When insurers turned down patient’s request for cancer treatment, they didn’t know he was a top trial lawyer

In August 2018, Robert Salim and eight of his friends and relatives flew to the steamy heat of New York City to watch the U.S. Open.

The group — most of them lawyers who were old tennis buddies from college — gathered every few years to attend the championship. They raced from court to court to catch as many matches as possible. They hung out at bars, splurged on high-priced meals and caught up on each others’ lives.

But that year, Salim had trouble walking the half-mile from the subway station to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows without stopping two or three times to rest. Back in his hotel room, he was coughing badly, his phlegm speckled with spots of blood. Although he had kept fit for a 67-year-old, he felt ragged.

Salim, whose friends call him Skeeter, flew home to Houston, where he saw his family doctor. After dozens of tests and visits to specialists, he received his diagnosis: stage 4 throat cancer. A tumor almost an inch long was growing under the back of his tongue, lodged like a rock. It had spread to his lymph nodes. Dr. Clifton Fuller, his oncologist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, called it “massive oral disease.”

Still, Fuller told Salim that his type of throat cancer would respond well to a treatment known as proton therapy, which focuses a tight beam of radiation on a tumor. So Fuller’s staff quickly sought approval from Salim’s health insurer, marking its fax “URGENT REQUEST”: “Please treat this request as expedited based on the patient’s diagnosis which is considered life threatening.”

The answer arrived two days later. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana would not pay for proton therapy; the costly procedure was appropriate only after doctors had previously

Read the rest Continue Reading

Insurance companies yet to see fire sale of high-value life policies

Many life insurance companies are yet to see a sharp spike in the sale of high-value policies as was widely expected in the aftermath of the government’s decision to tax income from insurance policies having an aggregate premium above Rs 5 lakh in a year.


This is for policies issued on or after April 1, 2023.

Insurers expect March, which is typically the busiest month for life insurance companies, to see increased sales of such policies before the government’s proposal kicks in.


After the Budget announcement, analysts at various brokerage houses had reckoned that high-value non-par guaranteed products could see a fire sale over the next two months (February and March) to avail of tax benefit which only goes away from April 1.

“Nothing extraordinary happened in February. Perhaps it’s not yet registered with customers. It’s too early to say,” said a chief executive officer (CEO) of a private sector life insurance company.

“However, in March, we might see a pick-up,” he added.

“There is some interest from customers because we are seeing enquiries.

“But there has not been a spike in the sale of high-value policies.

“We could see some increase in March because typically it’s the busiest period for life insurers,” said Mahesh Balasubramanian, managing director (MD) and CEO, Kotak Life Insurance.

According to Rushabh Gandhi, deputy MD, IndiaFirst Life Insurance, after Union Budget 2023-24, there has been significant increase in customer inclination towards buying non-unit linked insurance plan (ULIP) products over and above Rs 5 lakh.

“As of February, our business witnessed a 20 per cent increase in the composition of its non-ULIP portfolio versus the first 10 months of the year.

“We have also observed a 15-20 per cent increase in the average ticket size concerning non-ULIP policies over Rs 5 lakh,” said Gandhi.

Meanwhile, the

Read the rest Continue Reading

Life Insurance Agency Owners and Corporate Staff Jobs

What You Need to Know

  • U.S. life and health insurers employ about 910,000 people.
  • Unemployment in the insurance sector is 2.1%.
  • In the third quarter, about 68% of U.S. insurers said they planned to add staff.

If you’ve been maintaining your own local life insurance agency for a number of years, but find yourself wondering what it’s like on the other side of the insurance industry, here is some information and tips to get you started down the path of considering a corporate staff job.

1. Opportunities abound.

As you likely know, life insurance remains big business.

A total of $1.4 trillion of U.S. insurance industry net premiums were written in 2021.

Life and annuity insurers accounted for 47% of that, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The life insurance industry also continues to be a huge employer.

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that the U.S. insurance workforce alone is larger than 2.8 million employees, and 1.6 million of them work for insurance companies ― including more than 910,000 in life and health insurance.

A number of varying roles are available for your consideration.

2. The timing is good.

According to The Jacobson Group and Ward’s Insurance Labor Market Study for the third quarter, unemployment in the insurance industry is only about half the national average — about 2.1% — and 68% of companies plan to increase staff in the next 12 months.

Medium-sized insurers are even more aggressive, with 80% saying they plan to add staff.

Turnover has historically been around 8% to 9% but now, like many industries, insurance is facing a voluntary turnover increase, with annualized rates around 12% to 15%.

Areas like technology, underwriting and claims are some of the top jobs in demand.

3. Leverage your experience to help other agency owners.

Many larger

Read the rest Continue Reading

Why The Time For Digital Life Insurance Is Now

Jamie Hale is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ladderthe life insurtech helping more people get covered in an instant, easy, and affordable way.

My journey with life insurance began over 30 years ago as a personal story. My dad passed away when I was 11. He had a simple life insurance policy, which allowed my family to stay stable in a time of extreme uncertainty. My father’s act of love has stayed with me. When I founded my company in 2015, I knew firsthand not only the long-lasting effects a good life insurance policy can provide for families, but also that the industry badly needed disruption.

I believe many in the industry have failed to keep up with consumer expectations in a digital-first world, relying on analog practices for an intangible product that should be as simple to get as making a bank deposit is. Anyone who has tried to get a traditional policy has likely felt just how drawn-out, clunky and manual the process is.

thankfully, things have been changing rapidly. Awareness for life insurtechs among millennial active shoppers has climbed almost 30% in the last 10 months. The pandemic has brought mortality front and center, with 31% of millennials saying they were more likely to buy coverage now. Financial influencers have been flourishing on social media as consumers actively seek better control over their financial lives.

And technology has matured. Technology-first insurance players can now solve increasing complex data problems, thus developing better underwriting outcomes that benefit both customers and the bottom line.

Life insurance is at a tipping point. I predict that over the next 10 years, the bulk of the life insurance market will shift over to digital players. Here’s why.

The opportunity to disrupt is enormous.

I mean that literally: The

Read the rest Continue Reading

Life Insurance, Annuities and R&D Tax Credits

What You Need to Know

  • The PATH Act of 2015 extended the tax credit to startups and small businesses.
  • Insurtech firms can use the credit to eliminate up to $250,000 in federal payroll taxes.
  • One challenge is documenting compliance.

The life insurance and annuities industries are changing with the times and becoming more tech-savvy.

Insurance technology advances make life easier for both customers and agents, from customers reporting a claim to agents interfacing with clients.

Insurtech also helps insurance companies stay visible in a crowded market.

As a result, digital experiences, technology solutions, operational efficiencies, and process automation are all on strategic roadmaps for insurtechs.

Fortunately, America’s largest tax incentive, the research and development (R&D) tax credit, applies to life insurance and annuity distributors developing software and other technology solutions.

Unfortunately, there are companies that either don’t embrace the creation of innovative proprietary technologies or are unaware of how best to handle the R&D tax credit process.

Here are three important pieces of the R&D puzzle that every company should know to optimize and defend their R&D tax credits:

1. The History

Each year, the federal government provides billions of dollars to innovative businesses for developing and improving technologies, products, and processes.

The R&D tax credit was created in 1981, as part of the Economic Recovery Tax Act.

The original version allowed for a temporary tax credit, of up to 13%, on spending for qualified research on products and processes that had been developed or improved through the application of the principles of either the physical sciences, biological sciences, computer science, or engineering.

This spending could include costs associated with developing a patent, a new product or service offering, or even a new technology that was sold to third parties.

Then, in 2015, the Protecting Americans from

Read the rest Continue Reading