Wednesday, May 27, 2009


A.M. Best Co. has introduced Best’s Directory of Insurance Actuaries.

Users may access this new online reference on a complimentary basis to locate actuaries experienced in working with the insurance industry. The Directory can be accessed at

Best’s Directory of Insurance Actuaries offers both General listings, with basic company information, and Full listings, which include details on a company’s qualifications, biographical information, descriptions of expertise, expanded contact information and more.

A.M. Best is offering an introductory opportunity for actuaries to have a Full listing in the Directory at no charge for six months if applied for by Dec. 31, 2009.

For more information about Best’s Directory of Insurance Actuaries, visit

For listing information, call Directories at (908) 439-2200, ext. 5673 or visit

  • As the health care reform debates rage in Washington, employers are continuing to see steady increases in rates for group medical coverage, according to a recent survey by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

The Council’s semiannual Employee Benefits Market Survey shows employers of all sizes continuing to experience group medical coverage rate increases and choosing to shift more of those costs along to their employees through higher deductibles and co-pays, but few employers looking to discontinue group medical coverage as an employee benefit.

Of the benefits consultants responding to the survey, 87 percent said rates had increased for small accounts, those with 50 or fewer employees. Eighty-nine percent said rates increased for medium accounts (51-500 employees) and 67 percent saw increases in large accounts (501+ employees).

Fifty-three percent of small and 68 percent of medium accounts saw rate increases 6-15 percent, while only 50 percent of large accounts saw rate increases in the 6-15 percent range. “Carriers appear to be much more aggressive in pricing,” commented one consultant. “Trend is escalating,” said another.

Employers continue to look at options to cut their costs in the face of continuing rate increases. One consultant said, “Deductibles, coinsurance and co-pays have increased drastically – plans are becoming more cost sharing.” Another commented, “Carriers in our region are developing higher deductible plans in response to the need for low cost options in this economy.”

Employers are also looking to employees to shoulder a higher percentage of premiums costs, with more than 50 percent of respondents saying that over half of their clients have chosen this option. “A majority of plan sponsors have elected to increase deductibles and make other design changes for the purpose of reducing cost increases,” said one respondent. However, employers are not looking to drop health coverage completely, with 85 percent of respondents saying that only 1-10 percent of their clients are considering this option.

High Deductible Health Plans/Health Savings Accounts remain of great interest to employers, but not as the sole health care offering. Fifty-seven percent of consultants said clients see HDHPs/HSAs as a plan option rather than for replacement of an existing plan. Small, medium and large accounts continue to implement the HSA option at around the same pace, and employer contributions to HSAs generally fall within the $250-$749 range.

The benefits consultants also said that group life insurance renewal rates remained stable or dipped slightly for all size accounts.

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