The Great Tohoku Earthquake

The Great Tohoku Earthquake

The historic earthquake that hit Japan March 11 is one of the the most powerful to strike since seismologists began keeping records.

A dosimeter at work

The Fukushima Reactors

As the death toll of the quake and tsunami climbs, however, and risk of radiation exposure from Japan’s stricken nuclear reactors looms, life insurance observers struggle to gauge how much the life and health insurance industry stands to lose from the disaster.

The ACLI Reaches Out

Japanese quake survivors crowd shelters

“Our industry has strong ties to Japan, and we have developed personal as well as professional relationships with many who are affected by this disaster,” says Dick Kempthorne, president of the American Council of Life Insurers. “As an industry and business, we will continue to serve the people of Japan. As a people, our thoughts and prayers are and will continue to be with them as they recover from these tragic events.”

Aflac

Aflac Gives

Almost immediately after Japan’s historic earthquake and tsunamis, Aflac, which has large books of business in Japan, pledged 100 million yen in disaster relief efforts to the International Red Cross.

Gottfried Goes

Gilbert Gottfried

Just as swiftly, Aflac fired comedian Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac duck, for tweeting an insensitive joke about the tsunami.

Reid Supports a 1099 Fix

Reid

Meanwhile, in Washington, the Senate appears poised to support the House version of legislation repealing the much-criticized Form 1099 reporting provision after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., indicated this week that he would support the House version despite opposition within his own party.

AIG to Buy Back Securities

AIG

American International Group has offered to pay $15.7 billion for mortgage-backed securities held by the Federal Reserve Board Bank of New York. The high-yield instruments are backed by residential mortgages. AIG once held the securities in its life subsidiary portfolios. The securities were sold to the New York Fed in late 2008, to increase liquidity at a time when AIG was struggling to stay in business.

HHS Seeks Funding

Sebelius

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius makes the case that the proposed House budget for the rest of the current fiscal year will severely curtail the ability of the federal government to make payments to vendors under various Medicare programs, including Medicare Advantage.

IRS

The CO-OPs

The IRS seeks comments on how it should go about implementing rules that forbid the new Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan health insurers from engaging in political lobbying.

Retirement? What’s That?

Retirement assets

Researchers report that U.S. workers are worried about not having enough retirement assets but are planning to work longer rather than saving more.

Rockefeller

A Rockefeller Jumps into the MLR Fight

Sen. Jay Rockefeller attacks efforts by the NAHU and Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty to get agent commissions out of medical loss ratio (MLR) calculations.

One Year Later . . .

Affordable Care Act - Obamacare

In Washington, Nancy Pelosi celebrates the one-year anniversary of House passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, despite the act’s uncertain future on Capitol Hill and in the federal courts.

- Bill Coffin