More Fallout From Obamacare, Fewer Insurance Companies and Less Choice

We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it – Nancy Pelosi

Principal Financial Quits Writing Health-Care Policies

One of my harshest criticisms of Obamacare was the secretive manner in which it was written. Drafted behind closed doors by congressional staffers and lobbyists, Pelosi, Reid and Obama did not make the bill available for review before passage. The ability to deliver votes or large campaign contributions determined who had input into the bill.

Large insurance companies were one such pressure group, along with trade unions, allowed to influence the actual wording of the legislation. Although large insurance companies are motivated by profit and not the health of their patients, no one can accuse them of stupidity. A simple number these companies surreptitiously managed to slip in the bill will simultaneously guarantee their profits and destroy their competition. The article referenced is the first example of one such deception.

Hidden the 2000 pages of the health care bill is the requirement that 80-85% of health care premiums be spent of patients for actual health care. For those ignorant about the functioning of insurance companies, (Congress, Obama, the national press and the populace), such a number seems quite reasonable. It keeps those greedy insurance companies from taking too much of the money for themselves, and guarantees money for patients. In actuality, this numerical requirement will limit choice, increase costs, and insure the dominance of the legacy insurance companies.

Paying health care claims involved fixed and variable costs. These fixed costs include complex computer and software systems to deal with the arcane medicare rules prescribed by the government. Once these systems are installed, scaling them to larger operations is less expensive. Hence, as insurance companies get larger, their fixed costs become a smaller percentage of overall expenditures, which is common in many industries.

Meeting the 80% ratio is therefore far easier for larger than smaller companies, and will be virtually impossible for new start-up insurance companies. I think the 80% number was not just pulled out of the air, but probably represents the ratio already being spent by Anthem, Aetna, United Health, and the other large companies.

So in one stroke of the pen, large insurance companies have been able to force out smaller companies, eliminate the possibility of new competition and assure themselves of a 15-20% profit margin. I would say Insurance companies campaign donations were money well spent. The outcomes for the rest of us will be fewer choices, little innovation, lack of competition, and further centralization of power in the hands of a few large corporations.

The secretive manner in which Obamacare was written insures more deceptions remain to be discovered. Who knows what other pressure groups and lobbyists have slipped into the bill to protect their interests at the expense of the American people? I will not be surprised, nor am I optimistic.  

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704789404575524281126700388.html

Top Property and Casualty Insurance Companies

The property & casualty insurance industry today faces a lot of challenges including market pressures, technology, rising claim cost, expense management, legislation, compliance and more. The top property and casualty insurance companies have to take these challenges in stride. They often do things with a different approach to set themselves apart from the competition.

These top performing companies in particular maintain efficient operating models; they meet the needs of their clients and successfully execute their business strategy. There are some benchmark practices that set apart the top performing companies from the rest of the industry.

Operational Efficiency

Today companies must manage significant changes in workloads and workflows in all areas of their organization as a result of technological advances and changing market conditions. The top property & casualty insurance companies have about 19% fewer employees when measured against premiums written. Also web-based technology, enterprise content management, predictive modeling have significantly impacted on operating models.

The ability to switch to new technology has provided significant savings in expense and a more efficient workforce. For instance, imaging and automated workflow has provided the companies the opportunity to centralize the back office operations while still keeping the customer-facing activities in the field. They have also succeeded in maintaining a staff to management ratio of 6.8 to 1, in comparison to 5.3 to 1, on the average. This difference in staff to management equals a savings of nearly $2,200 per employee, on the average.

Customer Focus

Most often, when companies begin to experience increasing demands from their clients, it is easy for them to get lost in the myriad of request and possibly lose focus on the customers. Customer services have gone beyond just servicing the policy holders. Insurance firms know that they have a lot of customers to support both internal and external.

The top companies consciously service all the customers, including the policy holders, employees, agents and outside service partners. Because they believe with superior customer service and ease of doing business, customer loyalty and retention will be improved significantly.

Strategic Execution

Companies that want to remain competitive must clearly understand their core competencies with which to develop and execute their corporate strategy. The top property & casualty insurance companies always achieve superior results through the combination of effective distribution channels, product focus, technology and strong market knowledge within their target areas. Every company that has been able to quickly capitalize on these strengths will always have a tremendous competitive edge.

Based on the above benchmarks, some top performing property and casualty insurance companies are as follows:

  • Accident Fund
  • Acuity
  • Amerisure Companies
  • ANPAC
  • California State Automobile Association
  • Canal Insurance Group
  • Chubb Group
  • GEICO
  • Germania Insurance Group
  • Grange Mutual Casualty Group

When you need the services of a top property and casualty insurance firm, always make sure that they satisfy these fundamental benchmarks, and by so doing you will be guaranteed a great service. The insurance industry and their services are even more needed in the 21st century than ever because our society today is plagued with so many dangers and uncertainties, hence the increasing need for insurance.

Car Insurance Companies – They Know More Than You Think

When you apply for auto insurance, even when getting an online quote, you’d be surprised by the amount of information the insurance companies go through before telling you how much your premiums will be!

What are They Looking For?

The number one thing that insurers always look for is a clean driving record.  They will investigate your record in the state you’re living in as well as every other state in the country via a central database.  They will verify your birth date and compare it to other personal information to confirm that you are who you say.  They will dig into your driving records everyplace you’ve been issued a driver’s license and also cross-index other insurance records.  All this can take place in just a few minutes-or seconds, depending on the speed of their computers!

But that’s not all that insurance companies are looking for; you’ll also find that they thoroughly check out your credit report.

Why Should They Care About My Credit Score?

Your mother or grandmother may have told you that she can look at your friends and see your future.  Well, insurance companies can look at your credit score and see future!  Like the friends you choose can show your character, your credit score indicates your sense of personal responsibility. 

Let’s say that you’ve made some mistakes in the past and your credit score isn’t so great.  You’ve maxed out your credit cards during a rough patch and are paying them off with minimum payments.  You have no savings, a couple of late payments on record and your credit score is in the low 600’s.  This tells the insurance company that you don’t think about the future much and probably don’t take precautions against unexpected financial downturns.  You’re someone who is living in the present and not looking towards the future.  Is that accurate?

Whether that’s a true picture of someone with that credit score and history, that’s what the insurance companies see and what their statistics tell them is a logical conclusion.  Their data also tells them that a person with such a low score also has a high risk score-they are more likely to make a claim than someone with a higher credit score. 

Don’t Ask for Trouble 

Keep an eye on your credit report and make sure that it is accurate, checking it at least once annually.  Improve it as much as possible, paying more than minimum payments and specifying that the extra go toward the principle.  You’ll be rid of credit card debt in half the time if you pay in that manner and it will look good on your credit report. 

Don’t try to toggle your risk factor by omitting details about your driving record!  If you leave out citations or convictions on your application or deny that they exist, you could be setting yourself up for a fraud charge.  Even if you aren’t charged with trying to defraud the insurance company, it will be on your record for every other insurer to see. 

In short, be frugal and honest!  Good money management and an application that is factual will definitely save you money on your auto insurance.