Welcome to iLeads Insurance Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the insurance market. Last week you were reading Professional Liability Market Is “a Game of Whack-a-Mole Now”. This week we’re bringing you:
Should agents shake in their boots at GM’s move into auto insurance?*
Last year in auto insurance finished with a bang after General Motors (GM) announced that it was getting back into the sector with the launch of OnStar Insurance, a business powered by the technology of the GM subsidiary and connected car services company OnStar. GM also revealed a new insurance agency, OnStar Insurance Services, that will be the exclusive agent for OnStar Insurance.
It’s a smart move to get back into the auto game, says one expert, who also shed some light on what this development means for agents working in the auto insurance space.
“What has changed from the last time that GM went into auto insurance … is that they now have this massive amount of information from the vehicles themselves, and that information can help drive usage-based insurance,” said Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC) CEO Laird Rixford (pictured). “But this is nothing unique – Ford does it with Nationwide … and insurance agents should not be worried about this, because the same things that allowed them to survive and thrive before, whenever GM was offering insurance directly, is the same thing that is happening now – and that is the ability for them to provide choice.”
MJ Insurance analyses the impact of COVID-19 on employer medical plans*
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on employer-sponsored health plans. While it would be easy to assume that medical spend increased in 2020 due to the amount of people needing urgent care as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the opposite is in fact true.
A whitepaper published in November by MJ Insurance, one of the largest privately-held insurance agencies in America, details how medical claims, medical spend and the use of medical services are all down significantly year over year. The analysis in the paper, entitled ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on Employer Medical Plans’, is based on MJ’s book of business alongside data sets made publicly available since the start of the pandemic.
The report shows that while total enrollment into employer medical plans has remained flat, overall use of medical services has reduced by 16% year over year. Furthermore, emergency room (ER) utilization has gone down by 26%, and primary care visits have plunged by 74%. This is largely because many people have been following government-mandated ‘stay at home’ orders; they’re avoiding leaving home whenever possible – and that includes making trips to see a physician for non-urgent medical needs. People are delaying care – including physical exams, surgery and elective procedures – because they don’t want to risk getting exposed to the virus. Telemedicine and emergency virtual care options have also impacted the trend toward reduced healthcare spending.
Mandatory vaccine policies may have workers comp implications*
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has begun in health care and senior living facilities across the U.S., and employers in many industries are eagerly awaiting the chance to have their employees vaccinated against the coronavirus.
However, employers must balance their desire for a safe workplace with the risks of requiring vaccinations and the potential workers compensation implications if a worker experiences serious side effects, experts say.
Employers “need to recognize that if they do impose a vaccination mandate that it’s likely that they are going to have to pay for the vaccination, that this will be compensable work time, and … medical complications in a mandatory vaccination environment are going to be under workers compensation and be covered,” said Gary Pearce, Detroit-based chief risk architect at risk management consultancy Aclaimant Inc.
While government agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have said that employers can mandate that workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine, it may not be the best approach, said attorney Jeff Adelson, partner with Newport Beach, California, firm Adelson McLean P.C.
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