Consumer Alert: Department of Insurance Advises
Citizens to Beware of Medicare Scams
Be sure to spread the word to your customers: Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon
is advising senior citizens to be on the lookout for scammers attempting to retrieve
personal information with fraudulent phone alerts from Medicare. Louisiana seniors
have reported to the Department of Insurance that they have received automated phone
calls advising that a failure to give over information will result in cancellation
of Medicare benefits.
"New Medicare cards being issued this year has led to a spike in scams and attempts
to steal the personal information of Medicare recipients," said Commissioner Donelon.
"If someone calls and asks you for personal information or threatens to cancel your
benefits, please hang up and immediately contact Medicare or the Louisiana Department
of Insurance at 1-800-529-5300."
New cards are mailing to Louisiana Medicare recipients this month and October 15th marked
the beginning of Medicare Open Enrollment, so this is prime season for fraud attempts.
The National Council on Aging has provided information on the following Medicare
Google Invests in Applied Systems
Google has purchased a minority stake in
Applied Systems, which provides insurance agency software, cloud
based software and other tech for independent agencies. CapitalG is the growth equity
investment fund at Alphabet, Google's parent company.
Reid French, chief executive officer at Applied Systems, confirmed that Google, through
CapitalG, will become a minority investor in the insurance agency software company. At
the same time, French added that the financial stake Google/CapitalG holds in Applied
Systems is a significant one.
Jesse Wedler, a principal with CapitalG, was
quoted in Insurance Journal as making supportive remarks
about the independent agency channel, albeit noting at the same time he's not a spokesman
for Google's insurance strategy. "Our investment is only going to do well if the agency
channel goes well," Wedler said. "I am not a spokesperson for Google's insurance strategy
overall, but that is 100 percent the case—we are believers in the agency channel."
READ: Why Google Couldn't 'Compare' With Local Agents
A previous attempt by Google to enter the property-casualty industry ended in
failure. In 2015-2016 the company attempted to sell auto insurance through its now-defunct
Google Compare site.
Hurricane Michael Losses Continue
Loss estimates from Hurricane Michael continue to come in. Catastrophe risk modeler RMS says
the insurance industry losses from Hurricane Michael is estimated at
$6.8 billion to $10 billion, including insured losses from wind and
storm surge damage across Florida, Georgia, and other areas of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic
regions and losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Hurricane force winds are
estimated to have caused between $6.4 billion and $8.7 billion of insurance industry losses,
while storm surge is estimated to have caused between $400 million and $1.3 billion.
This compares to the estimates from Karen Clark & Co. which said the hurricane would
likely cause almost $8 billion of losses to the insurance and reinsurance sector; AIR Worldwide,
which estimated between $6 billion and $10 billion; and Corelogic, which said up to $5 billion.
The estimates include property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial,
industrial, and automobile lines of business.
New Survey: Small Businesses Need Cyber Insurance
Small businesses know they are at cyber risk, according to a
new survey by J.D. Power and the Insurance Information
Institute (I.I.I.). The survey found that businesses said the risk of being
victimized by a cyberattack is growing at an alarming rate. But only a minority
have cyber insurance. Only 31 percent said they have cyber insurance — and
70 percent said they don't have plans to purchase a policy.
READ: Small Businesses Know They're At Cyber Risk
The survey found that 10 percent of respondents said they have experienced at
least one cyber incident in the prior year. That's about the same rate as drivers get
into auto accidents. Imagine getting into an accident and not having auto insurance.
The survey found that the average small business cyber losses for the past year were
$188,400. That's a lot of money for a small company.