Insurance

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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Insurers go to the dogs, cats: Pet policies rise as owners show growing willingness to spend on their animalsRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Scott Olson
Max the golden retriever has lymphoma. But fortunately for him, the disease is not a death sentence. That's because a pet insurance policy covered most of the $4,000 in chemotherapy and drug treatments needed to keep the canine alive. While the pet insurance industry remains relatively small, it is gaining popularity. From 1994 to 2003, the number of people purchasing health care coverage for their four-legged friends rose 76 percent, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance in Brea, Calif. Dr. Jim...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Life cycle costing process looks beyond initial priceRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Terry Greene
The clients of most large contractors are typically as varied as the buildings they have us construct. Some buyers of construction are satisfied if they can simply get a building erected as quickly as possible at the lowest possible costs and are willing to make compromises in quality and workmanship. More sophisticated buyers are increasingly turning to a process called life cycle costing, or LLC. This process takes into consideration not only the initial price, but also the cost of...
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Conseco hoping to settle: Class action accuses insurer of misleading its customers about life insurance costsRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Tom Murphy
Conseco Inc. appears close to resolving a class-action lawsuit that encompasses 75,000 polices and accuses the company of duping customers about the cost of insurance. The Carmel-based company said in a regulatory filing that it has entered settlement talks "in an attempt to avoid the risks and costs of protracted litigation" and has set aside an undisclosed amount of money toward resolving the matter. At issue are so-called Lifetime and Lifestyle universal life insurance policies purchased by customers nationwide in...
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As CD rates reach 5-year-high, banks get more interest: Many savings institutions advertise investment option aggressively, offer specials to attract new customersRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Scott Olson
Money managers are dusting off their low-risk investment options for consumers who are finding certificates of deposit attractive again. The run-up on CDs corresponds with rising interest rates that are meant to cool inflation by making the cost of borrowing more expensive. The federal funds rate-the interest banks charge one another on overnight loans-is the highest it's been since early 2001. While that's not so good for home buyers, it does benefit investors searching for short-term savings returns. Interest rates...
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Pafco journey out of rehabilitation hits pause: High-risk auto insurer awaits purchase by NY companyRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Tom Murphy
A potential savior for Pafco General Insurance Co. has pulled back from a plan to buy and revitalize the company, casting doubt over the high-risk auto insurer's future. New York-based ICM Insurance Co. withdrew an application for a license to do business in Indiana earlier this year and gave no reason for its decision to the state Department of Insurance. "We're certainly hopeful there could be a positive outcome, but unfortunately up to this point, there hasn't been a dramatically...
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Smaller banks seeking relief: Legislation takes on costly regulatory costsRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Scott Olson
German American Bancorp in Jasper has spent more than $1 million the past two years complying with the stringent accounting provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The cost alone is reason enough for the community bank's president and CEO, Mark Schroeder, to support a measure exempting smaller public companies such as his from Section 404 of the act. He even traveled to Washington, D.C., May 3 to testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee. "Ultimately, this...
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THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW: Judge not, lest ye have to fill out more surveysRestricted Content

May 8, 2006
Ron Gifford
When you voted in the primary May 2, and got to the judicial candidates, did you feel just a little ... oh, what's the right word ... clueless? Uninformed? Ignorant about what any of these people actually thought about anything? Now some people might have felt that way about many of the candidates. But not you. Being the well-informed voter that you are, you'd already done your homework. Researched the issues. Asked the tough questions. And so you (and maybe...
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Health care with privileges: Boutique medical practices buy time for doctors, patientsRestricted Content

May 8, 2006
Tom Murphy
Membership definitely has its privileges at the new north-side medical practice launched by doctors Timothy Story and Kevin McCallum. An annual retainer of at least $2,500 gives patients around-the-clock doctor access, medical records they can carry on a key chain, unlimited office visits and refreshments when they arrive. FirstLine Personal Health Care represents the Indianapolis market's latest foray into boutique medicine, a form of health care criticized for being exclusionary since it popped up in Seattle a decade ago. Story,...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Former Brightpoint worker gets boost from defenderRestricted Content

May 1, 2006
Greg Andrews
B r i g h t p o i n t Inc.'s former director of risk management, Timothy Harcharik, doesn't have a high-powered legal defense team. His federal public defender, James McKinley, is accustomed to representing people accused of drug crimes, not those charged with participating in a multimillion-dollar accounting fraud. But McKinley has done right by Harcharik so far. On April 20, federal Judge Larry McKinney of Indianapolis dismissed the indictment against Harcharik, siding with McKinley in a months-long...
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At age 2, Future Fund still work in progress: So far, 7 startups have received investments from BioCrossroadsRestricted Content

May 1, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
For two years now, the $73 million Indiana Future Fund has been at work in the Indiana life sciences market. BioCrossroads, Indiana's public-private life sciences economic development initiative, is pleased with the results so far. "When we put the Indiana Future Fund together and surveyed the landscape, there were only two or three [local venture capital] firms that really identified themselves as in [the life sciences] area," said BioCrossroads President David Johnson. "Now we see much more traffic than we...
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Storm brings hail of business: Body shops swamped by thousands of damaged cars; auto dealers suffer lots of damageRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Tom Murphy
Bill Kellar had about 240 vehicles on his west-side car lot when hail swept through Indianapolis April 14. Exactly two emerged unscathed, said the general sales manager for Palmer Dodge-Hyundai West. On the east side, Blossom Chevrolet reported damage to 650 of its 700 cars and light trucks. Its collision shop is now booked for three months and busier than it's been in at least 25 years, said General Manager Mike Chase, who imported experts from as far away as...
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Racing for the green: Rookie owner risks house and home to realize dreamRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Matthew Kish
"If somebody wipes one of them out, the associated residence goes with it," he says, only half jokingly. Now in his 14th season in t h e m o t o r - sports industry, Crawford, 38, decided to hoist his own flag for the first time this year in the Indy Pro Series, open-wheel racing's highest minor league. For the record, he's not a wealthy man. The second property is the only investment he and his wife, Myra, haven't...
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Negotiations halted over sale of HealthCare Group: M-Plan owner, Medical Mutual 'agree to disagree' but leave door openRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Tom Murphy
A plan to merge the parent of Indiana's largest HMO with an Ohio insurer has fallen through, but both companies continue to shop for other deals. Cleveland-based Medical Mutual of Ohio a month ago cut off negotiations to buy The HealthCare Group LLC of Indianapolis, which operates M-Plan Inc. But Medical Mutual "would never say never" to future overtures, said Michael Taddeo, the insurer's vice president of national network development. "We've agreed to disagree," he said, declining to elaborate on...
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Real estate experts examine the market: Indianapolis in good shape overall, panelists say, but job growth, incentive issues, among concernsRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
On April 14, as part of its Power Breakfast Series, the Indianapolis Business Journal gathered a panel of commercial real estate and construction experts to discuss industry conditions in the local market. In a discussion moderated by IBJ Editor Tom Harton, panelists took on a wide range of issues, including tax incentives and the status of downtown's residential and retail markets. Power Breakfast guests were Mike Curless, executive vice president and principal with Lauth Property Group; Mike Wells, president of...
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Ending overdue: Library shows progress amid legal tussleRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
There's finally visible progress on the city's Central Library expansion project. But the litigation over who's responsible for its construction problems still has no end in sight. City-County Councilor Isaac Randolph is frustrated. So he wrote a proposal to order all the players in the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library's legal dispute to enter binding arbitration. "I'm trying to find a resolution to what's clearly become an embarrassment to the citizens funding this," Randolph said. "I've lost confidence in the leadership...
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