Lara Pushes for Transparency

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is making news nationally about the state’s push to hold insurance companies more accountable in the fight against climate change.  Lara has concentrated efforts on getting insurers to account for their financial investments. He recently joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss. Check it out here.


New Linked Benefit Price Index Available

Got a lot of people calling you with questions about linked-benefit long-term care products? You’re job is about to get easier…the first price index comparing leading linked-benefit long-term care insurance costs and benefits was released recently by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. The analysis reports information for both men and women purchasing coverage at ages 55 and 65.  Four of the nation’s leading linked-benefit insurance companies were analyzed (without providing specific company names).  The analysis only included policies filed as IRC 7702B linked-benefits. To access the price index information, go  here.


Cancer Centers Marking Up Drugs

Warning, this is rather unnerving. As if patients struggling with cancer and how to pay for treatment don’t have enough to worry about, the latest findings indicate that most U.S. National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers (the very folks tasked with saving lives) are marking up drugs for profit.  The practice appears rampant, according to a study published online April 18 in JAMA Internal Medicine:

Roy Xiao, M.D., from Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston, and colleagues assessed price markup by hospitals on parenterally administered cancer therapies and price variation among hospitals. The analysis included private payer-specific negotiated costs for the top 25  injectable/infusible cancer therapies by Medicare Part B spending in 2019 using publicly available hospital price transparency files. From HealthDay:

The researchers found that 27 of 61 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers disclosed private payer-specific prices for at least one top-selling cancer therapy as required by federal regulations. Across all centers and payers, median drug price markups ranged from 118.4 percent (sipuleucel-T) to 633.6 percent (leuprolide). Price ratios ranged from 2.2 (pertuzumab) to 15.8 (leuprolide) across centers. Within the same center, negotiated prices also varied considerably between payers, with median within-center price ratios for cancer therapies ranging from 1.8 (brentuximab) to 2.5 (bevacizumab)

The authors of the study say that there needs to be public policies that prohibit these institutions from marking up cancer medications.


Integrity Acquires Victorville-based Honeycutt

Integrity Marketing Group, LLC , a distributor of life and health insurance, and provider of wealth management and retirement planning solutions, announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Honeycutt Insurance Marketing, an independent marketing organization based in Victorville, California. As part of the acquisition, Tray Honeycutt, President of Honeycutt Insurance Marketing, will become a Managing Partner in Integrity. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


BenefitMall Expands Marketplace

BenefitMall is expanding its Marketplace offering to California, Colorado, and Texas and its Power of YOU loyalty programs to Florida and Georgia.  Launched as a pilot program in September 2021, Marketplace is designed to level the playing field for brokers by giving them access to secure technology that would otherwise be too expensive and time-consuming for them to deploy on their own. A completely digital solution, Marketplace provides a paperless, secure, and seamless experience across client engagement, from new quotes to annual renewals. By providing full-service support that includes pre-sale quoting, point-of-sale enrollment, and post-sale census management support, Marketplace should deliver faster processing and turnaround times due to digital automation and complete enrollment data.


‘Growing Unpreparedness’ Up for Discussion’

Recent Secure Retirement Institute research indicates about 31% of workers feel very prepared for retirement, meaning 7 in 10 workers are either somewhat prepared or not at all prepared for retirement. LIMRA and the Society of Actuaries’ 2022 Retirement Industry Conference, slated for May 11–13 in Boston, will examine the growing retirement unpreparedness in the U.S. and look at new strategies to help ensure more people are financially secure as they retire. David Levenson, president and CEO of LIMRA, LOMA, and LL Global, will open the conference.

Other keynote speakers include:

  • Moshe Arye Milevsky, Ph.D., who is a tenured professor at York University’s Business School, a fintech entrepreneur, best-selling author and authority on the financial mathematics of wealth management, will discuss the next generation of retirement income solutions and the future of longevity risk pooling, guarantees and products.
  • Alison Salka, Ph.D., senior vice president and director of research, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, will present LIMRA findings that detail changes and trends impacting the retirement industry

Find out more here.


NAIC Accepts LTC MSA Review Framework

During the Spring National Meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, members accepted the Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) Multistate Actuarial (MSA) Review Framework. From NAIC:

The MSA Framework provides for a more consistent state-based approach when evaluating LTCI rate increase requests by insurers. Key objectives of the Framework are to educate and advise states on the appropriateness of actuarially based rates for policyholders’ benefits, narrowing rate review practices and reducing inequities among policyholders.

The MSA Framework describes the operational and actuarial details of how an MSA team will conduct a rate filing review and capture its analysis and recommendations in a written rate advisory report. The voluntary MSA review process laid out in the Framework facilitates greater coordination and information sharing, leverages collective LTCI actuarial expertise, and aims to improve the timeliness of rate decisions


DeSanto Named NY Life CEO

New York Life named Craig DeSanto as CEO, taking over from Ted Mathas. Fun fact: in 1997 DeSanto was a summer actuarial intern at New York Life.

LIMRA Taps 2 Execs for Research Leadership Team

LIMRA announced it hired Bryan Hodgens and Keith Golembiewski to lead its Distribution and Retirement Income Research programs and Strategic Initiatives, respectively. They will report to Alison Salka, Ph.D., senior vice president and director of LIMRA Member Benefits and Research.


Have You Been Successful in the Way You Expected?

There’s a nice post up by Deb Boelkes of Heartfelt Leadership about success and being honest with your priorities. Deb suggests that you ask yourself if you’ve been successful in the way you expected? Read the whole post here.


  • LAAHU Annual Symposium, in person, April 26, Pasadena Convention Center. Info here.
  • The Group & Worksite Benefits Conference, in person, May 3 – 5, Boston, Massachusetts. Info here.
  • CAHIP’s Capitol Summit, in person, May 9-11, Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, Sacramento. Registration info here. Sponsorship info here.
  • LIMRA/Society of Actuaries Secure Retirement Institute Retirement Industry Conference, in person, May 11-13, Boston. Info here.
  • GGAHU Annual Symposium ‘Day on the Bay’, in person on a boat!, May 12. Info here.
  • NAAIA Spring Career Fair, online, May 24, 11am-1:30pm Pacific, More info here.
  • BenefitsPro Broker Expo, in person, May 23-25, Austin, TX. Request more info here. Register here.
  • NAFA 2022 Annuity Leadership Forum, in person, June 13-14, Washington, DC. Info here.
  • IEAHU, OCAHU & SDAHU Senior Summit, in person, Aug 23-25, Pechanga resort, Temecula. Register here.
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