Ohio home, auto insurance rate changes in 2017 announced

(Ohio, OH – Insurance News 360) – In October, Jillian Froment, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, reported that average rate changes for the top 10 homeowners and private passenger auto insurance groups rose, but that those rates were far below the national average.

Homeowners insurance rates rose 1.5 percent for the top 10 companies, and private pasenger auto insurance rates rose 4.1 percent.    In the state of Ohio, individuals pay an average of $819 for homeowners insurance, and $703 for auto insurance. This is the ninth lowest, and 14th lowest, respectively, in the country, according to data the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. It is important to note though, that individuals may have experienced rate changes outside the average.

“We are fortunate in Ohio to have among the lowest average insurance premiums for homeowners and auto insurance compared to the rest of the country,” Froment said. “Ohio has a robust and competitive insurance market providing consumers many different product options to consider when selecting coverage.”

Medical costs, weather-related claims, the number of cars on the roads, and repair costs spur the changes in auto insurance rates. Weather-related claims, building and material costs are the biggest impacts to homeowners insurance rates.

The top 10 insurance groups represent approximately 75 percent of the market in Ohio.

Source: Ohio Department of Insurance.

FMCSA Simplifies process to allow individuals with controlled diabetes to drive commercial trucks

(Washington, DC – Insurance News 360) – In September, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced rules that allows people with an insulin regimen and properly controlled insulin-treated diabetes mellitus to drive commercial vehicles in interstate commerce.

Before the new rule, individuals with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus were not allowed to drive commercial motor vehicles without an exemption from FMCSA. Now, administrative and financial burdens for these groups are lifted, and safety is maintained.

AN individual with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus may receive a medical examiner’s certificate for up to a year. The healthcare professional who manages a driver’s condition and prescribes insulin must certify that the patient has a stable insulin regimen and has their condition under control. The certified medical examiner will determine whether the application meets the FMCSA’s physical qualification standards and is able to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.

“This final action delivers economic savings to affected drivers and our agency, and streamlines processes by eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens and redundancy,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.  “It’s a win-win for all parties involved.”

The final rule eliminates the requirement of the exemption program that requires individuals with and prescribes to incur recurring costs to renew and maintain their exemptions. FMCSA estimates this will save the nearly 5,000 individuals with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus who currently have exemptions more than $5 million per year.  The final rule will also save new exemption applicants and their associated motor carriers approximately $215,000 annually in opportunity and compliance costs related with the exemption program’s waiting period.

As an agency, FMCSA will save more than $1 million per year over the next three years in costs associated with administering the diabetes exemption program.

A copy of the final rule is available here.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

California Insurance Commissioner encourages greater diversity for insurance company governing boards

(Sacramento, CA – Insurance News 360) – In September, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones sent letters to more than 50 California-licensed insurance company chief executives, asking them to increase the diversity of their governing boards. The letter also asked that each company give insight into a diversity policy for their company, or to develop strategy or action plan to enhance that diversity within a specified time frame. The companies that received the request letter were selected due to a lack of female or minority governing board members.

Since 2011, when Jones created the Insurance Diversity Initiative, his efforts have included encouraging insurance companies to seek executives and board members who reflect the changing demographics and diversity within California and the rest of the country. Three years later, he issued a first-in-the-nation survey, the Governing Board Diversity (GBD) Survey.

“Board diversity helps improve corporate accountability and enhance financial performance,” said Commissioner Dave Jones. “I am committed to supporting efforts that expand opportunities for diverse representation on corporate boards. Independent studies continue to demonstrate that enhanced board diversity results in better corporate performance, as well as increased economic opportunities for diverse business communities.”

In March 2018, Commissioner Jones convened the first GBD Summit bringing together insurer CEOs and board members to share challenges and best practices for advancing governing board diversity within the insurance industry. The GBD Summit included presentation of the findings from McKinsey & Company’s latest study, Delivering through Diversity, which underscore the statistically significant link between profitability and diversity on corporate boards. For example, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 21 percent more likely to outperform on profitability and companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity were 33 percent more likely to have industry-leading profitability.

Source: California Department of Insurance.

Department of Transportation pilot program allows military personnel to drive commercial trucks

(OMAHA, Neb. – Insurance News 360) – In July, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer, and Congressman Don Bacon announced the launch of a pilot program to allow 18-20 year olds with the U.S. military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate large trucks in interstate commerce.

“This program will allow our Veterans and Reservists, to translate their extensive training into good-paying jobs operating commercial vehicles safely across the country, while also addressing the nationwide driver shortage,” said Secretary Chao.

The program will allow a limited bumber of people between 18 and 20 years of age to drive large trucks in interstate commerce, as long as they have the military equivalent of a commercial drivers license and sponsorship of a trucking company. This is directed in section 504 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

“This innovative program offers a way for our younger Veterans and Reservists to transition to the civilian workforce. I personally thank Secretary Chao and officials with the DOT who continue to find ways to utilize the training and talent of the men and women who served in uniform for our country,” said Congressman Bacon.

The program is expected to run for three years, and the safety records of these drivers will be compared to a control group of drivers.

Complete information on the pilot program is available on FMCSA’s website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/under-21-pilot-program-frn.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

California Insurance commissioner calls for ease of inventory requirement for 2018 wildfire survivors

(Sacramento, CA – Insurance News 360) – On Oct. 4, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued a plea to insurers to volunatily provide up to 100 percent of contents coverage for 2018 wildfire survivors, without requiring a detailed home inventory.

Insurance commissioner calls on industry to ease inventory requirement for  2018 wildfire survivors

Jones asked that all insurers to follow the lead of those providing 75-100 percent of personal property coverage limits without requiring wildfire survivors to submit a detailed inventory.

Issued on October 3, the notice acknowledges and applauds the insurers who are going above and beyond Voluntary Expedited claims handling proceudres, and who have made attemtps to accommodate survivors by offering up to 100 percent contents limit payment without that inventory, in some cases.

“The Carr and Mendocino Complex fires rank among the most destructive wildfires in California’s history,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Entire communities were decimated with residents suffering staggering losses of not only property, but tragically loss of life and injuries. I’m asking property insurers to ease the burden on traumatized survivors by voluntarily providing at least 75 percent of contents coverage without the onerous requirement of a detailed home inventory, so survivors may get on with patching their lives back together.”

Source: California Department of Insurance.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues regulatory guidance for transporting agricultural commodities

(Washington, DC – Insurance News 360) – On May 31, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced clarification to the longstanding 150 air-miles-of-service agricultural commodity exemption. The organization also explained more about the provision focusing on “personal conveyance.”

The FMCSA published notices proposing regulatory guidance for use of personal conveyance and transporting agricultural products in December 2017 and asked for comments then. The organization is offering clarification for law enforcement as well as for those in the agricultural industry.

“Due to input from commercial vehicle stakeholders and the public, the Department has taken steps to provide greater clarity and flexibility regarding the intent and effect of these regulations, for the agricultural and other sectors,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

After receiving nearly 850 comments, the new regulatory guidance has questions and answers format, explains the 150-air mile radius agricultural commodity exemption and how they determine the exact “source” of the commodity.

“We are dedicated to finding effective solutions to challenges, exploring new opportunities for innovation and constantly seeking ways to improve,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

For a copy of the agricultural product guidance, see: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ag-commodity-guidance.

New guidelines explain what circumstances call for a commercial motor vehicle driver to use a truck or bus for personal conveyance. For a copy of this information, see: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/personal-conveyance-guidance.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Lloyd’s announces profit of £0.6 billion for the first half of 2018

(London, UK – Insurance News 360)- The interim report from Lloyd’s notes that the company has seen pre-tax profits of £0.6 billion and a 4.3 percent annualized return on capital. The company has also seen an investment return of 0.3 percent.

This return to profit comes after a severe catastrophe experience in 2017. The company also reported a modest increase in gross written premiums, driven by improvements in pricing and growth in some profitable lines.

Pre-tax profits were impacted by a reduced investment return of £0.2bn (June 2017: £1.0bn), which is consistent with the low returns seen across most asset classes over the period.

The reporting period also featured an improvement in the underwriting result up to £0.5bn from £0.4bn last year. This partly reflects Lloyd’s ongoing work that commenced in 2017 to review the worst performing portfolios, and the subsequent action by the market to reduce loss making lines.

“These results and return to profit demonstrate the strength of the Lloyd’s market following one of the costliest years for natural catastrophes in the past decade,” said Chief Executive Inga Beale. “Whilst these results are welcome, Lloyd’s continues to concentrate on improving the Lloyd’s market’s long-term performance by taking action to address underperforming areas of the market.”

Lloyd’s capital position is at its strongest ever with net resources totalling £29.0bn (June 2017: £28.0bn). Lloyd’s strong and secure financial position is underscored by our ratings which were recently reaffirmed at A (Excellent) from A.M. Best, A+ (Strong) from Standard & Poor’s and AA- (Very Strong) from Fitch.

“The Corporation also remains focused on making the Lloyd’s platform more competitive. Alongside the success of the mandate for the placement of electronic risks, we have recently launched the Lloyd’s Lab, our new innovation accelerator, which will help Lloyd’s use technology to better serve our customers around the world,” Beale said. “We have also worked tirelessly to secure the Lloyd’s market’s access to the EU27 and our Lloyd’s Brussels subsidiary will start writing business in the European Economic Area from 1 January 2019.”

Read Lloyd’s 2018 Interim Report online 

Source: Lloyd’s.

2018 U.S. Business Wireless Satisfaction Study highlights importance of assigned customer service reps

(Westlake Village, CA – Insurance News 360) – The 2018 U.S. Business Wireless Satisfaction Study, conducted by J.D. Power, has revealed that having a dedicated customer service representative is very important to business wireless customers, and helps the companies rank higher for customer satisfaction than those that have just a general help line.   

Each of the three segments (large enterprise, small/medium, and very small) showed increases in customer satisfaction. Large enterprise companies had the highest score (838, up from 813 in 2017

The study looked at customer satisfaction in six areas: performance and reliability; customer service; sales representatives and account executive; billing; cost of service; and offerings and promotions. Overall satisfaction is measured among three key segments: large enterprise (500 or more employees); small/midsize (20-499 employees); very small business (1-19 employees).

“When customers have a specific point of contact, it reduces the amount of time on hold, reduces the likelihood of being transferred and it increases their level of understanding,” said Ian Greenblatt, Technology, Media & Telecom Practice Lead at J.D. Power. “Having more direct-contact representatives available not only increases customer service satisfaction, but it can increase customer loyalty in the long run.”

Study Rankings

Large Enterprise
T-Mobile ranked highest (871 out of 1000). AT&T had a customer satisfaction score of 843; and Verizon had a score of 834.

For small and medium companies, T-Mobile again ranked highest, with 846 points,  followed by Verizon (846 points) and AT&T (827 points).

Very Small

Again, T-Mobile ranked highest with 826 points, followed by Verizon (788 points) and At&T (755 points).

The study is based on responses from 2,731 business decision makers for wireless services in the United States and includes evaluations of their wireless carriers. The study was fielded in July-August 2018.

For more information about the U.S. Wireline studies visit: https://www.jdpower.com/business/resource/us-business-wireless-customer-satisfaction-study

Source: J.D. Power

2018 U.S. Business Wireless Satisfaction Study highlights importance of assigned customer service reps

John Neal joins Lloyd’s as CEO

(London, UK – Insurance News 360)- John Neal has joined Lloyd’s with more than three decades of work experience in the industry. He was mot recently Group CEO of QBE Insurnace Group.

Bruce Carnegie-Brown, Chairman of Lloyd’s issued this statement:

“On behalf of the Lloyd’s market, I am delighted to welcome John to Lloyd’s. He joins us at an important time and will continue the drive to improve the market’s long-term success through a number of critical areas of focus, including improving the market’s underlying performance, and the launch of Lloyd’s Brussels subsidiary. John brings a wealth of experience and real enthusiasm for tackling the challenges ahead. I am confident that Lloyd’s will continue to thrive under his leadership.”

Neal issued a statement as well:

“It is a privilege to take the helm at Lloyd’s, the world’s most important commercial insurance and reinsurance marketplace, and the place where I started my career in 1985. The Lloyd’s market is like no other (re)insurance organisation in the world. With an unrivalled pool of underwriting expertise, and a reputation built on 330 years of providing insurance solutions for our customers, it plays a unique role in supporting businesses and economies through its unmatched global reach and customer focus. As I begin this role, it is important that we focus on maintaining the market’s reputation for innovation, accelerating our efforts to modernise the ways in which we do business, and take the time to listen to all of our stakeholders, who are critical to the future wellbeing of the Lloyd’s market.”

Source: Lloyd’s

Highway fatalities down almost 2 percent in 2017

(Washington, DC – Insurance News 360) – The number of fatalities on America’s roadways is down, after two years of increases, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2017, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes, a decrease of almost 2 percent from 2016. Also, the NHTSA notes that figures for the first half of 2018 appear to show that the decrease is continuing this year.

“Safety is the Department’s number one priority,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “The good news is that fatalities are trending downward after increasing for the two previous years. But, the tragic news is that 37,133 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. All of us need to work together to reduce fatalities on the roads.”

Other changes since 2016 include a decrease in pedestrian fatalities (the first since 2013); an increase of vehicle miles traveled – this number is up 1.2 percent from 2016. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled actually decreased from 1.19 in 2016 to 1.16 in 2017. That’s a 2.5 percent drop.

“Dangerous actions such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence are still putting many Americans, their families and those they share the road with at risk,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King. “Additionally, we must address the emerging trend of drug-impaired driving to ensure we are reducing traffic fatalities and keeping our roadways safe for the traveling public.”

The 1.8-percent decrease from 2016 to 2017 compares to the 6.5-percent increase from 2015 to 2016 and the 8.4-percent increase from 2014 and 2015.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.