Friday, November 6, 2009

Insurance news: Insurance jobs continue to decrease, lengthy NYT look at cheaper medicine, and Ford unveils inflatible seatbelts

A.M. Best (via Insurance jobs have fallen for the 12th straight month, declining by 3,400 jobs nationwide in October.

South of Seattle, the odds of severe flooding below the Howard Hanson Dam are now believed to be about 1 in 25, rather than the earlier 1 in 3. The Army Corps of Engineers and contractors have been working feverishly to strengthen a weakened dam abutment.

The Associated Press (via the Seattle Times) reports that House Democrats don't yet have the votes to pass their proposed health-system overhaul, and may push the vote back until early next week.

The New York Times editorial page takes a dim view of House Republicans' counter to the Democrat's health reform plan:
Here is the first thing you need to know: It would do almost nothing to reduce the scandalously high number of Americans who have no insurance. And it makes only a token stab at slowing the relentlessly rising costs of medical care.
The AP also has an interesting Q&A with 84-year-old Hank Greenberg, the former CEO -- during far less turbulent times -- of insurance conglomerate American International Group (AIG). From it:
This whole theory of too big to fail should be tested and examined. I don't think we've had a dialogue on that subject. It seems to me that they are very selective on who you permit to survive and who you permit to fail. And if the cost of survival is so huge, I don't see what you gain from it. We have a Chapter 11 (bankruptcy), which permits a company to declare Chapter 11, and be reorganized and go back into business again. That to me seems what we've lived with for many years and I don't see why it's not something that has been used more.
If you've got the time, take a look at this extensive NY Times Magazine story about efforts to make medicine less costly -- and it starts with an interesting revelation about the history of medine.

And here's your reward for reading this far: the Detroit Free Press reports that Ford, starting with the 2011 Ford Explorer, will start offering new inflatible seat belts on its vehicles. See the photo.