Insurance

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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FAMILY BUSINESS: Indiana Square damage offers lesson in disaster planningRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Eric Manterfield
The incident drove home the importance of disaster planning. When the storm struck at 10 p.m. that Sunday, who was prepared for the emergency? Employees were told not to come in the next morning, but how would they do their jobs? What files could be retrieved? Would computer systems work on Monday and later that week? What would happen to incoming and outgoing telephone and e-mail messages? The questions and potential problems were endless. Each owner of a family business...
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Bank's price fell $100M: Union Federal buyer cut offer as negotiations dragged on; investors pushed for liquidityRestricted Content

April 17, 2006
Greg Andrews
No wonder word leaked early this year that Union Federal Bank was about to be sold. A new federal filing reveals that a deal had been brewing since early last year-spawned largely by mounting frustration among investors that they were unable to turn their stake in the bank's privately held parent, Fort Wayne-based Waterfield Mortgage Co., into cash. "The concerns over liquidity were voiced by many shareholders at Waterfield Mortgage's annual shareholders' meeting in the spring of 2004," according to...
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Local facility first to offer overnight help for anorexia: Lotus House fills void for those with eating disordersRestricted Content

April 10, 2006
Scott Olson
A spacious home near Stony Creek in Noblesville once known as the Hare estate has been transformed into an intensive treatment facility for young women struggling with severe eating disorders. Dubbed Lotus House, the three-story residence began hosting patients in October. Partners Patrick Hall, 40, and Misty Rees, 33, founded the facility to provide an inpatient alternative to standard care. The facility, which offers therapies for anorexia nervosa and bulimia, is just the second in the Indianapolis area to treat...
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Steep loss forecast for Standard Management: Company still anticipates closing deals for more financing as SEC annual report deadline loomsRestricted Content

April 10, 2006
Tom Murphy
Standard Management Corp. is projecting a 2005 loss topping $20 million, and its stock has fallen below a minimum share price required by the NASDAQ exchange. The Indianapolis pharmaceutical-services firm also missed a deadline to file its annual report, as a push to arrange more financing "has consumed a substantial portion of management's time and limited resources," according to a March 31 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Company leaders expect a $20.3 million loss from continuing operations....
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Repairs to tower may take months: Tenants scramble for other arrangementsRestricted Content

April 10, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
It was a symbol of his success. For the last three years, environmental attorney Robert Clark has relished the view from his corner office in One Indiana Square, high above the streets of Indianapolis. But on Sunday, April 2, tornadoforce winds left it in tatters. His family photos are gone. Likewise his case files and the many gifts he'd received over the years from friends or clients. "I understand there are no exterior walls," he said. "My desk is still...
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Shared patient rooms in hospitals soon to be history: Guidelines call for private quarters in all new facilitiesRestricted Content

April 10, 2006
Tracy Donhardt
New guidelines due out in June will call for newly constructed hospitals to come equipped with all private patient rooms, the first time such a minimum requirement has been issued. The guidelines, published every four years by the Facilities Guidelines Institute and the American Institute of Architects' Academy of Health, are used by nearly 40 state governments-including Indiana-to set regulations, approve construction plans and license hospitals to operate. And hospitals nationwide-including those in Indiana-are expected to embrace the guidelines that...
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Experts: Businesses should prep for bird flu: Vast majority of U.S. companies have not budgeted for possible pandemic, despite warnings from health officialsRestricted Content

April 10, 2006
Scott Olson
The much-hyped Y2K computer bug came and went without so much as a whimper from a whirring hard drive. But unlike the threat of malfunctioning computers, health experts warn that the potential danger of an avian flu pandemic is far greater. In the event of a widespread outbreak in the United States, companies large and small need to be prepared in order to keep interruptions to a minimum, they say. "I am an evangelist for having a contingency plan," said...
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BRIAN WILLIAMS Commentary: Legislators should address insurance costsRestricted Content

April 10, 2006
Members of the Indiana General Assembly resolved some contentious issues in 2006, including property tax relief, telecommunications reform and the long-term leasing of public infrastructure. U n f o r t u n a t e l y, they did not have an opportunity to debate Senate Bill 124, which, if measured on the basis of the value per page, would have exceeded the much-heralded "Major Moves" transportation initiative. Introduced by Sen. Beverly Gard, a Greenfield Republican who has been...
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IMG faces licensing woes in Sunshine State: Florida regulator denies application over policy sales; Indianapolis firm blames paperwork snafuRestricted Content

April 3, 2006
Tom Murphy
Indianapolis-based International Medical Group Inc. has incurred the wrath of Florida regulators who accuse it of trying to sell policies in their state without a license. However, an IMG representative says the allegations stem from paperwork problems and the lobbying of a disgruntled excustomer turned "cyber stalker." Founded in 1990 with four employees, IMG now employs 220 in offices in Indianapolis and Great Britain. The company administers insurance policies for U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas. It also provides coverage...
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For the Dogs Inc.: Day care center goes to the dogs After years of wishful thinking, owners let themselves off the leashRestricted Content

April 3, 2006
Jo Ellen
After years of wishful thinking, owners let themselves off the leash Barking is music to the ears of Kristel Baker and Harvey Markley. On any given day, dozens of canines are howling away at For The Dogs, their 3-year-old doggy day care center. And they're set for growth, with plans to open a second location sometime in the next year. Baker, 40, got the idea for 24-hour canine care after viewing a segment on TV's "Good Morning, America" about a...
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  1. The Affordable Care Act is not the reason for the slow recovery and lack of high paying jobs for low skill workers. This is a trend that has been going since the early 80's. The recovery is real in the sense that GDP has been growing steadily at a rate of roughly 2.5% since the recession ended in late 2009 (newsflash, the stimulus worked) and the unemployment has been steadily dropping. The reason issue we are facing deals with a skills gap (not enough workers with the right credentials / experience) and wage stagnation due to corporate America being focused solely on maximizing profits for shareholders and not caring about the American middle class. Why should they? Multi-billion dollar mutlinational companies keep offshoring their profits in order to avoid paying taxes (which makes our deficit worse) they convince Americans to fight amongst themselves. If you want to create jobs and reduce the deficit, raise the minimum wage and change corporate tax laws. Of course, if you want to continue to belive that tax cuts for wealthy create jobs (which they don't) and allow corporations and the wealthy to continue to make you cover more and more of the costs of maintaining infrastructure, funding the military and other government services, then keep voting Republican. Hopefully someday you wake up and realize what's been going on since Reagan took office.

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  4. My spring chicken of a Mom is turning 75 years young. She is a big fan of Frankie and I think she would get a big kick out of the film. I wanted to take her to the Broadway play but am priced out. Thanks for your time and consideration. Oh yea, Wildwood! Joie

  5. I thought this company would go bankrupt in 2013/2014. I predicted that four years ago. I was wrong. It will take another couple of years, but they will get there.

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