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INSIDE PIA National, the FIO, Insurers & A New Systemic Risk Bill » 7 Special Report: ObamaCare Sliding into Oblivion? » 14 Update: The Anthem Purchase of Cigna Trial » 18 Diffusing Holiday Stress » 22

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December 2016 | Published Monthly


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Did you know that PIA’s company council, The PIA Partnership, has conducted nationwide research about the insurance buying preferences of small business owners? The research is encouraging because it found that small business owners strongly prefer independent insurance agents as they make choices in today’s online world. However, the results also serve as a wake-up call that agents must take steps to continue to demonstrate their value and also be more engaged online. PIA and the companies belonging to The PIA Partnership have created a public website that helps agents understand PIA’s findings. PIA members also have access to a private website containing a series of strategies and tools to help them stay ahead of online competition in commercial lines. To access the newest PIA Partnership project, Small Business Insurance & The Internet — The Voice of the Commercial Lines Customer, visit us at www.pianet.com/voiceoftheclcustomer. If you are not a PIA member and want to access all of the tools available through this program, contact us for a membership application or visit us online at www.pianet.com/joinpia.

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Top Stories PIA National, the FIO, Insurers & A New Systemic Risk Bill | 7 As Weekly Industry News reported last week, PIA National is calling for the demise of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO). Fitch: P&C 2017 Outlook | 9 Fitch Ratings has issued its prognostications for property and casualty insurance for 2017. The result is not good. The Affordable Care Act, Republicans & Insurers | 12 One of the reasons health insurers have struggled to make ends meet in the Affordable Care Act exchanges is because Republicans limited how the Obama administration could implement the reinsurance plan designed to keep them in the game. Special Report: ObamaCare Sliding into Oblivion? | 14 President-elect Donald Trump picked Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price as the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It’s an indication to health insurance experts that Trump is — indeed — determined to do away with President Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Oregon Congressman Greg Walden to Lead House Energy & Commerce Committee | 17 Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden has been elected the next chairman of the House’s powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. It is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House and is responsible for telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health research,

environmental quality, energy policy, and interstate and foreign commerce. Update: The Anthem Purchase of Cigna Trial | 18 The Justice Department opposes Anthem’s $48 million purchase of Cigna. It filed suit and the trial is being held in U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s court. Phase one of the department’s case has been heard. Relief for Business Overtime Pay Rule Blocked | 20 Just before Thanksgiving a federal judge blocked President Obama’s executive order on new overtime rules. If enacted — or when — the president’s action raises the exempt threshold for salaried executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees that are currently exempt from overtime. Diffusing Holiday Stress | 22 No time of the year — except maybe tax time — is more stressful than the holidays, which stretch from just before Thanksgiving to just after New Year’s Day. Some will say the holiday pressure actually begins with Halloween.

PIA NE IA Events Upcoming Events Calendar 2016/2017 | 24

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Top Stories

PIA National, the FIO, Insurers & A New Systemic Risk Bill As Weekly Industry News reported last week, PIA National is calling for the demise of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO). It was created by the Wall Street reforming Dodd-Frank Act and is charged with “advising” Congress on insurance issues. So far, PIA National says it’s been pretty good at keeping with its congressional instructions. It is — however — no secret that FIO Director Michael McRaith wants the FIO to be more hands-on in insurance regulation and at one time said insurance ought to be treated — regulation-wise — like banks and other security institutions. Jon Gentile — who is the PIA National Vice President of Government Relations — said, “If the goal is to eliminate unnecessary federal regulation, getting rid of the FIO makes good sense. Doing so would reaffirm that regulation of insurance should continue to be the responsibility of the states. PIA will remain vigilant in its efforts to ensure that no new paths to the federal regulation of insurance are created as part of any Dodd-Frank rollback.” The push to do away with the FIO came from a report it issued stating Congress ought to consider a uniform national standard regarding state guaranty association coverage limits. It also said it might be necessary for Congress to consider whether sex and gender are appropriate rating factors for insurers to use in underwriting. “These are issues with interstate implications, especially given an increasingly mobile

Jon Gentile

society and, therefore, are of national interest. For these reasons, if coverage limits are not standardized nationally by the states, then Congress should consider prescribing nationally uniform standards.” It also said “Federal legislation may be necessary to address the issue of sex- or gender-based discrimination in the insurance industry,” the report said. Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) vice president Dave Snyder pooh-poohed the report as an attempt by the FIO to interfere with state regulation. And that regulation — Snyder said — is well functioning. “The whole report is political propaganda and does not merit serious attention from state regulators,” he said.

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 7


Top Stories Another Dodd-Frank created regulating body the Financial Stability Oversight Council is charged with determining which financial institutions pose a systemic risk to the nation’s entire financial system. PIA and other insurance organizations opposed adding insurers to the council’s jurisdiction as — maybe other than AIG at the beginning of the Great Recession but not now — none of them pose a risk to the nation’s economy like the big banks. The House of Representatives has approved a PIA supported bill the Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act to replace the significantly important financial institution (SIFI) arbitrary designation limit of $50 billion in assets with another system. Bill sponsor and Missouri Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer said it “would protect U.S. taxpayers from actual risk posed to the financial system. Decisions on what institutions are deemed systemically important should be based not on size alone, but also on activity and other factors that actually demonstrate systemic risk.” He and 233 Republicans and 20 Democrats agreed and passed the bill. If it gets through the Senate and to either President Obama or Trump’s desk, before a SIFI designation is given the council and other regulators would have to consider the asset size of a bank holding company, the interconnectedness of the institution, and the complexity of the holding company’s nature. Rep. Jeb Hensarling — a Republican from Texas and the chair of the House Financial Services Committee — said Dodd-Frank coauthor, Boston Democrat and former Rep. Barney Frank agreed the law is arbitrary and supports the adjustment. Hensarling said he’s even been known to admit the arbitrary nature of the designation is a mistake. “What we’re trying to do here today with this bipartisan bill is try to provide a solution, try

to fix a genuinely recognized mistake in DoddFrank. And what those who oppose this bill are trying to do is to preserve that mistake in the law,” Hensarling said. Insurance groups like the American Insurance Association (AIA) agree the change will be a good one. AIA vice president of federal Affairs Wes McClelland said, “Given the strengths of the insurance business model, it is clear that the property/casualty industry was not and is not a source of systemic risk to the financial system. Therefore, in testing for enhanced supervision of financial institutions, the bill appropriately recognizes that risk assessment should be based on a range of factors wider than just size.” California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters is the ranking Democrat on the committee. She said the bill will let President Donald Trump deregulate 27 of the nation’s largest banks. “H.R. 6392 would repeal Dodd-Frank’s $50 billion threshold, above which banks are subject to closer regulatory scrutiny, and prevent the Federal Reserve Board from regulating these banks. Instead, it would hand over that responsibility to the Financial Stability Oversight Council, or FSOC. To regulate the banks, the FSOC would have to go through a byzantine and litigious process of designation, which takes two to four years to complete,” she said. In the meantime, the international Financial Stability Board (FSB) identified nine insurance companies last week as SIFI. Two of those insurers are U.S. companies — AIG which already has an SIFI designation and MetLife whose designation was overturned by a federal judge — are on that list.

Sources: PIA National, PropertyCasualty360.com, Insurance Journal, Insurance Business America

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 8


Top Stories

Fitch

P&C 2017 Outlook Fitch Ratings has issued its prognostications for property and casualty insurance for 2017. The result is not good. The ratings firm’s report is titled the 2017 Outlook: U.S. Property/Casualty Insurance. It believes P&C insurance and insurers will face obstacles next year ranging from profits to pricing competition. As a result Fitch’s outlook has been changed from stable to negative. Breaking it down a bit, Fitch said the rating outlook for commercial and personal lines insurance will remain stable. Strong capital positions helped. Fitch also said the ratings of the individual P&C insurers will not likely change either. On returns, James Auden who heads Fitch’s North American P/C Ratings team, says the report’s outlook is based on performance and profit expectations. They show financial expectations for rating upgrades and downgrades. To that point the report said, “The P/C industry is at a point in the market underwriting cycle at which near-term conditions and profitability are likely to worsen further before any changes in collective underwriting and pricing behavior materializes. Still, an extended period of mediocre returns remains more likely than a shift to operating losses.”

That’s what led to the shift from stable to negative. As for the predictions: •  Fitch thinks the P&C industry will bring in close to $38.5 billion in net income in 2017 •  It’s significantly more than the $46.4 billion projected for 2016 and the $58.3 billion in 2015 •  Net written premiums are predicted to hit $551 billion or more compared to the projected $535.4 billion for 2016 and $520.2 billion in 2015 •  The predicted combined ratio might go up to 101 from the 99.6 predicted for 2016 and 97.9 for 2015 Fitch said the increasing soft market is also a contributor to the outlook change. It — the prediction goes — will continue to get worse

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 9


Top Stories through 2017. A deterioration in commercial and workers’ compensation rates is the biggest cause. Premium rates that are dropping contribute to slower revenue growth rates.

ratio is likely to rise in 2016 to more than 99 percent and anticipated further deterioration will promote a projected underwriting loss in 2017,” Fitch said.

“Commercial property remains the softest individual segment. Workers compensation and general liability rate declines are now more pronounced,” the report said and pulling up data from the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB), Fitch said rates have fallen for eight straight quarters.

The return on surplus will be down 6.6% in 2016 — so says the prediction — and it will drop even more in 2017.

That includes a third quarter drop this year of 2.3%. One big area of concern in terms of rates and losses is commercial auto. Fitch says it’s sitting in underwriting loss territory. And for the last five years it has been a “chronic underperformer due to past price inadequacy and adverse claims experience.” Personal auto isn’t doing much better. “Claims severity trends are unfavorable in this product as more sophisticated parts and components in vehicles add to repair costs following accidents,” Fitch said. Other factors:

With flat investment earnings expected along with weaker underwriting results, Fitch expects the industry statutory return on surplus will decline to 6.6 percent in 2016, down from 8.5 percent in 2015. It will drop further in 2017, Fitch said. Source: Carrier Management

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•  Low fuel prices inducing more driving •  Social media distractions while driving •  Electronic device distractions while driving The good news? And there is good news in the report. Fitch said the capital strength of the insurance industry is strong and the expectation is we’ll see a fourth straight year of underwriting gains in 2016. But Fitch says that’s the extent of it. Combined ratios and profitability will be worse in 2017 than in 2016. “The underwriting combined

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Top Stories

The Affordable Care Act

Republicans & Insurers

One of the reasons health insurers have struggled to make ends meet in the Affordable Care Act exchanges is because Republicans limited how the Obama administration could implement the reinsurance plan designed to keep them in the game. Here’s what happened. Not enough money was brought into the reinsurance program and the administration was looking for ways to fix the problem. Republicans — in a budget deal —

said the administration could not take money from other parts of the Affordable Care Act to pay for the reinsurance. It assisted in the rate rise, and thus insurers started limiting areas they’d insure and who. Some — as you remember — dropped out completely. Many of those same Republicans are now worried insurers will not provide coverage or

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 12


Top Stories limit who’ll they’ll cover when they finally repeal ObamaCare and replace it with whatever they replace it with. Rumor has it Republicans want the repeal to happen in January but it won’t take effect for three-years to give them time to replace it with “something better” and to help avoid the void that will come into play when it is done away with. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman and Texas Republican Kevin Brady said, “We are not going to rip health care away from Americans. We will have a transition period so Congress can develop the right policies and the American people can have time to look for better health care options,” he said. In the Senate, Tennessee Republican and Sen. Lamar Alexander is the chairman of the Senate health committee. He said, “I imagine this will take several years to completely make that sort of transition — to make sure we do no harm, create a good health care system that everyone has access to, and that we repeal the parts of Obamacare that need to be repealed.” The repeal could leave about 10 million people enrolled in ObamaCare without insurance. That — as most of you know — has its own disastrous effects. Congressional staffers are now talking to insurers about policies that need to be in place to improve their financial situation during the period between the end of ObamaCare and the beginning of whatever Congress passes. The idea is to fill the void and continue to help the 10 million. So far no specifics have emerged from those talks. Here’s the irony. As noted in the opening sentence, the Republicans for years have

battled to do away with any moves the Affordable Care Act had to benefit insurers — or bail them out — when it comes to the exchanges and the Affordable Care Act. Insurers are — says one lobbyist — “painting a picture of the market that isn’t very pretty and Republican staffers are getting the picture. They want to pump money back in to the insurers without appearing like they’re giving them a handout or bailing them out.” Another lobbyist is equally blunt. Insurers are being queried and asked, “What’s the impact on the 2018 plan year for that, and if it’s as bad as some people say, what are our options to mitigate the impact without looking like we’re bailing out the health insurance industry?” An aide for the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee aide said: “We’re talking with all stakeholders and discussing the best next steps as we work to reform this broken healthcare system.”

Sources: The Hill, MSN Money

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Top Stories

Special Report:

ObamaCare Sliding into Oblivion? President-elect Donald Trump picked Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price as the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It’s an indication to health insurance experts that Trump is — indeed — determined to do away with President Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. The Price is right — if you’ll pardon the play on words — according to many in the

industry like Paul Dougherty of the National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors (NAIFA). “His work on the Ways & Means health subcommittee, his medical background, and his appreciation for the role of the agent in providing professional assistance to consumers certainly qualify him for the position of HHS Secretary. NAIFA hopes he is confirmed quickly and looks forward to working with him as HHS Secretary,” Dougherty said.

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 14


Top Stories Joel Wood of the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB) agrees and says Price is an outstanding choice. “He entered politics because he was frustrated with the ever-increasing imposition of government between patients and physicians. Along with Speaker Ryan, he has been the most articulate spokesman in the U.S. House not only in opposition to most aspects of the ACA, but he’s been equally forceful in advancing patient-centered alternatives to Obamacare,” Wood said. The CIAB — Wood said — like the president elect likes some reforms. Trump wants to leave the sections where children up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ health plans and the removal of preexisting condition restrictions. “The latter goal will be tricky, as we’ve already seen plenty of adverse selection in the state and federal exchanges. The emerging concept of ‘continuous coverage’ with multiple ratings bands seems to be the work-around on this issue, but, again, it’s too early to say. But it’s not too early to say that HHS Secretary Tom Price will be an exemplary leader,” he added. Price — who is a doctor and says ObamaCare interferes with the traditional doctor-patient relationship — hates the Affordable Care Act. He’s currently the chairman of the House Budget Committee and upon the passage of the act, Price began efforts to undo it. That’s why the Senate’s newly elected minority leader New York Senator Charles Schumer doesn’t like Trump’s HHS pick. “There ought to be bipartisan support against a secretary who’s going to privatize Medicare and not fund Planned Parenthood,” Schumer said. Price recently crafted the Empowering Patients First Act as a replacement for ObamaCare. And where the Affordable Care Act and its regulations is over 20,000 pages, his bill is 242. It’s a no-brainer to learn his plan gets zero support from Schumer and other Democrats

but it also has some Republicans concerned and sharpening critical claws. Here is the nuts and bolts of Price’s plan — which, by the way — makes a major and critical change in Medicare as well as changes in Medicaid: •  Gone are the ObamaCare exchanges, the mandates on individuals and businesses and the tax credits to subsidize insurance costs for the nation’s poor. He offers fixed tax credits based on age and not income. Insurance then will be purchased on the private market. •  The tax credits are part of Price’s plan — and that of House Speaker Paul Ryan — to make changes in the very expensive Medicare. The credits are not that much and range from $1,200 a year for those 18 to 35 to $3,000 a year for those 51 and over. Critics say this barely covers premiums and out of pocket costs in huge swaths of the country. •  He does keep the denial of coverage for preexisting conditions restrictions but only if they’ve had 18 or more months of continuous insurance before choosing a new policy. Price says that keeps people from buying insurance for emergencies only and then dumping it. If someone changes policies before 18 months they can be charged up to 150% of the standard premiums for two years. •  Health savings accounts will be expanded. •  Price’s plan will give grants to states to help high risk older and sicker Americans. This will help with catastrophic health care costs. Critics say the $3 billion in his potential pot is lowballing it. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan A Better Way puts that at $25 million. •  Price’s plan puts a cap on how much companies can deduct from their taxes to defray the cost of providing health insurance for their workers. Today that adds up to $260 billion in revenue for the federal government. The exclusion is $8,000 a year for individual plans and $20,000 for families.

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 15


Top Stories •  Expanded Medicaid coverage is repealed for the 32 states and District of Columbia for able-bodied single people. •  Insurers will be allowed to sell insurance across state lines. •  His plan allows insurers to tailor plans to younger, healthier people and sell them at lower costs. Insurers can also increase premiums and copayments for older, sicker enrollees to whatever the market will bear. The most controversial part of Price’s plan is the Medicare plan. Trump says he doesn’t want to make changes in entitlements and has said so with much emphasis. “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican, and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” the president elect said. Price obviously disagrees says entitlements need to be on the table. Ryan also backs that take on changes to the system. He wants Medicare to be a “premium support” system. Democrats say it ends Medicare as we know it. “What we propose would ensure these programs have not just a future but a brighter one. Reform is the avenue to improvement of services as much as a way to stave off fiscal collapse,” Price said in a speech in 2014. Schumer — and other Senate Democrats — do not approve of Price’s plans to A) eliminate ObamaCare, B) his idea of a replacement and C) what he and Ryan want to do with Medicare. “This is the kind of issue where Democrats have been completely united — against Medicare privatization — and a lot of Republicans have been dancing on the head of a pin because they know the hard right of their party wants it, but they know it’s so unpopular with the public,” Schumer said. He warns this is going to be a tough battle and threw down the gauntlet. “It’s clear that

Washington Republicans are plotting a war on seniors next year. Democrats will not let them win that fight. Go try it. Make our day. Democrats from blue states, purple states, red states, are going to link arm-in-arm to protect Medicare for our seniors,” he noted. Currently Republicans are saying they want to repeal ObamaCare in January and have it go into effect in two years to give them time to find the proper replacement. But is out and out repeal and replacement a good idea? No. Or so says Georgetown University Health Policy Institute professor Sabrina Corlette. “The idea that you can repeal the Affordable Care Act with a two-or three-year transition period and not create market chaos is a total fantasy. Insurers need to know the rules of the road to develop plans and set premiums,” she said. And Democrats are not out of the battle. Republicans may run both houses of Congress but they are not filibuster proof in the Senate. And even with the budget reconciliation rules Democrats will need to be involved and their help — and 60 votes — will be needed to change provisions that don’t affect the budget. Montana Senator and Democrat Jon Tester said, “If they are looking at fixing what’s there, I’ve been wanting to work with Republicans for years now. But if they are going to take away provisions like pre-existing conditions, lifetime caps, 26-year-olds, I think they are barking up the wrong tree.” And then there are the nation’s governors and insurance commissioners. They — like the Republicans wanting to dump the whole thing — will be under tremendous pressure to help come up with something to help the 22 million who’ve benefitted from the Affordable Care Act. Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart — a Republican — worries about the what he calls “devastating consequences” of instant repeal.

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 16


Top Stories “The idea of folks having credible coverage today that is no longer there come June or July or some mid-point of the year, it really is going to be disruptive, not only to the insurance market but also to those peoples’ individual lives,” Gerhart wrote in an op-ed piece. Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said, “It’s the health insurers I worry about. Nothing mandates that they must be in the marketplace. And there’s enough uncertainty, because of all the talk that’s taking place. They’re talking about repealing in a vacuum. I think that is a guaranteed recipe for absolute uncertainty going forward.” Georgetown University’s Corlette added a good point as well. “Given the uncertainty, I honestly can’t fathom why any insurer would want to come forward and offer plans for 2018, without some guarantees that there’s going to be a balanced, viable market,” she said. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) said a fix is needed but won’t offer more details of what the insurance commissioner group wants until after the first of the year. “The time to fix the law is long past due and state regulators have the experience and knowledge to assist the new president and Congress to make health insurance work for all Americans,” the NAIC said.

Oregon Congressman Greg Walden to Lead House Energy & Commerce Committee Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden has been elected the next chairman of the House’s powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. It is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House and is responsible for telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health research, environmental quality, energy policy, and interstate and foreign commerce.

Peter Lee heads Covered California — that state’s exchange — and he said Republicans need to slow down. They can’t simply rip the Affordable Care Act apart. That is illogical.

“I am deeply honored to earn the support of my colleagues to chair this incredibly important committee. Americans are looking for big improvements out of Washington, and that’s just what we’re going to give them as we work with the Trump Administration, the Senate, and the governors, to move forward on the [House Speaker Paul Ryan’s] Better Way agenda. Our work will focus on what’s best for consumers, on creating better paying jobs and providing patientcentered health care,” he said.

Lee also has very little trust in Trump. “I do take the president-elect at his word when he says he doesn’t want to leave people on the streets and he says there’s no repeal without replace. It means there has to be a thoughtful and deliverable process.”

One reason Walden may have landed the post is his work heading the National Republican Congressional Committee which helped Republicans secure the largest congressional majority they’ve had since the Great Depression.

Sources: The Hill, MSN Money, Insurance Business America, Employee Benefit Advisor

Source: The Hill

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 17


Top Stories

Update

The Anthem Purchase of Cigna Trial

The Justice Department opposes Anthem’s $48 million purchase of Cigna. It filed suit and the trial is being held in U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s court. Phase one of the department’s case has been heard.

Morgan Kendrick is Anthem’s president of national accounts and he says the purchase will give his company a shot at competing against other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. As Anthem, it can’t sell insurance against them but as Cigna it can. The goal is to compete. The Justice Department says the sale is not a good idea because it reduces the number of insurers available to consumers and the

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 18


Top Stories lack of competition will cause prices to raise. It contends Anthem doesn’t need Cigna because it can partner with other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. Kendrick also argued that larger employers are looking at a wide range of options and that includes using smaller carriers and are not just being served by the nation’s largest insurers. The Justice Department disagrees. And Anthem’s economics expert Lona Fowdur disagrees with the department. “From everything that we’re seeing here, there’s enough choice, there’s enough dynamism in this marketplace. That choice is, in fact, expanding rather than shrinking,” Fowdur said.

Testifying for the Justice Department, economist David Dranove of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management said, “The merger will harm competition in the market for national accounts” as well as in states where Anthem operates.” He believes Anthem — once it acquires Cigna — could hike rates 5% to 10% without losing business because businesses will not have that many other options. Anthem countered that it only operates in 14 states now. Sources: Insurance Business America, Insurance Journal

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 19


Top Stories

Relief for Business

Overtime Pay Rule Blocked Just before Thanksgiving a federal judge blocked President Obama’s executive order on new overtime rules. If enacted — or when — the president’s action raises the exempt threshold for salaried executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees that are currently exempt from overtime. The regs were blocked by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III in Texas. In his ruling the judge said, “If Congress intended the salary requirement to supplant the duties test, then Congress and not the department, should make that change.” The block gives relief to employers — especially small employers — that would have required overtime pay for weekly pay of $455

a week or $23,600 annually or less. The new threshold would have been $913 per week or $47,476 a year. Proponents said currently just 7% of the workers in the categories noted earlier are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act. That compares to 62% in 1975. The Labor Department is considering legal options. “We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans. The department’s overtime rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule-making process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule,” the department said in a statement.

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 20


Top Stories Opponents disagree and the states argued the president and the department failed to take regional salary and regional economic differences into account when setting the new base rate of pay. Those same opponents also said there was a clear disregard on whether smaller private and public employers could afford to pay those increased salaries. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the cost of the implementation of the rules could be $1 billion or more. And it gets even worse when considering those salaries will rise every three years said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who noted the Obama administration “assumes that through force of will alone, it could order a new economic reality into existence The finalized overtime rule hurts the American worker. It limits workplace flexibility without a corresponding increase in pay and forces employers to cut their workers hours.”

Meanwhile the Justice Department has asked the judge to let the rules go into place in the 29 states not involved in the suit. No word as to whether the judge will allow it. But will action by the Labor Department and the president even matter? Most speculate the incoming Trump administration will reverse it anyway even if the judge lifts the stay. During the campaign President Elect Trump said, “Rolling back the overtime regulation is just one example of the many regulations that need to be addressed to do that. We would love to see a delay or a carve-out of sorts for our small business owners.” By the way, Judge Mazzant was appointed by President Obama. Sources: Insurance Journal, The Hill, MSN Money, TriCity Herald

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Top Stories

Diffusing Holiday Stress

Expert Stress Reduction Suggestions:

Whatever or whenever, the holidays are hugely busy — gift shopping and purchasing, parties from yours to theirs, cleaning, dinners, and the list goes on — and for some, all this activity is very stressful.

Go outside

No time of the year — except maybe tax time — is more stressful than the holidays, which stretch from just before Thanksgiving to just after New Year’s Day. Some will say the holiday pressure actually begins with Halloween.

Leave the room

At parties or dinners large or small, if the conversation gets too much, or if complaints — or any number of uncomfortable conversations — start, leave the room. Northwestern University psychology professor, Richard Zinbarg, Ph.D. said go outside, get some fresh air or simply move on and talk to other people. If you must communicate with the negative, laugh it off and don’t take things that seriously. Sunlight is healthy and increases your happy hormone serotonin. Light therapy if you can’t get outside is a great way to deal with what the experts call, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 22


Top Stories Citrus fragrances

When you can smell citrus fragrances. They restore — what some health experts call — stress induced immunosuppression. As one example, lemon increases your body’s levels of norepinephrine. It’s one of the mood affecting hormones.

Electronics are a downer

Smartphones — many behavior experts will tell you — cause stress. We spend too much time checking messages and alerts, and around the holidays we worry about what others are doing. So, shut off your phone for an hour or two, or three, or four. The messages and calls will eventually be retrieved. Fun with family and friends happens in real time and if you miss it, you miss it forever.

The hoku spot

It’s the fleshly place between the index finger and thumbs. Those practicing Chinese medicine say squeezing it hard for 30-seconds can do wonders for stress and tense feelings.

A new hobby

Stress reducing hobbies are always a good thing. Take up playing sports, dancing, playing cards, painting, etc.

Slow down

Take some time off. Schedules fill up with tasks. Eliminate some or don’t schedule as many. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have so much to do it causes stress.

Exercise

This offers unlimited benefits. Stress is a brain taxer and your nervous system is controlled by the brain. Anxiety affects the whole body. Aerobic exercise — scientists say — decreases tension and elevate mood. And workouts enhance cognitive functions.

Music

Your favorite music is a great stress reliever. Happy tunes — or tunes that make you happy

— increase blood flow. Music also helps you eat less — says a Cornell University study — and that’s always a holidays problem.

Volunteering

It’s good for the mind and the body. Volunteering connects you to others and it helps with feelings of loneliness and depression.

Eat breakfast

It is — after all — still the most important meal of the day. By the way, drinking coffee on an empty stomach increases blood sugar levels and makes you irritated and anxious.

It’s okay to ask for help

Overwhelmed? It’s okay to not be superman or superwoman and ask for help. Professionals are everywhere that you can talk with and get help. Someone listening to you is a stress reliever.

Budget, budget, budget:

Many of us are overwhelmed by the cost of the holidays and especially holiday gift giving. We want to spoil our friends and family but if the credit card balance says it’s not a good idea, listen. Do the math and figure out what you can or cannot spend. Going deeper into debt isn’t going to be much of a cure for the doldrums.

Say no. It’s okay

Those that have trouble-saying no are targets. Saying yes to everybody and everything leads to feeling overwhelmed. It also leads to a lack of quality time of those you want to connect with like friends and family. The pressure can lead to headaches, upset stomach and more. And if all else fails — plan your next vacation: It’s all too much. Nothing helps. It’s time to step out and do at least a weeklong vacation. Just planning a vacation — experts say — can elevate your mood. Source: MSN

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 23


PIA NE IA Events

Upcoming Events Calendar 2016 For information and to register Click Here or call (402) 392-1611. Date

Class/Webinar

Where

When

December 1, 2016

**NEW** Regarding Ethics (NE)

NE/IA

Webinar: 1:00PM - 4:00PM

December 6, 2016

**NEW** Top 12 Coverage Countdown

NE/IA

Webinar: 12:00PM - 3:00PM

December 7, 2016

**NEW** How to be the Agent Advocate at Claim Time

NE/IA

Webinar: 1:00PM - 4:00PM

December 8, 2016

Words Mean Things & Insurance is a Foreign Language

NE/IA

Webinar: 12:00PM - 3:00PM

December 12, 2016

Food Borne Illness & Insurance Coverage

NE/IA

Webinar: 12:00PM - 3:00PM

December 13, 2016

Get in the Ring: A Look at Property Claims, Fights & Decisions

NE/IA

Webinar: 8:00AM - 11:00AM

December 20, 2016

**NEW** Leases & Contracts Vs. The Insurance Policy

NE/IA

Webinar: 8:00AM - 11:00AM

February 9, 2017

CISR: Personal Lines Miscellaneous

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

January 10, 2017

The Ever-Evolving Affordable Health Care Act

NE

Webinar: 12:00PM - 3:00PM

January 23, 2017

Regarding Ethics

NE/IA

Webinar: 12:00PM - 3:00PM

January 24, 2017

What We Learned: Claim and Coverage Issues from Catastrophes

NE/IA

Webinar: 12:00PM - 3:00PM

February 7, 2017

Personal Lines Complications: Because Simple is just too darn Easy

NE

Webinar: 12:00PM - 3:00PM

February 15, 2017

How to be the Agent Advocate at Claim Time

NE/IA

Webinar: 12:00PM - 3:00PM

February 23, 2017

CISR: Commercial Casualty 1

Davenport

Saint Ambrose University

February 22-24, 2017

CIC: Agency Management Institute

West Des Moines

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites

February 24, 2017

And the CHAOS Continues

NE/IA

Webinar: 8:00AM - 11:00AM

March 9, 2017

Regarding Ethics

NE

Webinar: 1:00PM - 4:00PM

March 9, 2017

CISR: Insuring Personal Residential Property

Hiawatha

Kirkwood Linn Regional Center

March 14, 2017

Executive & Management Liability

NE/IA

Webinar: 8:00AM - 11:00AM

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 24


PIA NE IA Events

March 15-17, 2017

CIC: Commercial Property Institute

Omaha

Hilton Double Tree Omaha SouthWest

March 22, 2017

CISR: Elements of Risk Management

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

April 5, 2017

CISR: Insuring Personal Auto Exposures

Davenport

Saint Ambrose University

April 5-8, 2017

Federal Legislative Summit & Governance Meetings

Washington DC

Crystal City Marriott, Arlington, VA

April 12, 2017

CISR: Insuring Commercial Property

Hiawatha

Kirkwood Linn Regional Center

April 19, 2017

CISR: Commercial Casualty 2

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

April 19-21, 2017

CIC: Commercial Property Institute

Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids Marriott

April 25-26, 2017

Ruble: Graduate Seminar

Omaha

Embassy Suites Omaha La Vista

May 11, 2017

CISR: Insuring Personal Residential Property

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

May 17-19, 2017

CIC: Agency Management Institute

Lincoln

Marriott Courtyard/ Haymarket

May 24, 2017

CISR: Personal Lines Miscellaneous

Hiawatha

Kirkwood Linn Regional Center

June 6-7, 2017

PIA Annual Convention

Nebraska City, NE

Lied Lodge, Nebraska City

June 13, 2017

CISR: Insuring Commercial Property

Davenport

Saint Ambrose University

June 14-16, 2017

CIC: Commercial Multi Line Institute

West Des Moines

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites

June 22, 2017

CISR: Commercial Casualty 1

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

July 11, 2017

CISR: Commercial Casualty 1

Hiawatha

Kirkwood Linn Regional Center

July 18, 2017

CISR: William T. Hold: Advanced Learning Seminar

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

July 19-21, 2017

CIC: Commercial Casualty Institute

Omaha

Hilton Double Tree Omaha SouthWest

July 25-26, 2017

Ruble: Graduate Seminar

West Des Moines

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites

August 8, 2017

CISR: Insuring Personal Auto Exposures

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

August 22, 2017

CISR: Insuring Personal Residential Property

Davenport

Saint Ambrose University

August 23-25, 2017

CIC: Personal Lines Institute

Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids Marriott

August 24, 2017

Greater Omaha Committee Scholarship Golf Outing

Ashland

Iron Horse Golf Club

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 25


PIA NEWS Kirkwood Linn Regional Center

September 13, 2017

CISR: Agency Operations

Hiawatha

September 13-16, 2017

Fall Governance Meetings

Minneapolis, Marquette Hotel, MN Minneapolis, MN

September 19, 2017

CISR: Dynamics of Service

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

September 20-22, 2017

CIC: Commercial Multi Line Institute

Lincoln

Marriott Courtyard/ Haymarket

October 11-13, 2017

CIC: Commercial Casualty Institute

West Des Moines

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites

October 18, 2017

CISR: Agency Operations

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

October 26, 2017

CISR: Personal Lines Miscellaneous

Davenport

Saint Ambrose University

November 9, 2017

CISR: Commercial Casualty 2

Hiawatha

Kirkwood Linn Regional Center

November 14, 2017

CISR: Insuring Commercial Property

Des Moines

Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale

November 15-17, 2017

CIC: Life & Health Institute

Omaha

Hilton Double Tree Omaha SouthWest

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News | www.pianeia.com | 26


ARE YOU totally

WORRY FREE? WWW.IMTINS.COM

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA • 800.274.3531 • WWW.IMTINS.COM

December 2016 | Main Street Industry News |www.pianeia.com| 27


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Short Term Disability Plan STD COVERAGE DESIGNED WITH LOCAL AGENTS IN MIND As a PIA Member* serving Main Street America, you and your employees** have access to a high-quality, competitively priced STD plan through the PIA Services Group Insurance Fund.

For many people, disability means an interruption in earnings that can put them financially at risk. Even with group coverage, benefits may not be sufficient to cover the extraordinary costs of a severe disability. The PIA Trust Short Term Disability Income Insurance Plan can provide protection whether you are totally disabled or disabled and working.

For more information about the PIA Trust Short Term Disability Income Insurance plan, please contact your local PIA Affiliate or call the Plan Administrator at (800) 336-4759. Additional information is also available on-line at www.piatrust.com. PIA SERVICES GROUP INSURANCE FUND

* PIA National membership, when required, must be current at all times ** No minimum participation required

The policy or its provisions may vary or be unavailable in some states. The policy has exclusions and limitations which may affect any benefits payable. Underwritten by Unimerica Insurance Company, Association Administrative Address, P.O. Box 17828, Portland, ME 04112-8828, under Policy Form ADI-4001-A (UIC). Insurance Program Administered by Lockton Affinity, LLC.

Main Street Industry News - December 2016  

PIA of Nebraska and Iowa, Main Street Industry News

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