Nationwide Shifts to Independent Agency Distribution

Nationwide announced its intention to shift entirely to an independent agency distribution model by July 1, 2020. The company is one of the largest carriers that currently sells products through both exclusive and independent agents. In the overhaul, approximately 2,000 existing agents who have been operating under the Nationwide brand will transition to an independent agency model between now and July 1, 2020. The company already has relationships with more than 10,000 independent agents across the United States. The company says it doesn’t anticipate any changes for consumers. Agents will continue to serve members as they have in the past. In a written release, Nationwide listed the following potential benefits in moving to an independent model:

  • Agents will maintain access to Nationwide’s breadth of products, while receiving more flexibility to use other carriers.
  • Agents will be better able to attract and retain commercial lines business – a segment predominantly served by independent agents.
  • Agents can access investment capital in their agencies over the long term and leverage it to drive growth.
  • Agent will receive control over succession planning and choice of what to do with policies at a future date.
  • Agents will enhance their long-term viability by diversifying their revenue streams and offering their clients access to industry expertise through multiple carriers.
  • Agents’ ability to acquire and integrate independent agencies will be near seamless.

INVESTMENTS

SEC Meets on Investment Advice Rule for Brokers
At press time, the Securities and Exchange Commission was discussing an investment advice rule for brokers. The SEC has been collecting comments since June 2017.  The agency is expected to publish a rule proposal this week following the SEC meeting. The proposal would be followed by a public notice and comment period. More info to come!

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Blockchain Explained
Antonis Papatsaras, chief technology officer SpringCM, has an excellent opinion article about the rise of blockchain on EBN. It’s worth a read!

HEALTH

LAAHU Field Days 2018
The LAAHU conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center last week didn’t disappoint. Here’s Cal Broker regular contributor and LAAHU board member Naama Pozniak with special guest Saul David Raye. Raye kicked off Thursday’s event with a brief talk on the research-based benefits of yoga and meditation. Later in the program there was plenty of talk of health care legislation and much more. FYI…LAAHU is compensating members $150 to go to the CAHU Capitol Summit in Sacramento May 21-23. And National Association of Health Underwriters is running a new membership campaign through April 22nd.  New and lapsed members can get $50 off national dues! Click here for details.

DENTAL

New Delta Survey: Your Teeth or Your Friends?
Don’t know if you know this, but April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. And there’s great news: most Americans view oral health as important. Extremely important. In fact, a new Delta Dental survey found that more adults say their oral health (85 percent) takes priority over diet or nutrition (71 percent), relationship with friends (71 percent) or weight (71 percent). In addition, the Adult’s Oral Health & Well Being Survey reveals that 67 percent of Americans say having good oral health makes them feel confident on a daily basis. More info at Delta Dental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDICARE

Standalone ERs May See Medicare Payments Cut
Kaiser Health News reports that a recent MedPAC proposal aims to reduce Medicare payment rates by 30 percent for some services at hospital-affiliated free-standing emergency departments that are located within 6 miles of an on-campus hospital emergency department. If the proposal is adopted some providers predict that free-standing ER facilities could become scarcer. Propelling the effort are concerns that MedPAC’s payment for services at these facilities is higher than it should be since the patients who visit them are sometimes not as severely injured or ill as those at on-campus facilities.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Watch It Now Employee Benefits & Mobile Tech Webinar
Mike Ehrle, a regular contributor to California Broker, delivers an info-packed webinar on how mobile tech is changing modern benefit strategies. Fun fact: One in four employees today would rather have their teeth cleaned than go through open enrollment. That’s about to change…make sure you know how and why.

VSP Added to WellCard Program
Competitive Health, a provider of network and ancillary product solutions (CHI) and VSP® Vision Care (VSP), the only national not-for-profit vision benefits provider, announced the addition of VSP’s vision benefits to the Competitive Health member loyalty and perks program, WellCard Savings. The addition of VSP to the WellCard Savings platform grants WellCard Savings members access to VSP’s national network of 39,000 eye doctors, eyewear and eye care. Visit WellCard Savings for more details.

MetLife’s Publishes 16th Annual Benefit Trend Study
MetLife recently published its U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, 16th in the annual series. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Automation: both employers and employees say they aren’t fearful of automation technologies such as A.I. and robotics in the workplace, but are embracing them with open arms.
  • Connectivity: what employees and employers alike fear is losing the sense of humanity in their workplaces; greater personalization and recognition may be growing needs.
  • Customization and flexibility: employees look to their employers for financial guidance, both through their benefits and through financial wellness tools – especially important to build loyalty and trust in an age when more employees than ever find it attractive to pursue contract/freelance work as opposed to full-time salaried jobs.
  • ROI: building or preserving a sense of connection in the workplace has real ROI for employers, as more than 90 percent of employees who feel most “connected” or “empowered” at work expect to still be working for their organization in 12 months, contrasted to 80 percent of all workers.

EVENTS

Big “I” Legislative Conference
April 18-20, Grand Hyatt Washington, Washington, D.C.
Attend a one-of-a-kind legislative event for the independent agency system and educate members of Congress on issues important to you and your clients. Registration includes an in-depth issues briefing, legislative breakfast with high-profile Congressional speakers. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), a general session and networking opportunities. Register here.

Roundstone Annual Medical Captive Forum
May 9, FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio. Several hundred employers will learn ways they can take control of their health benefit spend. This year’s event will include topics such as: helping employees adopt real time health care pricing strategies; partnerships with local health care centers of excellence; carveout solutions for high cost care; and the annual employer panel discussing best practices and success stories.  The Forum will conclude with our keynote speaker, Alex Sheen, founder of local nonprofit because I said I would and four-time TEDx Talk Speaker.  More info at Roundstone Insurance.

LAAHU May Meeting- Long-Term Care
May 17, 8am, Sportsmen’s Lodge, 12825 Ventura Blvd, Studio City
Topic is  marketplace changes in long term care with presenter Steve Cain, director of LTCI Partners. There will also be an election of directors. Nominations can be made from the floor at the meeting. Click here for names of those already nominated.

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 here.

IICF Western Regional Forum
June 21, The Millennium Biltmore, Downtown Los Angeles
The one-day regional format provides opportunities for greater participation and networking with colleagues here in the West and beyond. There will be ample time for networking with speakers as well. Topic this year is: Driving Diversity: Cultivating Individual and Industry Confidence. Learn more at womensconference.iicf.org

NAILBA 37
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.