Light on the horizon for Massachusetts health insurance rate hikes

A year after insurers battled over premium increases with Governor Deval Patrick in Massachusetts, they are now seeking to increase rates by 10% or less. Insurers struggled with the Governor after proposing rate increase between 12% and 25%. This unsettled the community and the ensuing battle lasted for five months. In an effort to avoid another stand-off, the companies are limiting themselves to mostly single digit increases. “The dynamic has been changed for health care in this state,” says Barbara Anthony, undersecretary of consumer affairs and business regulation in Massachusetts.…

Read More

Mayhem on the high seas

An attack by Somali pirates came late last week when the maritime bandits hijacked an oil tanker over one thousand miles from the Somalia coast. The seizure of the Greek oil tanker, Irene SL, occurred Wednesday about 200 miles east of the Gulf of Oman; a region that was thought to be safe. This was the second hijacking in this area; causing insurance underwriter’s to re-evaluate the current premiums that ship owners are paying for marine kidnap and ransom coverage. Brokers stated,  “a study last month estimated the total cost…

Read More

Progressive announces new options in car insurance

Progressive, the second largest auto insurer in Florida, has announced their new program that will provide discounts to drivers that spend less time on the road. To be eligible for the coverage, drivers must allow the insurer to track how much they drive. This usage based insurance is designed to encourage people to drive less, lowing greenhouse emissions, and also to provide more accurate pricing on auto policies. The plan will specifically benefit travelers who leave their cars parked at airports for several days, families with additional, less used vehicles,…

Read More

Is travel insurance becoming a necessity?

Having suffered through the worldwide economic recession and a year marred by disruptions, the travel insurance industry is finally seeing an increase in business. More people bought travel insurance last year as people became aware of the potential for calamitous situations to arise during travel. With earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, and civil disturbances, people have begun to see the value of such policies. Dean Sivley, chief executive of Travel Guard, a travel insurance provider, has said that more people are buying policies, but that the company is also paying…

Read More

New flood map ratings for Alabama residents

Legislators in Baldwin, Alabama, are working toward a measure that would add $478,000 annually to flood insurance premium savings for its residents. Baldwin first entered the Community Rating System in 1995 in order to obtain better flood insurance rates on behalf of its residents. According to the system, counties that fare well in rating are eligible for discounts for insurance in the categories they score well in. Baldwin currently ranks 7 out of 10, and enjoys a 15% discount in rates. These numbers could increase if the county’s proposed modifications…

Read More

New York drivers in for steeper point surcharges

The cost of driving in New York can add up and it’s going to get higher. Starting next week drivers better hang up while behind the wheel or they’ll face a steeper penalty on their record. Driving while talking on the phone has been illegal for many years but only now has the point count gone from 1 point to 2. The state requirement allows 11 points over an 18 month time period before you’ll lose your license. Experts agree, since car insurance rates are based on the amount of…

Read More

Allstate Corp no longer in the banking business

The personal lines insurer Allstate Corp is no longer involved in the banking business as its deposits amounting to $1.1 billion was purchased by Discover Bank, one of the divisions of Discover Financial Services. Discover Bank then will be in charge of providing banking products and services to the customers of Allstate, as well as handling the loans of the said company’s agents. Allstate claims that the transaction will be closed by the middle of the year after it receives approval. The company further states that this deal was made…

Read More

Insurance companies ask for more time

Insurance companies are asking President Obama and his administration to slow down with their up and coming decision on if the industry, along with non-banking financial companies, warrant further scrutiny. The administration is eyeballing the market as being deemed as a potential risk to the financial standing of the country, along with banks, and should be put to higher standards in hopes to avoid the same financial meltdown of 2008. According to the insurance industry, they would like the Treasury Department to hold the finalization of these rules and wait for…

Read More

Insurance giant reports unexpected fourth-quarter increase

Zurich Financial Services AG, the largest insurer in Switzerland, has reported that its fourth-quarter profit showed little change despite major catastrophes in Australia. Analysts estimated that the net income for the insurer would come in at $1.02 billion, but Zurich is reporting an income of $1.04 billion. Zurich is planning to save more than $500 million over the next three years by making cuts to its general insurance business. The Australian floods have taken a heavy toll on the insurer, raising the combined ratio, a key measure of profitability, to…

Read More

Major group insurer slims down on coverage for Massachusetts employees

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts recently introduced a new health insurance plan for businesses that has steep fees for things like going to an “out of location” facility or doctor or opting for high cost tests, in an effort to steer members towards lower cost care. Hundreds of small businesses have purchased the plan and it is growing in popularity. But hospitals are waning of reprisals over the practice. The plan was instituted last month as an initiative to reign in the rising cost of health care. Other insurers…

Read More