Sunday, September 5, 2010

Assurant Insurance: Victim of HCR or Themselves?

A while ago, Assurant Health announced that they would be cutting 130 jobs as it "prepares for changes under federal health care reform."

Michelle Malkin jumped all over that and labeled HCR as one of "Obama's job-killing" actions.

Of course, the local squawkers and echo chamber, incapable of independent thought, never bothered to fact check it and they also did their best Chicken Little imitations.

Milwaukee News Buzz points to an article in The New Republic which points out what the real problem is for Assurant and companies like them:
The health law forces insurers to cover basic benefits. It restricts their ability to mistreat consumers. And it limits the money they can spend on administrative overhead or broker commissions. Once fully implemented, reform will also prevent these carriers from avoiding people with pre-existing conditions. Make no mistake: These are all good things. They mean insurance is becoming more accessible, more comprehensive and more efficient.
They then cite an example of this:
Alas, that may also be bad news for Assurant. If the company's name sounds familiar, that's because it was in the news early this year when a Colorado jury slapped it with a $37 million judgment for wrongly refusing to pay the bills of a woman in a car accident. (The company claimed the woman had hidden evidence of a pre-existing condition. The jury, obviously, disagreed.) And when the layoffs were announced, an article from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel noted that reform would "undercut one of Assurant's strengths -- determining which customers are the best risks." I have no idea whether Assurant can find other ways to survive as a business. But, if it can't, then we're better off relying on competitors that can.
Also, Assurant has had other problems, like when they were targeting minorities with HIV, because they wanted to "contain costs." Their amoral actions ended up costing the company $10 million dollars on just one case.

Perhaps it's time for Malkin to go back on patrol with the Fashion Police. I hear things are getting sloppy again at Dunkin Donuts.

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