Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

Cavalcade of Risk and Katrina’s aftermath

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Jane Hiebert-White has a special edition of Cavalcade of Risk posted at Health Affairs Blog. In addition to the usual smörgåsbord, she has a special focus on examining risk two years after Katrina. She links to some excellent articles: one on risk analysis; another being a rather depressing account of the state of health care disaster preparation; and another discussing the ways that many of Katrina’s ills simply represent a super-sized version of problems facing the country as a whole, from health care and homelessness to infrastructure and crime.
Our thoughts have also been on Katrina. USA Today featured a report on the challenges facing small businesses, which we found quite interesting. Unsurprisingly, insurance tops the list of challenges facing businesses that are trying to put the pieces back together.

“Everything I sell goes to pay insurance,” says Harrison of Loretta’s Authentic Pralines. She’s paying $17,000 a year for insurance on the 3,000-square-foot candy warehouse, compared with less than half that amount before Katrina for coverage on the same space as well as a shop in the French Quarter. (The shop is closed while the building is renovated.)
Insurance costs were already high before Katrina, and many owners couldn’t afford to fully insure their business. “You buy what you can,” says Leah Chase, who owns Dooky Chase’s restaurant in Treme, one of the oldest African-American neighborhoods in New Orleans, with her husband, Edgar. “If you can’t pay $5,000 or $10,000 a month, you don’t buy it, because (the policy) will be canceled. You never think you’ll lose everything in one shot.”
Since the storm, more businesses — small and large — are underinsuring out of financial necessity, just hoping the next hurricane won’t wipe out their livelihood. In Gulfport, Miss., Jeffrey O’Keefe of Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Homes has one-eighth the coverage on his five funeral homes and a crematorium that he had before Katrina. Buying more, he says, would be a financial hardship. Even so, his overall premium has risen 45%, to $88,612 a year.

While there are certainly opportunities for some business sectors — banks and construction companies are booming — small family-owned businesses are among those that have been hardest hit. As they are in any community, these small businesses were the backbone of the community, and they greatly contributed to the particular character of New Orleans.

While nearly one in four businesses is ringing up more sales than before Katrina, almost half of small businesses have 75% or less revenue than before — even with fewer competitors, the council found. Overall, two of every three small-business owners — those with fewer than 25 employees — are bringing in lower revenue than before Katrina, its research shows.
“What this means,” Turner says, “is staff reductions, salary cuts, the inability (of businesses) to fulfill credit obligations.”Many common business practices need to be rethought in the wake of a disaster. For example, while many small businesses would have qualified for SBA grants or loans, they ran into a catch 22: they needed a home for collateral and many no longer had homes.
In another status update at the two year point, Insurance Journal reports that the majority of all Katrina claims – some $40.6 billion involving 1.7 million claims – have been paid. This compares to 790,000 claims in Hurricane Andrew, with a 2006 settlement value of about $22.2 billion. The article also notes that although litigated claims have been prominent in the news, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that fewer than two percent of homeowners claims in Louisiana and Mississippi were disputed either through mediation or litigation.

Cavalcade of Risk #28

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

We’re pleased to be hosting Cavalcade of Risk as we embark on Year 2. We have a full house today, so we’ll dispense with any introductory blather and get right to the meat of the matter!
Bork Buzz – Eric Turkewitz of New York Personal Injury Law Blog looks at Robert Bork’s million dollar plus trip/fall lawsuit suit against the Yale Club, a story that has the media and law blawgs buzzing. Eric files this under “risk to your reputation.”
Shock waves in health care markets – Robert Laszewski of Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review examines a recent Wall Street Journal article that sent shock waves through the health insurance markets with the headline “Health Savings Plans Start to Falter.” Bob posits that consumer-driven health care is a concept built on a free market foundation, a foundation proving to be pretty weak.
Another country heard from… Michael Cannon of Cato@Liberty was nonplussed when looking at the same WSJ article (see the post above) about the way consumers are viewing Health Savings Accounts. He sees some initial consumer dissatisfaction as necessary and inevitable, and thinks it should mitigate with expansion.
Uncharted waters ahead for businesses and insurers. Leon Gettler of Sox First looks at some of the frightening liability scenarios that could emerge around climate change.
Money for nothing – Golbguru at Money, Matter, and More Musings wonders if free money increases risk tolerance in his post Mind Games – Guaranteed $500,000 Or A 50% Chance At $1 Million?. He points out that this is a strategy used by TV shows and gambling places to get people to take unreasonable risks.
Bridging the gap – Christina Laun of Ask the Adviser offers 17 important financial tips for women to help counter the financial disadvantages that most women face in the area of finances. Sound advice that men could benefit from, too!
How much is your life worth? – Jason Shafrin of Healthcare Economist offers a brief review of some methods economists use to measure the value of a person’s life.
The sky is fallingWenchypoo’s crystal ball says that we’ve been in a cleverly-disguised recession for some time and it may bottom out into a full-blown depression. But whether it’s a recession or a depression, the sky is falling on someone who is unprepared. She suggest there is a lot we can learn from our forebears who faced tough financial times before.
Heartless or pragmatic? – Which is more important, your job or a family member’s health, perhaps even life? Before you answer, check out a true story posted by InsureBlog’s Hank Stern. He examines a recent the case of a woman who was denied time off to donate a kidney.
Seasonal risk – David Williams of Health Business Blog looks at another type of personal risk: sun and UV exposure. He offers several resources, including the SHADE Foundation, established by Red Sox ace Curt Schilling’s wife, Sondra Schilling.
Risk and compensability – Jon Coppelman of Workers Comp Insider examines the unusual case of a worker who was injured after fainting while in the john. Who foots the bill for such unexplained injuries – the employer or the employee?
Crystal ball in workers comp – Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters offers an insider’s take on where the workers comp market is headed.
Much ado about nothing – Tanta, blogging at Calculated Risk, questions whether the whole recent kerfuffle over sub-prime mortgage delinquencies is useful
Reducing the risks – The folks at Healthoma tell us that more fiber in our diets can help women reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer.
Dying to be thinDollymix alerts us to a new health concern. We’ve all heard of bulimia, but the newest concern on the disorder front is “Diabulimia;” young, female diabetics are skipping their insulin injections in the hopes of slimming down. Scary, and thus far under the radar.
War on dieting – Is dieting itself a major health risk? The folks at Feed Me! think so, and seem to have the science to back it up.
Surgery as prevention – Louise at Colorado Health Insurance Insider makes the case for why health insurance companies should cover bariatric surgery.
Weighing the risksFundsZine breaks things down in chunks in explaining one type of low risk mutual type funds: money market funds. Stay tuned, it’s the first in a series on the advantages and disadvantages of various mutual fund types.
Beware the lone wolf insider – ID theft still makes news (and rightly so). Ed, writing at Operational Risk Management blog, has some disturbing information on the potential for employees to exploit lax auditing protocols.
Watching the watchers – The FDA Law Blog keeps an eye on the Federal Drug Administration, and in a recent post, alerts us to a new advisory group that the FDA is looking to set up.
Punishment and rewards – Chandler Howell, blogging at Not Bad For a Cubicle, uses the current system of prison safety as his launching pad to explain the difference between progressive risk management and regressive risk management.
Time to sell your life insurance policy?Insurance Help Hub offers guidance the matter of when and why you should consider life insurance settlements.
Every picture tells a story – the Silicon Valley Blogger at Digerati Life uses photos and pictures to illustrate a lesson in the differences between stock market technical analysis and fundamental analysis.
Managing riskAtlantic Canada’s Small Business Blog notes that risk management is the process of identifying potential negative outcomes and managing them while realizing potential opportunities. They offer a primer on developing a risk management strategy for the small business.
Watch for our next issue – The Cavalcade of Risk’s July 4th issue – will be posted on July 5th, and it’s hosted by Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Mental Wastebasket – so be sure to drop by Wenchypoo’s for some mental stimulation after your July 4 holiday!

Health Wonk Review: the daily double

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Richard Eskow of The Sentinel Effect is hosting this week’s edition of Health Wonk Review and he’s seeing double. It’s a 24-issue post, so dig in for some good reading. Health Wonk Review is truly becoming a force in the health care policy arena – I’d be surprised if there were any other nook or cranny on the web with a savvier grouping of health care folks who represent all aspects of the industry.
Our host of the week, Richard Eskow, is a case in point. He’s CEO of Health Knowledge Systems (HKS) in Los Angeles and a consultant specializing in health care and insurance administration, IT, strategic planning, medical management, health policy, marketing, finance, and communications. You may even have seen or heard him on the news – he’s been interviewed on MSNBC, Fox News Radio, and Air America Radio. His blog is definitely one to add to your regular roster for health care reading. He takes the title The Sentinel Effect from “the theory that productivity and outcomes can be improved through the process of observation and measurement.”

Cover the Uninsured Week

Thursday, May 13th, 2004

Thanks to Ross at The Bloviator for informing us that we are midway into the Cover the Uninsured Week, and that more than 20 million workers lack health insurance.

Ross provides a link to a 57-page state-by-state analysis of Americans without health insurance (PDF) commissioned by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and conducted by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center located at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. It uses data from the CDC’s 2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Pages 23 through 36 provide state-by-state tables on uninsured rates for adults, comparisons of the uninsured by ethnicity, rates of both insured and uninsured who do not have a personal doctor or health care provider, and other important data. Texas has the dubious distinction of leading the nation with 27% uninsured working adults.

In conjunction with the week’s activities, the Kaiser Family Foundation issued a study that examines the cost of medical care for the uninsured and how much care they receive compared to fully insured people.

The study reports:
“Uninsured Americans could incur nearly $41 billion in uncompensated health care treatment in 2004, with federal, state and local governments paying as much as 85 percent of the care, according to a new Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) study. Even with uncompensated care, the study shows that people uninsured for the entire year can expect to receive about half as much care as people fully insured.
“Another major finding of the study, authored by Urban Institute researchers Jack Hadley and John Holahan, is that if the country provided coverage to all the uninsured, the cost of additional medical care provided to the newly insured would be $48 billion – an increase of 0.4 percent in health spending