IBJNews

Scrutiny rises on Bankers Life

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Bankers Life insurance—the most important brand of Carmel-based CNO Financial Group Inc.—is getting a lot more exposure lately, but not all of it is good.

CNO last month put the Bankers Life name on the former Conseco Fieldhouse, the basketball arena in downtown Indianapolis.

But then last week, CBS News focused on how hundreds of Bankers Life’s long-term-care insurance policyholders have accused the company of having “beat them down with bureaucracy.” CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson profiled a Kansas man and his family, who, after injuries from a fall in 2010, spent a year repeatedly sending documents to Bankers Life, which repeatedly claimed to have lost them, and therefore delayed covering his medical bills.

The report, which aired on the CBS morning show on Jan. 5, showed images of the Bankers Life website and the company’s headquarters, which is in Chicago.
CBS cited statistics from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which showed that Bankers Life received one-third of the complaints against long-term-care insurers in 2010—even though it accounts for less than 6 percent of the market.

Bankers Life & Casualty Co. tends to have more policyholders than other long-term-care insurers, because it writes relatively small-dollar policies for middle-income consumers. Bankers Life, which also sells life insurance, annuities and Medicare supplement policies, has 1.3 million policyholders across the country. Long-term-care insurance accounted for 23 percent of Bankers Life’s nearly $2.6 billion in premiums in 2010.

Bankers Life accounted for 58 percent of CNO’s total sales in 2010, the most recent data available. Even more important, Bankers Life contributed 79 percent of the company's 2010 earnings before interest and taxes.

Citing privacy concerns, Bankers Life wouldn't talk with CBS. In a statement, the insurer said it settled a 2008 action brought by 40 states alleging a pattern of delaying payment to its customers.

Bankers Life noted that it paid out $1.3 billion in claims to policyholders last year. In a statement provided to CBS, officials said the company is "committed to the highest standards for ethics, fairness and accountability."

CBS noted that long-term-care insurance is relatively new and that many companies, including CNO Financial, have acknowledged that early policies—which are now being cashed in—were underpriced considerably to sufficiently cover the current cost of providing in-home and nursing-home care.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Insurance Companies
    Come on, did you expect anything different from an insurance company? This is about profits, nothing more. At the end of the day, anyone who trusts an insurance company is fooling themselves.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

ADVERTISEMENT