Great story from someone who knows first-hand – The Fed’s (CMS) have been atrocious to deal with this year.  They keep changing their minds.  As an example…  “Rules changed about maximum commissions – end of Dec08, they gave us 4 days to make the change.  We had to pay the renewals on everyone.  CMS said guidance would be out in February.  It finally arrived in May.  Then they changed again causing charge-backs and re-apply’s.  Then they made an error with the file – and sent a new file – only 20% of the original file.  But the numbers didn’t look right.  Then they reversed the decision on who should get paid what.  They seem to be ignorant people, making it difficult to do business…” My take – So private marketing organizations say to heck with it, we’ll sell something else.  Then the consumers will have to get the insurance directly from the government – CMS.  Thus pushing the government solution.  Any other takes on that?  Might the same concepts and issues come into play with ObamaCare?

Customer Respect Group – if you’re involved in agent distribution, you might want to check our this study.  These guys know what they’re about.  They added a lot of value to the launch of the new metlife.com site (which I believe does a nice job with helping educate consumers on life insurance and whether term or permanent is the best fit for you).  Check out this study.

Great new post by Lindsay Resnick, the new CMO with Gorman Health Group.  “Never has the value chain been more important to a Medicare plan than today.”  Especially like #6.  How do you do this “… fully trained, credentialed, certified, and monitored … moved away from a single source distribution strategy to…” without a Web development company, outsourced partner?  Please comment.

Insurance marketers, take note: “…may think their traditional advertising is working, when in fact…” Great post on the need for excellence with Web marketing – and thus Web design and architecture.  Don’t overlook the ALL IMPORTANT Information Architecture – both on the human side and the data side.  I first came to appreciate IA in 04/05 when someone sat me down and explained it to me.  If you’re involved in Web-anything, be sure to understand IA, at least at a high level.  Here’s something I wrote on a related subject – from the Web marketing perspective.

The Aartrijk Brand Camp – make your reservations now – September 28-30, 2009 / Hotel Sax Chicago.  This is going to be an extremely effective event for understanding branding and related marketing in the new economy….  short, sweet, creative, stimulating, attended by some some of the brightest lights in the insurance biz.  Tell them Mike sent you.  Love to see some of you there.  Let’s turn this biz on its ear!  Can insurance be FUN!  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week – PIMA 2009 Summer Conference.  Should be interesting.  Great content as usual.  Hope the speakers really talk about the good stuff.

Some recent pics:

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Cool Picture from Cleveland City Stars

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Fireworks shot “SuperNova”

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Very cool horn

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Most amazing God-story … of this woman and her mom