Today’s News: COBRA Subsidy Ends, U.S. Life Insurance Activity Flat and Toyota Wins ‘Top Safety Pick’

For those who lose their jobs after June 1, they will no longer qualify for the COBRA health insurance federal subsidy, a new study shows that U.S. life insurance activity was flat in the month of May and Toyota vehicles have been chosen for “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

COBRA Subsidy Comes to an End

The government has been offering workers who lost their jobs as a result of the recession a COBRA subsidy of 65 percent to help pay for the costs of this extended health insurance benefit from employers. However, after returning from their Memorial Day recession, House Democrats decided not to extend the subsidy to help bring down the cost of the jobs and tax bill that is making it’s way through Congress. Dropping the subsidy could save $7.8 billion but will likely leave hundreds of thousands who lose their jobs unable to afford health insurance. (CNN Money)

U.S. Life Insurance Activity Flat in May

According to the MIB Life Index, U.S. application activity for individually underwritten life insurance only increased by 0.2 percent year-over-year all ages combined. The index noted that this is consistent with seasonal norms. When it came to specific age groups, application activity increased for ages 45-59 by 2.1 percent and ages 60+ by 12.1 percent while ages 0-44 saw a decrease in application activity of 3.7 percent. MIB’s executive vice president noted that the continued increase for the middle aged represents a positive sign for the industry as a whole since this demographic helps life insurance compete successfully against other investments. (Insurance Net)

Toyota Models Earn ‘Top Safety Pick’ Status

The 2010 Toyota Highlander and Venza have been named by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as earners of the “Top Safety Pick” status. This is good news for the company that has recently suffered backlash for having millions of vehicles recalled that had brake and accelerator issues. The “Top Safety Pick,” which is the highest designation for safety awarded by the IIHS, is earned by having the “good” rating on the front, side, rollover and rear impact tests. Vehicles receiving this designation offer lower auto insurance. (Car Guide Web)