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No Policy Dumping

“I don’t think you should be able to dump these policies because it harms your profit.”

—Louisiana State Sen. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, comments on a bill prohibiting insurance companies from dropping coverage for homes or businesses that contain corrosive, Chinese-made drywall that has advanced in the Louisiana Senate. The bill by Sen. Julie Quinn, R-Metairie, would bar property insurers from canceling, refusing to renew, or increasing premiums or deductibles because of Chinese drywall at a covered property. Quinn said she’s received dozens of complaints from homeowners who say they will lose their insurance because they filed a claim related to Chinese drywall or who are afraid to report their drywall problems to insurers for fear they will be dropped by the company.

Business Conditions Improving

“The survey confirms that the recovery continues, with business conditions improving. After more than two years of job losses, job creation increased in the first quarter.”

—William Strauss, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and economic adviser for the National Association for Business Economics. A survey conducted by NABE found that the outlook for employment was improving, with 37 percent of the 67 members who took part expecting to increase payrolls. More U.S. companies, including those in the insurance industry, plan to increase their work force over the next six months. The new number compares with 29 percent in January. The survey was conducted between March 25 and April 10.

Shifting Costs

“The conventional wisdom is that hospitals aggressively seek to shift costs from public insurance programs to private payers such as auto insurance companies.”

—Elizabeth Sprinkel, senior vice president of the Insurance Research Council (IRC). A new IRC study shows that low reimbursements from public health insurance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, have prompted hospitals to shift costs to automobile insurance companies – raising auto injury claim costs and forcing auto insurers to more closely scrutinize and negotiate hospital bills prior to payment. The study estimates that for bodily injury (BI) liability claims in 38 tort and add-on states, cost shifting in 2007 resulted in $1.2 billion in excess hospital charges. However, the study says, the full impact of hospital cost shifting, including that occurring in other insurance coverages and in other states, is likely much greater. Spronkel said hospital cost shifting to auto injury claims illustrates the complex relationship between property/casualty insurance and the broader healthcare and insurance system.


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