Insurance

Insurers still dealing with deluge of claims: Good Friday storms among costliest in state historyRestricted Content

August 7, 2006
Scott Olson
Property and casualty insurers are taking a financial beating over the spring hailstorm that pounded homes and vehicles in central Indiana. Damage from the Good Friday deluge resulted in a flood of Hoosier insurance claims: 177,000 so far totaling $560 million, making it one of the costliest weather catastrophes in state history, according to the New Jerseybased Insurance Services Office. Overall, Indiana topped the nation in the total amount of insured losses-$658.5 million-during the second quarter, according to the ISO....
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Let's throw energy into public safety: We ignore crime at our perilRestricted Content

August 7, 2006
When yet another media story appears about jail overcrowding, it's tempting to look away, to focus instead on rising gas prices, out-of-control health insurance costs or other pressing problems confronting your company. But make no mistake: Crime is a business issue. And it is escalating. Major offenses reported to the Indianapolis Police Department through April were up 22 percent over the first four months of 2005. Probably fueling that increase are the growing numbers of inmates being released early from...
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New state rule changes annuity landscape: Indiana regulators place burden on the seller to decide what's right for the buyerRestricted Content

August 7, 2006
Tom Murphy
No 75-year-old retiree should drop his or her life savings into an annuity that imposes a 10-year wait before the first payment. Indiana regulators understand this basic investment rule, and they want to ensure that the people who sell annuities follow it as well. The state Department of Insurance now places the burden of deciding whether an annuity is right for a consumer over age 65 on the seller, thanks to a new rule that started July 1. It requires...
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Workers can help lower health costs:Restricted Content

July 31, 2006
Philip T.
Health care costs keep small-business owners up at night. According to Forbes magazine, the cost of health care is rising at three times the rate of inflation. Because demand for medical treatment will continue to grow as Americans age, insurance premiums will continue to increase. Some small-business owners' first reaction is to shift rising costs to employees. Others simply eliminate health insurance benefits altogether. While this reduces expenses and raises profit in the short term, it ruins a company's ability...
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BIZ BASICS: Use new savings accounts to cover medical expensesRestricted Content

July 31, 2006
Daniel Kehrer
And with no end in sight to the cost crunch, the prognosis is poor. Panicked business owners now cite the rising cost of health insurance as their top concern. They know that workers value their medical coverage, but as owners they feel trapped-they must either pass along rate hikes or cut benefits entirely. A relatively new health plan option offers hope. Health savings accounts work in IRA-like fashion to cover out-ofpocket medical costs with tax-sheltered money. An HSA is an...
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FAMILY BUSINESS: Reorganize family business to treat all children fairlyRestricted Content

July 31, 2006
Eric Manterfield
Many family-business owners have children who work with them in the business as well as children who do not. The challenge they face is simply put: How can they treat fairly those children who will not inherit the business? There may not be enough non-business assets to give to the children who don't work in the business. Life insurance, payable to the non-business children, is sometimes suggested, if the business owner is insurable and the premiums are affordable. Some estate...
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MainSource grabs opportunities for growth: Greensburg-based bank not shy about acquisitionsRestricted Content

July 24, 2006
Scott Olson
Honda Motor Co.'s decision to build a massive auto manufacturing plant near Greensburg has the small Decatur County town abuzz with excitement. But a company already entrenched there is making some noise of its own. MainSource Financial Group Inc. has increased assets an impressive 50 percent during the past year largely due to four acquisitions made by the publicly traded bank holding company. "We're a little opportunistic," admitted MainSource President and CEO James Saner. "We really want to grow, give...
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Investment firm taps local talent: Riderwood opens office, targets mid-size companiesRestricted Content

July 24, 2006
Scott Olson
An East Coast investment-banking firm is opening an Indianapolis office and has recruited three high-profile professionals who bring a wealth of experience to manage operations. Towson, Md.-based The Riderwood Group Inc. wants to help midsize companies raise $5 million to $200 million in capital, a range largely ignored here by outside rivals, firm executives said. "There really is not a national mid-market investment bank [in Indianapolis]," company President Mitchell Fillet said. "This is a place where the big firms have...
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Hitching its wagon to central Indiana: Wells Fargo quietly lassoes big share of local loansRestricted Content

July 24, 2006
Matthew Kish
How big is the portfolio? Very big. How does it stack up to its rivals? Nobody knows for sure. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. requires banks to report the deposits they hold at branches, but it doesn't require banks to spell out how much commercial business they're generating geographically. "It's one of the biggest frustrations of the bank information that we [compile]," said Karen Dorway, president of Bauer Financial Inc., a Coral Gables, Fla.-based bank rating service that tracks market...
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Conseco takes fresh look at product development: New strategy emphasizes shared resources, efficiencyRestricted Content

July 17, 2006
Tom Murphy
Conseco Inc. rolled out a fresh blueprint for product development earlier this year, and it was high time the insurer did so, say analysts who follow the company. The Carmel-based holding company is combining the resources of its subsidiaries and developing a corporate-wide system to pump out products more efficiently for its two main operating segments, Conseco Insurance Group and Chicago-based Bankers Life. It hopes to see results soon. Conseco Insurance Group launched only four new products in 2004 and...
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Indiana midwife debate headed for another round: Committee to study issue; bill set to be reintroducedRestricted Content

July 17, 2006
Tracy Donhardt
A bill that would give women what some say is their right to choose where and how they can give birth has been incubating in the state's General Assembly for eight years. But hopes are running high for the proposed law that would regulate and expand midwifery in Indiana because it will be studied by a special committee this summer for a possible reintroduction in the 2007 legislative session. Under current Indiana law, only doctors and registered nurses are able...
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Moratorium nearing its expiration date: Experts don't expect flurry of new specialty hospitalsRestricted Content

July 17, 2006
Scott Olson
Health care experts don't predict a surge in specialty hospital construction after a federal moratorium expires next month. Even so, the rift between competing industry interests is expected to intensify. Moratoriums on new physician-owned heart, orthopedic and surgical specialty hospitals dating back to the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 temporarily stalled the rapid growth of the facilities. In Indianapolis, three such hospitals-the Heart Center of Indiana, the Indiana Heart Hospital and the Indiana Orthopaedic Hospital-opened between December 2002 and March...
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VIEWPOINT: Consumers should take charge of healthRestricted Content

July 17, 2006
David Lee
In an environment where we're all being asked to pay a larger share of our own health care costs, it's interesting to see how little time we spend thinking about major decisions that have an impact on our health. Like selecting a primary care physician or any medical specialist, for example. According to a recent Managed Care Weekly Digest survey, 67 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-64 said they spent eight hours or more researching an automobile purchase, yet only...
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Westview soldiers on amid health care explosion: Hospital fares well against larger, newer competitionRestricted Content

July 10, 2006
Tom Murphy
A touch-screen directory, a grove of potted trees and a muffin-bearing kiosk greet visitors entering the six-story atrium at the new Clarian North Medical Center in Carmel. A much milder scene awaits people walking into Westview Hospital a few miles away, on the west side of Indianapolis. There, a lonely player piano spills soft tunes into a one-story lobby filled with clusters of chairs and pamphlets on volunteering. "Quiet! Healing in Progress" reads a nearby sign. Indiana's lone osteopathic hospital...
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Bank boss eyes No. 1: New Fifth Third chief plans expansion, faces tough ChaseRestricted Content

July 10, 2006
Matthew Kish
The view from John Pelizzari's 14th-floor office in downtown's Capital Center is a good one. The recently hired president and CEO of Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp's central Indiana operations can see the rooftops of many of downtown's landmarks. And he likes it that way. He's used to the view from the top. From 2001 to 2005, Pelizzari, 50, captained the ship for Fifth Third's northern Michigan affiliate, which enjoyed a whopping 28-percent market share, more than 10 percentage points higher...
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Work still elusive for people with disabilities: Employment rates remain stagnant even though a wealth of programs are finding success placing workersRestricted Content

July 3, 2006
Scott Olson
The lesson Amy Kurzekwa taught the folks at the downtown Gregory & Appel Insurance agency reaches far beyond what they learned about premiums and deductibles. Since 1992, she has taken the bus to her job there as a clerical assistant, performing such tasks as sorting and delivering the office mail and filling the copy machines. While most anyone can do that, Kurzekwa, 37, is irreplaceable to her co-workers. Her role in opening their eyes to the fact that people with...
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Doctor takes on state over Medicaid payments: Psychiatrist claims he's being forced out of businessRestricted Content

July 3, 2006
Tom Murphy
A Franklin psychiatrist has accused the state agency that runs Medicaid of suffocating his practice in a reimbursement dispute that dates back more than a year. Dr. John Lewis said the weekly Medicaid checks that keep his Harmony Center open dwindled to nothing for four straight weeks after he filed a lawsuit in April against the state Family and Social Services Administration over a payment review it imposed. The psychiatrist believes his center may survive only another month, a closing...
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Billing survey puts WellPoint in last: Insurer calls 'pain in the butt' index flawed, but some doctors say findings aren't surprisingRestricted Content

June 26, 2006
Tom Murphy
A physician-billing service recently gave WellPoint Inc. a virtual spanking over its sometimesstrained relationship with doctors. M a s s a c h u s e t t s - b a s e d Athenahealth Inc. rated the Indianapolis insurer last out of seven national payers in its so-called "pain in the butt" index posted online late last month. The unusual index aims to tell doctors how easy-or difficult-it is to work with each insurer by using data the...
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Employee privacy a sensitive legal issue:Restricted Content

June 26, 2006
Julie Manning
For all businesses, especially small companies, the best way to approach potential legal issues is proactively: spending time crafting policies and procedures today can save significant headaches-and attorney fees-down the road. This is especially true for the thorny issue of privacy in the workplace. While the right to privacy isn't enumerated specifically in the Constitution, it remains a closely guarded prerogative for most Americans. Harris polls consistently show that more than 85 percent of respondents are concerned about the erosion...
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: Have businesses given in to security anxiety?Restricted Content

June 26, 2006
Tim Altom
According to the mainstream media, no sooner is your precious data placed on a hard drive than it's promptly vacuumed off through a hacker's hole and inserted into some miscreant's illicit schemes for world domination. I admit I've advocated for computer security for years, but that was because most companies' idea of security is to hide the backup CDs in the coffee creamer box. I never meant to contribute to the panic that seems to have gripped the American population...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Health care cost 'solutions' only worsen the problemsRestricted Content

June 26, 2006
Patrick Barkey
As an economic forecaster, I am almost always optimistic. But that's not a personality trait. It's the nature of the business. The economy around us is doing amazingly well. We've had much longer economic expansions, steady job and income growth, and less frequent recessions for more than two decades now. So when you deliver an optimistic forecast these days, you stand a pretty good chance of being right. But if there's one area where my optimism vanishes, it is this-how...
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Quality Roofing Services: Success helps roofers sleep through the night After surviving a rough first year, company shows signs of progressRestricted Content

June 19, 2006
Susan Raccoli
After surviving a rough first year, company shows signs of progress Sleepless nights, upset stomachs and paranoia were common woes for the owners of Quality Roofing Services throughout their first year in business. "We worried about finances and thunderstorms," said co-owner Paul Crafton, 50, recalling the professional and personal strain. "We wondered if we would make our payroll or go under and lose our investment." But they persevered, starting their days early-often at 5:30 a.m.-and working late. Eventually, their efforts...
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Buzzing with Activity: Unique Broad Ripple biz ready to offer franchisesRestricted Content

June 12, 2006
Scott Olson
Buzzing With ActivityUnique Broad Ripple biz ready to offer franchises For business partners Wendy Reed and Pam Weaver, life these days is starting to look a lot like the frenzy their company name projects: Sugar Buzz. They're not really hopped up on sweets, but the Indianapolis women are flying high nonetheless-buoyed by the glory of being featured in a national magazine and the promise of franchising their unusual mix of children's parties and dropin day care. The longtime pals combined...
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Diving for Dollars: Carmel water park looks to make splash by soaking up naming-rights dealsRestricted Content

June 12, 2006
Anthony Schoettle
Carmel water park looks to make splash by soaking up naming-rights deals Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation has a novel business plan for the $55 million Monon Center at Central Park project that includes selling sponsorships and naming rights for its 10-acre water park and other attractions, possibly even for the entire venue. The mammoth development-which will feature meeting space along with sports facilities, including the water park and fishing lagoons-is under construction and won't open for nine months. But the...
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Health network leaders pursue big dreams: Advocates: Statewide system for transmitting patient records would improve careRestricted Content

June 12, 2006
Tom Murphy
Technology experts, doctors and politicians this week will discuss the possibility of interconnecting the handful of computer networks in Indiana that allow doctors to exchange patient information. They say a network reaching every corner of the state could save money, boost care and reduce medical errors while keeping Indiana at the front of the national pack for this technology. However, none of the health-information network leaders who will convene for a summit this week in Indianapolis expects the network to...
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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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