Saturday, September 10, 2011

NAIC Provides Forum for Ivory Tower Attack on Self-Insurance

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has never been known as an organization where the self-insurance/alternative risk transfer industry is treated fairly, but its penchant for bias became even more visible this past week. Worse yet, this bias is now being fomented by an “ivory tower” expert.

Professor Timothy Stoltzfus Jost is the designated “consumer representative” on the NAIC’s ERISA (B) Subgroup , which is tasked with developing various policy recommendations related to how states should adapt their insurance regulations to better coordinate with PPACA implementation. The esteemed professor is not shy in sharing his opinion that smaller self-insured group health plans, facilitated by stop-loss insurance, should be made extinct.

During the Workgroup’s last conference call, Professor Jost presented a formal statement entitled The Affordable Care Act and Stop-Loss Insurance. This scholarly work was quite the hit piece on self-insurance disguised with big words, extensive footnoting and misleading legal references.

His central thesis is that smaller employers should not be allowed to self-insure because they do so primarily to escape state regulation, and going forward to sidestep new PPACA regulation. He also pushes the dubious argument that self-insured plans contribute to adverse selection (see my earlier blog post on this subject).

Virtually all of Professor Jost’s points can and will be rebutted privately and publicly as this NAIC policy development process moves forward, but first let’s take some time to consider the source.

He is currently a law professor at the Washington and Lee University of Law, with multiple other academic appointments dating back to 1979. Along the way, he has written several books and academic papers on the subject of health care with titles such as The Threats Facing our Public Health Care Programs and a Rights-Based Response; and Health Care at Risk: a Critique of the Consumer-Driven Movement.

And by the way, he is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz. In case you are not familiar with this school, it makes U.C. Berkley look like a bastion of conservatism.

So what about private sector experience over his 35 year career? You guessed it, zero. How about past experience as a regulator who at least could interact with the private sector? No again. What we have here is the classic liberal elite academic who looks at the world through prisms of theory and ideology.

Professor Jost holds himself out to be a patient’s rights advocate and clearly views the NAIC as a forum to present his “ivory tower” perspective. OK fine, there’s certainly room for a diversity of qualified opinions as part of the policy development process.

The problem is that while Professor Jost may well have valid perspectives to contribute on true consumer (patient) protection issues, he’s out of his league in commenting on how health care delivery should be financed.

Moreover, if he was truly concerned about the ability of individuals to receive quality, affordable health care, Professor Jost should actually be a proponent of self-insured health plans (regardless of size) because these plans generally do a better job on both counts as compared to the fully-insured marketplace.

It appears the professor is in need of some timely continuing education.

Friday, September 9, 2011

RRG Legislation Snagged by Dodd-Frank Creation

After some initial good progress in moving federal legislation to modernize the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA), a new rhetorical roadblock has been raised.

The Risk Retention Modernization Act (H.R. 2126) includes a dispute resolution provision whereby RRGs who believe they are being illegally regulated in non-domiciliary states can access the equivalent of a federal arbitration process as an alternative to initiating costly legal action.

An earlier version of the legislation provided that this dispute resolution mechanism would be administered within the Treasury Department due to technical jurisdiction requirements, but left discretion Treasury to fit this function in as part their exiting organizational chart.

Fast forward to the recent passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, which among other things created a new Federal Insurance Office (FIO) to be housed within the Treasury Department. As a result of this development, the current version of the legislation specifically designates FIO as the entity responsible to arbitrate RRG disputes with state regulators.

Supporters of the legislation have always known that there would be some push back in Congress from members concerned that such a dispute resolution would infringe on the authority of state insurance regulators. Of course, the opposite is actually true and this position has gained traction in recent months.

But just as the policy argument has largely been settled, at least one member of Congress key to the legislation’s eventual message has raised a new concern. In a meeting earlier this week to discuss the legislation, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), chairwoman of the House Subcommittee of Capital Markets within the House Financial Services Committee, voiced strong concerns about this new responsibility assigned to the FIO.

Her objection was not really specific to RRG regulation, but rather reflects a broader view held by many Republicans that the FIO is being given too much authority. In hindsight, this objection was not particularly surprising.

While PPACA has garnered the lion share of public attention for those critical of government expanding its regulatory reach, the distaste for Dodd-Frank is significant among most Republican members of Congress. As a result, any manifestation of this law, such as the FIO, can spark a reflexive push back as demonstrated by Rep. Biggert’s comments.

It is important to note that this new wrinkle does not mean that H.R. 2126 cannot pass. The lobbying process on Capitol Hill is inherently complicated and this is just the latest example.

In the end, if the case can be made that the practical advantages this legislation offers to small and mid-sized companies trump more abstract political concerns, the LRRA will be successfully modernized.

Stay tuned for additional inside reports on how this legislation is progressing on Capitol Hill.

Regulatory Overreach Compromises Workplace Safety Initiatives

In case you had any doubt that the current public debate over the scope of federal regulation is more about political ideology rather than practical reality, look no further than OSHA’s ramped up oversight of workplace safety issues.

Now on the surface, this may sound like a laudable focus because almost everyone agrees that there is a role for government in making sure that sensible workplace safety standards are established and adhered to. But of course, in this current political climate Obama regulators just don’t know when to say when.

Specifically, OSHA has recently started to subpoena workplace safety audits prepared by workers’ compensation self-insurers and insurance carriers. Keep in mind that that these audits are prepared on voluntary basis so that employers/insurers are better able to proactively address any safety deficiencies that may exist. Such audits are particularly important tools for workers’ compensation self-insurers because they “own” every dollar saved on payments to injured workers.

Historically, OSHA has not attempted to access such audits because everyone understood that employers would likely stop preparing these risk management tools if they could be used against them in regulatory enforcement and/or legal proceedings.

This precedence has been overturned by a recent federal district court ruling stating that OSHA does have the right to subpoena safety audits and related documentation. Specifically, the ruling in the case of Solis v. Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company concluded that audit subpoena are generally enforceable if:

1) They reasonably relate to an investigation within OSHA’s authority;
2) The requested documents are relevant to OSHA’s investigation;
3) The request is not too vague
4) Proper administrative procedures have been followed; and
5) The subpoena does not demand information for an “illegitimate purpose”

According to OSHA’s internal policy regarding voluntary self-audits, the agency will not “routinely” request such audits at the beginning of an inspection, or use the audits to identify hazards to inspect.
But now with a favorable court ruling in their back pocket, it’s very reasonable to expect that OSHA regulators will, in fact, make safety audit subpoenas a routine part of their investigative process.

Of course, and ironically, the real victims are the workers as many employers are likely to curtail such formal audits in response to OSHA’s invasive zeal. Another classic example of “no good deed goes unpunished” apparently embraced by this administration.

Advantages of one day auto insurance

Advantages of one day auto insurance The British government was illegal to drive on public roads in 1930. Since then, the law has changed in this regard, very little. Auto insurance is still needed, and of course the U.S. is similar to the law. Almost every state in the United States has done the compulsory insurance. In the UK a person has third party insurance against damage or loss, at least. Third party cover if you cause injury. You pay for the damage caused to you and the rest of the vehicle and other persons in an accident.

Although not required to have a third party, fire and theft is a very good idea. This is especially true of a nice car that could be chosen by the thieves. Car models that are the oldest fire hazard may also want to have a blanket over them. With any third party fire and theft protection obtained with the same third party fire and theft protection. You do not have to worry if your vehicle is stolen, your insurance company will pay you replacement value. The same is true if your car catches fire.

The more expensive the insurance is to make complete. Almost all of this is covered by insurance. The damage is still involved. You can cause an accident and the insurance company pays to repair the car. Although it is the third most expensive is usually necessary to increase the price if you can afford it. Most of the time, if you pay the installments, the bank requires you to make insurance coverage. Another thing that is generally used in short-term car insurance. This declaration must be done to bring short period of time insurance. You can get the most out of a single insurance policy of 28 days.

It 'the perfect disc just bought the car, or when you lend your car to a friend. Maybe you need to use the van for a few days to move the house. When you buy a short term car insurance will protect you from an accident without having to spend a lot of money. Even if the coverage is usually extended, it is cheaper than replacing the annual policy, borrowed a car.

Another good thing about auto insurance in the short term is that it can prevent any claim of annual passes and the political ruin of the money you save with a discount of any claims. This discount can add hundreds of pounds. If you have had your no claims rule in place for five years or more can save 65% of your bill. Why ruin the chances of the savings by taking unnecessary risks.

When someone wants to borrow the car make sure to buy short-term car insurance, and do not take claims discount intact. Perhaps the family is coming to town to visit, and they need to use the vehicle, while I'm here. Use one day and the insurance covers the car. You could add up to big savings when it comes to compensation claims can not reduce

How to get one day car insurance for your vehicle

Nowadays it is possible to get one day car insurance for your vehicle. This is especially nice when you buy a new car. Instead of having to leave your new car behind for a day or two, until you can get long term insurance on it, you can purchase short term that just lasts a day or two. This will allow you to drive the car home right away and give you time to get more permanent insurance cover.

One day car insurance actually has many uses and it is easy to purchase. All you need to do is go online or make a phone call. You will have to answer a few questions about your driving record and other pertinent information. It is really easy to take care of this online. You can even use a debit or credit card to pay for the purchase. You can let the insurance company know in advance if you want or you can contact them when you need it.

There are a few rules usually, that may apply. In most cases you will have to be at least 25 years old and have been driving for a certain number of years. You may have to have a driving record that is pretty clean, no marks or very few marks. Sometimes insurance companies will not allow certain cars. Ones that you may have difficulty with are cars with modifications. The insurance companies are in control of these rules and some may have different rules. These requirements are all about limiting the risk to the company, while making the process of getting cover as simple as possible.

Some of the best times to use one day car insurance are when your relatives are coming for a visit and will need to use your car, when you need to borrow someone's car for a day or two, when you go on holiday and want someone to help you drive.

Usually one day car insurance is comprehensive cover and will cover just about any eventuality. It will cover your vehicle and the other vehicles that may be in an accident with you. It will cover everyone's injuries and it will pay for theft of the vehicle. This is a good way to keep your annual policy low. When you have a no claim discount on your regular insurance it will not be affected if you put in the claim on one day insurance. Since your no claim discount can add up to as much as 65% discount it is nothing you want to risk losing.

Car insurance is mandatory in the UK and the US. Every vehicle on public roadways must be insured. It does not matter how old you are or how long you have been driving. There are no exclusions. Make sure you have insurance on your new vehicle when you drive it home. You can purchase one day car insurance for a day or a month. There are a limited number of days that you are allowed to get short term car insurance, however. If you want to save some money then you really should contact an insurance agency and check the prices of the short term insurance.