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After 5,460 days and a lot more memories, I say goodbye

Now I have some sense of how Cal Ripkin and Brett Farve felt after their consecutive games played streaks ended at 2,632 and 297 respectively.

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Happy Holidays To You All

As the year winds down, I am once again reminded how much our employees do for our community. I work with a lot of caring, generous people who spend the year focused on taking care of client’s needs and helping others on their team.
However, no matter how busy they get or how crazy work can be sometimes, they never fail to reach out and help those that are less fortunate than us. We have a tradition of reaching out to others in our community, but that spirit is not driven by Management. It is driven by our employees who feel that part of who we are is giving to others in need.
This spirit of giving and generosity is truly humbling. I am proud of all of our employees and thank you all for your loyal service this past year.
Happy Holidays to you all.

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Happy Holidays from Parker, Smith & Feek

Are Requests for Proposals Unhealthy?

A colleague in our Communications Department recently shared with me an article titled “Why Requests for Proposals Are Unhealthy.” Since responding to Requests for Proposals is a big part of my job, I read this with interest.

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Parker, Smith & Feek Launches Dedicated Healthcare Reform Website

With the passing of the Healthcare Reform bill, we have seen an inundation of information and misinformation provided by media outlets; to the confusion of many.

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One of the best things about the holiday season..

I can’t believe how fast this year has gone. We are already eight days into December, and already I have attended four Holiday functions this month, with many more coming before the Holidays.

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Winter has come early…

Winter had come early to the Methow Valley.

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With L&I seriously undercapitalized – what do they do now?

In my post last month I wrote about the November 2 ballot initiative in Washington State – I-1082. I-1082 sought to end the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) monopoly on workers’ compensation insurance by allowing private insurers to compete with L&I.

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Six Chubb subsidiaries suspended from writing new business

Today, we were notified that the Office of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner has suspended six Chubb subsidiaries from writing new business/clients in the State of Washington for nine months.

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The day the charge exceeded $50.00. I had to find out why?

The other day when I was refilling my car with gas I noticed that the charge exceeded $50.00. I have had the same car for quite some time and it had been a few years since it cost $50 to fill up, so my curiosity was tweaked.

I checked the business gauges and noticed that the price for a barrel of crude has reached $82.55. Not quite were it was in late 2008 when oil topped out at close to $150 a barrel, but considerably up from the February 2009 price of $31.04 a barrel. Supply, demand and the relative value of the dollar are all contributing factors in the crude oil price equation.

The recent global recession and decline in demand, curtailed oil production by its’ largest percentage since 1982. BP estimates that global oil reserves at year end 2009 were 1,333bn barrels. What is remarkable is that reserves are 23% higher than a decade earlier, despite 300bn barrels of consumption during the period.

Hubbert’s Peak, when oil reserves begin to fall, and prices begin to rise relentlessly, however has not been reached. M. King Hubbert, a geologist, predicted US oil production would peak in 1970, and it did. What Hubbert did not predict or account for however, was the growth of global trade or the improvements in oil industry technology and geological knowledge. Iraq recently disclosed that it has 25% more proved oil reserves than the last time it looked. Brazil says that one of its recent discoveries could be 8bn barrels, twice what was originally estimated. Hubbert’s Peak will no doubt be reached some day, but it remains a moving target, continuously delayed by new discoveries and data.

Oil industry concerns today are different: the rising cost of extraction, the impact of the recent BP Gulf of Mexico accident and resource nationalism. Seven of the top 10 source countries have shut out western oil companies (Canada, Iraq, Kazakhstan are the exceptions). The demand for oil shows no sign of peaking according to the International Energy Agency which forecasts that daily demand will increase by 20m barrels a day by 2030. Fundamentally though, the rising price of oil can be attributed to rising Chinese consumption and to the rising investment demand of extraction. More peak oil scares are most likely on the horizon.

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The Wall Street Journal Compares L&I in WA & OR

The Wall Street Journal published an article on Sunday comparing L&I in Washington and Oregon.

Average time loss claims in Washington is 270 days which is twice the national average and compares to 70 days in Oregon which has private insurance.

In 2007 and 2008 Washington granted lifetime pensions to 3,600 workers compared to 24 in Oregon.

Last year there was a 7.6% increase in L&I premiums. Oregon hasn’t raised premiums in 2 decades and this year returned $100 million to employers. 

In West Virginia which transitioned to a competitive market 5 years ago approximately 200 insurers moved in the market and premiums dropped 30%.

We ask that you consider voting yes on I-1082
Read the full article here
 

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IRS Releases Draft W-2 Form for 2011; Announces Relief for Employers

The IRS released a 2011 Draft W-2 form yesterday, October 12, 2010, which can be used by employers to report wages and employee tax withholding. They also announced the deferment of the new requirement for employers to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan.

The IRS continues to stress that this reporting is for informational purposes only. The amounts reportable are not taxable. They are to be used to provide employees with greater transparency into overall health care costs.

For a copy of Notice 2010-69, please go to: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-2010-69.pdf

A more detailed update can be found at: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=228881,00.html

Please contact your PS&F Benefits Team if you would like additional information.

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