RIP RBG; ACA At Bigger Risk.

With the death of justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Commonwealth Fund’s Timothy Jost writes that the ACA is more at risk than it was just a week ago. Here Jost parses the odds that health insurance will be thrown into a state of chaos.

Looks Like COVID-19 is Aerosol Transmission

Scientists worldwide and many health experts have been saying this for quite some time: COVID-19 appears to be airborne. That is, it’s most easily transmitted through coughing, sneezing, shouting and singing. On Friday evening the CDC said this on its website — and then abruptly took it down. Read about that controversy here.

COVID-19 Disproportionately Impacts Some; Entire System Will Feel It

A recent report by healthcare consulting firm Avalere finds that COVID-19 is taking a greater toll on some communities:

“The loss of employer-sponsored insurance is expected to disproportionately impact the Black and Hispanic populations,” said Angel Valladares, a consultant at Avalere and an author of the report. “These shifts will further exacerbate the pre-existing disparities in coverage before the coronavirus outbreak.”

Researchers warn, however, that it won’t be the problem of merely some. They say the entire health delivery system will suffer because of it. Read more here.

LIFE

Life Insurance Sales Force: The Ups and Downs

The pandemic has had a significant impact on most industries, including life. LIMRA and LOMA have been looking into how the pandemic is impacting jobs in the life insurance industry, including advisor and home office employee candidates. During the first six months of 2020, field assessments are up over 18% from 2019, while home office testing is down 40%. These trends are consistent with prior economic downturns.

Home offices reduce testing as they cut expenses, hire fewer people and possibly even cut staff. At the same time, as unemployment rates go up, more people are open to field sales. Therefore, field offices test more candidates for potential fits. LIMRA/LOMA note that candidates for the field assessments are coming from industries suffering the most job losses now, such as hospitality, transportation and health care. In fact, testing from the hospitality sector is up 100% over the first six months of 2019; transportation is up 31%; and health care is up 21%. Having more candidates doesn’t, however, mean increased field agents brought into the industry. According to prior LIMRA research, the number of recruits contracted for career agent positions is down 18% from the first half of 2019. One reason for delays in onboarding could be that shutdowns from the current pandemic have hampered new-agent licensing and background checks.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

New Regs for COVID-19

Looking for guidance regarding COVID-19 and the workplace? Look at State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations COVID-19 Infection Prevention Requirements.

Employers are now required to notify local public health agencies of all workplace outbreaks, which are defined as three or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees who live in different households within a two-week period

That’s just a small sample of what you’ll find there. Check out the complete doc here.

COVID-19 Impacts Pension Plans

The American Academy of Actuaries has published a new issue brief on COVID-19 and its impact on pension plans. Highlights include:

  • The effects of the pandemic on the economy, on workforce patterns, and on plan sponsors’ budgets are likely to be far more financially significant to most pension plans, at least in the near term, than the effect on mortality (which represents a potential reduction in pension costs). There is expected to be wide variance among the plans themselves, regardless of whether they are private sector, multiemployer or public plans.
  • As plan experience and medical research unfold, actuaries will be able to incorporate this information as they consider both short- and long-term effects on actual plan experience and future economic and demographic assumptions.

Read the whole report here.

VISION

MetLife Acquires Davis and Superior Vision

MetLife, Inc. announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Versant Health from an investor group led by Centerbridge Partners and including FFL Partners for approximately $1.675 billion in an all-cash transaction. Versant Health owns Davis Vision and Superior Vision. Following the acquisition, MetLife will gain access to Versant Health’s roughly 35 million members, and MetLife’s existing customers will gain access to Versant Health’s extensive provider network, which is one of the largest in the industry. The acquisition will establish MetLife as one of the top-three companies in the U.S. Managed Vision Care Industry

INSURTECH

FINEOS Aquires Limelight

FINEOS, a global market leader in core systems for life, accident and health insurance, announced the acquisition of Limelight Health, the leading North American provider of quoting, rating and underwriting solutions for group and voluntary employee benefits. FINEOS and Limelight Health have already built integrations between their products to enable joint go-to-market and system delivery to meet their clients’ needs. This acquisition will enable deeper integration and make it easier to do business with the unified company. According to the company: The objective is to provide a strong and seamless user experience to everyone inside and outside the carrier’s business operations, making the FINEOS Platform an even more attractive offering to the employee benefits industry.

Advisors Insurance Brokers Now Using Ensight Platform

California-based Ensight announced that Advisors Insurance Brokers will now offer intelligent quote and presentation solutions for clients, powered by Ensight’s platform. Ensight works with over 5,000 carriers and distributors across the country to simplify and improve the life insurance sales process. With Ensight’s platform, AIB will be able to offer their insurance agents a more user friendly and visual format for viewing policy quotes. Additionally, Ensight offers the ability for carriers and distributors to better adhere to “Best Interest” standards by enabling agents to demonstrate that they’ve shopped the market and provided a client with the most suitable product to fit their needs.

PEOPLE

Guardian Names McMahon CEO, Mulligan to Serve as Board Chair Until Year End

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America’s Board of Directors has announced that Andrew J. McMahon will become chief executive officer and president on October 1 and has joined the board. He succeeds Deanna M. Mulligan, who will serve as board chair through year-end, when she will retire after leading the company for a decade. These appointments are consistent with the company’s leadership transition plan announced in May. McMahon joined Guardian in 2017 as executive vice president, strategy and customer development, and took on leadership of the individual markets business in 2019. He was named president last November, and successor to Mulligan in May.

EVENTS

  • LAAHU’s Zoom Happy Hour is the first Wednesday of the month from 4-5p.m. Members and nonmembers welcome. Register here.
  • National African-American Insurance Association (NAAIA) Leadership Summit
    NAAIA LEADERSHIP SUMMIT 3.0 Sponsored by The Hartford, facilitated by organizational leader Dr. Addie Perkins Williamson, author of “Crossing the Finish Line: Getting to the Top and Staying There.” Session 1 was September 15. Session 2 coming up: September, 29, 9 a.m. PT. Info and registration here.
  • NAIFA-Los Angeles, Virtual Health Forum, September 25 Info and registration here.
  • CAHU Summit, Virtual, Oct 6-7- Moving Boldly Into Our Future

Keynote speaker will be Joe Buzzello, a life-long entrepreneur, author and a master salesperson and organizational leader. Sponsorship info here. Register here.

  • SIIA National Conference & Expo, Virtual, Oct. 12-14

Self Insurance Institute of America will host the world’s largest self-insurance event with nearly 50 educational sessions planned – several live with an interactive format and others available on-demand. The event will also feature a virtual exhibit hall with nearly 100 companies showcasing their products and services. Registration fees now as low as $495. Info and registration here.

  • IICF Foundation Women in Insurance Regional Forums Rescheduled

Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation has rescheduled the Women in Insurance Regional Forums:

Chicago: October 14
New York: October 26

Los Angeles: October 30
Dallas: November 17
More info at IICF’s website.
  • IICF Inclusion in Insurance Forum, Virtual, October 27 – 29
The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation will convene insurance professionals, C-Suite executives, D&I leaders and other innovators for the IICF Inclusion in Insurance Forum, an action-oriented program with a focus on the future of work in the insurance industry. Gain insights and plans for acting on inclusion, diversity and innovation initiatives from respected leaders representing the industry, academia and other areas of business. Each virtual session will run approximately 2-1/2 hours, starting at 9a.m. Pacific.Register here.
  • CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit will now be April 7-9, 2021!

The latest news from CAHU’s WLS committee is that the CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit will now take place April 7 –9, 2021, at Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas. Questions should be emailed to info@cahu.org.