Gratitude is a Superpower!

Let’s begin with the quote of the week from insurance industry pal/speaker David Meltzer:

Life is exactly what you think it is. Gratitude is the superpower to find the light, love, and lessons in everything you do.”

~David Meltzer

Check out David’s work at DMeltzer.com.

GA News

New Leadership at Word & Brown General Agency

Word & Brown General Agency co-founders John M. Word III and Edward J. “Rusty” Brown, Jr. announced the promotion of two senior executives. Current President (and a Cal Broker contributor) Jessica Word has been appointed Word & Brown General Agency’s new Chief Executive Officer. Marc McGinnis, Senior Vice President of Sales and Strategic Client Management, has been selected as Word & Brown General Agency’s new President.

Jessica Word became President of Word & Brown General Agency in 2013, after seven years as Executive Vice President of Operations, managing small- and mid-sized Group Underwriting, Individual and Family Plan Underwriting, Product Management, Broker Services, Customer Care, and Plan Maintenance. From 2000 to 2006, she was Director and, later, Vice President of Broker Services.

Marc McGinnis was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2020, responsible for developing new broker relationships and expanding sales, including oversight of six regional offices and key agency and high-profile partnerships. Previously, he was a regional sales leader at Word & Brown’s former sister company, CONEXIS, for 16 years.

Congrats to Jessica and Marc!

LIMRA

Insurance Companies Emerge As Beacon for Some Americans

More than 19 months into the pandemic, fewer than 2 in 5 Americans say their lives are mostly back to what they were pre-pandemic. In LIMRA’s October 2021 Consumer Sentiment Study, Americans’ unease about the pandemic and the economy have increased in the last six months. Consumers are also concerned about their household finances, with 32% of adults saying they are highly stressed over them, up from 25% six months ago. Good news for you: Despite the increased concerns about the economy and COVID-19, however, confidence in insurance companies is the highest seen since October 2008, when LIMRA began this survey. According to the study, 86% of consumers say they are at least somewhat confident in insurance companies with more than a third (35%) reporting ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extreme’ confidence in insurance companies.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

MediKeeper Highlights 5 Trends in ’22 Employee Health and Wellness

San Diego-based MediKeeper, a provider of customizable wellness portals to healthcare providers, insurance brokers, wellness companies, TPAs, and corporate employers, announced their annual list of emerging trends in the Employee Wellness market for 2022.

Medikeeper says the trends for 2022 will be:

COVID-19 – Sustainable Return to Work & Living with COVID: employers need the ability to reach
people where they are and support their health journey with leading technologies.

Brain Health & Psychological SafetyMental Health Challenges Mount:  health and
wellness solutions should focus on mindfulness, resiliency, exercise, and diet — along with positive
coping mechanisms.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) – Does Your Employee Wellness Program Stack Up? Racism,
ageism, ableism and gender equality are key issues for employers to address from a variety of perspectives, including health.

Financial Health – Literacy is Not Enough: financial wellbeing is a pillar of any well-designed and
holistic health and wellness program.

Data Driven Decision Making – Driving Engagement and Health Outcomes: the need for health
and wellness programming that is supportive of employees well being needs to be based on data.

HEALTH

Mercer Study Sees Giant Spike in Average Costs for Employer Health Ins

According to a new Mercer survey, average costs for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 6.3% in 2021 to a whopping $14,542 per employee. Last year’s increase was only 3.4%. The survey, which you can read more about here, recommends that employers focus on value-based care to reduce costs without passing it along to employees. We bet you didn’t even need a survey to tell you this!

SOCIAL DETERMINANTS

McKinsey Report Says Insurers Can Assuage Hunger

Food insecurity is one of the social determinants of health that insurers are talking a lot about right now. Diving into this a bit deeper, a new report by McKinsey says that health insurers can and should play a role in ending hunger. Why does this make sense?

According to previous McKinsey research, people who are food insecure are more than twice as likely as people with no unmet social needs to report poor physical or mental health and to make multiple visits to the emergency room

Expect to see a lot more about this in 2022. Read the whole McKinsey report here.

CE

Bobbi Kaelin to Offer Ethics CE Dec. 16

Cal Broker pal and contributor Bobbi Kaelin of PAYPRO Administrators will be offering a continuing education ethics course virtually:

SERIOUSLY, THIS IS ETHICS
WEBINAR: Course Number 386736 – 3CE
Thursday, December 16, 2021 | 8-11am PT | VIRTUAL
$25 for LAAHU members, $35 for non-members
Register here.

NAIC

NAIC News: Insurance Compact Hold Annual Meeting

The Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission (Insurance Compact) held its annual meeting in San Diego on December 12. The Commission elected Maryland Commissioner Kathleen A. Birrane to serve as Chair, Nebraska Director Eric Dunning to serve as Vice Chair, and West Virginia Commissioner Allan L. McVey to serve as Treasurer. The Management Committee for the coming year also includes Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

The Commission also elected to adopt a new Uniform Standard, Standards for Filing Revisions to In-Force Rate Filing Schedules for Individual Long-Term Care Insurance. Also known as the “Kreidler Option,” the new long-term care insurance Uniform Standard splits the requirements for initial rate schedules and requirements for in-force rate increases and revisions into two separate Uniform Standards.

KUDOS

Aflac’s Gilbert Awarded an ORBIE

Aflac announced that Chief Digital Information Officer Rich Gilbert was recognized as a 2021 CIO of the Year® honoree by GeorgiaCIO. Gilbert was presented with an ORBIE Award in the Global category for helping reinvent Aflac as a digital-first company, an initiative that was accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

EVENTS

  • National African American Insurance Association Anniversary Year Kick Off Event, Jan 18, 8-10am PT. Info here.
  • You Powered Benefits Symposium, in person, Feb 6-9, Phoenix. Info here.
  • CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit, in person, March 14-16, 2022, Green Valley Ranch, Las Vegas, Info and registration here.
  • LAAHU Annual Symposium, in person, April 26, Pasadena Convention Center. Info here.
  • BenefitsPro Broker Expo, in person, May 23-25, 2022, Austin, TX. Request more info here. Register here.