Insurance

Women builders see big growth: More opportunities seen in home constructionRestricted Content

January 8, 2007
Cynthia A.
Indianapolis-area women are making their mark in the ownership and management of residential construction businesses, following decades of working behind the scenes. Women account for 47 percent of privately held firms in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That number is growing, and the greatest growth is in construction. The National Association of Home Builders Women's Council reports that the number of women-owned businesses in the building industry has risen 30 percent since 1997. "One of...
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Labor sector diversification could spur local economy: $200,000 study targets finance, retail and constructionRestricted Content

January 8, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Sexier industry sectors like life sciences or motorsports get all the press. But to remain robust, the Indianapolis Private Industry Council believes, the area economy needs diversification. The 23-year-old work-force-training not-for-profit believes the nine-county area also should target three tried-and-true industries: finance and insurance; retail, hospitality and restaurants; and construction. IPIC, whose $9 million annual budget comes from public and private grants, plans to spend $200,000 during the first quarter studying the three sectors, which collectively employ 270,000 people in...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Investors need to be real about their stockbrokersRestricted Content

January 8, 2007
Mark E.
Too many investors view their stockbrokers as "professionals" and not the salesmen they usually are. How do brokers find their customers? Most get their clients from cold-calling or inheriting accounts when fellow brokers leave the firm. Some brokers are adept at finding customers at church, the country club or local service organizations. Compare this point of initial contact to other professionals you deal with. Have you ever been cold-called by a doctor offering you a great deal on that annual...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Think the state's awash in cash? Think againRestricted Content

January 8, 2007
Ed Feigenbaum
Most observers assume there will be a confrontation between House Democrats, led by Speaker Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, and Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels this session. They suggest it's like watching a hockey game and just waiting for a big fight. But confrontation need not be a synonym for breakdown , and while legislative Democrats and Daniels have some different philosophies about the role of government, they also have some basic agreements on just what should be accomplished before the end...
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Will merger weaken regulatory oversight?: Local securities experts disagree on potential impact of NASD, NYSE combinationRestricted Content

January 8, 2007
Scott Olson
A merger of the two biggest regulators that police the nation's 5,100 investment brokerages is drawing mixed reactions from the securities industry. NASD, formerly known as the National Association of Securities Dealers, and NYSE Group Inc., parent of the New York Stock Exchange subsidiaries, want to complete the merger by June 30. Supporters hail the alliance as a costcutting measure that will eliminate overlapping regulation and establish a uniform set of rules by placing oversight responsibility in a single, yet-to-be-named...
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Business shoved aside: Readers say city should focus on crime, education in 2007Restricted Content

January 1, 2007
Scott Olson
The brutal murders of seven family members, including three children shot dead in their east-side Indianapolis home, cast a dark cloud over the city last summer. Yet the June slayings only served as a harbinger of a wave of violence that later claimed 15 lives in a 10-day span. The crime spree rattled city leaders so severely that Mayor Bart Peterson declared an emergency normally reserved for a natural disaster. 2006 no doubt ranked among the most deadly years in...
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Storms crisis for some, boon for others:Restricted Content

January 1, 2007
- Jennifer
When two separate storms boasting 80-mile-per-hour winds and massive hail hit the Indianapolis area in April, it was just the beginning of headaches for some. For others, it was the beginning of a lot of green. A storm on April 2 produced straightline winds that knocked out windows and tore away portions of the façade at downtown's One Indiana Square office tower. The city was forced to close Pennsylvania Street for days to keep cars and pedestrians away from the...
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Shiel Sexton to give city block extreme makeover: Historic home of VanAusdall & Farrar gets new lifeRestricted Content

December 25, 2006
Jennifer Whitson
Shiel Sexton Co. Inc. is continuing its downtown redevelopment spree with plans to turn an entire city block into an office complex that could include some retail space. The Indianapolis contractor bought the block at auction this fall when its former owner, local office equipment distributor VanAusdall & Farrar Inc., moved to offices at 75th Street and Binford Boulevard. Bounded by 12th, Meridian, 13th and Illinois streets, the 2.9-acre property houses four buildings, three of which are clustered along Meridian...
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HUMAN RESOURCES: Think your business is too small for HR? Think againRestricted Content

December 25, 2006
Tom Phillips
After squeezing 36 hours out of every 24-hour day, you have reached a milestone in your business: You realize you need help. How you find, hire and treat employees-from that first one to those that follow-can accelerate your success or throw obstacles in your way. The moment you begin the search for your first employee, you enter the intricate world of "human resources." If you're like many busy entrepreneurs, you have given little thought to how to do that. You...
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Small biz unsure about '07: Legislative agenda is clear, but advocates still worriedRestricted Content

December 25, 2006
Cory Schouten
Big changes at the Statehouse, including a shift to Democratic control in the House of Representatives and a leadership switch in the Senate, mean there are more unknowns and more unpredictability. Meanwhile, top issues such as health insurance, tax reforms and regulatory changes provide a minefield of concerns for small-business owners. New health insurance mandates could add to already skyrocketing premiums. New local taxing authority could increase the burden on small businesses. Changes to the state's regulatory structure could dramatically...
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Strap maker hits right chord with guitar players: Action Custom Straps' products catch on thanks to attention from musicians like Jimmy Buffett, Keith UrbanRestricted Content

December 11, 2006
Scott Olson
The guitar straps Terry Misner creates for musicians worldwide are the canvas for his artwork. In his specialty, though, the tapestry is really soft leather he uses to combine comfort and custom designs for performers such as Jimmy Buffett and Keith Urban. "It's like sewing silk rather than sewing canvas," he said. "You can rip through canvas in a hurry, but what would you rather feel?" The 56-year-old Misner operates Action Custom Straps with wife, Dena, and daughter Nikki O'Neal....
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Carving a niche outside Louisville: Hoosier Bat Co. finds success with Major Leaguers, amateur baseball playersRestricted Content

December 11, 2006
Scott Olson
A three-piece wooden bat David Cook developed in 1989 became popular among professional baseball players, but ended up nearly devastating his upstart manufacturing company. Major League Baseball banned the bat just a year later after what Cook contends was a fierce lobbying effort from his largest rival, Louisville Slugger. The bat-made of ash, hickory and maple-is fused by finger jointing and remains in use at the amateur levels. The durability of the bat rivals that of an aluminum model, Cook...
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Standard Management continues perilous skid: Company reports more losses; stock value sinksRestricted Content

December 11, 2006
Tom Murphy
Standard Management Corp. stock peaked five days into 2006 at $1.55. It's spent the rest of the year in a free fall that observers believe will culminate with the company's filing for bankruptcy. The Carmel-based pharmaceuticals distributor reported a $10 million loss in the third quarter, bringing losses for the first nine months of 2006 to $14 million. The red ink, along with executive turnover and a string of failed acquisitions, has sapped investor confidence. The company's shares, which traded...
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TOM HARTON Commentary: Business in a hole climbs outRestricted Content

December 4, 2006
Everyone says owning a restaurant is hard work. But for Tracy Robertson, not owning one has been much harder. Robertson's restaurant, the 745 Bar & Grill, hasn't served a burger or a beer since the afternoon of Jan. 25, 2005. That's when the 745 literally fell into a hole. A cook, a bartender and five patrons escaped just moments before the restaurant collapsed into the excavation pit for what is now the 757 Mass Ave condominium building. In an instant,...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Unique, low-profile bank shaking up the status quoRestricted Content

December 4, 2006
Greg Andrews
It's a quiet giant, but not a sleeping one. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis is the state's fourthbiggest private company, with revenue last year of $1.8 billion. The $45-billionin-assets financial institution racked up 2005 profit of $153 million. Yet the board and executives of the 150-employee quasi-governmental enterprise aren't wallowing in self-satisfaction. Seeing storm clouds on the horizon, they're taking pre-emptive action to ensure the bank remains competitive and retains its formidable financial strength. "We've been cutting back,"...
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Techpoint explores tapping bank fund: Bankers oppose altering management of $308 millionRestricted Content

December 4, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
High-tech leaders eager for money for venture capital investments have set their sights on a new potential source: Indiana's $308 million Public Deposit Insurance Fund. It's an idea sure to draw adamant opposition. Take Indiana Bankers Association CEO Jim Cousins' reaction: "Over my dead body," he said. "That fund exists to insure deposits. Any deviation from that, we will fight like banshees to oppose." Formed in 1937, in the wake of the Great Depression, the PDIF insures deposits of public...
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Bipartisan control will force compromises: With campaigns over, legislators get down to business on new budget, property-tax relief and other issuesRestricted Content

December 4, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
In his 2007 legislative preview for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, State Rep. Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, opened with a joke: After a politician's death, he found himself standing before the pearly gates. St. Peter offered the politician a choice of heaven or hell, prefaced by a brief preview of each. During his visit to hell, the politician was surprised to discover all his friends there. What's more, it was a terrific place to be-the most fun and raucous party he'd...
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EYE ON THE PIE: 'Tis the season for economic foolishnessRestricted Content

December 4, 2006
Morton Marcus
This is the best time of the year. Thanksgiving is over and the signs of Christmas have yet to bore us. All the truly crazy people have identified themselves by shopping on the days immediately following Thanksgiving. New and old ideas are blossoming for consideration by the Indiana General Assembly. Gov. Mitch Daniels has given us the Commerce Connector, a nifty addition to our highway road map. This would be a new outer loop around Indianapolis, serving Greenfield, Shelbyville, Franklin...
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BULLS & BEARS: Conservatism could spoil final years of retirementRestricted Content

November 27, 2006
Dave Gilreath
A 65-year-old, recently retired couple came into our office the other day seeking advice on portfolio allocation. The husband had a 401(k) rollover with $1 million in it and wanted to take out $50,000 a year for income. Within the first few minutes of the meeting each said, "We can't afford to take much risk with this money because we won't make any more, and it's all we will ever have." Followed by, "We can't afford the risk of the...
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Forgotten accounts can lead to windfalls: State seeks Web vendor for unclaimed propertyRestricted Content

November 27, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
With $325 million in unclaimed property on hand, Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter has a simple request: Check the Internet to see if any of it is yours. To make the process as easy as possible, Carter is searching for a vendor to upgrade and host its clearinghouse Web site www.IndianaUnclaimed.com. The attorney general's goal is to reunite Hoosiers with their cash-and in the process reduce a significant problem for businesses that need to get unclaimed property off their books....
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Showing WAL MART some love: New statewide group supports oft-criticized retailerRestricted Content

November 27, 2006
Scott Olson
Several Hoosiers are at the forefront of a fledgling effort to deflect a growing barrage of criticism lobbed at retail giant Wal-Mart Stores by organized labor and worker's rights advocates. The Indiana chapter of the Working Families for Wal-Mart formed earlier this month and includes in its membership local elected officials such as City-County Councilor Ron Gibson and State Rep. Vanessa Summers, D-Indianapolis. The national not-for-profit, which launched a year ago, is backed by the Arkansas-based retailer and also boasts...
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NOTIONS: Let's clear the air at state schoolsRestricted Content

November 27, 2006
Bruce Hetrick
Long ago, I did some work for Special Olympics. In the process, I learned a semantic preference of the organization: One never says "mentally retarded people." One says "people with mental retardation." The rationale: These athletes are people first, not a condition. Long ago, I also did AIDS education and prevention work. In the process, I learned a semantic preference of health organizations and their clients: One never says "AIDS victims." One says "people with AIDS." The rationale: Those with...
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Insurance adjuster building offices near 96th Street:Restricted Content

November 20, 2006
Indianapolis-based National Catastrophe Adjusters will move next spring to a new, more permanent home in Fishers. The company broke ground this month on the two-story, 13,000-square-foot office at the corner of Windermere Boulevard and Olympia Drive off of 96th Street. NCA hopes to move in by the end of April. Its office is now at the intersection of 75th Street and Shadeland Avenue. NCA decided to build because it wanted a permanent home, said Ken Averitt, chief operations officer. The...
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Clarian to put prices on its Web siteRestricted Content

November 20, 2006
Tom Murphy
Clarian Health Partners will start posting prices for care on its Web site early next year, a move aimed at advancing the national movement toward greater transparency in health care costs.
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Roof Envy: Insurers pay to fix thousands of hail-damaged homes, but some neighbors are feeling left outRestricted Content

November 13, 2006
Tammy Lieber
After an April hailstorm caused widespread damage in central Indiana, an epidemic slowly and quietly began spreading through tree-lined streets and cul-de-sacs. As contagious as the common cold, "neighboritis" is contracted through casual contact with friends and neighbors, even by the simple act of driving by a house topped with sparkling new shingles. Those infected often experience an initial wave of optimism and euphoria, sometimes followed by a crash that leaves them feeling dissatisfied, even betrayed. The cause of the...
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  1. Kent's done a good job of putting together some good guests, intelligence and irreverence without the inane chatter of the other two shows. JMV is unlistenable, mostly because he doesn't do his homework and depends on non-sports stuff to keep HIM interested. Query and Shultz is a bit better, but lack of prep in their show certainly is evident. Sterling obviously workes harder than the other shows. We shall see if there is any way for a third signal with very little successful recent history to make it. I always say you have to give a show two years to grow into what it will become...

  2. Lafayette Square, Washington Square should be turned into office parks with office buildings, conversion, no access to the public at all. They should not be shopping malls and should be under tight security and used for professional offices instead of havens for crime. Their only useage is to do this or tear them down and replace them with high rise office parks with secured parking lots so that the crime in the areas is not allowed in. These are prime properties, but must be reused for other uses, professional office conversions with no loitering and no shopping makes sense, otherwise they have become hangouts long ago for gangs, groups of people who have no intent of spending money, and are only there for trouble and possibly crime, shoplifting, etc. I worked summers at SuperX Drugs in Lafayette Square in the 1970s and even then the shrinkage from shoplifting was 10-15 percent. No sense having shopping malls in these areas, they earn no revenue, attract crime, and are a blight on the city. All malls that are not of use should be repurposed or torn down by the city, condemned. One possibility would be to repourpose them as inside college campuses or as community centers, but then again, if the community is high crime, why bother.

  3. Straight No Chaser

  4. Seems the biggest use of TIF is for pet projects that improve Quality Of Life, allegedly, but they ignore other QOL issues that are of a more important and urgent nature. Keep it transparent and try not to get in ready, fire, Aim! mode. You do realize that business the Mayor said might be interested is probably going to want TIF too?

  5. Gary, I'm in complete agreement. The private entity should be required to pay IPL, and, if City parking meters are involved, the parking meter company. I was just pointing out how the poorly-structured parking meter deal affected the car share deal.

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