March 5: What the hellth.

The lede:

  • Could be a $10 billion-plus cat week. First Chile, then Xynthia.

Can’t get too far into the actuarial weeds these days without getting the health care itch:

  • I haven’t read truthout.org since it stopped jumping the old New York Times firewall, but I enjoyed its, ahem, expose of WellPoint’s desire to make money.
    The story is basically a pre-healthcare-summit data feed from Henry Waxman’s committee, and as you may have surmised by now, health care reform is about bashing all insurers all the time.
    Nevertheless, read the story, as its chock-full of links, company emails, etc. It’s fun peeking in on all the internal emails. It was so insider-ish: I got all Perez Hilton there, just for a moment.
    I enjoyed CEO Angela Braly’s written testimony. She kept bemoaning health insurers’ return on revenue:

    It is also important to note that according to Fortune 500 magazine [sic], the 2008 profits as a percentage of revenue for health care, insurance and managed care were 2.2 percent. This is significantly lower than other sectors of the health care industry.

    Do you think she talks to her board that way?

  • Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal came to the rescue, making points that Braly’s testimony did not.
  • Meanwhile in 2012 public spending on health care will pass private spending, even without Obamacare. Here’s a link to the abstract; you gotta pay for the whole article.

Other interesting stuff:

  • Will my Sienna cost more to insure? This is a reasonable question, I guess, given that certain Toyotas act like Danica Patrick is behind the wheel. But I think it would be kind of cool for these articles to point out that it was an insurer, State Farm, who tipped the feds about the problem.
  • You’re in insurance – you should read Warren Buffett’s letter to shareholders. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here’s a D&O lawyer’s look at the big man’s blast about risk management. And if you don’t want to read that, just know that Warren says if you sing a country western song in reverse, you will recover your car, your house and your wife, all of which are a damn site better than recovering David Geffen.
  • I never thought I’d link to so much music stuff. (h/t Andrew Sullivan and his henchmen, as if they need it from me.)
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