C’mon Let’s Talk About Diversity in the Insurance Industry

Speakers at the recent IICF event at the City Club, Downtown Los Angeles

There’s a lot of talk about diversity and inclusion in society right now and, naturally, that talk is also happening in the insurance industry. In some ways the insurance industry is seen as steeped in tradition and slow to change. This may be true, but one need only look around any industry event to see that a full array of people have been welcomed at the table. One reason that diversity and inclusion are interesting, is because the research says they make great business sense. To ensure that even more people are welcomed and the industry continues to benefit from this, many organizations and companies are exploring what they can do to foster more diversity and inclusion. One shining example is the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s recent Women in Insurance luncheon. More than 200 leaders in the Southern California insurance industry attended the downtown Los Angeles event last month to talk about diversity, inclusion and innovation. Speakers included Riki Nieman and Joyce Trimuel from CNA, Rehan Ashroff from Farmers and Jon Axel from The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers.  IICF will host more Women in Insurance Conference Series events in 2018, with day-long regional forums in Chicago, Dallas, London, Los Angeles and New York.  The events are intended to allow those in the insurance community to continue exploring today’s most relevant and important challenges and solutions with respect to diversity, inclusion and innovation in the workplace.  Plus IICF does important philanthropic work around diversity, inclusion and helping those in need in local communities. Earlier this year, IICF held its Women in Insurance Global Conference in New York, with nearly 600 speakers and dozens of leading speakers and panelists in their fields of expertise. Want to get involved in a chapter near you? Visit www.iicf.org.

HEALTHCARE

Republican Efforts to “Repeal and Replace” ACA back from the dead. Again.
Julie Rovner from Kaiser Health News reports today: “While the chances for this last-ditch measure appear iffy, many GOP senators are rallying around a proposal by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), along with Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)

They are racing the clock to round up the needed 50 votes — and there are 52 Senate Republicans.

An earlier attempt to replace the ACA this summer fell just one vote short when Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted against it. The latest push is setting off a massive guessing game on Capitol Hill about where the GOP can pick up the needed vote.

After Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year, Republicans would need 60 votes ­— which means eight Democrats — to pass any such legislation because special budget rules allowing approval with a simple majority will expire.”

Read the whole story here.

Dickerson Announces General Agency Agreement with  Kaiser Permanente in California
Dickerson Employee Benefits, an L.A.-based general agency specializing in employee benefits and medical/supplemental benefits for the individual market, announced its most recent general agency appointment with the addition of Kaiser Permanente to its portfolio of carriers and products for California small employers. Agents can begin quoting Kaiser Permanente plans through Dickerson on October 1, 2017 for January 1, 2018 effective dates. Find out more at Dickerson’s website.

Aflac Recognized as Sustainability Leader

Aflac, a leading provider of voluntary insurance sales at the worksite in the U.S., announced that the company has once again captured a place on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America List for 2017. This is the 7th consecutive year that Aflac has qualified for this honor. According to RobecoSAM, which conducts the annual assessment, the DJSI World represents the gold standard for corporate sustainability and is the first global index to track the leading sustainability-driven companies based on RobecoSAM’s analysis of financially material Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors and S&P DJI’s robust index methodology.

Health Insurance Top Priority for All; Millennials Agree
A new insuranceQuotes study found that an almost equal number of Republicans, Democrats and Independents said health care reform is the number one priority President Trump and Congress should address (38 percent), ahead of tax code reform (20 percent), improving national security (18 percent) and changing immigration laws (14 percent). And when asked what they like about the current health care law, 87 percent favor the requirement for health insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions. But the individual mandate isn’t as popular, with roughly 57 percent saying that they oppose it.

When compared to other age groups, researchers say that millennials are:

  • Most likely to favor the federal government providing financial assistance to low-income Americans so they can afford health insurance (84 percent).
  • Most likely to want young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 (81 percent).
  • Most likely to want states to offer insurance through Medicaid to more low-income people (87 percent).

When asked to imagine what the future holds for the health care law over the next year, 31 percent of respondents believe it will be repealed and replaced, 27 percent believe it will still be in place but updated, and 24 percent believe it will be the same as it is today.

If you’d like to access the full report—which includes additional data and generation-by-generation analysis—go here.

Group Hopes to Delay DOL Implementation. You Can Sign Petition.
Cal Broker received an email from Kim O’Brien, a 35-year veteran of the insurance industry specializing in guaranteed annuities and life insurance. O’Brien is advocating on behalf of a group calling itself Freedom To Choose Fixed Annuities, which is asking for your help with the fiduciary rule. We’re passing along O’Brien’s email request:

“Please sign a letter of petition to Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta urging him to delay implementation of the Fiduciary Rule exemptions.  Join our campaign to extend the transition period to July 1, 2019, and fix the treatment of fixed indexed annuities.
It’s easy to do.  Please visit our website and fill in your name and contact information, and click “sign petition”.  In a matter of seconds, you can make your voice heard and make sure fixed indexed annuities aren’t treated like securities.
It is important to ACT NOW!  The Department of Labor is expected to make a decision any day on whether to adopt further delay of the rule’s implementation.  Even though the rule itself is now in effect, and agents must satisfy so-called impartial conduct standards, our fight continues to stop full implementation of the rule and its exemptions . . . and get DOL to fix the treatment of fixed indexed annuities.
Be part of our campaign!  Sign the petition!  Help yourself and help your clients!”

 

PRODUCTS

MassMutual Introduces PensionSmart Analysis Tool
Massachusetts Mutual, as part of a broader strategy to expand its share of the defined benefit (DB) pension market, is introducing a new analysis tool to help employers gauge the relative health of their pension plans and manage them accordingly. MassMutual’s PensionSmart Analysis tool is available to pension plan sponsors through financial advisors and consultants who serve the pension recordkeeping, investments and actuarial marketplaces. The tool provides insights into the health of an employer’s pension, creating a “persona” that details the plan’s current status, funding level or health, service structure, and a comparison to pension plans sponsored by other employers in the same industry. In addition, the PensionSmart Analysis tool will help financial advisors and consultants identify local pension plans that may benefit from a plan health analysis and consultation. Advisors and consultants can use the PensionSmart Analysis tool to generate a listing of pension plans in their area and determine which plan sponsors might benefit the most from a health analysis. The PensionSmart Analysis tool displays information on the sponsor, type of plan, size of the pension in assets and number of participants, funding level, status and service model. For more info, visit MassMutual online.

EVENTS

World Medical Tourism & Global Health Conference – Oct 2-4 Los Angeles
The fast growing field of medical tourism is creating a need for trained and knowledgeable professionals. Visit the World Medical Tourism & Global Health Conference for workshops and classes to become a Certified Medical Tourism Professional (CMTP). More info at medicaltourismcongress.com.

Women in Insurance and Financial Services 30th Annual National Conference – Oct 25-27 Minneapolis
This year’s conference, Dream It Achieve It, will celebrate the impact that women are making in the insurance and financial services industry.  The conference focuses on empowering women through dynamic educational workshops, networking events and inspirational sessions that help women invest in their futures. An additional element of this year’s conference is a featured session that provides attendees the opportunity to earn continuing education (CE) credits. The exhibit hall will host 50 vendors with products and services aimed at elevating the businesses of those in the industry. Workshop topics include marketing strategies, sustainable investing, Department of Labor policy, best practices, team building and more. Learn more and register at the WIFS conference page.

NAILBA 36 – Nov. 16-18, Hollywood, Florida
Registration is now open for the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) 36th Annual Meeting, NAILBA 36.  Scheduled November 16-18, 2017, at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, the meeting will attract high level representatives from brokerage general agencies, life insurance carriers and insurance industry vendors.  This year’s agenda has been expanded to deliver four keynote experiences over three general sessions and more than 15 workshops. Go to NAILBA.org for a complete schedule of events.