Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Direct Line Insurance to fire 2,000 employees because of sluggish insurance market

Reuters reports that in Britain Direct Line Insurance Group Plc (DLGD.L) a motor insurer, is planning to axe about 2,000 positions, joining fellow insurers looking to trim costs and boost profits in a sluggish and competitive market.

The company will said that the move would allow it to save a further 130 million pounds ($200 million) annually by 2014, targeting a cost-base of about 1 billion pounds in 2014.

Direct Line Insurance is Britain's biggest car insurer, they have about 15,000 employees, and has been cutting costs and avoiding high-risk drivers since 2010 to protect itself from stiff competition, and new regulation in the British motor insurance market.

Several insurers, including Aviva Plc (AV.L), AXA (AXAF.PA) and Standard Life (SL.L), have cut their workforce in recent months in an effort to reduce costs and prepare for new regulations that include higher capital requirements.

The company said the job cuts announced on Wednesday would include head office and support positions.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Insurance Claims for flood damage in Germany may reach $8 billion

flood damage,Germany, insurance

The claims for flood damage in Germany may reach $8 billion or €6 billion the catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide said. Germany suffered the worst flooding in a decade due to heavy heavy rainfall in late May and early June that drenched Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Other countries affected are Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. 

"Floodwaters hit Germany hardest," director of Air Worldwide in Germany Yorn Tatge said. "While the worst damage has already occurred, this flood event is ongoing." They also noted that the overall, non-insured damage to the economy would be much higher.

Germany on Wednesday agreed the financing of an 8-billion-euro fund to help repair damage, with both the federal government and states footing the bill.

Catastrophe modeling firms use computers to cross-reference data on insured values with geographical, construction and meteorological information.

This is the reason why flood insurance is really important. In the US, only 20% of American homes at risk for floods are covered by flood insurance. Most private insurers do not insure against the peril of flood due to the prevalence of adverse selection, which is the purchase of insurance by persons most affected by the specific peril of flood.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Obamacare unaffordable for low-wage workers


The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare health care law may be unaffordable for many low-wage workers, which includes big chain restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and other businesses.

Yes, the law requires medium-sized and large employers to offer affordable coverage or they will be penalized. However, some policy experts say businesses can get off the hook while the employees could still face a federal requirement to get health insurance.

Still many are expected to remain uninsured and would rather risk being penalized because the law states that  workers with an offer of "affordable" workplace coverage are not entitled to new tax credits for private insurance, which could be a better deal for those on the lower income middle class.

Ron Pollack, president of Families USA (liberal advocacy group) said: "Some people may not gain the benefit of affordable employer coverage. It is an imperfection in the new law. The new law is a big step in the right direction, but it is not perfect, and it will require future improvements."

Andy Stern of the Service Employees International Union said: "The provision is an avoidance opportunity for big businesses."

The law requires businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to offer coverage that meets certain basic standards and costs no more than 9.5 percent of an employee's income. Failure to do so means fines for the employer.

For an employee making $21,000 a year, 9.5 percent of their income could mean premiums as high as $1,995 and the insurance would still be considered affordable.

Even a premium of $1,000 close to the current average for employee-only coverage could be unaffordable for someone stretching earnings in the low $20,000's.

With such a small income, "there is just not any left over for health insurance," said Shannon Demaree, head of actuarial services for the Lockton Benefit Group. "What the government is requiring employers to do isn't really something their low-paid employees want."

Based in Kansas City, Mo., Lockton is an insurance broker and benefits consultant that caters to many medium-sized businesses affected by the health care law. Actuaries like Demaree specialize in cost estimates.
Another thing to keep in mind: premiums wouldn't be the only expense for employees. For a basic plan, they could also face an annual deductible amounting to $3,000 or so, before insurance starts paying.

"If you make $20,000, are you really going to buy that?" asked Tracy Watts, health care reform leader at Mercer, a major benefits consulting firm.

And low-wage workers making more than about $15,900 won't be eligible for the law's Medicaid expansion, shutting down another possibility for getting covered.

It's not exactly the picture the administration has painted. The president portrays his health care law as economic relief for struggling workers.

"Let's make sure that everybody who is out there working hard and doing the right thing, that they're not going to go bankrupt because they get sick, that they're going to have health care they can count on," Obama said in a Chicago appearance last summer during the presidential campaign. "And we got that done."

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dangers Texting While Driving

DWI: Driving While Intexticated
Courtesy of:

Texting-while-driving can result to deadly consequences. Before an accident, drivers usually spend five seconds looking at their phone, which is enough time to cover more than the length of a football field going normal highway speeds, according to the Auto-Owners Insurance release.

According to a survey conducted by End Distracted Driving, 52 percent of drivers admit that they still text and drive today. This is true even though 93 percent of those same drivers agreed that texting and driving is dangerous.

The distraction involved in completing one text while driving is the equivalent of consuming four alcoholic beverages while driving.

There is a significant increase rate of accidents, injuries and deaths that have occurred because of texting and driving. Check out the infographic above, eliminating this practice will save lives and promote safe driving practice.

*Site to visit: Worldwide Insurance Database