Insurance Wikis https://insurancewikis.com We cares about your saving. Because Insurance is a Financial Cornerstone, Ensuring your savings aren't lost in an Emergency. Sat, 23 Jun 2018 00:35:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 https://i2.wp.com/insurancewikis.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/cropped-insurancewikis.com-favicon-1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Insurance Wikis https://insurancewikis.com 32 32 137163506 Third Time’s a Charm for Dixie https://insurancewikis.com/third-times-a-charm-for-dixie/ https://insurancewikis.com/third-times-a-charm-for-dixie/#respond Sat, 23 Jun 2018 00:35:40 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/third-times-a-charm-for-dixie/ We decided we were ready to have the responsibility of another puppy, and as we were looking through adoption websites, my daughter found our adorable little Dixie. She was a great energetic little girl. About 6 months later we noticed one of her rear legs had an odd angle to it. When we took her …

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We decided we were ready to have the responsibility of another puppy, and as we were looking through adoption websites, my daughter found our adorable little Dixie. She was a great energetic little girl.

About 6 months later we noticed one of her rear legs had an odd angle to it. When we took her to the vet they said she would need orthopedic surgery. After a few months had passed, Dixie had her first procedure on her left rear leg. The surgeon had to cut her tibia to a better size and found out her growth plates had not closed properly.

Two weeks later, we took her in for her second bandage change and her external fixture had moved, the bone had slipped and a pin sheered off into her bone. She went into surgery for the second time and had larger pins put in place to hold her bones at the correct angle. This time we noticed she was limping more. We took her to the vet and had x-rays taken. From those, we found out that once again her bones had slipped and in she went for her third surgery. This time around the surgeon decided to put a plate and about eight screws in. Here we are with about three weeks left of a cast and everything has gone much more smoothly. Without Trupanion we could not have helped our little Dixie get all the help she has needed. Thank you so much, Trupanion!

Thank You
Lucretia W.

 

 


Dixie

Wellington, Colorado
Enrolled: June 2015
Condition: Rear leg bone deformity
The Trupanion Policy Paid: $10,408.49

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VW may seek damages from ex-CEO Winterkorn over ‘dieselgate’ https://insurancewikis.com/vw-may-seek-damages-from-ex-ceo-winterkorn-over-dieselgate/ https://insurancewikis.com/vw-may-seek-damages-from-ex-ceo-winterkorn-over-dieselgate/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 18:59:47 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/vw-may-seek-damages-from-ex-ceo-winterkorn-over-dieselgate/ (Reuters) — Volkswagen A.G. is reviewing whether to seek damages from former Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, who was at the helm when it emerged the carmaker had cheated on emissions tests, supervisory board member Stephan Weil told a newspaper. “Damages against former management board members are under serious consideration, I’m not just saying that,” he …

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(Reuters) — Volkswagen A.G. is reviewing whether to seek damages from former Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, who was at the helm when it emerged the carmaker had cheated on emissions tests, supervisory board member Stephan Weil told a newspaper.

“Damages against former management board members are under serious consideration, I’m not just saying that,” he told Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview when asked whether Volkswagen would seek damages from Mr. Winterkorn.

“Once we know the outcome of investigations, we will make a decision,” said Mr. Weil, who represents the German state of Lower Saxony, a VW shareholder, on the company’s board.

VW has for years said only lower-level managers knew of the emissions cheating, but U.S. authorities filed criminal charges against Mr. Winterkorn earlier this year.

This month, Munich prosecutors widened their probe into VW’s premium brand Audi. They said they were investigating Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler for suspected fraud and false advertising and for his alleged role in helping to bring cars equipped with illegal software on to the European market.

This week they arrested Mr. Stadler, citing concerns he might try to interfere with the investigation. The arrest prompted the supervisory board to suspend him and name Bram Schot to take over as interim Audi CEO.

Asked by Sueddeutsche why Mr. Stadler was suspended rather than removed entirely, Mr. Weil said many questions remained unanswered.

“It is a matter of fairness to wait until the matter is cleared up. Any normal employer would do that,” he said, adding he could not predict whether Mr. Stadler would return to his post.

Mr. Stadler remains remanded in custody but has not been charged with a crime. VW and Audi have said that Mr. Stadler should be presumed innocent unless proven otherwise.

 

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Petrobras workers win $4.5 billion wage spat https://insurancewikis.com/petrobras-workers-win-4-5-billion-wage-spat/ https://insurancewikis.com/petrobras-workers-win-4-5-billion-wage-spat/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 18:26:25 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/petrobras-workers-win-4-5-billion-wage-spat/ (Reuters) — Brazil’s top labor court on Thursday ruled in favor of workers at state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro in a wage dispute that could cost the world’s most indebted oil company up to 17 billion reais ($4.5 billion). Petrobras, as the company is known, said it will appeal the Superior Labor Court’s ruling in the case, …

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(Reuters) — Brazil’s top labor court on Thursday ruled in favor of workers at state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro in a wage dispute that could cost the world’s most indebted oil company up to 17 billion reais ($4.5 billion).

Petrobras, as the company is known, said it will appeal the Superior Labor Court’s ruling in the case, brought by oil workers seeking more pay.

The ruling points to gathering headwinds for the company, which settled a nearly $3 billion lawsuit with U.S. investors in January and is seeking to cut debt through a $21 billion divestment program.

The case centered around Petrobras’ compensation policy since 2007, when it adopted the so-called Minimum Level and Regime Remuneration (RMNR) scheme.

Workers argued that payments tied to special work arrangements, such as night shifts and hazardous work, should be excluded from an agreement on the wage policy.

The ruling could potentially saddle the firm with up to 17 billion reais in added payments.

But Petrobras, backed by the Federal Attorney General’s Office, argued that the payments should be included in the base calculation for RMNR, as agreed to in a collective salary agreement with workers.

The head of the Superior Labor Court, Brito Pereira, had to vote to untie the ruling, which had 13 labor judges voting for the employees and 12 for the company.

The change means some 59,000 employees could receive a wage increase of up to 35%, according to calculations by the Attorney General’s Office.

Petrobras plans to appeal the decision in the Supreme Federal Court, one person with knowledge of the matter said. But the oil giant faces plenty of other headaches.

A nationwide strike by truckers over high fuel costs forced embattled President Michel Temer to cut diesel prices, in part via subsidies paid to Petrobras.

While the cash-strapped government has promised to compensate Petrobras for losses incurred by the price cut, some doubt whether the company will be made whole and the incident drove CEO Pedro Parente to resign.

 

 

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California Workers’ Comp Rating Bureau Exploring Blockchain, Behavioral Science https://insurancewikis.com/california-workers-comp-rating-bureau-exploring-blockchain-behavioral-science/ https://insurancewikis.com/california-workers-comp-rating-bureau-exploring-blockchain-behavioral-science/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 18:20:17 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/california-workers-comp-rating-bureau-exploring-blockchain-behavioral-science/ One wouldn’t normally associate blockchain with workers’ compensation, two completely different industries that seem worlds apart. But as it turns out, the technology is of value to at least one very important entity in the space. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau in California is looking into using blockchain technology as a better, safer, way …

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One wouldn’t normally associate blockchain with workers’ compensation, two completely different industries that seem worlds apart.

But as it turns out, the technology is of value to at least one very important entity in the space.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau in California is looking into using blockchain technology as a better, safer, way to get the workers’ comp carriers and agents and brokers access to the massive amount of data the WCIRB collects.

The organization isn’t stopping there. It’s funding efforts to look into using behavioral science, machine learning and other digital and technological innovations under an ongoing modernization effort.

Bill Mudge, president and CEO of the WCIRB, the provider of actuarial-based information and research and advisory rates for a state that comprises roughly one-fifth of all the nation’s workers’ comp premiums, talked about these changes with Insurance Journal.

This has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Insurance Journal: We’ve been hearing the WCIRB has been in the midst of some technological/digital changes. Can you talk about what’s been going on and why?

Mudge: Tech enablement for us over these past six years as a company is really core to our transformation as an organization to a much more customer-focused company, with a broader perspective really across the entire California workers’ compensation community.

For insurers, but for also employers, and agents, and brokers. This industry, technology and data have really shifted the landscape of our business to provide really greater meaning about workers’ comp system dynamics and much more granular analyses than we ever have.

Let me give you an example, our recent insights and heat maps that we have out about geographical cost differences across California, you know California geographic cost differences are really dramatic now that we’ve teased them out and understanding those cost drivers is critical for buyers and for sellers. The investment we’ve made in these modern technologies, and tools, and quite frankly talent that thinks differently about the business, to expand our horizons, insights, as well as greater access to data for our customers and their ability to self-service has really been, I think, sorta core to what we have evolved to in the last several years as a company.

Now, I’ll give you a little perspective on that. Today through our various mediums, right, WCIRB.com, it’s open to the entire public, it’s our public-facing website, WBIRB Connect is for insurers and agents and brokers to do business that they need to do in transacting insurance, and our analytics portal, WCIRB Inquiry, for insurers, there’s just a wealth of capabilities available today that didn’t exist just a few years ago. I’ll give you context to that, we’re on pace this year to reach more than 2.5 million customer interactions through those various channels.

IJ: Specifically, what are carriers getting from all this change?

Mudge: For carriers the business is really shifted in my three decades doing this and much more so in the last several years where workers’ comp today for us and for carriers is really much more of a data-driven business, from the macro view of systemic cost drivers to the ability to benchmark outcomes and book a business performance across a variety of variables, we’re integral to all of that, as we have the entire insurance industry and dataset sitting here electronically within the WCIRB and spanning across decades and data about every insured risk.

We started to provide that data in an appropriate, authorized, authenticated way to carriers. It’s really critical to their decision making and, in a broader sense, I think also the stability of a healthy competitive market. I mentioned WCIRB Inquiry and it really provides insurers the ability to have data access at their fingertips and benchmarking capabilities that doesn’t exist with any other bureau.

We also provide carriers now, we got into the web services business, something we call X-Mods and More as a product that can deliver machine-to-machine data that’s accurate at the point of need in a just-in-time way to really facilitate more efficient insurance transactions.

For carriers it’s greater insight about this long tail line of business and the system changes that are going on underlying California comp, and then their ability to have access and know where they are in their own books of business and then also be able to get data in a just-in-time way to make the transaction of insurance a lot more efficient than it’s ever been.

IJ: What about agents and brokers, what changes are you making that will affect them and what should they take away from all of this?

Mudge: There’s a lot of real positive changes for agents and brokers. We started embracing them as a customer group in a much broader way several years ago. They’ve been big fans of our call center. We take about 80,000 calls a year at the WCIRB believe it or not, and the largest user population is agents and brokers.

Let me start briefly with WCIRB.com, that front door, if you will, electronically to our company. We revamped it last year and one of the key landing pages we put up there is for agents and brokers. We launched something earlier this year called the agent broker toolkit. It’s on their landing page. It’s organized in icons around kinda the typical sequence and conversation that an agent would have with a client about the key topics in workers’ comp, from where the business is located, as I said geography matters a lot in California as a cost driver, to classifying their business. How do 500,000 businesses in the state of California get fit into about 500 industry classifications?

From experience rating to ownership changes and how those effect experience modifications, to preparing for final audits, all that stuff and knowledge is now at the fingertips of the agent and it’s mobile enabled.

Also, I’ll tell you, agents can find on WCIRB.com a class search tool to enable them to help in the classification of their client’s business and x-mod estimators for the company that produces the x-mods, the WCIRB, to assist their clients as well in doing sort of what if or risk management scenarios if certain types of claims are able to be eliminated from the workplace.

We built something a few years ago called WCIRB Connect, and I mentioned that, it’s really the work horse system for insurers and for agents and brokers. It logs over a million customer sessions now annually. On Connect, agents and brokers can do a lot of their business right there.

IJ: The board approved some R&D funding recently to take a look at some technological innovation, specifically in areas of data and behavioral science. What’s going on with this and why is behavioral science pertinent to workers’ comp?

Mudge: In California, we’re the single largest workers’ compensation market in the country, not surprisingly given one of the largest economies in the world. We comprise about 20 percent of all the nationwide workers’ comp premiums. We’re a little over $17 billion dollars on a first dollar premium basis and it’s a dynamic system and an innovative business climate in California. We have to continue to innovate as well to remain relevant to the communities we serve, and our board gets that.

We went to the board and said, boy, we’d like to explore some future thinking things like machine learning, like web scraping, like insurtech, like behavioral science you’re asking me about, to see how new tech can enhance our value proposition. Here’s the thing on behavioral science, it’s really particularly intriguing to me. I think one of the reasons I’ve stayed in workers’ comp for so many years is because workers’ comp’s all about human beings and how do human beings react in this system.

What we’re thinking is we could blend our actuarial or data science with the humanistic side of science. We can sometimes get caught up in the data or people call it big data, and yet workers’ comp it’s more about how people relate to or react to the system that I’d suggest portends future trends that we’ll later see in the data.

Rather than look in the rearview mirror, if you will at our actuaries, and we kinda get a confused, some might say, “Well that was great, you told us what happened, right?” We want to start looking out the windshield with the assistance of behavioral scientists, not people from the workers’ comp arena. We’ll bring that side of the equation, but people who study human behavior at places like UC Berkeley and we’re looking to partner our actuaries and medical researchers with their behaviorists to study the workers’ comp system from a humanistic and sort of data-istic, if you will, way. Now, that’s a mouthful, right? It’s a big undertaking.

IJ: Blockchain is something you wouldn’t relate to workers’ comp, so can you tell us a little bit about what WCIRB is doing with this technology?

Mudge: We haven’t done anything with it yet. I guess you could say we’re going to school on the possibilities of it and particularly as we learn about blockchain, as we watch others, whether it be in the banking or financial services world, or the retail world, and their business, we’re really interested in this area of blockchain called smart contracts.

We collect a lot of data at the WCIRB. In fact, we collect tens of millions of records annually. In that collection of the data, there’s just a lot of process and movement of data through various secure channels and human involvement. It’s not an inexpensive proposition.

Blockchain maybe offers the opportunity to say well what if the data never moved, right? What if it stayed at its home, its source of truth? What if through a smart contract those that are authorized to access certain data for specific purposes could do so through the blockchain.

Let me give you an example, all insurance policies that are written by insurers in California, those all sit in their systems with those insurers who wrote those policies. Today, they pretty much all sit in digital form. As the designated statistical agent for workers’ comp, that’s us the WCIRB, those policies and all the data surrounding them is to be reported to us, so the data moves.

What if we, the insurers, were all parties to a private digital ecosystem, a blockchain, for policy and statistical purposes with rules and governance and of that that’s built right within the chain, this so-called smart contract, right?

It’s really intriguing to us. We’re exploring the development of a business case or two and thinking about a proof of concept to see maybe the art of the possible on this. It’s not going to happen overnight, but, boy, I can envision if this could work out it could be a real game changer.

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Colorado Hailstorm Carries $169M Insurance Price Tag https://insurancewikis.com/colorado-hailstorm-carries-169m-insurance-price-tag/ https://insurancewikis.com/colorado-hailstorm-carries-169m-insurance-price-tag/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 18:12:08 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/colorado-hailstorm-carries-169m-insurance-price-tag/ Thousands of Fountain and Colorado Springs, Colo. area residents have spent the past week cleaning up and meeting with insurance adjusters after an unusual early morning June 13 storm pounded vehicles and roofs golf and baseball-sized hail. The storm caused an estimated $169 million in insured losses resulting from 26,000 auto and homeowners insurance claims …

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Thousands of Fountain and Colorado Springs, Colo. area residents have spent the past week cleaning up and meeting with insurance adjusters after an unusual early morning June 13 storm pounded vehicles and roofs golf and baseball-sized hail.

The storm caused an estimated $169 million in insured losses resulting from 26,000 auto and homeowners insurance claims filed so far, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

RMIIA’s damage estimates include 17,351 car insurance claims adding up to more than $104 million and 8,648 property insurance claims at more than $65 million.

The estimate ranks this storm as the state’s 12th most expensive hailstorm and is the most damaging Southern Colorado storm since a July 2016 Colorado Springs hailstorm caused an estimated $366.8 million in insured losses.

“This is yet another reminder from Mother Nature of why Colorado is ranked No. 2 in the nation for hail insurance claims,” said Carole Walker, RMIIA’s executive director. “The size and amount of hail that battered Colorado Springs is unfortunately part of a pattern of catastrophic events the state has been experiencing during the past several years, so we need to be financially prepared for the unexpected-check your insurance to know what it covers, what it doesn’t and how much protection you have when you need it the most.”

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Oilfield services provider wins patent damages: High court https://insurancewikis.com/oilfield-services-provider-wins-patent-damages-high-court/ https://insurancewikis.com/oilfield-services-provider-wins-patent-damages-high-court/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 18:04:19 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/oilfield-services-provider-wins-patent-damages-high-court/ (Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger N.V., the world’s largest oilfield services provider. The 7-2 decision overturned a lower court’s ruling that had enforced limits on applying U.S. patent law overseas …

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(Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger N.V., the world’s largest oilfield services provider.

The 7-2 decision overturned a lower court’s ruling that had enforced limits on applying U.S. patent law overseas and reduced by $93.4 million the damages sum that rival ION Geophysical Corp. had to pay for infringing Schlumberger technology that helps find oil and gas beneath the ocean floor. Both companies are based in Houston.

The decision expands the ability of patent owners to recover foreign-based damages, increasing the threat posed by certain infringement lawsuits in the United States.

Internet-based companies and others had expressed concern that extending patent damages beyond national borders would expose U.S. high-technology firms to greater patent-related risks abroad.

Schlumberger said that since federal patent law protects against infringement that occurs when components of a patented invention are supplied from the U.S. for assembly abroad, it should be fully compensated for the infringement, including any lost foreign sales.

The high court agreed. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said ION infringed patents owned by Schlumberger subsidiary WesternGeco in the United States.

The “overseas events were merely incidental to the infringement,” he said. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Stephen Breyer dissented from the decision.

The case involved four WesternGeco patents related to an invention that more efficiently completes marine seismic surveys to help identify oil and gas drilling locations.

ION developed a competing system and sold it to surveying companies abroad. WesternGeco sued in 2009, and a federal jury in Houston found that Ion infringed the patents and caused the company to lose contracts.

The jury awarded $12.5 million in royalties and $93.4 million in lost profits stemming from foreign contracts the company said it missed out on as a result of ION’s infringement.

In 2015, the Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent issues, ruled that Schlumberger could not recoup the lost profits portion because U.S. patent law does not cover the overseas use of infringing products.

President Donald Trump’s administration, which sided with Schlumberger in the case, said the Federal Circuit’s ruling “systematically undercompensates” U.S. patent owners who participate in cross-border commerce.

The case was made more complicated when the Federal Circuit on May 7 invalidated three of the patents at issue in the case, which could impact the overall damages owed.

 

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Consumer protection agency’s structure unconstitutional: Judge https://insurancewikis.com/consumer-protection-agencys-structure-unconstitutional-judge/ https://insurancewikis.com/consumer-protection-agencys-structure-unconstitutional-judge/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 17:43:19 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/consumer-protection-agencys-structure-unconstitutional-judge/ (Reuters) — A federal judge in New York ruled on Thursday that the structure of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional, forbidding the agency from suing a company that advances money to people awaiting settlement payouts. The decision by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska is at odds with a February ruling by the …

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(Reuters) — A federal judge in New York ruled on Thursday that the structure of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional, forbidding the agency from suing a company that advances money to people awaiting settlement payouts.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska is at odds with a February ruling by the federal appeals court in Washington that upheld the CFPB’s structure.

Judge Preska said the office of New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, which joined the CFPB in suing New Jersey-based RD Legal Funding L.L.C., could continue pursuing the case.

“We will continue to vigorously pursue our case against RD Legal for as many victims as possible,” said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office.

If another appeals court upholds Judge Preska’s ruling, it could make it more likely that the issue will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The CFPB declined to comment.

The CFPB was created as part of the Democrat-backed 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law to combat abusive lending. It has been the subject of political and legal battles since President Donald Trump, a Republican, took office.

Under the leadership of Mick Mulvaney, appointed as the agency’s temporary head in November, the CFPB has shelved new regulations and dropped cases against payday lenders.

“We are pleased that court correctly found that the CFPB is unconstitutional as structured, and this underscores that the CFPB never should have brought this action in the first place,” said David Willingham, a lawyer for RD Legal Funding, in a statement.

Judge Preska said she agreed with a dissenting judge in the Washington case, who found it unconstitutional that the agency was headed by a single director who served a five-year term and could be fired by the president only for cause.

The White House announced earlier this month that Trump would appoint Kathy Kraninger, an Office of Management and Budget official, to succeed Mulvaney as head of the CFPB.

In their lawsuit, filed in February 2017, the CFPB and attorney general claimed RD Legal Funding and related entities used deceptive tactics to scam borrowers, including first responders to the Sept. 11th attacks and National Football League retirees with brain injuries. They said borrowers often ended up paying back twice as much or more than what they received upfront.

Judge Preska ruled Thursday that the attorney general had made plausible claims that RD Legal Funding violated federal and New York law, denying the company’s motion to dismiss the case.

 

 

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DOL Finalizes Rule to Expand Association Health Plans https://insurancewikis.com/dol-finalizes-rule-to-expand-association-health-plans/ https://insurancewikis.com/dol-finalizes-rule-to-expand-association-health-plans/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 17:22:22 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/dol-finalizes-rule-to-expand-association-health-plans/ On June 19, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule that gives small businesses more freedom to join together as a single group to purchase health insurance in the large group market or to self-insure. These benefit arrangements are called association health plans (AHPs). The final rule allows working owners without other …

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On June 19, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule that gives small businesses more freedom to join together as a single group to purchase health insurance in the large group market or to self-insure. These benefit arrangements are called association health plans (AHPs). The final rule allows working owners without other employees, such as sole proprietors and other self-employed individuals, to join AHPs.

The final rule allows employers to join together to form an AHP that is a single ERISA plan if either of the following requirements is satisfied:

  • The employers are in the same trade, industry, line of business or profession; or
  • The employers have a principal place of business within a region that does not exceed boundaries of the same state or the same metropolitan area (even if the metropolitan area includes more than one state).

Most AHPs will not be subject to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to include Essential Health Benefits (EHB), which requires small group plans to cover a core set of 10 major items and services, such as mental health care, maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs and emergency services. Most AHPs will also be exempt from the ACA’s rating restrictions for the small group market, which means that AHPs may base premiums on factors such as age, industry and gender. The final rule requires AHPs to comply with certain consumer protections and anti-discrimination protections that apply to the large group market (learn more).

R&R will continue to keep you informed as we monitor developing guidance regarding AHPs and other benefits matters at the federal and state levels. For a more complete understanding of the new AHP rule, click here to read more.

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Utility sector workers at higher risk of serious injuries: Study https://insurancewikis.com/utility-sector-workers-at-higher-risk-of-serious-injuries-study/ https://insurancewikis.com/utility-sector-workers-at-higher-risk-of-serious-injuries-study/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 16:52:53 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/utility-sector-workers-at-higher-risk-of-serious-injuries-study/ Employees in the utility sector are at higher risk for serious injuries and fatalities than workers in other industries such as construction, manufacturing and mining, according to a new study. The utilities sector has a 32% SIF exposure rate, which is seven points higher than the all-industry SIF rate of 25%, according to the study …

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Employees in the utility sector are at higher risk for serious injuries and fatalities than workers in other industries such as construction, manufacturing and mining, according to a new study.

The utilities sector has a 32% SIF exposure rate, which is seven points higher than the all-industry SIF rate of 25%, according to the study conducted by workplace safety consultancy DEKRA North America Inc. that examined 1,060 incidents across 11 utility organizations and was released Thursday.

Water utilities have the highest SIF exposure rate at 42%, followed by electric utilities at 32% and gas utilities at 29%, according to the study.

Motor vehicle incidents were responsible for most hazards at 30%, followed by line of fire or struck by incidents at 28%, according to the study.

“The rate of on-the-job SIF is alarmingly high and affects all industries – not just the utilities sector,” said Don Martin, senior vice president for the Marietta, Georgia-based consultancy. “The bottom line is, there are steps organizations can and should be taking to reduce SIF rates and identifying and understanding the risk factors is step one.”

 

 

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Uber driver was streaming Hulu show before crash: Police https://insurancewikis.com/uber-driver-was-streaming-hulu-show-before-crash-police/ https://insurancewikis.com/uber-driver-was-streaming-hulu-show-before-crash-police/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 16:01:19 +0000 https://insurancewikis.com/uber-driver-was-streaming-hulu-show-before-crash-police/ (Reuters) — Police in Tempe, Arizona, said evidence showed the “safety” driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber was distracted and streaming a television show on her phone right up until about the time of a fatal accident in March, deeming the crash that rocked the nascent industry “entirely avoidable.” A 318-page report from …

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(Reuters) — Police in Tempe, Arizona, said evidence showed the “safety” driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber was distracted and streaming a television show on her phone right up until about the time of a fatal accident in March, deeming the crash that rocked the nascent industry “entirely avoidable.”

A 318-page report from the Tempe Police Department, released late on Thursday in response to a public records request, said the driver, Rafaela Vasquez, repeatedly looked down and not at the road, glancing up just a half second before the car hit 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was crossing the street at night.

According to the report, Ms. Vasquez could face charges of vehicle manslaughter. Police said that, based on testing, the crash was “deemed entirely avoidable” if Ms. Vasquez had been paying attention.

Police obtained records from Hulu, an online service for streaming television shows and movies, which showed Ms. Vasquez’s account was playing the television talent show “The Voice” the night of the crash for about 42 minutes, ending at 9:59 p.m., which “coincides with the approximate time of the collision,” the report says.

It is not clear if Ms. Vasquez will be charged, and police submitted their findings to county prosecutors, who will make the determination. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office referred the case to the Yavapai County Attorney’s office because of a conflict and that office could not be reached late Thursday.

Ms. Vasquez could not immediately be reached for comment and Reuters could not locate her attorney.

The Uber car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, but Uber, like other self-driving car developers, requires a back-up driver in the car to intervene when the autonomous system fails or a tricky driving situation occurs.

Ms. Vasquez looked up just 0.5 seconds before the crash, after keeping her head down for 5.3 seconds, the Tempe Police report said. Uber’s self-driving Volvo SUV was traveling at just under 44 mph.

Uber declined to comment.

Last month, an Uber spokeswoman said the company was undergoing a “top-to-bottom safety review,” and had brought on a former federal transportation official to help improve the company’s safety culture. The company prohibits the use of any mobile device by safety drivers while the self-driving cars are on a public road, and drivers are told they can be fired for violating this rule.

Police said a review of video from inside the car showed Ms. Vasquez was looking down during the trip, and her face “appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down.” The report found that Ms. Vasquez “was distracted and looking down” for close to seven of the nearly 22 minutes prior to the collision.

Tempe Police Detective Michael McCormick asked Hulu for help in the investigation, writing in a May 10 email to the company that “this is a very serious case where the charges of vehicle manslaughter may be charged, so correctly interpreting the information provided to us is crucial.” Hulu turned over the records on May 31.

According to a report last month by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is also investigating the crash, Ms. Vasquez told federal investigators she had been monitoring the self-driving interface in the car and that neither her personal nor business phones were in use until after the crash. That report showed Uber had disabled the emergency braking system in the Volvo, and Ms. Vasquez began braking less than a second after hitting Ms. Herzberg.

Ms. Herzberg, who was homeless, was walking her bicycle across the street, outside of a crosswalk on a four-lane road, the night of March 18 when she was struck by the front right side of the Volvo.

The police report faulted Ms. Herzberg for “unlawfully crossing the road at a location other than a marked crosswalk.”

In addition to the report, police released on Thursday a slew of audio files of 911 calls made by Ms. Vasquez, who waited at the scene for police, and bystanders the night of the crash; photographs of Ms. Herzberg’s damaged bicycle and the Uber car; and videos from police officers’ body cameras that capture the minutes after the crash, including harrowing screams in the background.

The crash dealt Uber a major setback in its efforts to develop self-driving cars, and the company shuttered its autonomous car testing program in Arizona after the incident. It says it plans to begin testing elsewhere this summer, although in some cities it will have to first win over increasingly wary regulators.

 

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