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PIA Western Alliance knows you want to be the best in the field, and the best way to stay on top is to stay informed. PIA Weekly Industry News Brief is an informative e-news brief that delivers the most relevant industry content.


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Millennials and Basic Insurance

Posted By Joey Leffel, 1 hour ago


Liberty Mutual took a hard look at millennials and how they approach insurance. The conclusion is that millennials — more than the other generations — work hard to protect their technology and their pets but overlook basic insurance needs.

The insurer found they are the largest generation of renters ever. A whopping 43% rent but just 42% have renters insurance. In fact, over a quarter of the millennials surveyed said they are looking for ways to cut the cost of their auto, home and renters insurance.

Liberty Mutual’s Emily Fink believes that’s because of a lack of insurance knowledge and that lack of knowledge is — as you know — exposing them to potential loss or damages.

  33% say it never occurred to them to get renters insurance

  31% think getting insurance is too complicated

“The unexpected is inevitable, and it’s important for all generations to understand the importance and value of having good insurance coverage customized to individual needs,” she said.

Here’s what Fink — and Liberty Mutual — find ironic.

  29% say they have special insurance to cover their technology

  Of those having that special insurance, 51% don’t have renters insurance

Fink’s conclusion? Smart phones and computers are considered more important than other belongings. There’s more.

  Many millennials say they’re trying to save money

  However, the value of their personal property is quite high

  Take jewelry for example — it averages more than $2,000 in value

  Yet only 22% of millennials think it is “extremely” important to have insurance to cover that $2,000

  Just 20% have opted to insure those valuable items


on the other hand — are very important. Millennials are the mostly likely generation to purchase or adopt a dog or cat. The survey says a high percentage will — if they don’t have one now — buy or adopt a pet in the next year. All are willing to make financial tradeoffs to take care of a pet’s wellbeing. That’s the highest of any generation — ever.

  57% own a pet now

  31% of millennials have pet insurance

  Just 8% of baby boomers have pet insurance

  Just 15% of Generation X have pet insurance

When it comes to their health compared to their pet’s?

  37% are likely to skip their own medical treatments to cover their pet’s needs

  28% of generation X will do that

  Just 21% of baby boomers will do the same


Source link: Media Post

Tags:  insurance content  liberty mutual  Millenials and insurance  pet insurance 

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​ FIO Director Bags the Job & Moves On

Posted By Staff Reporter, 1 hour ago

Steve Dreyer took the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) Director’s job in June. Last Friday was his last day on the job. He took the FIO job after an extensive vetting process and now feels it wasn’t the best career decision.

His background says he’s probably a good choice. Dreyer spent 25-years working for Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (now S&P Global) where he specialized in insurance and infrastructure and enterprise risk management.

Not to be, he said, and he resigned.

“Although we have been able to accomplish quite a bit during my time here, upon reflection, I have recognized that working in government turned out to be quite different from my time in the private sector, and I believe that my experiences can be best applied in other pursuits,” Dreyer said after announcing his departure to staff.

Dreyer is the second FIO director. Michael McRaith headed the office from its inception in 2011. Steve Seitz will now serve as acting director.

PIA National has always opposed the FIO and believes it usurps the regulation of insurance by states.

Source link: PropertyCasualty360.com

Tags:  Federal Insurance Office  FIO  PIA National  Steve Dreyer 

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Montana — MSF Suit Leader to Lead House

Posted By Staff Reporter, 1 hour ago

Montana State Representative Greg Hertz has been elected as the Speaker of the Montana House of Representatives. Former PIA National President Fred Thomas failed in his effort to be elected Senate President but has retained his position as the Senate Majority Leader.

Sen. Scott Sales will continue as the Senate President.

Since early this year all insurance eyes in Montana have been on Hertz. He spearheaded a lawsuit over the taking of workers’ compensation dollars by the state’s governor and Legislature. He’s at the forefront challenges to a movement by some states to tap into workers’ compensation funds to balance a budget.

So far only Montana has seen a Legislature actually take the dollars.

Hertz heads the Montana State Fund Justice Coalition. They sued over the 3% fee and claim it is unconstitutional for the state to take surplus dollars from the state fund. The law says — Hertz and his group contend — those dollars will be sent back to the policyholders.

He owns Moody’s Market, Inc. in Polson. It is one of the eight businesses and one business group that filed the actual suit.

Hertz said he’s going to focus on unity in the upcoming session and will work at uniting the hard core and moderate conservatives in the state’s Republican dominated House.

The Senate is also dominated by Republicans and Thomas said he has a 10-point plan for the session. Much of it is focused on the budget. “We need to unite. We need to elect a Republican governor,” Thomas said. “I think those things go hand in hand.”

Source link: The Independent Record

Tags:  Fred Thomas  greg hertz  Montana state representative  spearker of montana house of representatives 

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​ Robocalls — A Growing Problem

Posted By Staff Reporter, 1 hour ago

We worry about data theft and cyber attacks. They take the focus these days when it comes to business and consumers. Try this for a statistic. There were 30.5 billion robocalls made in 2017.

It’s an average of 100 robocalls for every adult in the country and is a 19% hike over 2016. Things will likely get worse early next year when the statistics are released for 2018.

Shockingly, 50% to 60% of these calls are legal. They are:

  Debt collection

  Political calls

  Charity calls

  Flight delays

  Prescription refill reminders

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) spokesman Will Wiquist said his agency picked up 4.5 million robocall complaints in 2017. That’s up from 3.4 million in 2016.

“While unfortunately there is no silver bullet for solving it, we’re working hard to tackle this problem through a number of public policy initiatives and enforcement actions,” he said. “We recently passed new rules to allow phone companies to block calls that are likely to be illegal robocalls, and we’re looking at ways to authenticate caller ID information so consumers know who is really calling and blocking services can stop scammers.”

Here’s what the FTC suggests you do:

  Don’t answer calls with an unfamiliar phone number. Let it go to voicemail and call back if it’s legit.

  Don’t trust caller ID. While it’s a good way to screen calls, you cannot rely on it to guarantee the validity of the phone number displayed.

  Don’t follow the instructions to press 1 or 2 to get removed from their call list. That doesn’t work. It simply tells them that they’ve reached a working phone number and you’re likely to get more spam calls.

  Never call back and don’t engage with them. Telephone swindlers do this for a living. They know how to get you to give them your personal information. Once you do that, you can’t take it back.


Source links: NBC News, Consumer Affairs

Tags:  calling tips  FTC  Robocall complaint  Robocalls 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Staff Reporter, 1 hour ago

Around the Western Alliance States



Work Comp Rates

 Workers’ compensation rates are falling in Alaska. On January 1st businesses will see an average 17.5% drop. That’s a 14.8% drop for voluntary loss costs.

Alaska Insurance Director Lori Wing-Heier said yes to the new rates based on the recommendation of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). The new rates for 2019 follow a 5.4% decrease in 2017.

Rates in the state have fallen by 25% since 2015.

Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas said, “This would be the biggest year-to-year decrease in workers’ compensation rates in 40 years. The department worked tirelessly to reform the workers’ compensation system to increase efficiency and lower medical costs, both major factors in premiums.”

Governor Bill Walker agrees. “These proposed rate reductions are welcome news for Alaska businesses — lower workers’ compensation costs reduce the burden on the small businesses that strengthen our economy,” he said.

Source link: Business Insurance



Notice of Company Applying to become an Idaho Certified Insurer

 As of November 8, 2018, Hannover Rück SE of Hannover, Germany (AA-1340125 and NAIC Company Code 10241) has applied to become a Certified Reinsurer in the State of Idaho.

For questions or concerns regarding this application, please contact Nathan Faragher with the Idaho Department of Insurance no later than December 9, 2018.  He can be reached at 208-334-4250, or by e-mail at:  nathan.faragher@doi.idaho.gov.   

Visit doi.idaho.gov for further information.


Wildlife & Roadways

An increased potential for vehicular accidents involving deer and elk on Idaho roadways occurs during fall when cooler weather encourages wildlife activity.  The Idaho Department of Insurance urges drivers to always drive with caution and to be on the lookout for animals on the roadway, most particularly during dawn and dusk when wildlife tends to be more active.

During this time, deer and elk naturally migrate to lower, warmer elevations, increasing their chances of crossing paths with a vehicle on the road.  Deer, elk and other wildlife tend to travel in herds, so if you see one, others may follow.  According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA), about 1.5 million deer-related auto accidents happen nationwide each year, resulting in more than $1 billion in annual insured losses.

“Driving requires your full attention, most especially in rural areas or near migration routes where wildlife can make their way onto open roadways,” said Director Dean Cameron.  “It’s also important to review your auto policy and make sure you have proper coverage that can protect your loved ones and other drivers.”

‘Comprehensive’ coverage and not liability or collision is the portion of an automobile policy that Department officials say will pay for auto damages caused by wildlife.  Filing a claim for an accident covered by comprehensive coverage may still require paying a deductible before the insurer will cover the cost of the claim up to the policy limit.  Contact your insurance agent to discuss adding comprehensive coverage that will cover animal collisions.  Always be sure to take photos or video of any damage to support an insurance claim.



Oregon Democratic Leadership

 Oregon House Democrats, fresh off election victories that saw the caucus’ majority expand to 38 members, has elected their new leadership team for the 2019 Legislative session.  Rep. Tina Kotek has been nominated to serve an additional term as Speaker of the House, while Rep. Jennifer Williamson was re-elected to serve in her role as the House Majority Leader.

Oregon Senate Democrats elected the following state senators to leadership positions:

Senate President Designate: Peter Courtney, D-Salem;

Senate President Pro Tempore Designate: Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham;

Senate Majority Leader: Ginny Burdick, D-Portland;

Senate Deputy Majority Leader: Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton;

In the 2019 Session, Democrats will hold an 18-12 majority in the Senate.


Workers’ compensation claims processing locations, reporting, recordkeeping; employer coverage requirements and effects of noncompliance

The Workers’ Compensation Division has published final rules to its website: https://wcd.oregon.gov/laws/Documents/New_rules/50-18061-posted-new.pdf.


The revised rules are in:

OAR 436-050, Employer/Insurer Coverage Responsibility; and

OAR 436-080, Noncomplying Employers.

These rules are substantially the same as when previously proposed. No public testimony was submitted regarding the proposed rules or presented at the hearing. A summary of the changes is included at the bottom of this message.

Please let me know if you have questions.

Fred Bruyns, policy analyst/rules coordinator

Department of Consumer and Business Services

Workers' Compensation Division

503-947-7717; fax 503-947-7514

Email: fred.h.bruyns@oregon.gov

Summary of changes in OAR 436-050:

Amended rule 0005 defines “claims processing location” as a place of business maintained or operated by an insurer, self-insured employer, self-insured employer group, or service company to process claims and keeps records as required by ORS 731.475 and 656.455. The rule excludes a post office box, commercial mail receiving agency, virtual office, or an employee’s place of residence from the definition.

Amended rule 0045 restores the definition of “adult foster home” removed from the rule by Administrative Order 16-054, effective 1/1/17.

Amended rule 0110 clarifies the requirements for in-state claims processing by insurers, and for registration of claims processing locations. The rule clarifies notification requirements for insurers that use service companies, and specifies what elements must be included in the agreement between the insurer and each service company. The rule also adds references to optional forms for use by insurers.

Amended rule 0120 includes minor clarifying wording changes regarding the requirements for maintenance, removal, and disposition of Oregon claim records.

Amended rule 0210 clarifies the requirements for in-state claims processing by self-insured employers, and for registration of claims processing locations. The rule clarifies notification requirements for self-insured employers that use service companies, and specifies what elements must be included in the agreement between the employer and each service company. The rule also adds references to optional forms for use by self-insured employers.

Amended rule 0220 includes minor clarifying wording changes regarding the requirements for maintenance, removal, and disposition of Oregon claim records, and replaces reference to “claim records” with “claims records.”

Summary of changes in OAR 436-080:

Repealed rule 0001 included a statement of the director’s authority for promulgating rules – removed because this authority is provided under ORS chapter 656, and it does not need to be stated in rule.

Repealed rule 0002 included a statement of purpose that has been moved, with wording changes, to rule 0003.

Amended rule 0003 includes a statement of purpose to replace the statement in repealed rule 0002, and the rule explains that the director may waive procedural rules as justice requires, unless otherwise obligated by statute.

Amended rule 0005 defines “noncomplying employer order,” and removes definitions of certain terms no longer used in these rules or that are defined in ORS chapter 656.

Repealed rule 0006 explained that orders issued by the division are considered to be orders of the director; however, all orders under these rules are orders of the director.

Amended rule 0010 describes the procedure for an employer to contest a noncomplying employer order and the consequence of not appealing the order within the time allowed.

Repealed rule 0020 explained the consequences if an employer does not appeal a noncomplying employer order within the time allowed, and this provision has been moved to rule 0010.

Repealed rule 0030 explained procedures for an employer to contest a noncomplying employer order, and this provision has been moved and reworded to rule 0010. The provisions of rule 0030 related to the agency’s participation in hearing are replaced with a reference to OAR 436-001-0030.

Amended rule 0040:

  Provides for the director’s discretion to impose civil penalties under ORS 656.735(2) in amounts less than $250 per day, consistent with statute

  Specifies methods that may be used for the calculation of premium amounts that would have been paid if the employer had obtained coverage, to include estimation of payroll when necessary, and application of assigned risk rates established by the National Council on Compensation Insurance

  Has clearer wording and is reorganized to enhance clarity

Amended rule 0060 has clearer wording and includes a statement that OAR 436-001-0030(2) to (5) apply to hearings regarding non-subjectivity determinations.

Amended rule 0065 has clearer wording regarding determination of an assigned claims agent.

Amended rule 0070 has clearer wording regarding reimbursement of the assigned claims agent.

Amended rule 0080 has clearer wording and removes a provision explaining which section within the Department of Consumer and Business services is responsible for collection of moneys owed by noncomplying employers.

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  idaho insurance  oregon insurance 

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Wildfire — More Tragedy in Very Dry California

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

At the time this is written — Monday afternoon, November 12th at 7:00 p.m. PST — at least 42 people have died in the current outbreak of wildfire in the used to be Golden State. Experts say it’s likely that figure is going to rise since, again at the time this is written, over 200 people are still considered missing.

Governor Jerry Brown has requested disaster help from the federal government and President Trump.

The fire that destroyed almost the entire city of Paradise is called the Camp Fire. The city — just East of Chico — was a town of 27,000 people. Over 6,700 structures — almost all of them homes — are gone. It is now considered the most destructive fire in the state’s history.

Since it is a low-income retirement community, experts say there is no way the city will rebuild.

In Southern California the Woolsey Fire ripped through Malibu and destroyed mansions as well as middle-class suburban homes. Over 250,000 people were ordered to evacuate. At the time this is written 370 structures are gone and another 57,000 are in danger of being destroyed.

High winds are driving the fires and it is going to be awhile before they are contained.

In addressing California’s latest need to the president, Brown said the state is grateful for the help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave to the California Office of Emergency Services for the fires that tore through the state this past summer.

However, more help is needed now.

The governor worries that the president will — again — criticize the state’s forest management policies. Trump has been a constant critic. On Sunday the president tweeted, “With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!”

Brown countered and said, “Managing all the forests in every way we can does not stop climate change. Those who deny that are definitely contributing to the tragedies that we’re now witnessing and will continue to witness in the coming years.”

But rather than fight with the president, the governor hopes ways can be found to mitigate the risk in the future with local, state and federal agencies working together.

“This is real here. It’s not a question of pointing this way or that way, but pulling together in these tragic circumstances and thinking wisely and collaboratively,” Brown said.

A summer ago Brown called the destructive wildfires the “new normal.” At a press conference on Sunday he changed that assessment. “This is not the new normal. This is the new abnormal, and this new abnormal will continue certainly in the next 10 to 15 to 20 years. Unfortunately, the best science is telling us that dryness, warmth, drought, all those things, they’re going to intensify,” Brown said.

Malibu’s Woolsey Fire destroyed the homes of many celebrities and damaged those of a number of others. Miley Cyrus, rocker Neil Young and actor Gerard Butler are among those with total losses.

Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Rainn Wilson, Alyssa Milano, Robin Thicke, and Caitlyn Jenner escaped damage but did have to flee their homes over the weekend. Cyrus sent out a tweet that said, “I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that’s all that matters right now. My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong.”

She’s encouraging people to help with relief efforts by sending money and supplies to relief organizations.

Young pointed to global warming and climate change as the cause and he urged action on their impact. He also praised the firefighters who have worked so heroically to battle California’s many blazes.

“Firefighters have never seen anything like this in their lives. I have heard that said countless times in the past two days, and I have lost my home before to a California fire, now another. Hopefully we can come together as a people to take climate change on. We have the tools and could do it if we tried. There is no downside,” he wrote.


Source links: FM News 101 KXL, The New York Times, KSBY TV, MSN

Tags:  camp fire  Golden state wildfire  jerry brown  paradise california  woolsey fire 

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PIA National & Other Groups Respond to Mid-Term Election

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Democrats will control the U.S. House of Representatives when the 116th Congress is sworn in next January. Republicans will keep control of the Senate and have added to the number of seats the party holds.

So getting anything done for the two-years to follow will require bipartisanship.

PIA National is asking those in leadership in Congress to find bipartisan solutions for the insurance issues before us. Spokesman Jon Gentile — PIA National’s Vice President of Government Relations — said, “PIA will continue to advocate for policies that help independent insurance agents protect consumers: a strong National Flood Insurance Program and crop insurance program, the strengthening of employer-sponsored healthcare, and opposition to proposals that chip away at the successful state insurance regulatory system,” he said.

In the meantime, Gentile added — even though this is now a lame-duck Congress — it’s important for the 115th Congress to still be working on those goals as well.

Gentile and the PIA are not alone. Maggie Seidel of the American Insurance Association (AIA) added, “The AIA’s work on behalf of its members and their policyholders has always been — and will continue to be — bipartisan. We look forward to continuing to work with House Democrats and Republicans on a number of important P&C issues in the new Congress.”

Top on the mind of insurance these days is reforming the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Craig Poulton heads the private flood insurer Poulton Associates. He hopes the current Congress can get reforms done but says the House has put in the work but the Senate has not.

“The House had discussed and had come up with a set of reauthorization criteria that they were ready to act on and again, the Senate said, don’t pass the bill yet, let us look at it, and they just continue to keep it stalled,” Poulton noted.

What happens next? Whatever it is, Poulton isn’t optimistic. “Even though Democrats are in charge of the House, most of them had already looked at this issue and said, here are the kind of reforms we need to do, so if they see any light at the end of the Senate tunnel, I would expect the House to be willing to do something along the lines of what they’ve previously proposed. It’s really the Senate where the bottleneck is, and it’s more geographic than it is political.”

Nat Wienecke of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is somewhat optimistic about flood reforms. Since California Representative Maxine Waters — who has had a hand in previous flood reform legislation — is now going to head the House Financial Services Committee, Wienecke expects new flood legislation early next year.

But like Poulton, he wonders if anything is going to get done. “The question is, can the Senate find 60 votes and what does that compromise look like, and that challenge doesn’t change as a result of the election,” Wienecke noted.

Gentile said the PIA wants a long-term NFIP solution with reforms accompanying the legislation. “Since we also support efforts to encourage the development of the private flood insurance market, the expanded Republican majority in the Senate could present a good opportunity for the entry of additional private flood resources into the marketplace,” he said.

He — and the PIA and other insurance associations — hope the looming flood issue can generate some bipartisan cooperation.

“We hope these changes to the composition of Congress will encourage a renewed spirit of bipartisanship in terms of creating opportunities for insurance agents to expand their businesses and increase the take-up rate for flood and other essential lines of insurance,” Gentile said.

Wienecke said the PCI also wants Congress — and Waters specifically — to look at data protection. “I have a reasonably high degree of confidence that one of the major issues that will come up in this Congress is the issue of consumer data privacy, and I would expect to see Congress discussing and debating with legislative solutions to consumer data privacy similar to the California legislation that passed or GDPR in Europe,” Wienecke said.

He’s also very surprised that — with all the controversy lately over data theft and data loss from applications like Facebook — nothing was done. 

“With all the hearings that we’ve had with the social media companies this year, there was no bill or effort in this Congress to do that. That is almost impossible for me to see in the next Congress — I would be shocked if there weren’t legislation in the next Congress on consumer privacy,” he said.

In conclusion, Gentile said the PIA expects a split-controlled Congress will be a positive and not a negative. “While a lot has been accomplished under two years of singular control — including passage of tax reform, which led to many agents and brokers being able to qualify for a very helpful pass-through tax deduction — we now may see other positive actions as the result of this split Congress,” he added.

Source links: PIA National, Insurance Business America

Tags:  116th Congress  Democrats House  PIA National  Republicans Senate 

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Special Report: Thanksgiving Travel

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The coming Thanksgiving weekend will see the most people on the road in 13-years. AAA thinks 54.3 of us will travel somewhere for the holiday. That’s a 4.8% jump from 2017.

A whopping 48.5 million will hop in our vehicles and head to points known and unknown. That’s up 4.9% from 2017. Another 4.3 million of us will travel by plane. It’s a 5.4% leap over last year’s air travel.

As for travel by train, bus and cruise ship, that’s up, too. The increase is 1.4% compared to last year and totals 1.48 million.

AAA says rising wages, more disposable income and greater household wealth have increased consumer spending. The increased flow of cash also means you’ll see higher gas pump prices. The average will be 40-cents higher than last year.

The horrible weather — hurricanes, etc. — experienced over the last couple of years has those traveling by air, or taking that long-anticipated cruise a little bit worried. Squaremouth — the travel insurance comparison site — says:

  26% more travelers are buying policies to protect themselves from cancellations

  Terrorism coverage for travel is also seeing a huge jump at 38%

If you are traveling by air, the travel insurer website InsureMyTrip and the travel booking application Hopper have done an analysis and have released a report of the 24 busiest airports in the country for this Thanksgiving.

These are the Thanksgiving 2018 trends:

  The busiest departure day is Wednesday the 21st

  The busiest return day is Sunday, November 25


These are the top-10 busiest airports. The PIA Western Alliance state airports are in bold:

1. Atlanta

Outbound — 1.263 million

Busiest time — 8:00 a.m.


2. Los Angeles (LAX)

Outbound — 1.074 million

Busiest time — 7:00 a.m.


3. Chicago

Outbound — 1.057 million

Busiest time — 6:00 p.m.


4. Dallas

Outbound — 828,891

Busiest time — 9:00 a.m.


5. Denver

Outbound — 787,629

Busiest time — 10:00 a.m.


6. New York (JFK)

Outbound — 781,953

Busiest time — 6:00 p.m.


7. San Francisco

Outbound — 714,796

Busiest time — 12:00 p.m.


8. Charlotte

Outbound — 614,779

Busiest time — 8:00 a.m.


9. Orlando

Outbound — 603,100

Busiest time — 6:00 a.m.


10. Seattle (SEATAC)

Outbound — 590,938

Busiest time — 6:00 a.m.


Other PIA Western Alliance state airports:


11. Las Vegas

Outbound — 585,395

Busiest time — 8:00 a.m.


12. Phoenix

Outbound — 572,981

Busiest time — 10:00 a.m.


24. San Diego

Outbound — 312,840

Busiest time — 9:00 a.m.


Source links: Fox Business, PropertyCasualty360.com

Tags:  AAA  thanksgiving travel 

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Writing — As in Grammar, etc. — is Costing Insurers

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A lot of underwriting is done via the copy-and-paste method. The client needs a particular type of insurance — or something similar — that another client has obtained. So to save time, the underwriter copies the text of that policy and pastes it into the new one.

The same thing applies to adjusters. Sometimes the document the underwriter or adjuster cut from has grammatical errors that could end up costing the insurer. Not only does the error cost the firm dollars but it causes the policyholder to question the credibility of the company.

Chris Casaleggio is a former liability claims adjuster and now manages forensic services and claims for H2M Architects + Engineers. He penned an interesting article on the topic of copying and pasting for National Underwriter’s website PropertyCasualty360.com.

Casaleggio listed some samples of what can go wrong:

  A wrong date or year is on a car rental cutoff letter

  A bodily injury release names the wrong parties

  A letter from the insurer has misspelled words, or has unclear key language

  Worse, a cancellation letter has wrong wording

Any of the above, or other mistakes from copying and pasting error-laden language cause an increase in calls to claims departments. That leads to complaints, cancellations, and loss of income and credibility.

Casaleggio outlines how all this happens. He said an adjuster — for example — needs help with a unique claim. Another adjuster suggests using a letter he or she used on a issue that is semi-similar. That letter just needs to be edited a bit and it’s good to go.

However, the adjuster involved is a bit lazy, or is pressed for time, so instead of doing an edit for mistakes like spelling and grammar, he or she just copies and pastes the semi-fit into their own letter and hits send or prints, puts it in an envelope and into the mail it goes.

Insurance jargon — says Casaleggio — is already confusing enough to consumers and businesses and the copy and paste practice just adds to that confusion. Weekly Industry News Editor Gary Wolcott can attest to the positives of the editing process. He also has personal experience with a claim he filed.

The claims adjuster of the insurer — who will remain unnamed — sent Wolcott a letter asking for a return call at one of the numbers listed in the letter’s header. The extension on the phone number was six digits. When he called the adjuster, the automated attendant told him the digits of the system’s extensions only number five. 

It took a lot of calls and a lot of time for him to finally reach the adjuster. That added to his stress and that of the company.

Diving deeper into the problem, Casaleggio said societal changes are driving changes. Handwriting and penmanship are no longer an educational focus. Texting via cellphones and communication via email tend to be packed with short acronyms and emojis. He says they are butchering the English language.

And non-proofing of everything from letters to letterhead — as in Wolcott’s experience — leads to problems.

That said, Casaleggio agrees we need to embrace technology and that technology offers word-processing’s spell checks and grammar tools. If they aren’t available on your processing program, applications are available to do that kind of checking. 

Casaleggio said another problem is we’re overworked. Sometimes it pays to walk away from the computer screen for a bit. Having fresh eyes when working on a letter or email is critical to eliminating mistakes.

He also suggests getting help. Print out the report. Make handwritten corrections. Then have another person read the document. That second set of eyes can be invaluable.

Casaleggio’s article concludes that no one looks good if there are mistakes. That starts with the adjuster or underwriter and moves up from there to the company itself. It also isn’t good for a career. Mistakes tend to follow us.

Wrapping it up, Casaleggio said take ownership of your documents — and not just insurance docs — and take the time to proof read and edit. It pays off in the long run for you and for your company.

Source link: PropertyCasualty360.com

Tags:  adjusters  poor grammar costing insurers  property casulaty 360  underwriter or adjuster 

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Sleep, Sleep Habits & Anxiety

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Feeling anxious? Stressed? Not sleeping well? Is this impacting work? Impacting relationships? Impacting life in general? Anxiety, stress and lack of sleep — it appears — are likely connected. No sleep. Or sleep that isn’t all that good, can lead to both anxiety and stress.

That’s the conclusion of a study done by the Society for Neuroscience. It was presented at the society’s annual conference, Neuroscience 2018, on November 4th.

The study, done by Eti Ben Simon and Matthew Walker of the University of California, Berkley, looked at the anxiety levels of 18 healthy people. They all took anxiety tests after a night of no, little, or disturbed sleep. The researchers found sleep-deprived people had changed brain activity. On average the scores were at levels seen in people with anxiety disorders like dementia or of those with traumatic brain injuries.

Clifford Saper is a sleep researcher at Harvard Medical School. He said, “The studies presented help deepen our understanding of why sleep is disrupted in so many patients. They also suggest that sleep-focused therapies, such as treatments to regulate circadian rhythms, may be beneficial in the prevention or treatment of a vast array of diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and anxiety disorder and furthermore emphasize the critical need of good sleep for everyone's health.”

His colleague — Beth Israel — said the lack of sleep is a vicious circle. “The sleep loss makes the anxiety worse, which in turn makes it harder to sleep,” she said.

If you have trouble with sleep — and a lot of us do — there is help and a number of “remedies” for sleep deprivation and the anxiety that comes from that deprivation. The four main solutions are:

  Medication — The National Sleep Foundation says that’s the most common treatment. It is used for insomnia, narcolepsy, REM disorders, Restless Leg Syndrome, Sleepwalking or others.

  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy — Some sleeplessness is connected to behavior patterns.

  Sleep Hygiene and Sleep Routines — Some sleeplessness has to do with life habits and when, where and how we sleep.

  Relaxation, Meditation, and Exercise — These need very little explanation.

Experts like the non-profit, HelpGuide.org says you one or all of these in combination to improve your night’s sleep. “Develop a relaxing bedtime routine to prepare your mind and body for sleep. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool, avoid heavy meals and too many fluids late at night, take a warm bath, read, or listen to soothing music to unwind, and turn off screens at least one hour before bedtime,” HelpGuide said.

It’s also important to look at your daytime habits as well. “Improve your daytime habits Regardless of your sleep problems, sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, getting regular exercise, limiting your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, and managing stress will translate into better sleep over the long term,” the group added.

If none of that helps, HelpGuide says you also ought to start a sleep diary for a week or two. In it include:

  What time do you go to bed?

  What time do you wake up?

  The total hours of sleep.

  How good was that sleep?

  What did you do when you were awake during sleep hours? Eat something? Drink something? Etc.

  What did you eat or drink before going to bed? What kinds of food or alcohol did you consume? Did you have coffee or a beverage containing caffeine?

  What is your feeling or mood before bed? Happy, sad, stressed, anxious?

  List the drugs or medications you take before bed?


Once you’ve done that you should be able to come to some conclusions like:

  Your main sleep problem is daytime sleepiness and self-help hasn't improved your symptoms.

  You or your bed partner gasps, chokes, or stops breathing during sleep.

  You sometimes fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as while talking, walking, or eating.

At that point, it is recommended that you see your doctor, share your diary results with them and seek treatment.


Source links: Science News, Science Daily, Valley Sleep Center, HelpGuide.org

Tags:  anxiety  neuroscience 2018  Sleep  sleep habits  stressed 

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