A Grim Toll

Earthquake

The Great Tohoku Earthquake and the resulting tsunamis and aftershocks may lead to life and health insurance claims with a value equivalent to about $3.7 billion to $5 billion. Despite this, the claims will probably not have a major impact on the capital and earnings capacity of the life insurers operating in Japan, analysts say. At present, the casualties from the disaster include more than 10,000 dead, nearly 3,000 injured and more than 17,000 missing. Photographers/Source: ISSEI KATO/Reuters /Landov

To the Rescue

Elephant
A mahout rides an elephant as they collect money for victims of the recent Japan earthquakes and tsunamis during a donation drive in Khao San Road, a backpacker area, in Bangkok March 21. The donation drive was part of Thailand’s efforts to aid earthquake-hit Japan. Meanwhile, life and health insurers have begun to announce their own donations. Photographers/Source: CHAIWAT SUBPRASOM/Reuters /Landov

Industry Japan Relief Donations:

  • Aflac: $1.2 million
  • New York Life: $100,000
  • Million Dollar Round Table: $50,000
  • WellPoint: $50,000
  • Northwestern Mutual Foundation: $125,000
  • Prudential: $6.1 million
  • AXA: $1.75 million
  • Manulife: $1 million.
  • Hartford Financial Services Group: $100,000.
  • MassMutual: $100,000
  • Reinsurance Group of America: $50,000

Radiation Poisoning? Yep, It’s Covered

Radiation

Hazuki Oka, from Minamisoma in Fukushima, undergoes a screening test for signs of nuclear radiation by a doctor at a health center in Yonezawa, 61 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Amid concerns over incidental radiation exposure in Japan and elsewhere, life insurance analysts noted that a standard U.S. life insurance policy would cover death from radiation poisoning. At present, however, levels of radiation in the United States from the Fukushima reactor are normal. Photographers/Source: KIM KYUNG-HOON/Reuters /Landov

Everybody Likes Mike

McRaith

Regulators, interest groups and insurance policy watchers are praising Illinois Insurance Director Michael McRaith as he prepares to take up a post as the first director of the new Federal Insurance Office. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced the decision to hire McRaith last Thursday. McRaith told his staff about the appointment immediately after Geithner spoke and said he plans to stay at his present job through at least the end of May.

Meeting of the Minds

FSOC

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (L) listens as Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Sheila Bair asks a question during a meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council at the Treasury Department in Washington, March 17, 2011. Photographers/Source: JONATHAN ERNST/Reuters /Landov

Spend More, Live Longer

Long term care

The Society of Actuaries has found a large gap between what average men and average women spend on long term care after age 65. Men spend an average of about 20% of their life past age 65 in a state of chronic disability, and women spend about 30%. Women also live longer. Because of those differences, women tend to use formal, purchased long term care with an average value of about $124,000. The average for men is about $44,000. Photographers/Source: PETER CHEN/The Post-Standard /Landov

Life Settlements Win Big

Life Settlements

Officials at the New York State Insurance Department have ruled that policyholders can convert their term life policies to permanent life policies, thereby enabling them to sell those policies to life settlement companies. John Hancock Life Insurance Policy opposed this practice, saying that the converted policy would be a new policy for life settlement purposes, and thus subject to insurable interest requirements, including a two-year waiting period before sale. Ultimately, that argument fell short.

In a related NY Insurance department ruling, life settlement servicing companies were prohibited from contacting insureds to ask about their health status. Photographers/Source:LUKE MACGREGOR/Reuters /Landov

The Ties that Bind

Praeger

According to Consumer Watchdog, at least 26 of the commissioners at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners have strong ties to the insurance industry. 24 commissioners worked in the insurance industry before being appointed and that two elected commissioners – Ralph Hudgens of Georgia and Sandy Praeger of Kansas (pictured) – depended heavily on insurance industry campaign contributions. Six past presidents of the NAIC who ended their terms in 2000 or later have gone on to work for the insurance industry as lobbyists or consultants. Photographers/Source: BRENDAN HOFFMAN/UPI /Landov

Passing the Torch at MetLife

MetLife

The board of MetLife Inc. has named Steven Kandarian – the man who picked a good time to sell the Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town residential development – to succeed C. Robert Henrikson (pictured) as president and chief executive officer. Henrikson, who has been chairman, president and CEO of MetLife since 2006, will turn 65, the company’s mandatory executive management retirement age, in May 2012. Kandarian, who is now the company’s chief investment officer, will take over as president and CEO May 1. In April, the board will nominate him to for a seat on the board. Henrikson will stay on as chairman until the end of the year. Photographers/Source: JESSICA RINALDI/Reuters /Landov

Republicans vs. SEC Fiduciary Standard

Garrett

Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee are opposing a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission decision to proceed with development of a uniform fiduciary standard regulation. A recent SEC study on standard-of-care issues did not provide an adequate basis for changing the existing rules, the Republicans wrote in a letter to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. The letter was signed by Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J. (pictured), and 13 other Republican Financial Services Committee members. Photographers/Source: JOSHUA ROBERTS/Reuters /Landov

AIG Repurchase in Question

AIG

American International Group Inc. may have to fight other financial services firms for a chance to repurchase mortgage-backed securities (MBS) it sold to Maiden Lane II L.L.C., a fund created by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during the depths of the recent financial crisis, in November 2008. AIG, New York (NYSE:AIG), offered the New York Fed $15.7 billion for the securities earlier this month. Now AIG President Robert Benmosche says the New York Fed appears to be conducting an auction for the Maiden Lane II holdings. Photographers/Source: SHEN HONG/Xinhua /Landov

Questioning PPACA

PPACA

Dr. Patty Kellner asks Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a question during the consortium held at Coleman Sphon Corp. on East 45th St. in Cleveland, Ohio on March 21. Kellner is in a small practice in University Hts., and Secretary Sebelius met with small business owners discussing the Affordable Care Act. Photographers/Source: CHUCK CROW/The Plain Dealer /Landov

Hit the Gas!

ambulance

According to reports from Deloitte, adults ages 19 to 24 run up unusually high ambulance bills compared to patients in other age groups. The discovery was part of a larger analysis of health care cost drivers. Photographers/Source: MATTHEW STAVER/Landov