Korean non-life insurers pressure to cut premiums

Big non-life firms in Korea raked in higher profits during the first half of the year, but the situation has also put them under pressure to cut premiums.

Based on their regulatory filings, the country’s top four non-life insurers posted a combined profit of W1.64 trillion (US$1.47 billion), representing an increase of 45.86% from a year earlier.

Samsung Fire leads the pack with a net profit of W779.8 billion, up from W515.6 billion.

Dongbu followed with W369.8 billion, an improvement from last year’s W237.6 billion.

Hyundai profited W282.2 billion, up from W198.9 billion, and KB generated W212.6 billion, up from W175.3 billion.

The strong performance was largely credited to stabilised loss ratios in the auto and long-term insurance segments.

Profits from investments also saw an increase, which also helped.


SOURCE http://insuranceasianews.com/news/korean-non-life-insurers-under-pressure-to-cut-premiums/

Insurers’ hidden ‘loan’ costs: how much interest are you being charged to pay monthly?

The cost of insuring your car can differ wildly not just according to your chosen provider – but depending on how you pay.

Paying for your insurance in monthly installments, rather than a one-off annual payment, can mean a difference in price of hundreds of pounds. But with premiums at an all-time high, particularly for young drivers, paying in instalments can be the only option.

Where customers opt to pay monthly, the insurer effectively issues a loan for the policy, with repayments spread over the course of the year and interest charged on top. The rate charged differs hugely from company to company, according to consumer group Which?

Age UK, for example, offers interest-free credit; while esure charges 27.8pc APR.

In its annual results, released last week, esure, which has just over half a million customers, revealed it made £22m in the first half of 2017 from its customers paying in instalments. Direct Line meanwhile brought in a staggering £56m.

To consumers, the addition of interest can boost the cost a policy by well over £100.

Paying monthly for insurance | How much are you being charged?

When you opt to make monthly payments for your insurance you enter into a credit agreement with the company.

This means you will pay interest, and the rate charged differs wildly between companies. Here are 10 examples.

Company APR (pc)
Age UK 0
NFU Mutual 0
Direct Line Varies
Tesco Bank 29.9
The AA 26.9
Hastings Direct 14.9
Esure 25.4
Aviva 22
LV 24.9
Churchill Varies

Telegraph Money searched for quotes for a male driver in their mid-20s on a popular price comparison website. Admiral charged £165 more to pay monthly, while the difference with Esure was £132.

A spokeswoman for the Association of British Insurers said insurers offer the option to pay monthly to help those who cannot afford an annual premium.

She added: “Insurers have to follow the same strict rules as all lenders, which means customers must always be given details such as the cost of their monthly installments and the total amount they will eventually pay.”

Gareth Shaw, a money expert for Which?, said it was important not to focus solely on cost when looking for your policy.

“There’s a risk of saying the cheapest is the best but it’s important to have a provider that will deliver for you,” he said. “We analyse more than 50 different elements of a policy and we base that on surveys of consumers.

“The very top of the list is the interest charged on monthly instalments. Other important things are no-claims discount protection if you have a crash which isn’t your fault and cancellation fees.”

He said drivers were often prompted to pay monthly as they could not afford to pay up front. The savviest shoppers will put the full annual premium on a 0pc-interest credit card and pay that off monthly – avoiding a high APR.

Among other large insurance companies, Legal and General charge an APR of 23.9pc, Tesco Bank 27.1pc Churchill 25.9pc, and Aviva 22pc.

A spokesman for Direct Line said the APR was 21.4pc. He added that the costs to serve customers paying monthly were higher, and the APR is not always an indicator of how much more you will pay.

SOURCE http://www.telegraph.co.uk/insurance/car/insurers-hidden-loan-costs-much-interest-charged-pay-monthly/

UK consumers face record high car insurance premiums as prices soar 11% in one year

The jump deals another sharp blow to UK households who have seen their incomes squeezed as a result of inflation outstripping pay rises

UK consumers are facing record high car insurance premiums, after the average cost of a policy soared 11 per cent to £484 in the last 12 months, according to new figures from the industry’s main trade body.

The average premium taken out in the first quarter of the year was £48 more expensive than in the same period last year with younger drivers and pensioners facing even steeper increases, the Association of British Insurers said on Tuesday.

The pace of price hikes is also quickening, with the average cost private comprehensive motor insurance jumping 4.8 per cent from the first quarter of the year, when average premiums were £462.

The jump deals another sharp blow to UK households who have seen their incomes squeezed as a result of inflation outstripping pay rises.

It means car insurance premiums are rising almost four times the rate of inflation and marks the biggest year-on-year rise since the ABI began tracking premiums for private cars in 2012.

The ABI says its figures are the only published measure of the actual premiums paid by customers, rather than quotes.

The ABI claims that the rapid rise is due to the recent Government decision to cut the personal injury discount rate – a calculation used to determine lump sum compensation to claimants who have suffered life-changing injuries – to minus 0.75 per cent, down from 2.5 per cent.

The move sent insurers’ share prices tumbling, and provoked widespread condemnation from the industry. Much of the cost is now being passed on to consumers.

Insurance Premium Tax also went up to 12 per cent on the first day of June, up from 10 per cent.

The ABI said it would now publish month-by-month premium data, in addition to its quarterly figures, to show the “unprecedented pressures” the changes are putting on premium prices. The latest figures show average premiums in the month of June alone were £498, the ABI said.

However, Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said insurers have seen fraudulent car accident claims fall 5 per cent in the last year, making the significant jump in premiums hard to justify.

“Look behind the hyperbole and the ABI’s own figures show a downward trend in fraudulent – or allegedly fraudulent – claims. Presumably, the £1.3 billion in savings made by insurers as a result of detecting those reduced claims are finding their way into fat cat shareholders’ pockets, because they certainly aren’t being used to reduce premium prices for consumers,” Mr Jones said.

“The insurance industry brazenly sets itself against a growing body of evidence which contradicts its position on personal injury market reform by cherry picking the figures it needs to pressure two consecutive governments to change the law on small claims in order to increase their own profits.”

Further price increases could be in store early next year, when most insurance companies are due to renew their own reinsurance policies. These are likely to be more expensive as they will now have to take into account the higher costs associated with the discount rate, the ABI said.

The news comes as the Government is set to face questions on Tuesday over its handling of the discount rate cut. Lord Hodgson has tabled a “motion of regret” to debate the issue.

Director general of the ABI, Huw Evans, said: “This dramatic increase drives home how important it is that the Government presses ahead with a new framework for the discount rate and call a stop to further hikes in Insurance Premium Tax.

“The UK is one of the most competitive motor insurance markets in the world, but the unprecedented increase in claims costs is driving up prices to record levels.

“Most younger and older drivers are likely to face increases even higher than this, hurting people who can least afford it.”


SOURCE http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-car-insurance-premiums-price-rises-11-per-cent-one-year-average-drivers-a7845771.html

Kanye West sues insurance firm for $10m over cancelled tour and marijuana use claims

West claims Lloyd’s of London have implied ‘use of marijuana’ as a reason for stalling payment, after the rapper cancelled his 2016 tour amid a spell in a psychiatric centre

Rapper Kanye West has filed a $10m (£7.55m) lawsuit against insurance firm Lloyd’s of London, alleging that the company is withholding payments in the wake of a tour that West infamously cancelled in November 2016 – and that Lloyd’s are claiming West’s “use of marijuana” is a factor in the stalled payment.

West drew headlines during the Saint Pablo tour, particularly after he voiced support for Donald Trump on stage in San Jose. After another bizarre concert in Sacramento, where he made a rambling speech castigating Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Mark Zuckerberg and Hillary Clinton, he left the stage after three songs, and then cancelled the final 21 concerts of his tour, refunding ticketholders. He was hospitalised for “exhaustion”, spending eight days at a psychiatric centre in Los Angeles.

In the lawsuit, West’s touring company Very Good Touring writes that they haven’t been given “any indication if they will ever pay or even make a coverage decision, implying that West’s use of marijuana may provide them with a basis to deny the claim and retain the hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance premiums paid by Very Good.” His lawyer Howard King said that the marijuana accusation was an “unsupportable contention”.

The lawsuit also alleges that Lloyd’s fed confidential information about West to news outlets, and states that the insurers’ own selected doctor asserted that West’s mental condition was “disabling” enough to prevent him from continuing the tour.

A spokesperson for Lloyd’s of London said the company wouldn’t comment on active cases.


SOURCE https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/aug/02/kanye-west-sues-insurance-firm-10m-cancelled-tour-lloyds-of-london-marijuana-use-claims

Getting patients access to ‘precision’ medicines is crucial

A decade ago, receiving a medicine designed for your specific genetic makeup or modifying your own immune cells to fight cancer may have seemed like something out of a science fiction novel. But today, “precision” medicines — tailored therapeutics based on a patient’s distinct genetic characteristics — are turning fiction into fact for many patients.

Since every person is unique, not only do precision medicines have the potential to bring highly effective therapies and high-value care to patients, they can also lower the overall cost of treating many of the most serious diseases. The investments needed to discover and develop these medicines can substantially improve health outcomes, and reduce the cost of failing to appropriately target treatment, estimated to be tens of billions of dollars every year.

Tailoring medical treatment to the profile of each patient can enable physicians to identify the best course of treatment and often avoid or reduce adverse drug reactions and the toxic effects of medicines that may not be necessary.

“[P]recision medicines are dramatically changing the treatment landscape for deadly cancers like non-small cell lung cancer and metastatic melanoma, not only increasing survival rates but also reducing the need for the costly procedures and hospitalizations.”

Celgene CEO: Precision medicine targeting metabolic drivers of disease

For instance, according to a recent study published by JAMA Oncology, genetic profiling can predict which women with early-stage breast cancer have a lower risk for their cancer coming back after surgery, allowing up to 15 percent of patients to avoid unnecessary chemotherapy.

Most importantly, precision medicines can help patients live longer, healthier lives. Already, the first wave of precision medicines have entered mainstream clinical practice, including targeted therapies that now make it possible for patients with a once incurable form of leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, to live close-to-normal life spans. Similarly, precision medicines are dramatically changing the treatment landscape for deadly cancers like non-small cell lung cancer and metastatic melanoma, not only increasing survival rates but also reducing the need for the costly procedures and hospitalizations that are now part of the standard of care for these diseases.

As a case study, consider acute myeloid leukemia (AML), one of the most serious and challenging blood cancers. Progress understanding and developing effective and safe therapy for patients with AML has been modest, and overall survival for patients with this terrible disease is measured in months. According to a study published by the journal, Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the average cost for the chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation involved in treating many patients with AML has been estimated to be between $280,000 and $500,000. Discovering why this disease occurs and developing targeted medicines to treat it are really the only alternatives to help these patients and to reduce the cost of treatment failures.

Yet, to realize the promise of precision medicines, we must act collectively across the health-care ecosystem to ensure that patients who desperately need these transformational therapies have access to them.

A problem that too many Americans face when prescribed specialty medicines to treat complex or rare conditions is high out-of-pocket costs. Many patients with the most serious illnesses face high deductibles and coinsurance requirements, which often put the latest, safest and most-effective treatments out of their reach. These patient cost-sharing barriers are one of the reasons half of the medicines used to treat chronic diseases are not taken as prescribed, contributing to the estimated $100 billion to $290 billion of unnecessary costs to the U.S. health-care system from medication non-adherence, as cited by the Annals of Internal Medicine and the New England Journal of Medicine.

We must do better. We need to work together to ensure access to these medicines and reduce the financial burden on patients. Towards this end, Celgene is proactively working with major commercial U.S. health-care payers on arrangements designed to give eligible patients access to our most recently approved medicine — a precision therapy with an accompanying diagnostic test — without deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance. By partnering with payers to offset and even eliminate patient cost-sharing as an obstacle to treatment, our hope is to prevent some of the financial burden that leads to many of the problems currently impacting patient care.

Our action is just one step in what will be needed to ensure access to the medicines Americans grappling with devastating diseases need. As health-care stakeholders, it is up to all of us to work together to develop market-based solutions to ensure that medical innovation continues to be valued, and that patients have affordable health care. We’re not there yet, but we are getting closer. Celgene is working with U.S. commercial health-care payers to step up to that challenge. We are also committed to engaging with policy-makers on finding ways to develop innovative contracting strategies that can benefit patients with government insurance as well. We encourage others in the health-care ecosystem to join us in finding solutions to these challenges.

Commentary by Mark Alles, CEO of Celgene.

SOURCE https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/02/getting-patients-access-to-precision-medicines-is-crucial-commentary.html