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The market for pet insurance is a big one, especially in California. According to the California Department of Insurance (CDI), there are approximately 1.2 million dogs and 1.65 million cats owned in Los Angeles County. Statewide, the pet insurance market is expected to generate $750 million in premiums. The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA estimates that at the end of 2012 there were just over 1 million pets insured nationwide. These statistics are not surprising, considering the number of “My Cat is My Kid” and “My Grandchild has Four Legs” bumper stickers seen daily.

As in any rapidly growing market, an increase in sales means an increase in complaints. The CDI receives nearly 100 complaints regarding pet insurance coverage every year. After investigation, the majority of complaints result in findings for the consumer. One of the most common issues pet insurance consumers face is coverage of pre-existing conditions. Pet owners often purchase policies either not knowing that pre-existing conditions are not covered or the policy language is unclear as to what constitutes a pre-existing condition, which leads to coverage denials by the insurer.

For the rest of the story, read the July issue of BIG Times Magazine at




Are concerns about the requirements of the new federal health insurance law causing more employers to shift to part-time workers? A new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) finds there is no definitive answer to that question yet—but notes that a shift to part-time employment was underway before the law was passed and that future trends are likely to depend more on factors such as the economy and unemployment rates.

As written, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) requires that employers with 50 or more full-time workers pay a penalty if they fail to provide health coverage to full-time workers in 2014, which has raised concern that employers may respond by cutting back on health coverage for part-time workers or by increasing the proportion of part-time workers employed. The Obama administration has subsequently indicated that it would delay enforcement of the terms of this “employer mandate.”

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In decades past “wrongful termination” litigation presented irresistible opportunities for disgruntled former employees and opportunistic plaintiff’s counsel.  Although some wrongful termination theories remain viable, overall California courts have progressively limited the grounds for and the relief available in such litigation.  What now are angry employees and their sharp attorneys to do?

One answer seems to be wage and hour litigation -- lawsuits brought for alleged violation of California’s many laws, regulations and work orders governing the details of time spent and conditions on the job.  Such cases range from class actions against huge retailers employing thousands of workers, to relatively routine actions against “main street” employers of just a few persons.  Like almost every private employer in California, insurance producers are subject to these strict wage and hour laws.

To read the rest of Jon S. Heim’s article in BIG Times Magazine, click here: