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.

Small/Medium
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.

JD Power names State Farm best in customer satisfaction for fifth year

(Westlake Village, CA – Insurance News 360) – The JD Power 2018 U.S. Life Insurance Study showed that insurers, including those who offer multiple lines of insurance, have seen an increase in customer satisfaction, although the life insurance industry in total declined significantly.

Multi-line property and casualty-focused insurers, and retirement-focused institutions had an average higher rank for customer satisfaction than traditional life insurance companies.

“If life insurance companies want to see an increase in satisfaction, they must place the customer at the center of their growth strategy,” said Robert Lajdziak, Business Consultant for the North American Insurance Practice at J.D. Power. “Historically, life insurance companies focus most of their energy and planning around the point of sale and generally neglect following through on the customer experience post-sale.”

“Life insurance companies have started to focus on customer experience in the past three years,” said Lajdziak. “The P&C-focused and retirement-focused brands have the upper hand here because they have deeper customer relationships across multiple products and have made customer satisfaction a central component of their business strategy.”

Study Rankings

For the fifth year, State Farm ranked highest, followed by Northwestern Mutual and Nationwide.

The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Life Insurance Study is a syndicated benchmarking study profiling the experiences of customers from the largest life insurance companies in the United States. The study is based on responses from 5,391 individual life insurance customers surveyed in June-July 2018.

To measure customer satisfaction, critical-to-customer experience factors are examined using an index model. The model identifies the dominant factors that impact customer satisfaction and behavior and provides a benchmark of excellence for each. The U.S. Life Insurance Studymeasures overall customer satisfaction based on performance in four factors (in alphabetical order): annual statement and billing; interaction; policy offerings; and price.

For more information about the U.S. Life Insurance study visit: https://www.jdpower.com/business/resource/us-individual-life-insurance-study.

Source: J.D. Power.

HIV/AIDS programs receive $2.34 billion in grants

(Washington, D.C. – Insurance News 360) – On October 11, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced $2.34 billion in grants to improve access to HIV/AIDS medications and care for patients.

The funding comes through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and is intended to provide support to a system of medical care, support services, and medication for more than half a million individuals living with HIV and AIDS. These funds will be distributed to cities, counties, states and community based organizations.

“New medical advances and broader access to treatment have helped transform HIV/AIDS from a likely death sentence into a manageable chronic disease,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is an important way to ensure that these life-saving treatments reach the Americans who need them, and the Trump Administration is committed to continuing to improve the care by Americans living with HIV/AIDS receive.”

HRSA oversees the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which is a patient-centered system that provides care and treatment services to low income people living with HIV to improve health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission among hard to reach populations. The program serves approximately 50 percent of people living with diagnosed HIV infection in the United States. In 2016, approximately 85 percent of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients who received HIV medical care were virally suppressed, up from 69 percent in 2010.

“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is critical to improving clinical and public health outcomes by reducing HIV transmission and serves as an important source of ongoing access to HIV treatment and antiretroviral medication,” said Laura Cheever, M.D., Sc.M., Associate Administrator, HIV/AIDS Bureau. “Today people living with HIV who take HIV medication daily as prescribed and who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.”

Fifty two metropolitan areas received about $624.3 million to provide medical care and support services to individuals living with HIV. The grantees include 24 metro areas and 28 transitional grant areas; they have the greatest number of individuals with HIV and AIDs, and are seeing those cases increase.  For a list of the FY 2018 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part A award recipients, visit https://hab.hrsa.gov/awards/fy-2018-ryan-white-hivaids-program-part-a-final-awards.

Approximately 1.4 billion was awarded under Part B of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, to 59 states and territories with the intent to improve quality, availability and organization of HIV health care, support services, and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Sixteen states also received Emerging Community grants based on the number of AIDS cases over the past five years. Thirty-three states and territories were also awarded approximately $10.5 million in Part B Minority AIDS Initiative grants. For a list of the FY 2018 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part B award recipients, visit https://hab.hrsa.gov/awards/fy-2018-ryan-white-hivaids-program-part-b-grant-awards.

HHS announced $181.9 million in grants awarded under Part C Early Intervention Services of the  Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. Three hundred fifty one local, community-based organizations will get funding for core medical and support services for HIV positive individuals. Fifty two organizations will share $6.9 million in Capacity Development grants. For a list of the FY 2018 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part C EIS award recipients, visit https://hab.hrsa.gov/awards/fy-2018-ryan-white-hivaids-program-part-c-early-intervention-services-eis-awards. For a list of the FY 2018 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part C Capacity Development award recipients, visit https://hab.hrsa.gov/awards/fy-2018-ryan-white-hivaids-program-part-c-capacity-development-awards.

Under Part D of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, approximately $70.3 million was awarded to 115 local community-based organizations across the country to provide family-centered comprehensive HIV care and treatment for women, infants, children, and youth. For a list of the FY 2018 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part D award recipients, visit  https://hab.hrsa.gov/awards/fy-2018-ryan-white-hivaids-program-part-d-grant-awards.

Approximately $68.6 million will provide support for clinical training, oral health services, quality improvement and development of models of care thorugh a variety of programs. Another $8.9 million was awarded to 51 recipients through the HIV/AIDS Dental Reimbursement Program. The HIV/AIDS Community-Based Dental Partnership Program will administer another  $3.5 million awarded to 12 recipients. For a list of the FY 2018 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part F HIV/AIDS Dental Reimbursement Program award recipients and HIV/AIDS Community-Based Dental Partnership Program award recipients, visit https://hab.hrsa.gov/awards/fy-2018-ryan-white-hivaids-program-part-f-grant-awards.

The AIDS Education and Training Centers Program (AETC) awarded approximately $31.2 million through 14 grants, cooperative agreements and contracts to support education and training of health care professionals, which includes a network of eight regional and two national centers. For a list of the FY 2018 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program AETC award recipients, visit https://hab.hrsa.gov/awards/fy-2018-ryan-white-hivaids-program-aids-education-and-training-center-awards.

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Health and Human Services Director statement on increased transparency in pharmaceutical companies

(Washington, D.C. – Insurance News 360) – On Oct. 15, Health and Human Services (HHS) Director  Alex Azar issued  a statement regarding drug companies’ announcement that they would begin providing access to greater amounts of information about drug pricing.

This is Azar’s statement.

“Patient empowerment and transparency are at the core of the President’s drug-pricing blueprint that was released five months ago. Our vision for a new, more transparent drug-pricing system does not rely on voluntary action. The drug industry remains resistant to providing real transparency around their prices, including the sky-high list prices that many patients pay. So while the pharmaceutical industry’s action today is a small step in the right direction, we will go further and continue to implement the President’s blueprint to deliver new transparency and put American patients first. “

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

2019 Corolla Hatchback qualifies for IIHS Top Safety Pick

(Arlington, VA – Insurance News 360) – On October 2, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced that the 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback model, equipped with optional curve-adaptive headlights, is qualified for the 2018 Top Safety Pick.

This model will replace the Corolla iM hatchback. The sedan has not been redesigned and these ratings do not apply to sedan models.

The Corolla has superior-rated front crash prevention, and the optional curve-adaptive headlights have an acceptable rating, although the base headlights are rated marginal. In order for the vehicle to qualify for 2018 Top Safety Pick, it must have good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It also needs a front crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating and available headlights that earn an acceptable or good rating.

It also earned a rating of “good” in the IIHS passenger-side small overlap front crash test, which is the newest test the organization conducts.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

U.S. Department of Labor Initiative Focuses on Helping Restaurants In Wisconsin Comply With Wage Laws

(Milwaukee, WI – Insurance News 360) – To ensure that restaurants in Wisconsin comply with federal wage laws, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is running an education and enforcement initiative several areas. The project will offer compliance assistance tools and education to employers and industry stakeholders. Those efforts will be focused in these communities: the cities of Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha, Appleton, Little Chute, and Kaukauna as well as Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhoods.

The WHD will work with organizations in the areas to determine the best way to provide tools and information to make it easier for businesses to maintain compliance with wage laws and the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

This initiative raises awareness among employers, employees, community organizations, and others regarding federal wage and hour laws,” said Wage and Hour District Director David King, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Our ultimate goal is to increase industry-wide compliance. With more than 200,000 people employed in food-service jobs in Wisconsin, the Wage and Hour Division wants to make sure everyone knows and follows the rules.”

Over the past three fiscal years investigations by WHD have found that common violations include employing servers to work only for tips; paying servers overtime at one-and-half times their direct cash wage rather than the full federal minimum wage; pooling tips illegally; misclassifying employees as independent contractors and then failing to pay them minimum wage and overtime; and failing to combine hours employees worked at multiple locations when determining when overtime is due.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time-and-one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. An employer of a tipped employee is required to pay no less than $2.13 an hour in direct wages, provided that amount plus tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. If an employee’s tips – combined with the employer’s direct wages – do not equal the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. Employers also are required to provide employees notice of the FLSA tip credit provisions and to maintain accurate time and payroll records.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal labor laws, call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor.

Department of Labor announces $1.9 million contract for apprenticeships for youths, adults with disabilities

(Washington, DC – Insurance News 360) – On Oct. 11, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a two year, $1.9 million contract for pilot projects targeting apprenticeships for youths and adults with disabilities, created by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (DEP).

Social Policy Research Associates will use the two year contract to research, develop, test, and evaluate innovative strategies in apprenticeship programs that provide skills training to people with disabilities. Efforts will specifically focus on quality pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship pilots in high-growth industries such as information technology, healthcare, and emerging sectors. SPRA will document and share best practices so that other apprenticeship efforts may replicate promising approaches.

“Apprenticeships are a proven strategy for connecting job creators with motivated, highly skilled workers, yet people with disabilities are disproportionately underrepresented in apprenticeship programs and in the workforce at large,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Jennifer Sheehy. “This project will help us determine ways to ensure people with disabilities acquire the skills and credentials needed to obtain an in-demand position in a high-growth business or industry, where jobs pay family sustaining wages.”

ODEP works to increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities by developing and influencing policies and practices. For more information on ODEP and this contract award, visit https://www.dol.gov/odep/.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor.