Daily Insurance Report - July, 26 2023

Your summary of the Voluntary and Healthcare Industry’s most relevant and breaking news; brought to you by the Voluntary Benefits Association®


Showcasing Innovation and Collaboration at The Rooftop on the Wit in the beautiful city of Chicago

Chicago, Ill, 07/13/2023 – An exciting event, dedicated to fostering innovation and collaboration, was held at the Rooftop on the Wit on July 13, 2023. This highly anticipated gathering brought together industry leaders, professionals, and enthusiasts in a dynamic environment, providing a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and celebration. Read Full Article… 

VBA Article Summary

  1. The Grand Kickoff: The event commenced at 5:00 PM with esteemed guests arriving. Attendees were warmly welcomed and prepared to embark on an evening of exploration and networking with breathtaking city lights views. At 5:30 PM, Chairman & CEO Rob Shestack, along with Event Committee Chair Dan Robinson, delivered an engaging welcome address, setting the tone for the event. The event showcased opportunities to connect with esteemed board members and gain insights into the mission of the Voluntary Benefits Association (VBA).

  2. Captivating Presentations and Recognition:

    • At 6:00 PM, Wayne Goshkarian, the CEO of Dylan Consulting, captivated the audience with a captivating presentation, sharing their innovative ideas and expertise. A stimulating question-and-answer session followed, fueling intellectual exchange and curiosity among the attendees. The event continued to showcase gratitude and recognition as the first sponsor was celebrated at 6:15 PM. The lucky winner of an exclusive $500 giveaway, courtesy of the generous sponsor, was announced, emphasizing the collaborative spirit driving the event.

    • At 7:00 PM, Amy Crane, Vice President for Pets Benefits Solutions, took the stage for a 10-minute presentation. She highlighted the significance of pets as part of the family and how Pets Benefits Solution offers health and wellness plans for employees' pets, saving money on their healthcare. The presentation was followed by an engaging question-and-answer session and an exclusive giveaway.

    • The evening continued with an exclusive giveaway for a weekend night's stay for two at The Ben in West Palm Beach, along with delightful desserts and coffee sponsored by PlanSource, concluding at 8:00 PM with attendees leaving with new connections and a sense of community.

  3. Enduring Connections and Looking Ahead: At 8:00 PM, the event came to a close, leaving attendees with a sense of fulfillment from knowledge gained, meaningful networking opportunities, and a strong sense of community. Many participants continued the celebrations by joining the board of advisors for an after-event libation and continued conversations. Looking ahead, the Voluntary Benefits Association (VBA) announced plans for an exclusive Board Meeting in Atlantic City, NJ, in the third week of April. The event will include another Benefits Roadshow Networking Event, promising an evening of innovation, collaboration, and opportunity. Attendees were encouraged not to miss this exclusive opportunity and to keep an eye out for the invitation.

FTC puts PBMs on notice, withdraws previous health care antitrust policy statements

By Alan Goforth - The Federal Trade Commission changed course on previous statements opposing state legislation that would boost transparency over pharmacy benefit managers, as it carries out a sweeping investigation into the industry. The heightened scrutiny of pharmacy benefit managers by federal agencies continues to pick up steam. Late last week, the Federal Trade Commission changed course on previous statements opposing state legislation that would boost transparency over the entities that manage prescription drug benefits. Read Full Article… 

VBA Article Summary

  1. FTC withdraws prior support for PBMs: On July 20, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted to withdraw its previous advocacy statements, studies, and reports in support of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). FTC Chair Lina Khan expressed concern that relying on prior statements could hinder ongoing efforts at the state and federal levels to examine PBM practices and introduce transparency or disclosure requirements.

  2. Changing PBM landscape: While acknowledging that previous commission efforts reflected good faith attempts to address potential risks, Chair Khan emphasized that market consolidation, vertical integration, and asymmetries have altered the PBM landscape. As a result, the FTC is updating its understanding of PBMs as it conducts an extensive investigation into the industry's practices to determine if any are anticompetitive and limiting patient access to affordable medicines.

  3. Industry response and implications: The change in FTC policy is met with differing opinions. The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, representing the PBM industry, disagrees with the commission's decision, arguing that the market has become more competitive over the years. However, attorneys and analysts believe that previous policies against bills in some states may have contributed to the rapid growth and consolidation of the industry, with three major PBMs now controlling nearly 80% of the market. The updated approach aims to prevent reliance on outdated advocacy and potentially advance solutions to address any anticompetitive outcomes driven by PBMs.

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Employers seek guidance on mental health benefits: survey

By Frank Diamond - Employers give themselves poor marks in terms of providing mental health services to their employees but high scores for supporting initiatives to improve diversity, equity and inclusion among their rank and file, according to a new survey by the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH). Read Full Article… 

VBA Article Summary

  1. Lack of Identification and Testing: The survey revealed that approximately 1 in 4 respondents (26%) do not identify their employees' mental health needs and do not assess whether workers are aware of mental health programs and their effectiveness. This highlights a gap in addressing mental health concerns and suggests a potential area for improvement in workplace mental health strategies.

  2. Managers' Engagement and Knowledge: The survey indicated that around 47% of respondents said that managers are always or usually engaged in breaking the mental health stigma, while 49% stated that managers are mostly aware of how to respond to employees' mental health needs and guide them toward necessary resources. Although there is some positive feedback, these numbers indicate that there is still room for improvement in ensuring managers are better equipped to support their employees' mental well-being.

  3. Communication and Benefit Awareness: The survey pointed out that employees are not always aware of the mental health benefits available to them until they encounter a crisis. This lack of awareness highlights the need for better communication from employers regarding the benefits packages, including possibly waiving copayments and finding ways to increase the utilization of employee assistance programs. Improving communication can help employees access the necessary support before their mental health reaches a critical point.

Bonus Point: Positive Aspects of Workplace Well-being Efforts: On a positive note, the survey reported that a little over half of the respondents (52%) supply mental health information in various ways, which was considered a positive aspect by the NEBGH's senior vice president. Moreover, the survey indicated that employers are generally supportive of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives (63%), promote a healthy work-life balance (76%), and encourage flexible work environments (85%) and employee community involvement (81%). This suggests that employers are actively considering overall well-being as a priority for their workforce.

Overall, the survey highlights both the progress made by employers in addressing mental health and the areas where further improvements are needed to create a culture of wellness in the workplace.


5Star Life Insurance Co. Awarded on the Forbes World’s Best Insurance Companies 2023 List

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – 5Star Life Insurance Company (5Star Life) has been awarded on the Forbes list of World’s Best Insurance Companies 2023. This prestigious award is presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., the world-leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider. The awards list can be viewed on the Forbes website. Read Full Article…

VBA Article Summary

  1. Forbes' Recognition and Validation: 5Star Life, the life insurance underwriter of the Armed Forces Benefit Association (AFBA), celebrates its inclusion in the prestigious Forbes list of World's Best Insurance Companies 2023. General Larry O. Spencer, USAF (Ret.), President of 5Star Life, attributes this recognition to their years-long growth strategy and unwavering commitment to delivering the best customer service experience.

  2. Independent Survey and Criteria: The World's Best Insurance Companies 2023 list was compiled based on an independent survey involving over 30,000 consumers from 15 different countries. The survey assessed various factors, including overall customer recommendation, satisfaction, loyalty, and specific subdimensions such as advice, customer service, price-performance, transparency, and damage/benefit service.

  3. A Testament to Long-Term Strategy: 5Star Life's inclusion in the Forbes list is a testament to the deployment of efforts towards their long-term strategic plan. Kimberley E. Wooding, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of 5Star Life, acknowledges the dedicated team's focus on profitable growth and providing a best-in-class consumer experience for brokers, employers, and individual policyholders. As a result, 5Star Life continues to establish itself as a trusted insurance provider for a diverse clientele, offering group and worksite voluntary insurance products across multiple states and territories.

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Employers Plan to Cut Back on Benefits Amid Recession Fears

By Remi Samuels - While employees say they are paying more attention to reviewing their financial and retirement benefits in 2023, many companies are cutting back on employee benefits to prepare for a recession, according to Morgan Stanley at Work’s State of the Workplace Study 2023. Read Full Article… 

VBA Article Summary

  1. Employee Expectations vs. Employer Offerings: Morgan Stanley's survey highlights a significant gap between what employees expect in terms of financial benefits and what employers actually offer. About 88% of HR leaders reported that employees have requested benefits that their companies do not provide.

  2. Essential Financial Benefits: The report reveals that retirement planning assistance from financial professionals is a top priority for nearly three in five employees when choosing where to work. Employees emphasized the importance of help with retirement preparation, financial planning, and diversifying investments across various securities to meet their financial goals.

  3. Employee Retention and Financial Benefits: The study shows that employees are paying more attention to their financial benefits, and 89% of them agree that they would be more inclined to stay with a company if it offered financial benefits that met their needs. On the flip side, 90% of HR leaders fear that their employees would leave if competitive benefits were not provided. To retain and motivate employees, companies need to be more creative and efficient in leveraging holistic benefits offerings.

  4. Equity Compensation as a Driving Benefit: Equity compensation has emerged as a crucial benefit for employees' long-term financial goals. A growing number of companies (72%) are offering equity compensation benefits, and 84% of employees believe that including equity compensation and stock ownership in benefits plans is the most effective way to motivate and engage employees. The study also finds that equity compensation is now valued by employees for its contribution to meeting long-term investment goals.

In conclusion, the article sheds light on the increasing importance of financial benefits to employees and the need for employers to align their offerings with employees' expectations to attract and retain talent. The report suggests that financial benefits play a central role in employee satisfaction and can be a valuable resource for addressing their personal financial needs. Both employees and HR leaders agree that companies must do more to provide resources that maximize the financial benefits offered.

LexisNexis Insurance Market Insights Recognized by SIIA as Best Big Data Reporting & Analytics Solution

By LexisNexis® -  LexisNexis® Insurance Market Insights solution was named the best Big Data Reporting & Analytics Solution of 2023 as part of the annual SIIA CODiE Awards. The prestigious CODiE Awards recognize the companies producing the most innovative Business Technology products across the country and around the world. Read Full Article… 

VBA Article Summary

  1. LexisNexis Insurance Market Insights Receives Prestigious 2023 Business Technology CODiE Award: LexisNexis Risk Solutions' Insurance Market Insights has been honored with the 2023 Business Technology CODiE Award. The prestigious award recognizes the platform's contribution to the auto insurance market, providing insurers with current and detailed industry insights faster than ever before.

  2. Empowering Carriers with Industry Benchmarking Reports: Delivered through a suite of industry benchmarking reports, Insurance Market Insights offers insurers a comprehensive view of their market results compared to industry standards. Leveraging LexisNexis Risk Solutions' extensive claims and policy databases, the platform enables carriers to identify and act on emerging trends 60-80% faster than the industry standard, giving them a competitive edge during this volatile period in the auto insurance market.

  3. Significance of SIIA CODiE Award for Business Tech Solutions: The SIIA CODiE Awards, the only peer-reviewed program in the business and education technology sector, bestowed the prestigious honor on LexisNexis Insurance Market Insights after rigorous reviews by expert judges and a voting process by SIIA members. The award further highlights the platform's impact on the industry, offering insurers detailed personal auto claims and shopping insights in near real-time to evaluate strategies and business activities more quickly and confidently segment risk.