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RIMS gets set for conference to remember in San Antonio
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RIMS gets set for conference to remember in San Antonio

Reprints Gloria Gonzalez The Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.’s annual conference has arrived in the home of the Alamo.
About 10,000 people are expected to attend the RIMS 2018 conference and exhibition, which is being held in San Antonio, Texas, for the first time.
Alex Sheen, founder of Rocky River, Ohio-based nonprofit “because I said I would,” will deliver the opening keynote speech at the conference on Monday.
Inspired by his father’s battle with cancer, the organization delivers promise cards that aim to ensure accountability for meeting commitments.
Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s first African-American female pilot, will discuss her evolution from beat cop to combat pilot during the RIMS award luncheon on Monday.
Other cyber-themed sessions will trace one organization’s cyber incident journey through various stages such as breach notification, class action lawsuit, regulatory investigation and settlement negotiations, while another will examine the cyber risk posed by “trusted insiders.” The Innovation Hub will provide 20-minute educational presentations on developments in emerging risks related to technology such as drones and autonomous vehicles on Monday, claims management issues such as catastrophic business interruption losses on Tuesday, and cyber risks such as smart buildings and social media in the workplace on Wednesday.
The RIMS Risk Manager of the Year and Risk Management Honor Roll awards will also be presented on Tuesday morning.
The conference finale will feature comedian Jay Leno, longtime host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” performing a set entitled Laugh Until You Cry, on Wednesday afternoon.
The RIMS-Sedgwick Official Closing Party will occur on Wednesday evening at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
Anyone wanting a break from the conference can visit the famed Alamo, where over a 13-day period in February and March 1836, a group of 200 Texas volunteer soldiers defended the fort against a siege by a force commanded by Mexican President and General Antonio López de Santa Anna in the fight for independence from Mexico.

Comcast drops the ball on Big 10 sports: your say
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Comcast drops the ball on Big 10 sports: your say

They need to feel the power of the Big 10 fans to force Comcast to reopen programming negotiations.
The SEC could be next.
Michael KIngery, Fort Myers Cacioppi’s ‘final curtain’ unfair I have known Robert Cacioppi since 1991.
Bob did in fact build the foundation of a theater which has become a gem of the arts community here.
Anyone who now chooses to turn their backs on Florida Rep and withdraw their support are being disrespectful to all of the people who have given so much to grow this organization.
He also says it “took 15 months for Trump to become “part of the swamp”.
Trump went in with a swamp agenda that surpasses anything we have had in years.
Trump has let him down.
And P.S., I can’t wait for Walker to get old enough to need social programs that, if Trump succeeds, are not there.
Robert J. O’Hare, Estero

Workers comp premiums drop in California
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Workers comp premiums drop in California

California written premium for 2017 is 2% below that for 2016 and represents the first decrease in seven years, according to the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California’s quarterly report for year-end 2017, released Friday.
The projected industry average charged rate per $100 of payroll for policies incepting in 2017 is $2.46, which is 10% below that for 2016 and 17% below the peak in 2015, the Oakland-based WCIRB said in the report.
The WCIRB projects an ultimate accident year combined loss and expense ratio of 92% for 2017, a projection that is 5 points higher than that for 2016, as premium levels have lowered while average claim severities increased moderately, the bureau said in a statement.
Other highlights of the report include: Indemnity claims continue to settle quicker, and the ratio of claim closure for 2017 represents a 17-year high.
The WCIRB projects indemnity claim frequency for accident year 2016 to be 3% below the frequency for 2015.
However, claim frequency for 2017 shows a modest increase of 1%, similar to other recent years.
The bureau projects the average cost, or severity, of a 2016 indemnity claim to be approximately $77,000, which is 4% higher than the projected severity for 2016 following several years of relatively flat severities.
Average pharmaceutical costs per claim for the first three quarters of 2017 are 70% below the levels from 2012.
This is prior to the impact of the new drug formulary effective in 2018, which is expected to further reduce pharmaceutical costs.
The average number of liens filed in 2017 is 40% below the averages experienced shortly prior to the implementation of the state 1244 reforms impacting lien filings.

John Currie’s new part-time job: $92K at Passaic County welfare board
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John Currie’s new part-time job: $92K at Passaic County welfare board

Democratic Party chairman John Currie has landed a part-time job with the Passaic County Board of Social Services that pays him $92,000 a year to help get the word out to the public about welfare benefits. “I’m doing a job.
I’m entitled to do have a job, and I’m doing a good job.”
The new job comes with no set hours, and it significantly boosts Currie’s public salary at a time when he’s nearing retirement, which will jack up his pension.
Currie has served on the county board of elections for 21 years, but at a miniscule salary, currently $22,000 a year.
(Photo: Mitsu Yasukawa, Mitsu Yasukawa/ Staff Photograph) Depending on how long Currie stays on the job, the salary bump could increase his pension significantly.
Not surprisingly, Currie had the support of both Democratic freeholders who sit on the Board of Social Services, Assad Akhter and Bruce James.
“I’ve known John Currie for a long time,” said Peter Murphy, the Republican leader from Totowa.
Traier was recently appointed to the Passaic County Board of Elections and serves with Currie.
“People are really cynical about government,” Traier said.

Increased work requirements for food stamps affecting several Georgia residents
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Increased work requirements for food stamps affecting several Georgia residents

Sitting on sofa in her apartment, reading to her 1-year-old daughter, Celine Schmall says it wasn’t long ago that she didn’t know how she could afford to feed her little girl.
The young mother was working, but still needed food stamps.
“People always say [to people on food stamps], ‘oh you’re lazy or you could be working more hours.’” Schmall told CB46.
“Well, the truth is, I’m paying the majority out of pocket just to be able to afford for her to go to daycare, so that I can go to work and make money.
She is currently in school, and says she still worries about the future of the program for others like her.
The Division of Family and Children’s Services, which issues food stamps, doesn’t know how the executive order will impact the Georgia program.
The program requires able bodied adults without dependents to work 80 hours a month or to be in a workfare program in order to qualify.
“The majority of the people who are getting food stamps are not in that category of able -bodied adults without dependents,” Jones said.
“The majority of those people receiving benefits are single parents with young children, medical condition, or advanced age.” Jones indicated that Georgia could be ahead of other states in implementing more work requirements because it has the SNAP Works program, which, in partnership with Goodwill, helps recipients with job training and positions.
The state says this was a proactive approach made years ago to promote employment for those in need of assistance.

Parish budget crisis: Higher taxes best solution?
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Parish budget crisis: Higher taxes best solution?

Here’s a look at today’s forecast.
Wochit At a summit Wednesday to address a looming financial crisis in Lafayette Parish government, the following suggestions were offered by elected officials and board representatives: Ask voters for new property taxes (courts, district attorney operations, parish-wide parks and recreation) Increase existing property taxes Split the courthouse and jail taxes Increase the general alimony tax that does not require voter approval Annex all unincorporated areas Amend the Home Rule Charter that established Lafayette Consolidated Government Allow casinos in the parish Eliminate anything not a necessity, such as parks and recreation Scrutinize state corporate tax incentives that reduce local revenue Enact a parish-wide growth management plan to limit annexations that strip the parish of taxes Even though moderator and Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Jay Castille insisted a parish finance summit Wednesday wasn’t about raising taxes, it seemed at the end of the three-hour session to be the likeliest solution to a looming budget crisis.
As municipalities annex businesses from unincorporated areas, Lafayette Parish loses sales tax revenue for the general fund, which for years has been used to supplement revenue shortfalls elsewhere in the parish budget, Councilman Bruce Conque said.
Property taxes also are inadequate, Conque said.
Several elected officials noted some residents don’t trust government, don’t believe the budget has been sufficiently cut and believe they pay enough taxes.
A year ago, voters soundly rejected a new public school tax and defeated parish tax renewals that were on the same ballot.
The parish taxes were renewed later in the year when placed on a ballot without the school tax.
Voters go to the polls April 28 to renew two city of Lafayette taxes and two parish-wide taxes, for public libraries and juvenile detention.
It’s about doing what’s right, doing the right thing and not the popular thing.”
View a presentation about the parish budget crisis at: http://www.lafayettela.gov/Council/SiteAssets/Files/Revenue-Evaluations-Committee-Presentation-03122018.pdf (Photo: Claire Taylor/Daily Advertiser)

Marsh launching digital lab to experiment in emerging tech
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Marsh launching digital lab to experiment in emerging tech

Marsh L.L.C., the global brokerage, is launching Marsh Digital Labs within its broader digital, data and analytics organization, Marsh said in a statement Thursday.
Marsh Digital Labs will work to experiment in emerging technologies and develop innovative products, new business models and strategic engagements with clients, insurers and insurtech companies, the statement said.
The San Francisco-based unit is headed by Asha Vellaikal, who joined the broker last August, and is now exploring new products in the small commercial and consumer business, cyber, sharing/gig economy, autonomous vehicle and workers compensation sectors, the statement said.
Marsh Digital Labs’ approach is to leverage cloud-based platforms to build new capabilities, reusable components and test-and-learn tools, according to the statement.
It includes a machine learning garage to create next-generation risk models, intelligent automation and cognitive capabilities.
“A cutting-edge design studio enables seamless integration with clients’ own digital applications to conduct pilots in the market,” Ms. Vellaikal said in the statement.
“With Marsh Digital Labs, we are providing a hands-on opportunity to collaborate with clients on new ecosystems, innovative use cases and distribution channels that will better help them manage risk and succeed in the new economy,” Sastry Durvasula, chief digital officer and chief data and analytics officer for Marsh, said in the statement.

House GOP bill would lock the poor out of food stamps if they don’t work
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House GOP bill would lock the poor out of food stamps if they don’t work

Many food stamp recipients could be locked out of the program for up to three years if they fail to work or enroll in job training, under a bill proposed by House Republicans seeking to overhaul the government benefit. “Benefits are critically important and serve a vital role in the safety net aimed at catching people if they should fall into poverty,” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway co-wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in USA Today. “But equally important is a focus on helping these same people climb back out of poverty.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday directing federal agencies to promote employment for those on public assistance.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began allowing states to mandate that certain Medicaid enrollees must work for the first time in the program’s history, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking into the issue for those in subsidized housing.
The Department of Agriculture also wants to strengthen the work requirements in the food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The House farm bill calls for expanding the number of people subject to work requirements.
About 3.5 million of the roughly 41 million people enrolled in SNAP are subject to this provision.
It would also mandate recipients to work or participate in a training program for a minimum of 25 hours a week starting in fiscal 2026.
In households that receive SNAP and have at least one non-disabled adult, 58% are employed and 82% worked in the year prior to or after enrollment, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Rate hikes moderate as market recapitalizes after 2017 catastrophes
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Rate hikes moderate as market recapitalizes after 2017 catastrophes

The rate increases that followed last year’s catastrophes are beginning to moderate, says Willis Towers Watson P.L.C.
in a report issued Thursday.
Between hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the California wildfires, “the latter half of 2017 brought record-breaking losses in the market,” says the report, Insurance Marketplace Realities Overview, 2018 Spring Update.
Property rates rose in response, “steeply for buyers with catastrophe exposures and losses, but no insolvencies resulted.
The rate increases are already beginning to moderate, with some decrease again becoming possible for better risks,” the report said, pointing to the swiftness which with the industry capitalized.
The report says 10 lines are expecting increases ranging from flat to 20%: auto, casualty, employment practices liability, energy, environmental, errors and omissions, health care professional liability, senior living and long-term care, product liability, property and trade credit.
In particular, property, health care professional liability, senior living and long-term care and environmental will experience hikes of up to 20%, according to the report.
Two lines are expecting decreases: international, where rates are expected to be down 5% to 10%; and political risk, where rates will be flat to down 2%, according to the report.
Lines that are predicted to have a mix of small increases and decreases or flat rates are: aviation, cyber risk, construction, directors and officers, fidelity and crime, fiduciary, kidnap and ransom, surety, terrorism and political violence, and workers compensation.

Prescription drug use by injured workers slides in 2017: myMatrixx
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Prescription drug use by injured workers slides in 2017: myMatrixx

Workers compensation pharmacy spending decreased 3.3% in 2017 drug use by injured workers went down, according to the 12th annual myMatrixx Drug Trend Report.
released Tuesday.
Drug utilization among injured workers decreased by 4.4% per user, while spending on prescription drugs decreased by 3.3% between 2016 and 2017.
Opioid utilization also declined, driven by aggressive clinical solutions and increased regulatory activity, Matrix Healthcare Services Inc., which does business as myMatrixx, said in the study.
Drug spend on opioids declined 11.9% for workers compensation payers in 2017, to $342.57 per user from $388.80.
The percentage of injured workers who used opioids for 30 or more days decreased to 22.0% in 2017 from 24.6% in 2016, according to the study.
In addition, spending on compounded medications decreased, with a decline of 37.9% in 2017, and spending on specialty medications to treat conditions such as HIV and osteoarthritis increased 3.8% in 2017, according to the study.