Insurance companies, distribution firms and industry groups have responded in force and in a number of ways to the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. Here is what they report they are doing.
==Aetna Inc., Hartford, is matching employee contributions to relief organizations dollar for dollar and offering use of its helicopters for relief efforts.
The company also is easing some medical and pharmacy policy requirements, such as in-network care provisions, through at least Sept. 30 for members affected by Hurricane Katrina.
The telephone number for affected plan members is (800) 443-2386.
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Aetna says it will continue coverage for affected employers and individuals even if they are unable to make premium payments.
==Allstate Corp., Northbrook, Ill., will give $1 million to relief efforts and is matching contributions from employees, agents and agency staff dollar for dollar.
Allstate also deferred payment periods for up to 90 days for customers of its life insurance and benefits units and other units in counties and parishes affected by Katrina.
Customers who want to make payments but cannot mail the payments can use credit cards or debit cards to make the payments by calling (800) 255-7828. Customers also can use that telephone number to make check payments, Allstate says.
==Assurant Inc., New York, is giving $250,000 to the United Way’s Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The company’s Milwaukee-based Assurant Health unit is donating $15,000 to Red Cross relief efforts and matching donations to the Red Cross by independent Assurant Health agents up to a maximum of $50,000.
==The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Chicago, expects to join with its member plans to donate at least $1 million to relief efforts.
==Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, La., is donating $500,000 to American Red Cross relief efforts.
Louisiana Blue also is helping customers by allowing early prescription refills, and the company is eliminating preauthorization requirements and extending the premium payment grace period for individuals and small groups in the parishes hit by Katrina.
==Brooke Corp., Overland Park, Kan., a financial services distribution firm, has canceled its 2005 annual franchise convention, which was supposed to start in New Orleans Oct. 16. “However, to demonstrate our confidence that the great city of New Orleans will soon rebuild, we are planning to hold the 2006 annual franchise convention in New Orleans,” the company says.
==CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, is donating $500,000 to the American Red Cross and will pay $2 for every $1 that employees contribute, up to a total of $500,000.
CIGNA also is opening its 24-hour, toll-free behavioral health telephone support line, at (888) 622-6470, to all residents of the Gulf Coast communities hit by Katrina. Trained counselors can talk to callers about grief, stress and other issues.
CIGNA will let health members in affected areas refill prescriptions early, and it is easing many claims requirements for members in affected areas.
==Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, Columbia, S.C., a unit of UnumProvident Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn., has set up special telephone lines and e-mail boxes to make it easier for customers who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina to get support from the company.
The telephone number for policyholders affected by Katrina is (800) 325-4368, and the number for plan administrators affected by Katrina is (800) 256-7004.
Customers in affected areas will receive a 120-day grace period for premium payment, Colonial Life says.
Colonial Life operates as Colonial Supplemental Insurance.
==Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, says it will continue to insure homeowners, automobile and commercial insurance customers hit by Hurricane Katrina if they are temporarily unable to make their insurance payments. The announcement affects customers in Louisiana and Mississippi and in the some counties in Alabama and Florida.
==Humana Inc., Louisville, Ky., says it will be contributing $1 million, with half of the money going to the American Red Cross and half going to local relief efforts.
Humana will let members in affected areas refill prescriptions early.
==The Atlanta-based U.S. operations of ING Groep N.V., Amsterdam, will be contributing $1 million to the American Red Cross Katrina relief efforts, and it will be contributing 50 cents for every $1 that employees contribute to the Katrina relief effort.
==Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, Mass., will be contributing $250,000 to the relief effort and contributing $2 for each $1 that its employees and sales representatives contribute over the next 60 days.
MassMutual also is extending premium payment grace periods by 62 days for policy owners in areas affected by Katrina. The extension affects holders of MassMutual life insurance, long term care insurance and disability policies as well as holders of certain annuity contracts.
==MetLife Inc., New York, is donating $1 million to relief efforts.
The company has moved its Metairie, La., sales office to Lafayette, La., and it is asking associates to check in by calling (337) 232-2531.