetna-Humana deal make rates pop?

If history is any indication, the pending $37 billion merger of health insurance giants Aetna and Humana could bump up the health care costs of their combined 33 million customers.

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Progressive’s Move Into Homeowners Paying Off; Q2 Profit Up 24%

Progressive Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. auto insurer, said second-quarter profit rose 24 percent after an acquisition that pushed the company into homeowners coverage.

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Growth in Q1 2015 profitability for P&C insurers

Private U.S. property/casualty insurers’ net income after taxes rose from $13.9 billion in the first quarter of 2014 to $18.2 billion in the first quarter of 2015. Measured by their rate of return on average policy holders’ surplus, insurers’ overall profitability grew from 8.4% to 10.8%, according to ISO, a Verisk Analytics business, and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

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Health Insurance Premiums Are Rising Faster Than Income

In every budget, we can control what we pay for some items while others are out of our control. Health insurance premiums are one of those items over which the consumer has little or no control (outside of raising the deductible or changing to an inferior plan). In this article, we’ll look at the rise in health insurance premiums from 2005 to 2014 and compare it to personal income.

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Self-funded dental insurance? Delta Dental leaps into a new market

At a time when more mid-sized businesses are leaving fully funded health insurance plans for the world of self-funding, the state’s largest dental insurer is betting those same companies will want to self-fund their employees’ teeth care as well.

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July 14th, 2015

USAA and Google: Teaming Up to Beat Insurance Disruption

USAA, the 10th-largest P&C carrier in the U.S., now offers quotes and coverage information in California via the Google Compare aggregator. During Google’s initial questioning, the service will determine whether the user is a current or former member of the U.S. military or a family member. If eligible, USAA will be included in the list of quotes they receive from Google Compare. Quotes are rated the same way they would be on usaa.com or the USAA Mobile App, the insurer said.

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Survey: How many of us have life insurance? And how many have enough of it?

While about 6 in 10 Americans say they own life insurance, nearly half of them may have insufficient coverage to address the financial needs of their family upon their demise, according to the latest Bankrate Money Pulse survey.

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Medicare proposes paying for end-of-life counseling in sweeping physician payment rule

In a draft of Medicare’s first physician payment rule since Congress scrapped the sustainable growth-rate formula, the CMS proposes paying for end-of-life counseling and revises several quality-incentive programs that will be rolled into a new comprehensive program in 2019.

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Auto-Owners Insurance and State Farm Each Rank Highest in Two of 11 Regions

Gen Y[1] customers are the driving force behind an increase in overall auto insurance satisfaction due to improvement across all customer service interaction channels, the largest contributor to the customer experience, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Auto Insurance StudySM released today.

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U.S. Uninsured Rate at 11.4% in Second Quarter

The uninsured rate among U.S. adults aged 18 and older was 11.4% in the second quarter of 2015, down from 11.9% in the first quarter. The uninsured rate has dropped nearly six percentage points since the fourth quarter of 2013, just before the requirement for Americans to carry health insurance took effect. The latest quarterly uninsured rate is the lowest Gallup and Healthways have recorded since daily tracking of this metric began in 2008.

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July 7th, 2015

State Farm Ups Ante on Connected Home Products

State Farm has partnered with Canary, providers of home security applications, to increase its presence in the home monitoring space. Home monitoring and control devices are intended to enable customers to manage their homes using a computer or connected device.

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Aetna to Buy Humana for $37 Billion in Largest insurance Industry Deal

Health insurer Aetna Inc on Friday said it would buy smaller rival Humana Inc for about $37 billion in cash and stock, in the largest ever deal in the insurance industry.

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NY Life seeks deals after adding $12 billion of Hancock assets

New York Life Insurance Co. is targeting more deals after purchasing about 1.3 million policies from Manulife Financial Corp.’s John Hancock unit.

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Loyalty to Insurer Doesn’t Always Pay Off for Drivers

When Jonathan G. Stein became unhappy with his long-time car insurance carrier earlier this year, the 41-year-old lawyer from Elk Grove, California switched to a new company.

How was he rewarded for his disloyalty after nine years? With savings of about $300 a year and a boost in his underinsured motorist coverage.

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Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016

Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back.

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3 Out Of 4 Women See Insurance Industry Making Strides For Gender Equality

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) revealed that 72 percent of women in insurance believe their industry is making progress to achieve gender equality. For the second year in a row, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of women stated that their company is working to promote gender diversity.

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June 30th, 2015

Supreme Court Allows Nationwide Health Care Subsidies

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Obama’s health care law allows the federal government to provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance, a sweeping vindication that endorsed the larger purpose of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

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A Humana merger might take a while to make it through regulators

If Louisville-based Humana Inc. agrees to merge with or be acquired by another insurance company, it could take a while — years, even — for such a deal to make it through regulators, said David Dubofsky, a professor of finance at the University of Louisville College of Business.

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USAA Piloting Auto Insurance Quotes in California Through Google Compare

California drivers shopping for auto insurance online can now receive USAA rate quotes and coverage information in their Google search results through the Google Compare service that debuted in March 2015.

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Supreme Court victory for the Affordable Care Act and access to healthcare

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in King v. Burwell (No. 14-114), a case challenging one of the central pillars of health insurance coverage offered through the Marketplaces, also known as Exchanges, created through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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June 23rd, 2015

Magic Johnson adds life insurance co. to empire

Retired basketball superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson just added a $14.5 billion life insurance company to his growing business and sports empire, Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE).

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A credit card from an insurer?

Yes, you are reading the headline right: an insurance company is launching a credit card. Farmers Insurance has just announced its Rewards Visa Card. The product is issued by Alliance Data Systems Corp., a private-label card issuer.

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2015 U.S. Auto Insurance Study Results

Overall customer satisfaction with auto insurers is at an all-time high, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.SM The study finds that overall customer satisfaction is up by 8 index points (on a 1,000-point scale)–to 818 this year from 810 in 2014.

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How ‘big data’ can cut health costs

The insurance world is flooded just now with high-tech solutions to age-old underwriting challenges.

Usage-based insurance gadgets like Progressive’s Snapshot help auto insurance underwriters separate their safest clients from the riskiest. Health monitors like Fitbit help employers shave the health insurance costs of their workforce by encouraging healthier lifestyles. Even life insurance companies like John Hancock are offering premium discounts of up to 15 percent to those who agree to share a peek at their vital signs via a wearable device.

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Driverless cars might ‘wipe out’ the car insurance business as we know it, says the Bank of England

The Bank of England has started a blog called “Bank Underground.” (The name is a play on the fact that the bank is located at the Bank station on London’s Underground system.)

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The Family Market: Where Opportunity Lives

Canadian agent Wade Baldwin has a healthy respect for the big case life insurance market but he said he prefers going after the family and small-business markets.

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Anthem and Cigna merger talks spill out in public, and it’s not pretty

Talks over a possible merger of two health insurance giants are getting ugly.

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Young adults find health insurance enrollment on HealthCare.gov challenging

When trying to enroll in a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov during the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces, young adults were confused by unfamiliar health insurance terms, concerned about the affordability of plan options, and unsure how to seek good primary care.

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June 16th, 2015

Being A Loyal Auto Insurance Customer Can Cost You

Many companies reward their most loyal customers with incentives, discounts and freebies. But in car insurance, the opposite can actually happen. A driver can be punished with a higher premium just for being loyal to the company.

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Life Happens Launches Life Happens Pro(SM) To Provide Insurance Professionals Personalized, Cost-Effective Marketing Resources

Insurance agents and financial advisors now have all the benefits of a full-service marketing team at their fingertips, for a fraction of the cost. The nonprofit organization Life Happens today announced the launch of Life Happens ProSM, a groundbreaking new self-service, online solution that offers insurance agents and financial advisors a simple and cost-effective way to access, embed and distribute best-in-class insurance marketing resources to empower their business.

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DI Sales Hobbled By Cost Misperceptions

A pair of executives said that the disability insurance industry and financial advisors must do a better job of educating small business owners and workers about the value of long-term disability (LTD) insurance, which suffers from misconceptions about cost.

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PURE Launches Cyber Program for High-Net Worth Segment

Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE), the policyholder-owned property and casualty insurer of high net worth individuals and families, has partnered with security firm Concentric Advisors to offer CyberSafe Solutions. The program is designed to help individuals better assess, prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats.

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As Boomers Age, Health Insurers Look To Adjust

Baby boomers appear poised to leave their mark on yet another institution — the insurance industry — as they age into Medicare eligibility.

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June 9th, 2015

Singles pay more for car insurance

A single 20-year-old pays 21% more than a married 20-year-old for the same policy, a new study from InsuranceQuotes.com found.

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5 important things millennials should know about insurance

Millennials are the largest and most educated generation in the U.S., and they’re changing the world like never before. Which is why it’s surprising to learn that they are also the most underinsured generation, a striking fact which also presents a big opportunity for advisors.

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LIMRA: Individual Life Sales Increase 8% In 1Q

Total individual life insurance new annualized increased 8 percent and policy count rose 5 percent in the first quarter, according to LIMRA’s Retail Individual Life Insurance Survey.

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Nearly One-Third of Life Insurance Companies Classify Marijuana Users As Non-Smokers, Finds Munich Re Survey

Nearly one-third (29 percent) of life insurance companies with an underwriting policy in place for marijuana users classify those individuals as non-smokers, according to a survey by Munich American Reassurance Company, a unit of Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers. The survey of life insurance underwriters was conducted at the Association of Home Office Underwriters (AHOU) 14th Annual Conference, held April 26-29, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

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The health whisperer: Private exchanges are for real

Earlier this year, his team at Accenture helped AHIP set up the AHIP Innovation Lab in Chicago. The lab will try to use tools such as a digital media studio and a satellite link to get groups of experts teaming up on strategies for tackling specific health care delivery and health care payment challenges, such as reducing fraud and abuse and improving chronic care.

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U.S. P&C commercial insurance rates flat, personal rates up 1% in May 2015

Commercial rates for all P&C lines continued in a holding pattern in May, while personal insurance rates held steady at plus 1%, matching the rate increase reflected in April 2015.

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June 2nd, 2015

Allstate Sees Profit in Selling Customer Driving Data

Allstate Corp. said improved technology will eventually give the auto insurer a chance to boost revenue by selling customer driving data, much as Google Inc. profits by collecting information on those who use its search engine.

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Are marketplace enrollees sicker than those with employer-sponsored insurance?

A new study, being released by Health Affairs as a Web First, compared prescription data from January to September of 2014 of more than one million Marketplace enrollees. The study reviewed the characteristics and medication use of early enrollees (October 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014) and those enrolling later (between March 1 and May 31, 2014), and compared those findings with a sample of some one million Americans enrolled in employer-sponsored health coverage.

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Bankrate report prompts call for probe

The Consumer Federation of America is calling for federal and state officials to investigate auto insurance companies’ use of ZIP codes in setting rates, following a Bankrate report published Thursday.

We gathered online quotes for six-month premiums from three leading insurers in 10 major U.S. cities, using a pair of neighboring addresses in each city to get quotes for three hypothetical profiles: a 30-year-old man, a 30-year-old woman, and a 45-year-old couple with two driving teens living at home.

The research revealed that all other things being equal, including a clean driving record, deductibles and liability limits, a driver’s ZIP code may determine what he or she pays for auto insurance.

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Humana Is Said to Consider Sale of Company

The wave of deal-making that has swept across the health care industry now appears poised to pull in health insurers, a development driven by the Obama administration’s insurance overhaul.

Humana, one of the country’s largest health insurers, is weighing a potential sale of itself after having been approached by several competitors, people briefed on the matter said on Friday.

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Humana’s baby-boomer focus could make insurer a prize for Cigna

Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM) has become an acquisition target thanks to its big presence in Medicare Advantage, the private-sector version of the U.S. program that’s one of the fastest-growing pieces of the health insurance market.

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May 26th, 2015

Insurers Struggle To Keep Pace With Customer Online Demands

The 2015 IWES measures online consumer experiences among shoppers seeking quotes and existing customers seeking typical policy servicing activities. The study examines the functional aspects of websites rather than such aesthetic aspects as look and feel. Consumers performed a number of tasks online and then rated the ease of performing them on a 5-point scale. Their ratings were used to compute an overall index for shopping and service experience based on a 500-point scale.

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5 Reasons Your Health Insurance Premium Will Likely Rise in 2016

It’s been a little over a year since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was officially implemented and U.S. citizens were required to purchase health insurance or face a penalty come tax time.

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Meet the life insurance startup that lets clients buy in real time

In today’s digital world, it’s easy to find sites that offer online quotes and the ability to connect with life insurers’ call centers and agents. What’s been lacking are turnkey solutions that let consumers do everything they need — from securing price comparisons to transacting a policy purchase — with the click of a mouse.

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No Dental Insurance? Don’t Wait for Something to Go Wrong

The national debate over health insurance largely overlooked dental coverage. But many of the problems in the health care industry – lack of access, high costs and poor health outcomes – afflict dental coverage, too.

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Price Comparison in the U.S. Insurance Space: Apocalypse or Opportunity?

In the US, there has been a new development in the online insurance space, namely price comparison sites – Google Compare being clearly the largest and most vocal in this arena. There is also Ccompare.com, and I would imagine a few more by the end of the year.

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Price Comparison in the U.S. Insurance Space: Apocalypse or Opportunity?

In the US, there has been a new development in the online insurance space, namely price comparison sites – Google Compare being clearly the largest and most vocal in this arena. There is also Ccompare.com, and I would imagine a few more by the end of the year.

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6 weird car insurance discounts

You pay less on car insurance if you have a clean driving record, drive a sensible and safe car, and are well past your teen years. That only makes sense.

But there are some other ways to save, too. The thousands of dollars you just spent on a high-tech collision avoidance system won’t get you a discount — but being a Tri-Delt just might.

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LIMRA forecast: Expect flat life insurance sales in 2015

If you had to summarize the 2015 life insurance market in a few words they would be “more of the same.” As of the fourth quarter of 2014 LIMRA is predicting another flat year for life insurance sales.

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May 19th, 2015

White House Moves to Fix 2 Key Consumer Complaints About Health Care Law

The White House is moving to address two of the most common consumer complaints about the sale of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act: that doctor directories are inaccurate, and that patients are hit with unexpected bills for costs not covered by insurance.

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GEICO, Allstate to Raise Auto Insurance Premiums

GEICO, which “everybody knows” saves drivers 15 percent on auto insurance, said it will raise its auto premiums after underwriting results declined in the first quarter.

The giant direct writer said its underwriting profit for the first quarter was $160 million, a decline of $193 million compared to the first quarter of 2014.

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Many customers shopping for new auto insurance, but few are switching

If increased car insurance premiums have you shopping for a new insurance provider, you’re not alone. According to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, many auto insurance customers are shopping for a new insurer, but surprisingly few are actually switching providers.

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When paying the Obamacare penalty is cheaper than buying insurance

When Angela Denig couldn’t cover the costs of Obamacare health insurance this year, she made the only decision she could: She gave up on coverage, paid the fee for not being insured and hoped she wouldn’t get sick.

A few months later, a health scare would put the South Florida woman’s high-stakes gamble to the test. But at the time, she said, the calculation was clear. Paying a “several hundred dollar” penalty for remaining uninsured was much cheaper than forking over a monthly insurance premium of at least $200 under the Affordable Care Act — the only insurance she qualifies for.

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More from the disability safe zone

Tracie Foster is one of the disability insurance industry executives who have been trying to think of what to say about the market during the 2016 Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM) campaign.

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5 Times When Senior Citizens Still Need Life Insurance

As you get older, it may seem less and less prudent to carry life insurance. You could be retired, own your home outright and have kids who are self-sufficient. While for most people insurance is intended to protect you and your loved ones if you die prematurely, there are some financial situations where you may still need to consider if you need life insurance, how much life insurance you need and what your policy costs regardless of your age. Before you let your policy lapse or stop making payments, consider the reasons you might still need life insurance as a senior.

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May 12th, 2015

Under Obamacare, 17 Million People Have Gained Health Insurance, RAND Finds

Nearly 17 million Americans gained health insurance in the first 18 months of Obamacare, according to new estimates from RAND Corp. that show far more people got insurance coverage than lost it since the most important provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect.

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Long-Term Care Insurance: The Risks and Benefits

People have become increasingly aware of how easily long-term care (LTC) for seniors can wipe out a lifetime’s savings — and insurance companies have been quick to capitalize on that fear. Long-term care insurance, also known as nursing home insurance, has been widely advertised as protection against the costs of long-term care, particularly residential nursing facilities. However, this kind of insurance is expensive, and it often provides only limited benefits — with many restrictions and conditions — that may end up covering only a small percentage, or nothing at all, of your total long-term care costs.

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A Look At The Personal Automobile Insurance Market In The U.S.

The personal automobile line of insurance is among the best known product types in the U.S., as vehicle insurance is mandatory in most states in the U.S. The total personal automobile insurance premiums earned in the U.S., which account for nearly 35% of the total property and casualty insurance premiums in the country, stood at about $186 billion in 2014. [1] Of the insurance companies we cover, two have a significant presence in this space – Travelers (NYSE:TRV) and Hartford Financial (NYSE:HIG). Travelers has a share of about 1.8% in the U.S. personal automobile insurance market, while eleventh-ranked Hartford has a market share of about 1.4%. State Farm Group is the market leader with nearly a 19% share.

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Nonstandard Auto Insurance Market Is Not For Everybody

The nonstandard auto market is not for every carrier or agency. Since 2007, carriers writing nonstandard auto policies have reported deteriorating operating performance and many have struggled to maintain market share.

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The new annual index measures health care’s changing impact on the U.S. economy.

The U.S. News & World Report Health Care Index tracks movements in health care expenditures, medical costs, insurance coverage, health industry employment, international comparisons and health care education in the United States since 2000.

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May 5th, 2015

In U.S., Uninsured Rate Dips to 11.9% in First Quarter

The uninsured rate among U.S. adults declined to 11.9% for the first quarter of 2015 — down one percentage point from the previous quarter and 5.2 points since the end of 2013, just before the Affordable Care Act went into effect. The uninsured rate is the lowest since Gallup and Healthways began tracking it in 2008.

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Insurance Companies Have a Big Problem With Millennials

When it comes to engaging their millennial customers, insurance companies have their work cut out for them. Of all the generations, millennials (born in 1980 to 1996) are the least likely to be fully engaged — and the most likely to be actively disengaged — with their primary insurer.

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Insurance Companies Have a Big Problem With Millennials

When it comes to engaging their millennial customers, insurance companies have their work cut out for them. Of all the generations, millennials (born in 1980 to 1996) are the least likely to be fully engaged — and the most likely to be actively disengaged — with their primary insurer.

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Health coverage jumps under Obamacare

It seems like only yesterday that President Barack Obama paused during his fifth State of the Union address to implore Republican opponents of his signature health reform law to cease fighting a battle they had already lost.

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Equifax Aligns with Digital Matrix Systems, Inc. to Introduce Credit Score Alternative for Auto Insurance

Equifax today announced a relationship with Digital Matrix Systems, Inc. (DMS) to introduce a new, innovative credit score alternative for the auto insurance industry. The risk evaluation tool will enable insurers to reduce risk exposure, reduce acquisition costs and simplify the customer quote process. Compare.com, an auto insurance comparison site, will be the first company to leverage the solution after helping to pioneer its development with insurers.

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More Customers Shop For New Auto Insurance, Fewer Switch

Auto Insurance rate increases have many customers shopping for a new insurer, but few are actually switching insurers, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.

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April 28th, 2015

Auto insurance from Google?

Question: Would you buy auto insurance from Carson?

It seems that prospect is near. According to Forester Research blogger Ellen Carney, Google has been licensed to sell auto coverage in at least 26 states through its online comparison-shopping site after working on the project for more than two years.

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How the Age of Autonomous Vehicles Will Evolve

Vehicles with varying levels of self-driving capability will start to become available to consumers as early as this summer and it could then take 20 years for them to be the norm, according to a new report.

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Californians Can Now Pay Cash For Health Insurance At 7-Eleven

The largest publicly run health plan in the nation, L.A. Care, will allow customers who do not have traditional bank accounts to pay their health insurance premiums with cash.

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Survey: Out-of-Pocket Costs for Health Care Up 11%

Both health-care consumers and providers felt the squeeze of rising health-care costs in 2014 – with out-of-pocket costs for patients rising 11% — according to a TransUnion Healthcare report released Wednesday.

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DentalPlans SmileIndex survey shows that the Affordable Care Act needs a dental checkup

According to the national :DentalPlans SmileIndex survey**, only 7% of those surveyed get their dental insurance as a result of the healthcare exchange law. While the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of people without medical insurance, it has done little to broaden access to affordable dental care for most Americans.

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April 21st, 2015

Insurance company now offers discounts — if you let it track your Fitbit

John Hancock is the first to offer ratepayers a discount when they use Fitbit wristbands that allow exercise tracking

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Independent Agents Identify Business Opportunities for Carriers: Survey

Most independent insurance agents are impressed by the carriers they place business with – but most also are interested in adding new company partners.

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ACA provision for young adults leaves racial disparities intact among trauma patients

The dependent care provision of the Affordable Care Act allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health coverage until age 26, but racial disparities in coverage persist for young African-Americans and Hispanics who require trauma care

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The 10 costliest U.S. states for auto insurance

Do your customers think their auto insurance premiums are hefty? If they live in these 10 states, they might have a point.

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Nearly 9 In 10 Adults Report They Have Health Insurance

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released Monday finds that nearly 9 out of 10 adults now say they have health insurance.

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April 14th, 2015

John Hancock Hopes You’ll Trade Activity Data For Insurance Discounts

Would you lead a more active lifestyle if it meant lower life insurance premiums? Insurer John Hancock and Vitality, a global wellness firm, are hoping the answer is yes. But there is a condition: They get to track your activity.

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The Precarious Success of Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act has drastically cut the rate of uninsured Americans by a third–16 million people–according to numbers released Monday.

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Why Florida Hit No. 1 In ACA Enrollment

When Florida racked up impressive enrollment numbers in 2014 for insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act, some healthcare analysts were surprised.

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5 steps to develop and strengthen the customer experience

Within the next two to four years, customers expect the insurance space to catch up to the current marketplace and offer click-to-chat or click-to-call through smartphones and tablets, as well as e-signatures, PDF capabilities and comprehensive portals, according to a recent Market Insight Group report, sponsored by Applied Systems.

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April 7th, 2015

New insurance ‘black box’ penalties

Remember how on every long car trip, there comes a point where the toll of the road overtakes the joys of the journey?

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Why Seniors Lose $112 Billion in Life Insurance Benefits Every Year

There’s been a distressing story in the financial media lately: American seniors are apparently leaving $112 billion in life-insurance benefits on the table each year. That’s certainly not great news, but it isn’t and doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds.

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Tax refunds for many take hit or get bump from health care law

As the April 15 tax deadline nears, people who got help paying for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law are seeing the direct effect on their refunds – hundreds of dollars, for better or worse.

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IBM’s ‘Internet of Things’ Unit to Offer Insurers Online Data Service, Analysis

IBM is investing $3 billion to build an “Internet of Things” division aimed at harnessing the massive trove of data collected by smartphones, tablets, connected vehicles and appliances and using it to help companies better manage their businesses.

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March 31st, 2015

Colleges getting out of health insurance business

The federal health care overhaul is leading some colleges and universities to get out of the health insurance business.

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Insuring undocumented residents could help solve multiple US health care challenges

Latinos are the largest ethnic minority group in the United States, and it’s expected that by 2050 they will comprise almost 30 percent of the U.S. population. Yet they are also the most underserved by health care and health insurance providers.

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When it Comes to Life Insurance, This is the Company Consumers Trust Most

There are few products as widely disliked as insurance. Few people I know enjoy the idea of prepaying — whether it be for health insurance, car or home insurance, or life insurance — for a crisis that might never happen.

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What do claimants really want? The answer might surprise you

It’s a simple question with a simple answer. Claimants want money. How much is another question and varies depending upon the individual situation and facts. Attempting to put a value on an individual claim depends on the nature of it, the losses sustained, the liability issues which appear and how they may affect all of the parties involved, and more. While money is important, it is certainly not always the only consideration.

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Progressive to Risk Raising Rates on Risky Snapshot Drivers

Progressive Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. auto insurer, said it will begin increasing rates for some risky customers who participate in a program that allows the company to electronically monitor driving habits.

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March 24th, 2015

5 top consumer health cost nightmares

Once marketers had to use surveys, focus groups and educated guessing to figure out what was scaring consumers.

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Large insurers more likely to embrace predictive modeling

Roughly half of commercial insurers say predictive modeling is “essential” for risk selection and rating, according to a new survey from professional services firm Towers Watson & Co., released Thursday.

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New Smart Car Feature Will Tattle On Lead-Footed Teen Drivers

It’s a terrifying moment the first time a parent hands over the keys to the family car to their teenager. And GM wants to make it slightly less worrisome for those parents with a new feature on the 2016 Malibu called Teen Driver that encourages younger drivers to be safer behind the wheel because it reports back to mom or dad how far they traveled, and how often they broke the speed limit.

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LIMRA: Individual Life Sales Experience Strong 4Q Growth

Individual life insurance new annualized premium grew 11 percent in the fourth quarter 2014; resulting in a 2 percent increase for the year, according to LIMRA’s Retail Individual Life Insurance Survey.

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Top 10 Most, Least Expensive Cars to Insure

The cheapest 2015 models to insure include two minivans, seven sport-utilities and the tiny Smart ForTwo, according to an Insure.com ranking of the most and least expensive vehicles to insure.

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Aging baby boomers make health insurer Humana a target

As more former hippies need hip replacements, health insurers from Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM) to WellCare Health Plans Inc. (NYSE:WCG) are turning into hot targets.

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March 17th, 2015

9 P&C firms named to Fortune’s ‘Most Admired’ list

Two insurance firms earned top spots on Fortune’s “Most Admired 2015” companies list, placing in the highest 50 out of 1,400 eligible global businesses. And of those two, one P&C company grabbed the bronze ring–placing third, behind Apple and Google.

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Independent agents outperform captives, direct writers in key markets: IIABA

The P&C market is continuing to thrive, growing by about $25 billion in 2013—the most recent year for data, according to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s (IIABA) 2015 Market Share Study.

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5 ways for insurers to attract millennials online

Millennials are notoriously picky when it comes to who they chose to do business with. They are known for their digital prowess and religiously check reviews online before committing to a company or service.

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H&R BLOCK AND GOHEALTH HELP NATION’S UNINSURED GET ‘SECOND CHANCE’ TO ENROLL IN HEALTH INSURANCE AND AVOID TAX PENALTIES

Ahead of the nation’s health insurance Special Enrollment Period for select taxpayers, GoHealth and H&R Block are positioned to help consumers enroll in affordable health coverage.

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Maximizing the potential of disability insurance

Do you prefer a fixed price or a la carte? How about paperless or paper? Are you a cat person or a dog person? Do you prefer “old school” or “new school”?

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InsuraMatch Online ‘Super Agency’ Offers ‘Personality-Driven’ Options

Do you prefer a fixed price or a la carte? How about paperless or paper? Are you a cat person or a dog person? Do you prefer “old school” or “new school”?

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March 10th, 2015

Medical debts outweigh emergency savings for 25 percent of Americans

A scathing new survey from Bankrate.com shows that a majority of Americans are more worried than ever about their healthcare and finances. The poll of 1,006 participants revealed a shocking trend of ballooning medical debts and dwindling personal savings. What’s shocking is that most of this problem is caused by health insurance.

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Insurance Subsidies and GOP Alternatives to Obamacare

Debate is continuing over Obamacare’s future as the Supreme Court considers King v. Burwell, which questions whether federal insurance subsidies are legally available to people in states that do not run their own insurance exchanges.

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Health insurance exchange wants more funds for call center

The state health insurance exchange said Thursday the forecasted budget for its customer service center in fiscal year 2014-15 has increased to $21.1 million, driven by ongoing online enrollment problems.

A previous forecast made in early February by Connect for Health Colorado staff had called for $18.1 million.

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Will Google destroy insurance agents?

The auto insurance industry does not underestimate the threat its brokers and agents face as Google saunters into their livelihood.

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MetLife, Mercury Partner With Google on Comparison Site Launch

Google has officially added auto insurance to its suite of Google Compare aggregators in the U.S. with the launch of Google Compare for auto insurance in the state of California today.

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March 3rd, 2015

TIAA-CREF Survey: Increasing Number of Americans Unfamiliar With the Investment Options in Their Retirement Plan

A recent survey by TIAA-CREF reveals that nearly half of Americans (46 percent) are concerned about running out of money in retirement. Some of this concern may be justified by the fact that 39 percent of Americans say they are not familiar with their retirement plan investment options—an increase from 33 percent in 2014.

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Insurance Carriers Plan Increased Hiring in 2015: Survey

According to the semi-annual U.S. Insurance Labor Outlook Study conducted by The Jacobson Group and Ward Group, 66 percent of all insurance companies intend to increase staff in 2015, which the firms say is the highest rate since the survey began in 2009.

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High Rate of Shopping and Switching in Obamacare Plans Is a Good Sign

For most customers returning to the Obamacare marketplaces this year, it really paid to shop around. New data shows that a large number of them did. That bodes well for those shoppers and the future offerings of the insurance marketplaces.

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Medicaid expansion insures 10.8M

The expansion of Medicaid was one of the core tenets of the Affordable Care Act before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 reduced it from a nationwide mandate to a state-by-state option. Since then, the journey toward providing health insurance coverage to adults under age 65 with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level has been the policymaker’s equivalent of working through a corn maze without GPS.

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Berkley: Google’s Entry Into Auto Insurance Should Frighten Agents

That Google is getting into auto insurance should have the voice in the head of every agent who sells personal auto coverage saying: “Be afraid, be very afraid.”

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How to extract data to price better, expand markets and improve underwriting

Insurance companies of all types and sizes generate data each minute, hour and day. Everyone—including executives, departmental decision makers, underwriters, claims adjusters and call center workers—hopes to learn things from collected data that can help them make better decisions, take smarter actions and operate more efficiently.

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February 24th, 2015

Medicaid patients struggle to get dental care

When Pavel Poliakov’s clothing shop in this picturesque college town closed last year, he felt lucky to be able to sign up for Medicaid just as Colorado expanded the program under President Obama’s health law.

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Doctors group hails reintroduction of Medicare-for-All bill

A national physicians group has hailed the reintroduction of a federal bill that would upgrade the Medicare program and swiftly expand it to cover the entire population.

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Tax Error in Health Act Has Impact on 800,000

About 800,000 taxpayers who enrolled in insurance policies through HealthCare.gov received erroneous tax information from the government and were urged on Friday to hold off on filing tax returns until the error could be corrected.

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Florida Bill Lets Car Insurers Set Rates By Single ZIP Code

State law forbids car insurers from setting rates in a territory as small as one ZIP code given concerns it could be abused to discriminate against low-income, minority or other customers, but a bill that cleared Florida legislative committtees Tuesday would change that.

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RateWatch: Personal Lines Rates Increase Slightly in 2014

Personal auto insurance companies increased their rates by an average of 2.3% countrywide in 2014, according to preliminary figures compiled from Perr&Knight’s RateWatch. The 2014 increase is slightly lower than the 2013 countrywide rate increase of 2.7%.

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States Look To Reduce Ranks Of Uninsured Drivers

In 49 states and the District of Columbia, it’s against the law to drive without car insurance. Nevertheless, more than 12 percent of all U.S. drivers are uninsured.

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February 17th, 2015

Health Care Enrollment: Obamacare Website Glitches Prompt Some States To Extend Deadlines

Sunday’s deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, passed as many states held last-minute sign-up campaigns and some even extended their deadlines after a technical glitch Saturday affected some people’s ability to sign up. States and local areas reported holding call-a-thons and enrollment events to encourage people to buy health insurance, efforts that were thwarted in part by technical glitches on the federal website, HealthCare.gov, as well as some sites for state-run exchanges.

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Driving With No Insurance Cases Spike

Don’t expect police won’t notice if you drive without insurance.

About 90 driving without insurance cases have been filed in 86th District Court this year. That nearly six-fold increase from January and February last year is thanks to a change in law enforcement information from the Michigan Secretary of State available to patrol cars.

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The individuals suing to overturn Obamacare

An enterprising journalist located the 4 individuals so harmed by PPACA that the Competitive Enterprise Institute is taking their case, now known as King v Burwell, to the Supreme Court.

Two of the four qualify for hardship exemptions – that is, because even the cheapest PPACA plan would cost them more than 8 percent of their income, so they are exempt from the individual mandate.

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Buying Insurance Is Like Online Dating? Or Loving a Local Agent?

Buying insurance has been compared to having a root canal and betting with pirates. It’s been called confusing and boring. More than a few have said they’d rather listen to nails on a chalkboard than sit through an insurance pitch.

But the image of insurance buying may be changing. Now it’s being likened to online dating. That has to be an improvement. Right?

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You’re next: Hackers looking to breach insurance carriers

Anthem, JP Morgan Chase, Target and Home Depot—if one trend is clear, it’s that cyber criminals are aiming big.

And next on their list? Insurance firms, according to the New York State Department of Financial Services in its “Report on Cyber Security in the Insurance Sector.” And this hypotheses is based on fact: 35% of insurers experienced between one and five breaches over the past three years, with an additional 2% reporting between six and 10 breaches, and 5% of carriers experiencing more than 10, the report says.

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February 10th, 2015

Study: Ineffective communication limits life insurance sales

Life insurance companies may be limiting their sales potential by using words and images that do not resonate with consumers and often confuse them, according to a new joint study by LIMRA and Maddock Douglas.

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Personal Insurance Pricing Holds Steady

The combined average rate for personal insurance across the United States was up 2 percent in January 2015, the same increase as in December 2014.

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Why Nationwide aired upsetting Super Bowl ad

Well, that ad sure packed an emotional punch for a company selling insurance.

Nationwide defended its choice to discuss a child’s death by saying it wanted to start a conversation about safety and prevention.

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Just Kids Dental teams up with Walmart to bring kids smiles

If you have an extra unused tooth brush, or tooth paste, in your home, the Northland non-profit, Just Kids Dental, is looking for donations to help keep kids smiling.

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Anthem Data Hack Exposes 80 Million

Anthem Inc., the second-largest health insurer in the United States, said hackers breached databases containing personal information for about 80 million customers and employees. It is likely the largest disclosed data breach in U.S. corporate history.

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February 3rd, 2015

View from PPACA World: Ken Fasola

A few years ago, managers of some state-based exchanges seemed to think of health insurance agents and brokers as ants to be squashed, or, possibly, starved to death.

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Google and Insurance: One Year Later

In January 2014, SMA published the research report, “Google and Insurance: Far Reaching Implications,” which hit a nerve in the industry and generated a lot of talk and speculation. We followed up in August, 2014 with the research report, “The Shifting Competitive Landscape: A New Breed of Industry Challengers,” which generated even more interest and discussion within the industry.

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Top Vehicle Claims Trends from 2014

The top five states in which a person was most likely to file an auto claim last year were all on the East Coast.

December had the lowest volume of all vehicle claims of any month.

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2015 Property and Casualty Insurance Industry Outlook

In many ways, property and casualty insurers are better positioned for sustained growth than in quite some time. As the US economic recovery gains momentum, there will be a surge of insurable exposures in both personal and commercial lines. Yet plenty of challenges remain to keep industry executives on their toes. This year’s Outlook discusses bigger picture issues likely to have a significant effect on consumer behavior and insurer operations in 2015 and beyond.

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Allstate: New Mobile Claims Payments Faster Than EFT

The insurer is working on a suite of new claims payment options that it says will drastically reduce the time it takes to make policyholders whole.

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January 27th, 2015

OnStar to Offer Driving Feedback; Customers can Seek Insurance Discounts

Beginning this summer, OnStar will offer customers the opportunity to sign up for a new service that provides driver assessment data to customers who want to know how well they drive and provides some customers with an opportunity to seek insurance discounts from Progressive Insurance.

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Senior Market Presents Opportunities for Young Agent Specialists

The graying of America could be a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs, including young insurance producers.

As the nation’s population continues to gray, the people who work in the many businesses and organizations that serve seniors are themselves getting older and retiring.

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Report: Half of American adults will not sign up for pay-as-you-drive programs

More than 20% of all U.S. auto insurance companies will incorporate some form of pay-as-you-drive insurance within the next five years, but carriers should think twice about which consumers will sign up for that service.

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Avoid being overcharged at the dentist’s office

There is little pain so aggravating as a toothache, except maybe the pain of paying for a costly procedure to alleviate the throbbing nuisance.

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Life Insurance Leaders Foresee External Disruptions

New research from LIMRA, which will be presented at its upcoming conference in Orlando, indicates these external disruptions could alter their distribution models within the next five years.

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January 20th, 2015

Large Firms Add Financial Muscle to Wellness Programs

U.S. companies are increasingly penalizing workers who decline to join “wellness” programs, embracing an element of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law that has raised questions about fairness in the workplace.

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Health Insurance Sign-Ups Edge Higher Last Week

With a month to go in the 2015 open enrollment season, the Obama administration says sign-ups under the president’s health care law are edging higher.

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MIB Life Index Reports U.S. Life Insurance Activity Closed 2014 off -0.6% YTD

Application activity for individually underwritten life insurance closed 2014 off -0.6% YTD from levels observed at year-end 2013, according to the MIB Life Index. December’s activity increased +2.6% year-over-year. First quarter declines of -5.4% (Q1-14/Q1-13) moderated over the second and third quarter, with the fourth quarter showing the most significant growth at +2.6% (Q4-14/Q4-13). November and December 2014 showed the sharpest increases up +5.2% and +2.6%, respectively. November’s activity was unusually strong, up +10.6% as compared to October; December’s activity declined -8.3% as compared to November, the largest decrease on record for this time period.

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P&C outlook stable but under pressure, say CEOs, experts at Joint Industry Forum 2015

Is the property and casualty insurance economic picture better from the outside looking in or the inside looking out? A panel of outside experts, followed by a panel of insurance company CEOs, considered this question recently at the Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum, held Jan. 13 at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

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Circle Your Calendars: 3 Big Obamacare Events to Prepare For in 2015

With another week in the books, enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, known best by its shorthand Obamacare, continues to outpace the subdued enrollment estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services that were released in November.

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Insurers Challenged By the Millennial Generation

Along with the usual challenges U.S. insurers have faced in recent years—intense competition, potentially flatter profit margins, investing in technology—companies now face an important question in the coming years: how to handle the millennial generation.

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January 13th, 2015

Eligible Americans Turn Down Obamacare Tax Credits

Grace Brewer says she never thought she would be without health insurance at this stage of her life. “I’m a casualty of Obamacare,” says Brewer, 60, a self-employed chiropractor in the Kansas City, Kansas, area.

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Health Premiums Rise More Slowly, but Workers Shoulder More of Cost

When Charlotte Alger, 25, was working at a Home Depot just outside Boston last year, she said she earned $10.75 an hour working on the sales floor in the woodworking department. She chose one of the more comprehensive health insurance plans offered, but it came with a whopping $3,000 deductible.

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Independent agents name their greatest threat: Accenture survey

A reliance on relationship building and value-added services has continued to serve independent agents in the face of changing consumer preferences, but the new insurance shopping environment still has many rattled, new survey results from Accenture reveal.

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Insurance industry employment is up across the board

According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of November 2014 insurance industry employment was up year over year—good news for the industry overall.

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Legal Loopholes Leave Some Kids Without Dental Insurance

If you think buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act has been complicated, just wait. Buying dental coverage on the health exchanges, it turns out, is even more confusing.

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Google Poised to Enter U.S. Auto Insurance Market: Report

Giant search engine Google, which already offers auto insurance online in the United Kingdom, could soon be selling auto insurance online in the U.S.

Google Compare Auto Insurance Services Inc., its online auto insurance shopper, has been licensed to sell insurance in at least 26 states and is working with several insurers including Dairyland, MetLife and Mercury Insurance, Forester Research’s Ellen Carney reported in her blog this week.

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January 6th, 2015

20 of the best insurance jokes

Even though insurance is rarely a laughing matter, that doesn’t mean that we can’t sometimes laugh at the silliness of some aspects of this business, or just laugh to melt the stress away. And, after all, the best free medicine is laughter.

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Health Affairs Article: At Least Half of New Medicare Advantage Enrollees Had Switched From Traditional Medicare During 2006-11

In an article in Health Affairs, Gretchen A. Jacobson and Patricia Neuman of the Kaiser Family Foundation and independent consultant Anthony Damico examined whether the 2006-2011 growth in private Medicare Advantage plans was due primarily to new beneficiaries choosing Medicare Advantage from the onset of their eligibility, or because beneficiaries enrolled in traditional Medicare were making a switch.

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Private auto premiums see largest increase during Q3 in 10 years

Private auto insurance industry direct premiums written rose 5.13% in the third quarter of 2014, the largest third-quarter year-over-year growth in the past 10 years based on SNL Financial analysis.

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Moving Benefit Choice Away From Autopilot

For tens of millions of employees, choosing employer-sponsored health benefits was the equivalent of hitting the “autopilot” button.

Workers would choose from two or three plans, maybe more if they worked for a large employer. A smattering of “less important” benefits — short-term disability or life insurance, for example — might have been optional.

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Personal Auto Rates Rose 2.1%, Homeowners 3.5% in 2014: RateWatch

Personal auto insurance companies increased their rates by an average of 2.1 percent countrywide in 2014, according to insurance consulting firm Perr & Knight’s RateWatch reports.

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Kick paper checks to the curb: Get on board with mobile payments

My father-in-law drilled this mantra into me during my early years in the insurance business: “The sale is not final until the check clears the bank.” Getting paid for the insurance policies an agent sells is a crucial part of running a successful insurance agency.

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