Categories
Long Term Care Insurance

Layaway Legacy LTCI

LTCI is much like layaway. Wikipedia can help here. ‘…the layaway customer does not receive the item until it is completely paid for…There is sometimes a fee associated, since the seller must “lay” the item “away” in storage until the payments are completed…If the transaction is not completed, the item is returned to stock; the customer’s money may be returned in whole, returned less a fee, or forfeited entirely’.

The item being referred to, of course, is the LTCI contractual benefit(s) once on claim. If you don’t complete the transaction, you might get a tiny bit of your money back subject to “conditions”.

LTCI is much different than layaway. ‘The main advantage of layaway is that no interest is charged…In addition, the price is fixed.’

In LTCI, after having paid many installments, you may discover the price has changed and that you are responsible for your installment underpayments from inception. You might be saddened to learn you are responsible for interest payments of your underpayments too.

Other classes

It gets worse. You are also responsible for your pro-rata share of under-payments of those who are long gone, bought the same item, eventually paid for the item on an installment plan, took it home and used it. You are also responsible for a pro-rata share of the interest rates of their under-payments. Pro-rata refers to those others who remain in the installment program for the same item.

Gets even worse. You are responsible for the under-payment of perceptive ones who simply left town early, never fully paid or received the item. With interest, but only your pro-rata share.

Ultimate insult. Same idea, but the class of those that fully paid for the item but they haven’t picked up or used the item yet. They will simply hang around until the item is needed. They seem to have made a really smart decision. Or maybe not, according to Wiki: “…consumers face potential financial loss in the case where a retailer declares bankruptcy prior to collecting the item”.

Finally, one more class. One prescient group cut a different payment deal with the store. They agreed to pay slightly more than others for the first few installments with reduced payments thereafter. In some cases this group is immune from price changes, so you are also responsible for their alleged underpayment plus interest too.

Another way to look at this

You buy an item and agree to installment purchase plan. You have not been told that you have taken out a loan at ~4.5%. Initially, the principal of your hidden loan is $0, so no problem. At some point after you have paid many installments, someone from the store calls you and says, “we are sorry, but we underpriced the item a long time ago, so we need to triple the price of your item. Oh, by the way, you agreed to a 4.5% loan, so we are charging you both the outstanding underpricing balance plus the interest from the time you bought”. Neat. The store forgets to tell you that your new loan balance is also increased to reflect your pro-rata share of the other classes described above. But, don’t worry — you can pay this hidden loan off if you agree to increased future installments payments, otherwise the store says,”get lost”!

Famous Quote

“How could it be”?

E. Benes: “Oh, it be”.

Categories
Class Actions Long Term Care Insurance

Gunn v. Continental Casualty

This case was found for Continental but it is being appealed by the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiff’s claim concerns whether premium increases are discriminatory to class. Part of the plaintiff’s argument relies on the fact that states have jurisdiction over rate increases, but there is no uniformity across states. For example, if one state has an annual cap of 2% but another state has no cap, then a policyholder in the latter state is extremely disadvantaged compared to the policyholder living in the former state. This case seems to test the notion of state, rather than national, jurisdiction over rate increases.

Seems like a tough argument. But, upon reading, you be the judge. The case is an interesting read, despite what you might think of the claim(s) contained within.

On Sept. 3rd, 2019, the judge for the case found for the defendant. The attorneys for the case, HAGENS BERMAN SOBOL SHAPIRO LLP, then appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Categories
Class Actions Long Term Care Insurance

Genworth(s)

There are 2 cases we are tracking. Both are moving targets:

The claims in each are different. The Introductions help explain differences:

This action challenges a deliberate, long-term scheme by defendant Genworth, an insurance holding company, and by its affiliated defendants, to bleed capital from GLIC, a wholly-owned insurance subsidiary of Genworth upon which over a million policyholders depend for long-term care insurance benefits in the event that they become disabled.

RICHARD F. BURKHART Et. Al. (CHANCERY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, C.A. No. 2018-0691-JRS)

This case does not challenge Genworth’s right to increase these premiums, or the need for premium increases given changes in certain of Genworth’s actuarial assumptions. Nor does this case ask the Court to reconstitute any of the premium rates or otherwise substitute its judgment for that of any insurance regulator in approving the increased rates. Rather, this case seeks to remedy the harm caused to Plaintiffs and the Class from Genworth’s partial disclosures of material information when communicating the premium increases, and the omission of material information necessary to make those partial disclosures adequate. Without this material information, Plaintiffs and the Class could not make informed decisions in response to the premium increases and ultimately made policy option renewal elections they never would have made had the Company adequately disclosed the staggering scope and magnitude of its internal rate increase action plans in the first place.

JEROME SKOCHIN Et. Al. (N THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, Case No. 3:19CV00049)

The Burhkart case is about bleeding capitol and leaving Genworth LTCI vulnerable threatening PHs and agent/brokers who are reliant on a sustainable company. See related blog Novation. The SKOCHIN case has to do about inadequate disclosures that would enable PHs to make informed choices at critical timeframes. Given that these are lengthy documents and despite how these cases are eventually resolved, there is much more to the story(s) that are teaching moments for those interested in the internals of the LTCI industry.

Given the importance of the cases, not only to Genworth’s PHs but potentially other carriers too, we will track updates:

  1. SKOCHIN case
  2. Burkhart case

We will be adding our own commentary in later posts but we would be remiss in not pointing out what appears on Page 9 of the Skochin filing:

“29…For the first time, however, the 2018 increase announcement candidly disclosed that Genworth “plan[s] to request at least 150% in additional premium increases over the next 68 years.” Such an increase would raise annual premiums on a $5,000 policy to nearly $28,000 a year!

30… To make matters worse, the disclosure of at least 150% increase over the next 6-8 years was not even a full disclosure. At the same time Genworth made that announcement to policyholders, its internal projections demonstrated the need for an increase of more than 300% for the PSC Series III policies over the same period. Such an increase would result in annual premiums of over $40,000 a year. A truly absurd result…”.

This is consistent with our findings in a recent research report of ours — that many LTCI contracts are headed towards a parabolic increase of rates over time.

Categories
Class Actions Long Term Care Insurance

Margery Newman v. MET

Parties agreed to settle this case in the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Briefly, the case was about policyholders who selected a Reduced At Age 65 payment option. These PHs elected to pay a higher premium before the age of 65 in exchange for a half-pay once they reached the age of 65. Policyholders usually did this on the premise that during their pre-retirement years the higher premium would still be affordable; but, once retired, the half-premium would be affordable on a reduced fixed-income and, with the understanding that the half-premium was a fixed amount in the contract, that there would be no premium volatility.

Meanwhile, the carrier had other plans as time went on. It was their belief that they could raise premiums like the many that chose to pay annually. It turns out not to be the case.

This raises the question for PHs with contracts from other carries or other payment options. Does this case offer them any possibilities? You be the judge.

There was one other ruling from the case that is very important, but you have to read the case with discerning eyes. A quiz later on.

Categories
Health

Strategic Economics of Health

The research team first studied the topic of health in 2009 to determine if and how it might be included in our web-based financial planning architecture. Our belief then, as it is now, not having a Health module in the architecture would be a serious omission. Yet, nearly all retirement readiness tools focus solely on investments and lifestyle spending habits. In 2009, we published an initial health framework to supplement our financial models. Lately, we have dabbled with a closely related topic known as Subjective Well Being (SWB), subject matter discussed in another blog category. Much has changed to alter our original health framework, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being one of the most significant items.

So what is it that we exactly do in a Health module consisting of more than 10,000 lines of C# code? Here is the simplest explanation possible in 50 words or less. From a health-oriented survey form, we take a client’s answers and determine a benchmark score. This score is used to project future health scores along with health care costs. Health insurance is then applied to offset health costs, but there is the added premium expense.

What are the types of Health insurance? At the highest level of abstraction, you have: Medicare & Supplements for those aged 65 & above; ACA has 4 major classes of Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Within each, there are a myriad of specific choices depending on your locality.

You can self-insure. Insurance has what is known as loss-ratios, a value that suggests how much premium is returned to the policyholder in terms of benefits on average. Typically, this might be $80 / $100 (80%) for health insurance, so on average you lose with health insurance. In assessing the probability that your financial plan is a success, if you encounter an unfavorable tail risk, your plan that works for the average will fail in those cases.

You can run highly sophisticated readiness-to-retire Monte Carlo simulations models with glam outputs all day long at your favorite investment web-site, but a lack of consideration of health finances renders such exercises as academic.

Ironically, a poor health state may help one’s financial state if it suggests early mortality, usually not one’s goal. There is also the question of morbidity — living long, but not healthy requiring significant, expensive care.

Health is an extremely broad topic. We have confined our efforts to acquiring large health data sets and modeling with many of these factors and others. After all, those 10K lines of code must be doing something meaningful!

Categories
Long Term Care Insurance

N-O-vation

This topic first surfaced for me from a fellow blogger, Joe Belth, who has been studying insurance practices for a very long time.

First, what is novation? For that, I refer you Joe’s web-site. An alternate description can be found at the web-site Investopedia. Besides novation, other corporate shell games are discussed here to shine light on current LTCI industry practices.

Why is novation important? It is often the case that a parent company wishes to dispose of an ailing LTCI division that could hamper corporate earnings for years. This was discussed at a recent CT LTCI forum by the Department of Insurance. Joe’s No. 220 blog titled “Connecticut Violates the Constitutional Rights of Insurance Policyholders” suggests CT might be in-line with the plan of having strong carriers jettisoning their dogs (without disclosing to those most affected).

Examples can be found where such transfers, sale of business line, or similar other methods leaves policyholders’ position more financially vulnerable than before. Note that this is true not only for LTCI but for other insurance product lines (e.g. variable annuities containing complex, many moving parts promises). If you bought LTCI or other long duration product from an insurer with a AAA-rated and that was a critical deciding factor, are you now happy that the party responsible to honor your prospective future benefit is considered weak hands?

If you read Joe’s blog carefully, you should carefully note the phrase “If the policyholder consents…”. Say you receive a letter informing you that your LTCI policy is now headed to a China-mart insurer (see footnote example #1) with unknown credentials. What is the likelihood that you also receive a note asking for your consent? Zero, by default you consent. The default rules are not set up in your favor.

What could be your response if you receive a surprising letter informing you that your debtor (obligator) is a company you have never heard of before? One action would be to inform the sender by registered letter that you do not consent to your policy being part of the corporate shell game transaction. You would only do this to protect your interest but only upon assurance that your current company appears to be the financially stronger than the prospective one.

I have to believe insurance was never intended to call upon policyholders to consider corporate shell games & due diligence nonsense.

1. China Oceanwide Transaction

On October 21, 2016, Genworth Financial, Inc. (“Genworth Financial”) entered into an agreement and plan of merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with Asia Pacific Global Capital Co., Ltd. (“Parent”), a limited liability company incorporated in the People’s Republic of China and a subsidiary of China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd., a limited liability company incorporated in the People’s Republic of China (together with its affiliates, “China Oceanwide”), and Asia Pacific Global Capital USA Corporation (“Merger Sub”), a Delaware corporation and an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Asia Pacific Insurance USA Holdings LLC (“Asia Pacific Insurance”), which is a Delaware limited liability company and owned by China Oceanwide, pursuant to which, subject to the terms and conditions set forth therein, Merger Sub would merge with and into Genworth Financial with Genworth Financial surviving the merger as an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Asia Pacific Insurance (the “Merger”). China Oceanwide has agreed to acquire all of our outstanding common stock for a total transaction value of approximately $2.7 billion, or $5.43 per share in cash. At a special meeting held on March 7, 2017, Genworth Financial’s stockholders voted on and approved a proposal to adopt the Merger Agreement.

Genworth Financial and China Oceanwide continue to work towards satisfying the closing conditions of the Merger as soon as possible. In December 2018 and January 2019, we received the remaining approvals from our U.S. domestic insurance regulators…(For full discussion, click on the following SEC Edgar link)

GENWORTH FINANCIAL, INC., FORM 10-K, ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, p4.

2. Private Equity Firms Are Acquiring Long-Term Care Insurance Policies. What Will It Mean For Policyholders?

…Kudos to Reuters reporter David French for spotting this trend, just the latest example of the deep trouble long-term care insurance carriers find themselves in. Most insurers have long-since stopped selling policies—perhaps only a dozen or so remain in the market. But even those who are no longer active are stuck with billions of dollars in liabilities from future claims on old policies…”

by Howard Gleckman, Senior Contributor at Forbes
Categories
Subjective Well Being

Subjective Well Being

Our research team has studied the topic of subjective well being to determine whether there is merit to consider its inclusion in our web-based life style planning architecture. Our initial efforts (in 2005) focused solely on financial aspects, with concentration on readiness to retire questions and overall financial state. Since then, our efforts expanded to include both physical and mental states as all 3 states in some ways might be viewed as an individual’s score. Money without health or happiness might not be where many wish to head.

Further, our research shows that the 3 states are interelated and interdependent. Obviously, poor health is not good for finances. By contrast, good health management may lead to an improved financial outcome.

Some would believe that the topic of subjective well being (SWB), sometimes referred to as Happiness, is nothing more than the newest pseudo-science. Yet, when we monitor research advances on the topic, increasingly we find hard data that links to effects on both physical and financial health, thus its importance to us.

Methods within our current lifestyle planning architecture utilize a well-tested though modified survey questionnaire, much like the one you may have completed in a recent doctor’s visit, but instead of health, a survey that measures and reports a client’s mental state. By visiting our survey over a lengthy period, a graphical trending tells a story. Simple, but that’s a start.

As both the SWB industry and our own understanding grows, particularly as it relates to what data sciences reveal are the interdependencies on an individual’s health and financial status, additional knowledge and processing methods will be added to our 3 legged stool architecture and, along with this blog, surface non-obvious directional choices for clients or readers to consider.