Kids these days — they’re just not as healthy as we are, or our parents were.
The Hartford is increasing its share buyback program by $750 million, to $1.25 billion, in the current repurchasing period, which expires at the end of 2014.
The Hartford said Thursday it has an agreement to sell a small sliver of its variable annuity business — the part in the United Kingdom — for $285 million to a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.
Insurance benefits that were available only to man-woman married couples are now open to same-sex couples as a result of Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is accusing Allstate, Liberty Mutual and State Farm of dropping insurance coverage for some Long Island homeowners since storm Sandy hit last fall.
Customer satisfaction with auto insurance fell this year from a peak in 2012, but it is still relatively high compared with a decade ago, according to new survey results from J.D. Power & Associates.
Overall satisfaction with auto insurance companies was 794 on a 1,000-point scale, which is 10 fewer points than the same time last year— but the second highest approval since the study was launched in 2000, according to the 2013 U.S. Auto Insurance Study released Monday.
“In 2013, there is a sharp rise in the number of customers who have experienced premium increases,” J.D. Power’s senior director of global insurance, Jeremy Bowler, said in a prepared statement. “The dollar amount of those increases is also larger, averaging $153 in 2013, compared with an average rate increase of $113 reported in the 2012 study.”
When an auto insurer increases rates, customers generally switch more if the increase is between $51 and $100 than if it is less than $50, the survey found. Nine percent of customers switch insurers if the annual rate goes up less than $50, and 18 percent switch if there is an increase between $51 and $100.
“Generally, customers typically have little understanding of how their rates are set by their insurer, or why prices may vary by sometimes hundreds of dollars between companies when they shop for multiple quotes,” Bowler said in a prepared statement.
Some companies focus on communicating discounts to strengthen customers’ perception of value, Bowler said.
“But the introduction of personal driving data characteristics in establishing discounts, and hence rates, represents another significant step forward for the industry in terms of better communicating price to customers,” he said.
On average, customers in New England were the least satisfied among regions of the U.S.
Average approval numbers — the bigger number, the more satisfied — were: 769 in New England; 776 in New York; 792 in the northwestern U.S.; 797 in the north-central U.S. (Midwest); 801 in central U.S.; 802 in Mid-Atlantic; 804 in the southeastern U.S.; 805 in the southwestern U.S.
In New England, Amica Mutual had the top score for customer satisfaction with 850. Other companies that received better-than-average satisfaction were: GEICO, 794; State Farm, 794; The Hartford, 793; Nationwide, 787; Liberty Mutual, 782; Allstate, 781; and Progressive, 775.
Companies below the New England average satisfaction were: Arbella, 755; Plymouth Rock Assurance, 752; The Hanover, 749; MAPFRE-Commerce Insurance, 748; MetLife, 744; Travelers, 744; and Safety Insurance, 740.
Results from last year don’t compare perfectly with this year because New York was included with New England as the Northeast region. Nevertheless, Amica Mutual has been the top rated auto insurer in the region.
The survey was conducted between March 15 and April 17, with 45,521 surveyed nationwide, including 4,275 in New England.
Approval rating among those who have USAA, special insurance available only to members of the military and their families, was 898, but it is an outlier because it’s not available to the general public.
I took a ride in the MetLife blimp today, which does aerial filming for the PGA Tour. Here is a small video from that experience. An article will follow in tomorrow’s Hartford Courant.
The Pentagon is allowing UnitedHealthcare more time to fix chronic delays in the insurer’s handling of referrals and authorizations for medical treatment of active-duty and retired military families in the western U.S.
Cigna Corp. is monitoring its operations in Istanbul, Turkey, where riot police fired tear gas and sprayed some of the thousands of protesters with water cannons over the weekend.
Five employees, and one Aetna employee’s son, are featured on billboards in the Hartford region this summer as part of the health insurer’s $50 million national campaign to attract and retain individual customers.
While health insurance has been marketed to businesses in the past, federal health care reform and the introduction of public health exchanges later this year shifted part of the marketing emphasis to individuals.
Aetna’s national campaign, “What’s Your Healthy?” is $50 million for media advertising including television and billboards, business-to-business marketing, digital marketing and community events, among other efforts. The campaign is above and beyond what Aetna ordinarily spends on advertising, the company said.
One person featured on a billboard is Jake Montross, 12, whose father, Chris Montross, is Aetna’s managing director of community relations and urban marketing. The photo (above) is of Jake bicycling at The Village Ride, a fundraiser, in June 2012 at Ski Sundown in New Hartford.
“He had just finished up a baseball game and we were on the way home, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer, I guess, and I said, ‘Hey man, look at this picture, you’re going to be on a billboard!’” the father said of his son. “And he was like, ‘What?! I’m going to be on a billboard?’ I wish I had a video of it. Honestly, the response was just so cute I couldn’t get over it.”
Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini said in a prepared statement: “Asking ‘What’s Your Healthy?’ is an opportunity to engage all consumers in a conversation around achieving their best health. Beyond simply creating a dialogue, we’re helping people take action through CarePass, which empowers users to create, track and achieve their health and wellness goals. Wellness is different for different people. I practice yoga and meditation every morning because it helps me be present during the rest of the day.”
The billboards feature a photo and an answer to the company’s question, “what’s your healthy?” For example, a photo of a person with a foot cast answers “getting back on my feet,” and a person on a mountain bike responds “making it to the top.” Only some of the 10 different billboard images have employees and others have publicity photos, such a woman doing yoga with her dog.
Aetna bought time on five digital billboards: two on Interstate-91 on the Colt building, two on I-91 south of Jennings Road and one on Interstate-84 east of Route 72. The stretch of I-91 around the Colt building had average daily traffic of 89,100 to 117,700 at different points on the highway, according to 2012 data from the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Daily traffic on I-84 in the West Hartford area ranges from 92,100 to 164,900, according to DOT data.
The billboard advertisements will rotate with other ads from June 17 through August 11. Aetna also bought television advertising that will be shown from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on local affiliates for NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC.
The marketing is both a buildup to enrollment in public exchanges, which starts Oct. 1, as well as people who buy individual policies directly from a broker or the insurer or on a private health exchange.
CarePass vice president Martha L. Wofford said in a prepared statement: “CarePass helps consumers connect different pieces of health data to create a fuller, more personalized picture of their health.”