Insurance

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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2005 sees another drop in health insurance complaints: Regulators work to refine method for tracking problemsRestricted Content

June 5, 2006
Tom Murphy
Complaint totals sank steeply last year for many Indiana health insurers, partly because the state insurance department continues to revamp its often-maligned method of tracking them. Regulators recorded 1,232 signed complaints last year, a 30-percent drop from 2004, according to figures published on the consumer section of the Indiana Department of Insurance Web site. The drop from earlier years is even steeper. The department recorded 3,133 complaints in 2002 and 1,848 the next year. Many of Indiana's largest insurers also...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Beware of battles brewing among health care giantsRestricted Content

June 5, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Coming up with simple metaphors and images that faithfully represent the issues involved in the way we pay for health care in our country is a challenge. But one keeps coming to my mind: the kitsch Japanese sci-fi classic "Godzilla vs. Rodan," where two giant monsters duke it out breathing fire and smashing buildings as the residents of Tokyo quake in fear, waiting to see who will win. Some similarly big battles are brewing in the health care business these...
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TAWN PARENT Commentary: Here's a cure for the commuting bluesRestricted Content

June 5, 2006
Interstate logjams. Sitting through three green lights before getting the chance to turn. Those idiots juggling coffee cups and cell phones who cut you off without even realizing it. There is a lot to hate about the morning commute. On May 19, I found something to love about mine. The day dawned crisp and bright-perfect weather for my first trip to work on two wheels. It was Bike to Work Day. When I learned that one of the group rides...
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Conrad high-rise condos sell fast: Only 4 of 15 residences left; biz leaders among buyersRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Jennifer Whitson
Eli Lilly and Co. President John Lechleiter is among the wealthy buyers who have snapped up all but four of the 15 private residences perched atop the Conrad Hotel downtown. Lechleiter will be on the 23rd floor, one level from the top. Pete Piazza, president of Piazza Produce Inc., will be on the 22nd. And insuranceindustry executive Jack Mead will be on the 21st. The 15 residences fill the top six floors of the new $100 million tower. They start...
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Plug in professionals when tasks seem overwhelming:Restricted Content

May 29, 2006
Sharon O\'donoghue
Running a small business is daunting, to say the least. Small-business owners wear many hats and are expected to be a master of everything: from hiring workers to coordinating group health coverage, from developing marketing materials to hitting sales goals, from assessing technology needs to making tax and insurance payments, from issuing invoices to paying vendors-all while keeping an eye on cash flow. Whew. Larger businesses may rely on individuals or entire departments responsible for each task. For small-business owners,...
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Standard Life turns page, rolls with changes: A year after sale, firm improves rating, makes profitRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Tom Murphy
Standard Life Insurance Company of Indiana has much to celebrate as it passes the one-year anniversary of its sale to Capital Assurance Corp. Profitability, a rating upgrade and product launches all are among the positives the company can tout since it gained new life and left behind old owner Standard Management Corp. last June. Standard Life notched a $15.8 million profit last year, due mostly to a gain from the sale of its life insurance business. Subtract that, though, and...
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Insurance compact clears big hurdle: Initiative's aim is to cut red tape, improve speedRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Scott Olson
A nationwide effort that would let some insurance sectors push products to market quicker is set to become reality, after Ohio became the decisive state to enter the consortium earlier this month. The multistate compact for life insurance, disability, annuity and long-term care products creates a single point of filing for providers. The object is to cut down on the time it takes insurers to seek approval from every state in which they operate before introducing or setting rates for...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Association health plans are destined for failureRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Shawn Gibbons
As the cost of health care rises, legislators in Washington, D.C., look for ways to make health care insurance more affordable for everyone. The Indiana State Association of Health Underwriters applauds the efforts of legislators to accomplish this. But the attempt to accomplish this through Association Health Plans, while commendable, ignores history and fails to address the underlying issue-the rising cost of health care. The idea of AHPs has gained in popularity in Washington on the belief that large groups...
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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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