Monday, October 31, 2011

The Top 5 Scariest Things About Life Insurance



31 Oct 2011 10:30 Africa/Lagos


The Top 5 Scariest Things About Life Insurance

From renewal problems involving term life to the potential for losing your shirt with a bad variable universal life insurance investment, Life Quotes, Inc. emphasizes the importance of understanding your life insurance policy.

PR Newswire

DARIEN, Ill., Oct. 31, 2011

DARIEN, Ill., Oct. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Life Quotes, Inc. has compiled a list of the top 5 scariest things about life insurance, calling attention to the importance of going over your life insurance policy with a trusted insurance agent no less than once a year to make sure that the policy you own is keeping up with the changes in your life. If you should die, the only way to truly protect your loved ones from financial peril is with life insurance. But before you sign the dotted line, or pay another renewal bill, make sure you have a thorough understanding of how your policy works.

The following is a short list of some of the most frightening and often overlooked features of a life insurance policy:

TERM LIFE (TL)
Term life insurance doesn't age gracefully

Term life may be the least expensive life insurance policy you can purchase, but it is only in-force for a designated term, typically 10, 15, 20 or 25 years. And if you have to renew a term life policy under the guaranteed renewal clause—look out! The cost of built-in, no-exam renewal feature can often be five or ten times the cost of the premium you have been paying. And then, most renew on an annual basis in which the premiums rapidly escalate even further into the stratosphere each year thereafter. To avoid this problem, consider buying a longer initial rate guarantee at the outset. Many companies now offer 30-year term, level term to age 65 and even level term for life, in which you'd never be subject to a price increase.

WHOLE LIFE (WL)
Creeping death of your cash value

"If you are only looking at immediate, short-term goals, you don't want to invest in a whole life insurance policy because the surrender charges in the early years would dramatically reduce the cash value and you may find that you paid far more for the policy in premiums than what it's worth," said Michelle Matlock, editor of Life Quotes, Inc.

Consider buying whole life only if you want coverage for the very long haul and have no intentions of canceling in the early years.

VARIABLE (VL), UNIVERSAL (UL), and VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE (VUL)
These policies assume investment risks that can murder your overall value

If you are being pitched on a variable or universal life insurance policy that is being sold as "self-sustaining," watch out because long-term, non-guaranteed projections with life insurance can be very misleading. Not only might it take 10 or more years to build up enough cash value to cover future premiums, but also inherent in those projections is an assumed interest rate that can be wildly off over a long period of time. When interest rates are projected to be high, the cash value grows at an alluring, faster rate, but when interest rates are low, cash values grow very slowly. To avoid trouble, always ask the selling agent to show you and explain the "guaranteed" values columns in the illustration, as they will show a true, worst-case scenario.

A variable universal life insurance policy is far more risky. The policy is dependent on how well the investments tied to the cash value perform in the stock market. If the stock market goes south along with your investments, this will greatly impact your cash value and the security of your death benefit. There are several upfront charges on a VUL that make it very pricey coming out of the gate. In addition to this, these policies can have astronomically high surrender charges if you decide to partially or fully surrender the policy in the first 10 years.

For a full list of "Top 5 Scariest Things About Life Insurance" go to http://www.lifequotes.com/articles/lifeinsurance/the-top-5-scariest-things-about-life-insurance/

About Life Quotes, Inc.

Originally founded in 1984, Life Quotes, Inc. owns and operates a comprehensive consumer information service and companion insurance brokerage service that caters to the needs of self-directed insurance shoppers. Visitors to the Company's website, www.lifequotes.com, are able to obtain instant car, life, health, home and business insurance quotes, and have the freedom to buy online or by phone from any company shown. Life Quotes, Inc. generates revenues from receipt of industry-standard commissions, including back-end bonus commissions and volume-based contingent bonus commissions that are paid by participating insurance companies. We also generate revenues from the sale of website traffic and insurance leads to various third parties.

SOURCE Life Quotes, Inc.

CONTACT: Michelle Matlock, Editor, +1-630-515-0170, ext. 335, editor@lifequotes.com

Web Site: http://www.lifequotes.com


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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!


Photo Credit: Trendz Info


Happy New Year 2011!


We give all the glory to God for protecting and saving our beautiful and wonderful life to see the dawn of another year and we trust HIM to continue to see us through in the coming years and decades!





We thank God 24/7!

31 Dec 2010 10:00 Africa/Lagos



The Top Baby Names of 2010 Revealed

LONDON, December 31, 2010/PRNewswire/ -- Katie and Amy have fallen out of the list of the top 20 female christian names, it emerged yesterday (30th January 2010).

The monikers of troubled stars Katie Price and Amy Winehouse have been replaced by prettier and less infamous names, Maisie and Isabella.

The highest climber in the list of the most popular girls' names in the UK today is Bella, due in no small part to the lead character in Twilight, played by actress Kristen Stewart. Lacey, as in EastEnders actress Lacey Turner, is also on the up, soaring from number 57 up to 37. Florence is also becoming increasingly popular, moving up 33 places, as is Maisy.

Olivia is still top after 3 years and Sophie is still second. Lily is now third, up from 8th place, with Emily and Ruby completing the top five.

In the boys list Jack has finally been bumped off top spot by Oliver after 16 years in first place. Jack is now second while Harry, Charlie and Alfie, all non-movers, make up the top five.

Another bad year for F1 ace Lewis Hamilton has seen the popularity of his first name drop from 13th to 19th place, whilst his singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger fares even worse, with the name Nicole dropping seven places down the girls list to 84th place.

Ollie emerged as the biggest climber - up 56 places to number 53 - while Zachary, perhaps inspired by High School Musical's Zac Efron or even the son of jungle queen Stacey Soloman, has also become more common.

Bobby - the name of the late Jade Goody's son - is another big climber, up 25 places to number 70. And Kai - Coleen and Wayne Rooney's son has stepped up 10 places to number 56, despite his father's indiscretions.

The list was compiled by parenting club Bounty from names given to 423,000 children born in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during 2010.

Yesterday, Faye Mingo, spokeswoman for bounty.com (http://www.bounty.com/) said: ''Our records show that parents are continuing to be influenced by popular culture and celebrity trends.

"The remarkable rise in popularity of names such as Ollie and Florence are most probably due to the X Factor star Olly Murs and the singer from Florence and the Machine experiencing their time in the limelight.

"However, parents are looking to a wide range of sources for influence and also seem to be rediscovering more traditional, 'old-fashioned' names like Ava and Stanley which have been more associated with grandparents in the past.

"Biblical names are also proving popular with Noah rising 20 places to 15th place and Jacob up 7, just missing the top ten."

Olivia is enjoying its third year in top spot after deposing Grace in 2008.

Jessica climbed one place to sixth, while Chloe dropped from fifth to seventh. Ava made it into the top ten for the first time while Grace slipped to ninth from sixth.

Amelia completed the top ten. Lucy was a non-mover at 13 while the next four places were all taken up by new names, including Isabella which climbed eight places to 14th.

Megan, Isla and Freya have all become more popular as has Lilly, most probably inspired by the singer Lily Allen.

On the boys list Jack finally surrendered top spot to Oliver but very little of the rest of the top ten changed. William climbed one spot to eighth as did Daniel to ninth while James slipped two to tenth.

Other names we will be hearing more regularly includes Logan, which climbed seven places to 17th and Oscar, which moved up four to 22nd.

Callum and Liam seem to have had their day - they were the biggest fallers in the top 30, seven and nine places respectively.

And new entries into the bounty.com top 100 lists were Esme, Courtney, Jude, Elliot and Stanley.

Faye Mingo added: "A recent study we ran found that one in five parents regret the names they have chosen for their children, so it's more important than ever for parents to choose a name them and their child will love for the rest of their life.

"It's hard to predict what we'll see next year but it's most probable that celebrities and popular culture will again play a part - and with a royal wedding on the horizon we may well see an increase in Williams and Kates born in celebration!"

See the Top 100 boys and girls names of 2010 and check the latest regional popularity (http://www.bounty.com/baby-names/regional-names) ratings at Bounty's baby names (http://www.bounty.com/baby-names) section which features a host of unique and handy functions to help parents decide on baby names. As well as being able to search names using letters of the alphabet (http://www.bounty.com/baby-names/names-beginning-with), number of syllables, origin, and meaning, parents can also search trend graphs which show if names are declining/growing in popularity as well as popular sibling/middle names for their chosen name, amongst a host of other useful tools.


TOP 100 BOYS NAMES 2010

1. Oliver
2. Jack
3. Harry
4. Charlie
5. Alfie
6. Thomas
7. Joshua
8. William
9. Daniel
10. James
11. Jacob
12. George
13. Ethan
14. Lucas
15. Noah
16. Max
17. Logan
18. Joseph
19. Lewis
20. Dylan
21. Samuel
22. Oscar
23. Ryan
24. Archie
25. Riley
26. Jayden
27. Tyler
28. Jake
29. Callum
30. Liam
31. Alexander
32. Connor
33. Luke
34. Adam
35. Benjamin
36. Matthew
37. Leo
38. Finley
39. Jamie
40. Alex
41. Freddie
42. Mason
43. Harrison
44. Henry
45. Ben
46. Harvey
47. Nathan
48. Isaac
49. Cameron
50. Aaron
51. Theo
52. Edward
53. Ollie
54. Finlay
55. Owen
56. Kai
57. Harley
58. Aiden
59. Michael
60. Toby
61. Sam
62. Leon
63. Kyle
64. David
65. Rhys
66. Evan
67. Bailey
68. Reece
69. Zachary
70. Bobby
71. Ashton
72. Kian
73. Sebastian
74. Luca
75. Kayden
76. Louis
77. Zac
78. Taylor
79. Brandon
80. John
81. Hayden
82. Billy
83. Caleb
84. Jude
85. Blake
86. Joe
87. Louie
88. Jay
89. Christopher
90. Joel
91. Bradley
92. Ellis
93. Corey
94. Elliot
95. Zak
96. Robert
97. Stanley
98. Aidan
99. Jenson
100. Patrick

TOP 100 GIRLS NAMES 2010

1. Olivia
2. Sophie
3. Lily
4. Emily
5. Ruby
6. Jessica
7. Chloe
8. Ava
9. Grace
10. Amelia
11. Mia
12. Evie
13. Lucy
14. Isabella
15. Maisie
16. Poppy
17. Daisy
18. Ellie
19. Ella
20. Megan
21. Isla
22. Freya
23. Charlotte
24. Lilly
25. Summer
26. Isabelle
27. Holly
28. Sophia
29. Millie
30. Erin
31. Katie
32. Amy
33. Scarlett
34. Hannah
35. Lexi
36. Imogen
37. Lacey
38. Molly
39. Eva
40. Brooke
41. Lola
42. Phoebe
43. Layla
44. Emma
45. Leah
46. Abigail
47. Sienna
48. Gracie
49. Amber
50. Jasmine
51. Alice
52. Matilda
53. Elizabeth
54. Anna
55. Madison
56. Rosie
57. Paige
58. Lauren
59. Isabel
60. Bethany
61. Caitlin
62. Georgia
63. Faith
64. Lexie
65. Florence
66. Rebecca
67. Niamh
68. Zoe
69. Maya
70. Skye
71. Maddison
72. Tilly
73. Keira
74. Scarlet
75. Tia
76. Amelie
77. Libby
78. Sofia
79. Sarah
80. Aimee
81. Isobel
82. Esme
83. Zara
84. Nicole
85. Julia
86. Martha
87. Maisy
88. Heidi
89. Abbie
90. Mya
91. Darcy
92. Rose
93. Eleanor
94. Kayla
95. Miley
96. Hollie
97. Eve
98. Bella
99. Evelyn
100. Courtney

TOP 100 BOYS NAMES 2009

1. Jack
2. Oliver
3. Charlie
4. Harry
5. Alfie
6. Thomas
7. Joshua
8. William
9. James
10. Daniel
11. George
12. Ethan
13. Lewis
14. Max
15. Lucas
16. Dylan
17. Archie
18. Joseph
19. Jacob
20. Samuel
21. Liam
22. Callum
23. Oscar
24. Jayden
25. Logan
26. Ryan
27. Jake
28. Tyler
29. Riley
30. Luke
31. Harvey
32. Ben
33. Adam
34. Alexander
35. Benjamin
36. Leo
37. Matthew
38. Noah
39. Connor
40. Alex
41. Jamie
42. Harrison
43. Mason
44. Cameron
45. Owen
46. Henry
47. Nathan
48. Finley
49. Aaron
50. Freddie
51. Issac
52. Sam
53. Finlay
54. Theo
55. Harley
56. Aiden
57. Toby
58. Edward
59. Rhys
60. Michael
61. Evan
62. Kyle
63. Leon
64. Reece
65. David
66. Kai
67. Ashton
68. Bailey
69. Kian
70. Louis
71. Taylor
72. Hayden
73. Brandon
74. Joe
75. Jay
76. Luca
77. Kayden
78. Ewan
79. Joel
80. Sebastian
81. Zac
82. Ellis
83. Josh
84. Aidan
85. John
86. Billy
87. Zak
88. Bradley
89. Kieran
90. Blake
91. Christopher
92. Morgan
93. Caleb
94. Louie
95. Andrew
96. Bobby
97. Gabriel
98. Robert
99. Elliot
100.Jude

TOP 100 GIRLS NAMES 2009

1. Olivia
2. Ruby
3. Sophie
4. Chloe
5. Emily
6. Grace
7. Jessica
8. Lily
9. Amelia
10. Evie
11. Mia
12. Lucy
13. Ava
14. Ella
15. Charlotte
16. Amy
17. Daisy
18. Katie
19. Megan
20. Summer
21. Ellie
22. Isabella
23. Holly
24. Millie
25. Poppy
26. Freya
27. Erin
28. Isla
29. Isabelle
30. Hannah
31. Emma
32. Brooke
33. Molly
34. Phoebe
35. Eva
36. Leah
37. Lilly
38. Abigail
39. Sophia
40. Imogen
41. Maisie
42. Scarlett
43. Lexi
44. Jasmine
45. Lola
46. Layla
47. Isabel
48. Lauren
49. Amber
50. Madison
51. Matilda
52. Elizabeth
53. Bethany
54. Sienna
55. Rosie
56. Anna
57. Gracie
58. Paige
59. Alice
60. Caitlin
61. Georgia
62. Maddison
63. Rebecca
64. Lacey
65. Isobel
66. Faith
67. Libby
68. Tia
69. Keira
70. Lexie
71. Niamh
72. Skye
73. Nicole
74. Aimee
75. Sarah
76. Zoe
77. Eleanor
78. Amelie
79. Julia
80. Eve
81. Maya
82. Tilly
83. Zara
84. Martha
85. Sofia
86. Scarlet
87. Darcy
88. Abbie
89. Victoria
90. Heidi
91. Alexandra
92. Taylor
93. Miley
94. Kayla
95. Mya
96. Lydia
97. Florence
98. Evelyn
99. Rose
100. Courtney

Notes to Editors:

- The top 100 boys and girls names lists were compiled using data
collated from the registered births of Bounty Parenting Club members in
2010

- Bounty (http://www.bounty.com) is the UK's favourite parenting club,
providing information, support and products for young families
throughout the four key-life stages: pre-birth, birth, toddlers and
pre-school

- With 2.5 million members and over 50,000 new members joining
every month, Bounty reaches 9 out of 10 new and expectant parents in
the UK through its Bounty bag sampling

- http://www.bounty.com has 750,000 opted-in members and a further
28,000 new members joining each month
- http://www.bounty.com/baby-names features a host of unique and
handy new functions and tools to help you decide on baby names.
Whether your heart is set on a name and you want to find out more about
its origin or meaning, have absolutely no idea how to go about choosing
a name or simply want to find a name rated by others as 'cool' or
'exotic', Bounty.com is the go-to site for all your naming needs. In
just one click you can search:

- Regional mapping (search the popularity of names throughout the UK
based on where you live)

- Middle names (search for names that are most commonly used as middle
names with your chosen first name)

- Sibling names (search for common sibling names alongside your chosen
first name)

- Rate names according to how 'cool', 'great', 'traditional', 'exotic',
'unique' they are

- Find out nick-names, explore famous people names, and characters
featured in books, TV or film

- Find out who else likes the names you do and ask friends and family to
confidentially rate your favourite names

- Name trend graph showing if names are in declining/growing in
popularity

- Search using letters of the alphabet, number of syllables, origin, and
meaning

- Collate your own 'shopping basket' of preferred names

Source: Bounty UK Ltd

For further information please contact Rachel Burrows on +44-(0)1707-294000, or email rburrows@bounty.com


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities for Drivers in America

12 May 2010 15:30 Africa/Lagos


Insurance.com Lists Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities for Drivers

From fender benders to totaled cars, here are the 10 cities most likely to boost your auto insurance premium

CLEVELAND, May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Boston residents are world-renowned for their demolition derby driving style, but what city do Boston drivers consider "wicked scary"? Probably Baltimore.


That's right. Baltimore.


The city known for such number ones as the first public library system and first U.S. stage coach route, can now add No. 1 Most Dangerous City for Drivers, according to a new study from insurance.com. It tallies the most claims for everything from fender benders to vandalism and theft.


Baltimore tops the list with 36.5 percent of drivers claiming a prior accident when receiving a car insurance comparison quote from insurance.com. The port city might not surprise many, but there were plenty of stunners in the Top 10, including Erie, Pa., and Des Moines, Iowa.


The safest city to set the car on cruise? Yuma, Ariz. at 17.2 percent. And bigger cities like Los Angeles (26.3 percent) and Chicago (26.1 percent) came in at No. 116 and 122 respectively.


"An accident - even one as small as a fender bender - could affect the cost of your auto insurance premium, so we encourage everyone to drive safely. That means avoiding driver distractions and obeying traffic laws," says Rob Klapper, insurance.com CEO. "On the flip side, if you've had an accident in the past that has recently fallen off your driving record, it could mean big savings. In either case, it's always best to shop and compare rates to make sure you're getting the best coverage at the best price."


Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities for Drivers *:

1. Baltimore, Md.
2. Johnstown, Pa.
3. Portland, Maine
4. Des Moines, Iowa
5. Erie, Pa.
6. Bangor, Maine
7. Birmingham, Ala.
8. Austin, Texas
9. Manchester, N.H.
10. Lincoln, Neb.


For the most accurate data, insurance.com's study chose to review designated market areas that requested 500 quotes or more over a six-month period. The study did not include Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts or New York, since the site presently does not offer comparison quotes for those states.


So that means you're not off the hook, Boston.

The full list can be found here.

About Insurance.com

Insurance.com, the premier destination to shop for and buy insurance, is also the leading online independent auto insurance agency in the United States. Innovative technology allows consumers to link directly to the rating systems of more than a dozen top insurance companies that then compete for the consumer's business. Insurance.com empowers consumers to instantly compare rates, make smart decisions, and buy the policy that fits them best. Since 2000, millions of drivers have saved both time and money by shopping for and buying through insurance.com or speaking by phone with its expert, licensed agents. Insurance.com is headquartered in Solon, Ohio.


*The information in this article is based on proprietary insurance.com data. Insurance.com does not guarantee that the information is representative of all national, city and state statistics and has not validated it with any third party insurance providers.


Media Contacts:
Thomas Tennant
Insurance.com
440.715.0075, ext 1114
ttennant@insurance.com


Source: insurance.com

CONTACT: Thomas Tennant, Insurance.com, +1-440-715-0075, ext 1114,
ttennant@insurance.com


Web Site: insurance.com



Saturday, May 08, 2010

Before Buying a Home - Insurance Questions Everyone Should Ask




Before Buying a Home - Insurance Questions Everyone Should Ask

NEW YORK, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes time to buy that dream home, the cost to insure it is often overlooked. The Insurance Information Institute says there are two questions everyone should ask before they buy: How much will the home cost to insure? And, will separate coverage be needed for certain disasters, such as flood or earthquake?


To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/iii/43425/


Insurance is an expense you will have for as long as you own the home. Before purchasing a home, there are important factors to consider that will affect the cost of insurance. The I.I.I. has created a checklist to help:


-- How far is the home from the fire department? Houses that are near a
fire station with professional firefighters usually cost less to insure.

-- What is the condition of the plumbing and electrical systems? Poorly
maintained, unsafe and/or outdated systems can cost more to insure.

-- Is the home vulnerable to wind damage? Find out if private insurance is
available, or a state-run insurance program. Is there a windstorm
deductible, and how high is it? A home on or near the beach may be more
costly to insure than one inland.

-- Is the house at risk from flooding? Flood insurance is not covered
under a standard homeowners insurance policy. However, it is available
from the National Flood Insurance Program which is serviced by private
carriers and from a few specialty insurers (see www.FloodSmart.gov).

-- What about earthquake risk? Earthquake insurance requires an
endorsement or a separate policy.

-- Is the house well built and well maintained? Homes built by reputable
builders using disaster resistant materials and designed to meet current
building codes are likely to better withstand natural disasters.

A knowledgeable home inspector and your insurance agent can be helpful in answering these questions. The home's loss history report can also provide useful information about its claims history of water damage, fire and other losses.


About the Insurance Information Institute


Recommended:

Mortgage insurance



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Is Your Dog Covered Under Your Homeowners Insurance?

16 Mar 2010 10:20 Africa/Lagos

Is Your Dog Covered Under Your Homeowners Insurance?


ONTARIO, Calif., March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- "Asking if your dog is covered under your homeowners insurance policy may be a strange question to ask, but according to the Journal of American Medical Association, the number of dog bites in America now tops 4.5 million per year," says Frank N. Darras, America's top insurance lawyer. "An overwhelming one-third of all homeowner's liability claims are now related to dog bites, equaling about $1 billion in damages, according to the Insurance Information Institute."

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070717/NYFNSC02)

So, how do you protect your finances from a liability suit if Fido should ever bite the mailman? One type of policy that has become popular is Umbrella insurance. Umbrella Insurance is designed to give you added liability protection above and beyond the limits on your homeowners, auto, and watercraft personal insurance policies. With an umbrella policy, depending on the insurance company, one can add an additional $1-5 million in liability protection. This protection is designed to "kick-in" when the liability on your other current policies has been exhausted. See www.DarrasLaw.com.

How do you decide if umbrella coverage is right for you? You first need to evaluate what assets you want covered and what the likelihood of getting sued may be. It may be more cost-effective to raise your liability limits on your homeowners insurance, rather than buying an umbrella policy. Also, by raising your deductible, you may ultimately pay less premium than you had originally been paying. No matter, with the commonality of million-dollar settlements and verdicts, an umbrella policy may be the best way to go, says Darras.

For example, if you own a swimming pool, hot tub, trampoline, swing set, or pets, it would be a good idea to consider getting an umbrella policy, especially if you have guests over and your dog tends to snap at people. If you don't regularly have people over and your pooch couldn't hurt a fly, it may not be that important.

With personal liability umbrella policy coverage, you can include personal injury, property damage or bodily injury-which may be caused by you, your pets, or your dependents. Along with personal injury protection, you may be covered in the unfortunate event of:

-- False arrest
-- False imprisonment
-- Defamation
-- Invasion of privacy
-- Malicious prosecution
-- Eviction
-- Wrongful entry


Some umbrella policies go as far as giving you coverage if you're charged while actively participating on the board of a charitable, religious or civic organization. It's important to realize that even if the lawsuit is frivolous or silly, you will still need to pay the expenses of the litigation defending yourself.
For more information, visit www.DarrasLaw.com or call 800-458-4577.
Frank N. Darras available for interviews, contact robin@mcdavidpr.com or call 650-279-9512.
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click
appropriate link.
Frank N. Darras



Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070717/NYFNSC02
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com/

Source: Frank N. Darras


CONTACT: +1-650-279-9512, robin@mcdavidpr.com, for Frank N. Darras
Web Site: http://www.darrasnews.com/
http://www.darraslaw.com/


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pelosi, Senior Democrats' Remarks at News Conference on Repealing Health Insurance Industry Anti-Trust Exemption

24 Feb 2010 00:20 Africa/Lagos

Pelosi, Senior Democrats' Remarks at News Conference on Repealing Health Insurance Industry Anti-Trust Exemption

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Chairwoman Louise Slaughter, Congressman Peter DeFazio, and Wendell Potter, senior fellow on health care at the Center for Media and Democracy and a former insurance industry executive, held a news conference this afternoon in the Capitol to discuss the Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act that will end the unfair anti-trust protection for the health insurance industry. The legislation will be on the House floor tomorrow. Below are opening statements from the press conference:


Speaker Pelosi. Good afternoon. I am absolutely delighted to be here this afternoon with Leader Hoyer, with the distinguished Chair of the Rules Committee, Louise Slaughter, with Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon, and our very special guest, Wendell Potter who is a senior fellow on health care, Center for Media and Democracy, and former head of communications at Cigna and Humana.


Tomorrow will be a very special day in the Congress of the United States because tomorrow we will make real change. We will change from the American people having to operate on the field of the insurance companies for over 60 years to the insurance companies having to operate on the field of the American people. We would not be here today without Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, without Peter DeFazio's work, Chairman Conyers who can't be with us right now, and also the leadership of our new Members of Congress, Congressman Perriello of Virginia, Congresswoman Markey of Colorado to name two who have been pushing this issue.


This bill is about restoring competition, fairness, and choice to the health insurance industry. After 65 years, it is now time for the unfair advantage insurance companies have held over America's families and small businesses to end. As we continue the fight for comprehensive reform, this marks another critical step. As you know, we will be taking up comprehensive health insurance reform shortly but we wanted to make sure that in paving the way for that legislation we paved the way for fairness, for competition, for better care, better quality, better affordability for the American people.


I think you have probably seen recently the enormous profits of the insurance industry, and we think the time has come to end insurance companies with enormous profits, CEOs of insurance companies with enormous salaries telling America's families that they have to pay more for their insurance. Over the past decade, insurance rates have doubled, more than doubled, 100, what is it? 151 percent and that is again, as you saw in California, just the beginning.


So as we have said about our legislation, it is about affordability for the middle class; it is about accessibility of many more people to health care and affordability is central to that; and it is about accountability of the insurance companies. If we have the AAA rating for our insurance policies as we go forward, our insurance public policies as we go forward, then we will improve quality of care, lower cost, and make health care more available to many more people.


It is now my pleasure to yield to a leader on this issue in the Congress, a champion for affordability for the middle class, for whom this issue is central, our distinguished Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.


Majority Leader Hoyer. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I thank the Chair of the Rules Committee Slaughter for her leadership on this issue, Mr. DeFazio for his strong advocacy of this legislation and Mr. Potter, we thank you for being here and for your expertise.


Republicans and Democrats throughout the last year and talking about health care have talked about the importance of competition. And they may have a different perspective about how they get there but the free market and competition. We hear our Republican friends talking about that and very frankly, we wanted to set up a greater competition as well to make sure that consumers were getting the best price which would be determined in a free market, acting in a way that free markets were unconstrained and brought prices down. When I say unconstrained, not constrained by any collusive or cooperative behavior. That's what anti-trust is all about. We believe in a free market. We believe in competition. But we know that if we do not preclude people from colluding that prices will be improperly higher than they ought to be. So we want to open competition. That's what this bill is about.


This bill is about making sure that everyone who wants to offer health insurance in America will do so in a free, open market. That will be subject as every other business is, to anti-trust provisions which say you cannot, in effect, make a deal with somebody that you take that part of the market, I'll take this part of the market, and we'll both charge this price. Because then there is not a free and open market to determine the lowest, best price for the best product.


So I am very pleased to be here. I want to congratulate Tom Perriello and Betsey Markey of Colorado, who have been so involved with Ms. Slaughter, Mr. DeFazio, and others, and John Conyers, the Chairman of our committee. And coming to a point where we will place this bill on the floor tomorrow. I am confident it will pass. And I surely hope it passes with a very significant, bipartisan vote. Because there is certainly bipartisan agreement that the free market and competition are clearly in the best interest in all consumers. That's what this bill is about.


Thank you very much.


Speaker Pelosi. A person who has been involved in this issue, removing the exemption to anti-trust laws from the health insurance industry, Chairwoman Louise Slaughter, has been working on this issue since her days in the state legislature in New York and probably even before then. So she came to this Congress determined to make this change and tomorrow her determination will pay off. Madam Chair.


Chairwoman Slaughter. Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is because of you and the Majority Leader that we have reached this point, and it is a very important point for us to have reached. It is totally appropriate that the Congress of the United States lift this exemption because they created it. In 1945, both the Senate and the House passed legislation following a Supreme Court ruling that anti-trust should indeed govern the insurance industry. Each house passed legislation that gave a three-year transition period at which point they would be covered by anti-trust. By the time the bill got to conference and came out of the conference, the exemption had been made permanent, which did not in any way follow what each house had voted but it was ratified then by each house. It was a bad day as far as I am concerned because I know of no industry in the United States which should be exempt from anti-trust, which and their sole purpose is to protect consumers and heaven knows when it comes to insurance we need it.


I am here today to introduce somebody that I have grown so fond of, Wendell Potter. He and I are from the same part of the country, so I was not surprised that Wendell would stand up to insurance industries. All of us can tell anecdotal stories and tell about what people would say to us, but only Wendell Potter who was on the inside--he was the executive at an insurance company--could really give us the true story of what was going on there and he did. He has been so generous with his time, with his expertise, with his friendship and he got started in this because he knew that chicanery was going on in the insurance industry, that phony studies were being made, that people were being denied on the flimsiest of excuses. We are so lucky that we have Wendell Potter and the Wendell Potters of this world, who will stand up when they see a wrong and help to right it. It is a great pleasure for me to introduce to you one of the great Americans of this time, Wendell Potter.


Mr. Potter. Thank you very much, Chairwoman and Madam Speaker. As someone who spent 20 years in the insurance industry, I can attest that this is very important legislation and I can say that it is both substantive and symbolic legislation. The insurance industry has enjoyed an exemption, as everyone has said, for 65 years. And that has contributed to a health care system that has become one of the most dysfunctional and one of the most expensive in the world. And this is time that the health insurance industry begins to abide by the same rules and regulations that every other industry in this country has to abide by.


And it is symbolic in that, I believe this in my view is the beginning of comprehensive reform that will benefit average Americans, working individuals and families more than the big insurance companies and their partners and their allies. And over the 20 years that I was in the industry, I saw competition vanish. We have seen so many mergers and acquisitions over the years that industry now is dominated by a cartel of about seven very large health insurance companies, all of them for profit. So the landscape has changed remarkably in the time that I was in the industry, and I think I have seen also blatant disregard for regulation, particularly at the state level, insurance companies recognize that in many states the insurance departments are not resourced adequately so there is a blatant disregard for regulation.


So I see this as a very important piece of legislation and one that is the beginning of much-needed


reform. Thank you.


Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Potter. Thank you very much. We are honored by your presence, very informed by your information and you too have made a tremendous difference and when we have that victory tomorrow it will be in large measure because of your courage. Wendell Potter, thank you.


The relentless, that word is identified with Peter DeFazio on this and other issues in the Congress, but he has been indeed relentless in pushing for removing this exemption which health insurance companies have from anti-trust laws of our land. Imagine that they have an exemption, an industry so closely related to cost and well being of the American people with this exemption. This drama has been beaten by Peter DeFazio for a very long time. Tomorrow, we will have a victory and he will be one of our drum majors.


Congressman DeFazio. Thank you, Madam Speaker. Thanks for your support and thanks for making this day possible. Louise, thank you for your tremendous support as we move through this. I would like to give some credit to someone who preceded us here, Senator William Proxmire. He first brought this issue to my attention when I was a freshman Member of Congress and that's as you can tell from my age, sometime ago, almost more than two decades ago. And I have been pursuing this for quite some time like Louise in the interest of fairness and protecting consumers.


Now we have heard a lot in this debate that we should listen. Congress should listen, we have heard that. Well, I went home and listened in August, 14 town hall meetings in the more conservative parts of my district, attended by about 8,000 people in the end. We had to rent fairgrounds and other things. And there was one point of consensus. One. Between those who represented the interests of the group called the Tea Party and those who represented the interests of those called single payer advocates. And that was that this unfair exemption from anti-trust law should not exist for the insurance industry. The whole auditorium would stand up at that point. There was consensus on this issue. So we are listening. We are listening to the American people.


The American people want this reform, and we are going to deliver it tomorrow. This should be bipartisan. I cannot understand how any Republican who is advocating national plans and advocating for free market solutions could be against allowing the free market to work by stopping collusion among these multi-state, multi-national companies that are derogatory to the interests of consumers.


One last point. You know, these, some say, "Well it is the job of the states." This is beyond the capability than even the most sophisticated and well-resourced Justice Departments among the states. When Andrew Cuomo was pursuing the industry with some success, there were other issues he wished to pursue, but they were beyond the scope and jurisdiction of his capabilities. When these multi-state, multi-national companies choose to collude through setting up rating shelves or other things outside this jurisdiction and individual state and import the results of those, you know independent studies or rate settings there is little even the most sophisticated and aggressive state Attorney General can do there beyond their reach. But the federal government should be able to protect consumers in those instances and this would be a beginning of that protection by repealing this exemption.


Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much. The choice will be very clear tomorrow. Are you on the side of the insurance company and maintaining the stranglehold that they have on America's consumers, impeding progress to be made in their good health and for a healthier America? Or are you on the side of the people? Are you on the side of the consumer? I hope that we have a very strong, bipartisan vote on the side of the consumer tomorrow and we are working toward that end.


Again, I just want to say that this is part of one year ago when we began with the Recovery Package, which now CBO has told us just now has created over 2 million jobs that we had in that legislation -- health IT, billions of dollars for health IT, health information technology, billions of dollars for investment in the National Institutes of Health for bio-medical research to make America healthier -- to name two -- but other initiatives as well. And around the same time, we passed the SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- insuring 11 million children.


So we've got a running start on making America healthier at the beginning of last year and in the course of the appropriations process. We will finish our work -- one stage of it when we pass the comprehensive bill. Continuing the work we began last year and along the path toward comprehensive care, tomorrow is a very important day for us. So we're looking forward to it with great enthusiasm for fairness for the American people.


Source: Office of the Speaker of the House

CONTACT: Brendan Daly/Nadeam Elshami/Drew Hammill of the Office of the
Speaker of the House, +1-202-226-7616

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