Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan Large Group Collab

We were just saying that there’s nothing more exciting than health insurance. Now we have proof. Why else would Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon bother to get together to talk about it? In fact, the three just announced they are so interested in the topic that they’re forming a new company – not motivated by profit – to explore ways to deliver healthcare to their combined 1 million+ employees. The company will focus on technological innovation in health delivery. According to a Los Angeles Times article, the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan collaboration is predicted to put pressure on profits for middlemen in the healthcare supply chain. Cal Broker is keenly interested in developing tech and we’ll be focusing on it in upcoming issues. Stay tuned! For more on the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan announcement, check out what industry leaders have to say on KHN.

Wish You Would’ve Had an Open Enrollment Boost?
L.A. uberbroker Naama O. Pozniak, 2016/2017 EBA Most Influential Woman in Employee Benefits and CEO of Valley Village-based Paz Holding, Inc. (A+ Insurance Services), has something to offer insurance pros who need a boost. Pozniak, a long-time yoga and meditation practitioner, developed a five-day meditation for open enrollment. Give it a try. It’s free! And, yes, you can use it even as open enrollment closes.  Pozniak also tells us that Saul David Raye, a yoga and meditation instructor in Southern California, will kick off the upcoming LAAHU “Field Day” April 11 and 12. Raye will lead the conference with a few minutes of intention and meditation for a successful conference. Way to get mindful insurance producers!

What Did You Miss at the Recent LAAHU Event?

LAAHU president Bobbi Kaelin sent us this recap from the group’s January 25 Studio City event…

“It was a packed room and the legislative updates presented by our lobbyist Faith Lane Borjas  were awesome! Michael Lujan [Cal Broker regular contributor], who recently relocated here from Northern California, attended his first official meeting with LAAHU and spoke about his new role at OSCAR.”

Kaelin said that HealthNet spoke eloquently about the company’s dedication to agents and lowered premiums, Word & Brown introduced a new mobile app for quoting and PayPro Administrators talked about how they are a key broker source for administration for FSA, HRA, payroll, COBRA and other services.

“I think we all walked out with some new ideas as to how we can better serve our clients, products that benefit consumers in a big way and the interesting dealings of Sacramento,” said Kaelin. Furthermore, EBPA’s president Rachel Sunday was in attendance. “The relationship between LAAHU and EBPA is strengthening in 2018, and our plans to work together should be valuable for brokers and consumers in Southern California.” Kaelin mentioned that brokers won’t want to miss EPBA’s Employee Benefit Summit on Friday, Feb. 2 at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. (If EPBA’s website is correct, though, the event is sold out! Maybe we can get Kaelin and others to send us an update on that event too, though.)

410(k)s

More Middlemen News – This Time For The 401(k) Folks
EBN reports that Fidelity’s move to charge new 401(k) plan clients (with $20 million or less in assets) a 0.05 percent fee on any Vanguard funds held in their retirement plans has raised concerns in the industry that retirement fee arrangements might become the new norm. From EBN’s story:

“The concern is due, in large part, because it isn’t ‘normal to have one single fund manager singled out like this,’ says Jim Keenehan, senior consultant for AFS 401(k) Retirement Services. Many in the industry don’t buy Fidelity’s explanation about why it decided to single out Vanguard – leveling fees vs. a deep rivalry between the two companies and a fight for market share. Many plan sponsors worry that other record keepers will follow suit, limiting the investment options employers are able to offer employees through their workplace 401(k) plans.”

Fidelity spokespeople have said that the company requires all fund families to compensate them for the shareholder and administrative services which they provide. The pricing change is designed to address a disparity because some funds were not compensating the company fairly. Read more on planadviser.

PEOPLE

The Standard Recognizes San Diego-based Daniel Steenerson with Top National  Disability Insurance Leadership Award
Standard Insurance Company has honored Daniel C. Steenerson, CLU, ChFC, RHU, and his agency, Disability Insurance Services, Inc., with its top National Disability Insurance Leadership Award.

The award is presented to the office producing the highest sales of individual disability insurance for The Standard. It is the 20th consecutive year that Steenerson and his staff have been honored! Disability Insurance Services has its home office in San Diego.

LIFE INSURANCE

A.M. Best Issues Comment on MetLife Credit Ratings
A.M. Best has commented that the credit ratings of MetLife and its insurance subsidiaries remain unchanged following MetLife’s announcement that it will increase group annuity reserves between $525 million and $575 million on a pre-tax basis for unrecorded pension liabilities as part of its pension risk transfer business.  According to an A.M. Best statement, “Although the full-year 2017 net income impact is expected to be between $165 million and $195 million pre-tax, A.M. Best notes that MetLife has sufficient earnings capacity to absorb this charge, which is not expected to have a material impact on reported risk-adjusted capitalization ratios. While the charge has resulted in disclosure of a material weakness in MetLife’s internal control framework, A.M. Best believes this issue is confined to its PRT business segment only and not indicative of broader control risks throughout other business lines. Therefore, its ratings will remain unchanged at present. However, future disclosures relating to broader material weakness in its internal controls could result in a negative rating action, as would additional charges that materially impact MetLife’s level of risk-adjusted capitalization.”

TECHNOLOGY

Startup InsuredMine Launches New App
InsuredMine, a member of the Global Insurance Accelerator’s 2018 cohort, recently released its insurance management app for both iOS and Android users. Founded in 2017, InsuredMine provides an innovative digital closet for individual consumers looking to manage insurance information. The InsuredMine app consolidates consumer access to all insurance information, and allows users to set reminders for payment due dates to help eliminate late payments and unexpected fees. Additionally, the app simplifies the set-up process for users, and provides consumers the ability to connect existing insurance accounts by simply uploading a PDF, or an image of a policy declaration page which can be analyzed and interpreted by InsuredMine’s inherent artificial intelligence (AI) tool. For more information, visit InsuredMine online or email to support@insuredmine.com.

LONG-TERM CARE

AALTCI Tallies 2017 LTC Payout
The nation’s long term care insurance companies paid $9.2 billion in claim benefits to some 295,000 individuals in 2017, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AATLCI) According to AALTCI, in 2016 total claims amounted to $8.65 billion paid to some 280,000 individuals. AATLCI conducts an annual study of claims paid to policyholders who have a traditional, health-based long-term care insurance policy.   Because the number of individuals on claim can vary on a daily basis, the Association measures based on a fixed date each year.

EVENTS

LIMRA 2018 Distribution Conference
Feb 28-March 2, Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Ponte Vedra, FL
Sessions about agent retention, InsurTech, consumer engagement and more. Info and registration at the conference website.

NAC3, the North American Crypto Currency Conference
March 24-25, Playa Studios, Los Angeles
Event appropriate for seasoned crypto currency pros and those merely curious about Bitcoin, Ethereum, Blockchain etc. Tickets and info now available at https://www.nac3.io. Companies interested in sponsorship can contact info@nac3.io for details.

LAAHU Annual Conference
April 11-12, LA Convention Center
Registration, exhibit and sponsorship info now available!

IICF Casino Night
May 17, The Rotunda, San Francisco
Join the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation for a fun night of gambling and insurance industry networking while also raising money for community grants. The event takes place at The Rotunda, Union Square, San Francisco. Registration and sponsorship info available at IICF’s website.

NAILBA 37
SAVE THE DATE! November 1-3, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, Florida
Detailed information about NAILBA 37 will be available soon. Exhibit hall and sponsorship opportunities available here.  Or contact etoups@nailba.org for more info