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Committee Creates New Health and Managed Care Research Tool

by Alfred O. Weller, Member,
CAS Committee on Health and Managed Care Issues

To some insurance people, "Re Search" means finding a market for hard-to-place reinsurance. To other people, it means searching for information in one place, finding a link to a new source, and then "re-searching" for the desired information. To Webster, "research" is careful, patient, systematic, diligent inquiry and examination undertaken to establish facts and principles in the search for truth. And, to most casualty actuaries, "research" means finding information and intellectual tools that make actuarial services more valuable to their respective employers and clients. Failed or inefficient research means the loss of precious, perhaps even billable, time and effort.

With the goal of making important research on health and managed care more accessible to casualty actuaries, the CAS Committee on Health and Managed Care Issues is reorganizing its Web page. This committee addresses actuarial issues related to property and casualty implications of health and managed care. Among its foremost objectives is the dissemination of research and information regarding health and managed care, as they pertain to property and casualty issues. The new changes represent significant progress in achieving this goal.

New developments in health and managed care originate from many sources, including casualty actuaries. Much good research is the work of others with nonactuarial professional credentials, and other actuaries. Issues in health and managed care, like so many other areas of actuarial practice, are often best served by interdisciplinary endeavors with professionals of distinct backgrounds working together. For casualty actuaries to contribute more effectively to this dynamic arena, they need easy access to new research developments, regardless of source.

At present, CAS members can access the committee's Web page by going to, selecting "Research" and then selecting the committee. The committee's Web page affords links to a bibliography, other organizations active in health and managed care, and other information of concern to casualty actuaries.

When the new changes are implemented (before January 1, 2002), there will be a section with abstracts of current research articles and publications. Each abstract will in turn link to a brief description (on the CAS Web Site) of the organization sponsoring the research, and each organization's description will link directly to the respective organization so that CAS members can obtain the complete research work. In this way, casualty actuaries can easily access important new research in fewer keystrokes (mouse clicks) and less time than by tracking many Web sites and organizations on their own.

Committee members are contacting various organizations active in health and managed care research. As this article is being written, two organizations have already agreed to participate in the revised Web site and more are expected to follow.

The first organization to agree to participate is the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI). The IBI is a national, nonprofit membership organization open to employers, insurers, health-care providers, brokers, consultants and others interested in the evolution of integrated benefits. IBI programs combine or coordinate the management and administration of workers compensation, group health, short-term disability, long-term disability, sick pay, statutory short-term disability, and other coverages. IBI provides: (1) benchmarking to help employers understand the performance and interactions of benefit programs; (2) a forum for the exchange of views and information among its members; and (3) research to help improve integrated benefit program success. Recent research includes the relationship of productivity loss to benefits costs associated with disability and the design of health-care coverage.

The second organization is the Insurance Research Council (IRC), an independent, nonprofit research organization founded in 1977 and supported by leading property and casualty insurance companies and associations. IRC is wholly devoted to research and the communication of its research findings. Many casualty actuaries are familiar with IRC annual studies on trends in automobile injury costs and automobile insurance. IRC studies generally concern important public policy issues and often are based on extensive data collection and analysis.

Links to both the IBI and IRC Web Sites, as well as many other external health-related Web sites, can be accessed now through the Health and Managed Care Issues Web Page. These links will soon be enhanced with the addition of descriptions of the organizations and research abstracts.

The IBI and the IRC are the proverbial tip of the iceberg as the committee builds similar relationships with other organizations sponsoring research of interest to actuaries. The committee thanks the IBI and the IRC for their prompt and affirmative reply to our overture. We look forward to working more closely with these and other organizations in the future. As our ties with other organizations grow, the CAS will look to expand on these relationships. Indeed, this is one step toward furthering our common research goals through funding, joint research, and stronger relationships in general.

Current members of the Committee on Health and Managed Care Issues are Pamela Sealand Reale (chairperson), Cara Blank (vice chairperson), Theresa Bourdon, Anthony J. Grippa, Eleni Kourou, Dennis Lange, Barry Lipton, John Pierce, Alfred O. Weller, Edward Wrobel, Bryan Young, and Heather Yow. The Committee extends its thanks and appreciation to Stew Sawyer and the CAS Committee on Online Services, and to J. Michael Boa and Tiffany Kirk of the CAS staff for their help in designing and implementing these changes.

CAS members can offer comments and suggestions by contacting Cara Blank.