Insurance

PROFILE: UNIQUE WINDOW & DOOR: Hanging a business on happy customers Owner aims to improve home-improvement reputationRestricted Content

March 26, 2007
Tammy Lieber
PROFILE UNIQUE WINDOW & DOOR Hanging a business on happy customers Owner aims to improve home-improvement reputation In an industry often lambasted for unethical practices, Unique Window & Door President Robert Dillon has tried to carve a niche in the local home-improvement market-combining aggressive marketing with a focus on customer and employee satisfaction. It seems to be making strides on both counts. Revenue has steadily increased over the 13 years Dillon has owned the company, and Unique is a four-time...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Desperate for cash, lawmakers embrace gamblingRestricted Content

March 26, 2007
Ed Feigenbaum
We recently told you how revenue growth was lagging the December fiscal forecast. One prominent Republican senator tells his constituents that his colleagues are now planning for a growth rate in this fiscal year of only 2.5 percent, not the 4.2 percent to 4.5 percent they had planned on at the beginning of the session. While lawmakers will not have a new fiscal forecast for the biennium until the middle of April, they are clearly girding for a new fiscal...
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Concrete price-fixing case might not be wrapped up: Undisclosed state investigation delaying civil lawsuitRestricted Content

March 26, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
The U.S. Department of Justice's highprofile, three-year investigation into price fixing in Indiana's concrete industry resulted in one of the largest antitrust fines in history: $29.2 million against Greenfield-based Irving Materials Inc. The investigation might not be over yet. The DOJ seemed to conclude its Indianapolis inquiry last month, finally closing the criminal case. But a recent filing in a pending civil suit against IMI and its four former top executives hints the probe is continuing elsewhere. This time, IMI...
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Ratio building go-to reputation: Convention Center expansion latest notch in firm's beltRestricted Content

March 26, 2007
Scott Olson
As the Final Four approaches, it seems fitting to relive in basketball terms how Ratio Architects Inc. came off the bench in dramatic fashion to save a high-profile downtown project after the star had fouled out. The Indianapolis-based architectural firm played that role in 2004 after sketches from the original out-of-town architect designing the downtown headquarters of Simon Property Group Inc. failed to impress corporate executives. Ratio had one week to deliver, and did. But while the firm's portfolio is...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Trustees shouldn't forget regular insurance auditsRestricted Content

March 19, 2007
Mark Leyden
Trustees, picture this: You are at the table with the beneficiary children of one of your most successful clients. You are reviewing the estate of their deceased parent. You have the unpleasant task of explaining that the insurance policy that was purchased 15 years ago had lapsed several years prior to Dad's passing. Result: nothing to lighten the tax bill. Most trustees do not adequately manage the life insurance policy assets held inside the trust. According to a 2003 survey...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Here's another tax break you may have overlookedRestricted Content

March 19, 2007
Paul Coan
Financial advisors counsel clients on income, estate and gift taxes among other things. But they often neglect residential property taxes. That could well be a mistake. Property taxes are a significant cost of owning real estate - typically 1 percent to 1.5 percent of market value. So, they must be considered in making financial decisions. They can also be a significant cash-flow consideration for someone in retirement who has a lot of illiquid wealth-not just for your primary residence, but...
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Commentary Noblesville gets traction under mayor:Restricted Content

March 19, 2007
Chris Katterjohn
When it comes to the battle of the 'burbs-at least those north of Indianapolis-Carmel seems to get all the glory. Not that it's undeserved, considering the progress and growth that have taken place under Mayor Jim Brainard. But lest you haven't noticed, Carmel's rival to the northeast-Noblesville-has fired up its afterburners in the last few years and is making major strides on the development front. Some of the credit should go to that city's first-term mayor, John Ditslear, who was...
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Banks quick to embrace remote checking: Customers get on board as more institutions allow checks to be scanned, transmitted, deposited electronicallyRestricted Content

March 19, 2007
Katie Maurer
ATMs are still convenient, but not much of a novelty anymore. That distinction now belongs to remote-deposit capture-a high-tech advancement that guarantees a big payoff for banks and their customers alike. "From a technological standpoint, it's the biggest thing happening in banking in 2007," said Lee Wetherington, senior vice president at Brentwood, Tenn.-based software maker Goldleaf Financial Inc. Remote-deposit capture eliminates the need for businesses to physically deposit checks at their bank branch. Using the new technology, checks are scanned...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Ideas needed for fixing health care financingRestricted Content

March 19, 2007
Patrick Barkey
It's been 15 years since third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot briefly captured the nation's attention with his crisp, witty promises to "look under the hood" to fix the problems in Washington. Since that time, some problems have gotten worse, some have gotten better. But in this era of political polarization and legislative gridlock, the idea of a new face coming to town to actually fix some of the problems we face today is as appealing as ever. What would such...
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NOTIONS: How to save lives, money, and still win re-electionRestricted Content

March 19, 2007
Bruce Hetrick
As a hearing-impaired, diabetic, migraine-suffering cancer survivor, father of a cancer survivor and widower of a cancer victim, I've followed my share of doctor's orders. So I've taken two of Monroe's tenaciousness pills, and I'm calling (well, writing) you in the morning. Since my late wife the non-smoker was diagnosed with a smoker's cancer, I've shared our sad story to educate government officials and citizens about the dangers of secondhand smoke. But let's skip the emotions this time, abandon impatience...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Will costs and priorities merge or crash?Restricted Content

March 19, 2007
Ed Feigenbaum
In our first column of the session, introducing you to the assorted variables that would influence the policy outcomes of 2007, we cautioned you that the next few months would be focused upon money and priorities. Lawmakers and Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels had a number of pet initiatives they wanted to see enacted and funded. But, after ensuring that programs and entities that had been shortchanged in the past biennium would be compensated and after bumping up education spending a...
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Rivals tangle over impact of new hospitals: Health care providers disagree on how head-to-head competition will affect costsRestricted Content

March 19, 2007
Tracy Donhardt
Once joined at the hip, the two main health care providers in Tippecanoe County-Arnett Health System and Greater Lafayette Health Services-have become fierce rivals. Each is building a new hospital and will compete to provide services for the 154,000 county residents, and tens of thousands more in surrounding counties. Lafayette-based Arnett, a multi-specialty medical practice, has 140 doctors at a dozen area locations, plus eight facilities in other parts of the state. Greater Lafayette Health Services, part of Mishawaka-based Sisters...
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A whole new ballgame: More women stepping up to the plate in commercial real estateRestricted Content

March 12, 2007
Cynthia Sequinthe
Yogi Berra once said, "You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn't enough, in the second half you give what's left." Women are accepting his challenge with a chuckle, running onto the commercial real estate field and playing to win. They also are balancing home and family. Why not? The U.S. commercial real estate market is worth about $3.5 trillion, according to Real Capital Analytics, a New York research firm. Bridget Farren, founder...
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Tax break would reward patent producers: Indiana legislators view bill as way to attract young, innovative high-tech companies and solo entrepreneursRestricted Content

March 12, 2007
Scott Olson
A bill weaving its way through the Indiana General Assembly could give the state an edge in attracting and growing the type of high-tech ventures several states covet. Indiana House Bill 1461, introduced by Rep. Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, advanced to the Senate after sailing through the House of Representatives on Feb. 26 by a vote of 95-3. The legislation that was referred to the Senate's Economic Development and Technology Committee would provide a tax incentive that would shield income from...
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EYE ON THE PIE: What's wrong with property taxes?Restricted Content

March 5, 2007
Morton Marcus
So much is going on in the Indiana General Assembly that it makes my head spin, which makes me dizzy and unfit for driving safely on the roads. That, plus the recent heavy snows, has made me a hermit. To re-enter society, I called Dr. Werner von Fizzle, the only psychologist I know who provides at-home consultations. As he sat down, Dr. von F asked, "Do you have some tonic vater?" I nodded and rose to fill his request. "And,"...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: So far, session is all about unearthing new revenueRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
Ed Feigenbaum
Sure, it's a budget session, and one would expect fiscal talk to dominate the discussion. But the one thing that has surprised us so far this year-and we are literally at the midpoint-is just how much the dollar debate has consumed this Legislature. Through the first few weeks of the session, the big sport was picking the over/under on when the relationship between Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) and House Speaker Pat Bauer (DSouth Bend)-and thus between Republicans and Democrats as...
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Making connections: Networking groups help business owners reach outRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
Cory Schouten
Small-business owners know building relationships helps build business. But cultivating strategic connections also takes time-one commodity that's always in short supply. That's where networking groups come in. A growing number of such organizations are working to connect busy business owners so they can trade advice and customer leads in a short span of time. With weekly or monthly meetings, the groups promise a one-stop opportunity to make dozens of contacts that can lead directly to sales. One of the fastest-growing...
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WellPoint banks on the popularity of HSAs: Insurer moves to start bank, offer medical financingRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
J.K. Wall
To do so the Indianapolis-based health insurer is moving to start its own bank, whose initial role will be to hold and manage its customers' health savings accounts. An HSA is a relatively new breed of health insurance that places money-and more responsibility-in consumers' hands. Well-Point bets more and more of its customers will start such accounts in the future. "We expect to see continued strong growth for these products. There is a tremendous amount of interest in the marketplace...
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Damage from hail still being tallied: Premiums may increase, but big jump not forecastRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
J.K. Wall
Hoosier homeowners and motorists could pay more for insurance this year in the wake of last April's hailstorm that produced a nation-leading $1.5 billion in catastrophic claims. But even as insurers continue to pay for new roofs and car body repairs, industry experts say any increase would be less than 10 percent. So far, no insurance companies have formally requested a premium increase due to the hailstorm, according to the Indiana Department of Insurance, although claims continue to roll in....
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NOTIONS Bruce Hetrick: A buck-a-pack increased tax for the health we lackRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
After our Valentine's Day wedding, my bride and I took a few days off for a brief New York City honeymoon. We walked nearly everywhere, used public transportation when we wanted to go farther and bought our food and drink in jam-packed, smoke-free restaurants and bars (the only kind there are in New York, thanks to a several-years-old, levelthe-playing-field, smoke-free workplace law). I liked being able to dine anywhere and everywhere with clean indoor air. I liked the exercise from...
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Snowstorm meant long hours, extra bucks for some: Plowing works as a side gig, but no one's getting richRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
When the snow started flying during central Indiana's impressive winter storm this month, some residents bought bread and eggs and hunkered down to wait out the white stuff. Others tuned up their trucks and revved their snow blowers in hopes of seeing a lot of green. Many area city and town officials had private contractors on their speed dial-reinforcements who would help clear the foot of snow that fell in the Indianapolis area Feb. 13-14. The workers ranged from a...
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Economic development tops insurance initiatives: Raising money, lowering taxes top legislative agendaRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
Scott Olson
The Indiana Department of Insurance wants to raise almost $2 million by hiking some fees it charges insurers, while still cutting their premium taxes in an effort to attract more companies to the state. The proposals are among several bills lawmakers are mulling that affect the insurance industry this legislative session. House Bill 1570, which would bolster Insurance Department coffers in part to hire more staff, has cleared early hurdles. It sped through both the House insurance and ways and...
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Ohio attorney still unscathed by Conseco lawsuits: Insurer trying to collect $150 million in unpaid loansRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
J.K. Wall
He's held off Conseco's attorneys longer than anyone else. And if he can get to a jury, he's confident he can win. Dennis E. Murray Sr., a colorful trial lawyer from Ohio, likely will be the last man standing in Conseco's 3-1/2-year assault on a group of its former directors and officers who failed to repay hundreds of millions of dollars borrowed to buy Conseco stock. The Carmel-based insurance firm has settled with nine of the 11 borrowers in that...
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Landlords open up to 'riskier' tenants: As foreclosures increase, apartment managers let some credit issues goRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
Firms that oversee large, upscale apartment complexes used to be able to set the bar high when reviewing potential tenants' credit histories. Many would turn away applicants with accounts in collections, foreclosures or outstanding medical debts. But even as more people come back to rental housing, landlords are finding they can't be as picky as in the past because more and more Indianapolis-area residents bring with them credit baggage from unpaid medical bills or home foreclosures. "Maybe 70 percent of...
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WFYI Teleplex to make $20 million move: Federal tax credit will help pay for purchase of former Indiana Energy building, renovations, equipmentRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting Inc. will invest $20.1 million to move its WFYI Teleplex up the street into the former Indiana Energy headquarters, a shift that will give the notfor-profit room to grow and breathe new life into an enormous building that's been nearly vacant since 2000. The broadcaster will pay $8.5 million for the four-story, 94,000-square-foot building at 1630 N. Meridian St., and spend $11.6 million on renovations and equipment. Funding will come from a hodgepodge of sources, including...
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