Insurance Journal - Maine has adopted a new, uniform standard for who can be classified as an “independent contractor” for worker’s compensation and other employment-related cases. The change went into effect on Dec. 31, 2012. State officials say the uniform definition will help eliminate confusion for businesses. Previously, the state’s department of labor, the workers’ compensation board and the revenue services used different criteria for who would be classified as an independent contractor. Officials say this new definition clarifies the conditions under which a worker should be classified as an employee or as an independent contractor. The independent contractor standard will be applied uniformly in worker’s compensation, unemployment, and wage and hour laws.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
 
Billings Gazette - A sharply divided Montana Supreme Court has ruled that forcing a Hutterite religious colony to pay workers’ compensation insurance for jobs outside the commune is not an unconstitutional intrusion into religion. The 4-3 decision upholds a 2009 law requiring religious organizations to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which the Legislature passed after businesses complained they could not outbid the religious workers. The Big Sky Colony of Hutterites in northwestern Montana sued, saying the law targeted its religion and infringed on its beliefs. Its members have no personal property and make no wages as part of their communal life, which is central to their religious beliefs, and a member can’t make a claim against the colony or take money for himself without risking excommunication.
Friday, January 04, 2013
 
Insurance Networking News - Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast on Oct. 30, 2012 and for days lashed the region with high winds and rain. From that day through November 5, Allstate Corp., the nation’s largest publicly traded personal lines insurer, received almost 14,000 claims submissions online and through mobile claims applications, representing a 116-percent increase compared to a non-catastrophe week. By integrating telephony, text messaging, e-mail, video conferencing, Internet access, as well as photo and video capabilities, into a single personal technology, mobile devices have transformed the ways people communicate, entertain themselves, shop and transact business.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
 
Business Insurance - An Australian court recently delivered its opinion in the ongoing saga of a woman seeking workers compensation benefits for an injury suffered while having sex on a business trip. The full bench of the Federal Court found in favor of the government worker who was hospitalized in 2007 after a glass light fitting was ripped from above a motel room bed, according to reports. The fitting injured her face, which also caused her to suffer from depression. The government insurer, Comcare, first approved her workers comp claim, but then rejected it after further examining the case. UPDATE: Australian court rules no workers’ comp for sex injury
Thursday, January 03, 2013
 
Insurance Networking News - Insurers’ ability to process claims effectively has never been more important to their financial results and customer experience. Look at most any carrier’s website and you’ll see lots of language touting their fast, fair and friendly claims-processing practices and customer-satisfaction statistics. But claims is a function that relies heavily on the skills of individual claims adjusters and their demeanor with the claimant. And while the goal is to offer a fair settlement and pay the appropriate amount, carriers also need to minimize leakage and fraud.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
 
ABC News - A leading insurance company says natural disasters cost the industry $65 billion last year and that Superstorm Sandy accounted for nearly two-fifths of the total. However, Munich Re AG said Thursday total insured losses from natural catastrophes were down from a record $119 billion in 2011, when devastating earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand cost the industry dear. The company said total economic costs in 2012 from natural disasters — including uninsured losses — amounted to $160 billion, compared with the previous year’s $400 billion.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
 
Insurance Networking News - Net income for P&C insurers in the United States more than doubled during the first three quarters of 2012, increasing to $31.2 billion from $12.3 billion for the same period last year, as a result of improved underwriting results, according to “U.S. P/C Net Income Improves in 3rd Qtr; Sandy’s Impact Yet to be Realized,” a special report from an A.M. Best Co. The impact of superstorm Sandy, which hit the East Coast of the United States in October, has not yet been fully calculated and will negatively affect financial results for Q4 and for 2012. However the industry is well-capitalized, A.M. Best said, and “should result in Sandy having only a modest impact next quarter.” Last week, Fitch released similar findings.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
 
Insurance Journal - With 2013 just around the corner, a number of states are preparing to implement new insurance-related laws. Insurance Journal highlights some of the changes that will take place around the country. Beginning January, Alabama will begin implementing a new law that will crack down on uninsured drivers who don’t follow the state’s mandatory insurance law. To make this possible, Alabama’s revenue department will oversee an online verification platform that can instantaneously pull up auto insurance records.
Monday, December 31, 2012
 
KRNV Reno - A federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment today against Mark E. Leung, 58, of South Lake Tahoe, charging him with wire fraud, mail fraud, and making a false statement to obtain federal workers’ compensation, according to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner. The indictment alleges that Leung worked for the United States Postal Service until 1987 when he claimed he sustained a work-related injury. Leung never returned to full-time employment with the Postal Service and began receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Monday, December 31, 2012
 
CNN - At least two firefighters were shot and killed at the scene of a fire that engulfed multiple houses in upstate New York on Monday, police said. Doctors treated two other firefighters for gunshot wounds, police in Webster, New York, told reporters. Authorities believe one or more shooters took aim at the firefighters after they left their vehicles, Police Chief Gerald Pickering said.
Monday, December 24, 2012
 
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