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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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NARI / Assurant health insurance plan

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: I am member of NARI (The National Association of Remodeling Industry) and benefits are offered through Assurant Health. Is this a good option?

A: You can probably find higher quality insurance at a lower price. Assurant was a popular small business health insurance provider in the 1990s (and we supported enrollment in this plan) but now the other business associations we know have moved away from Assurant due to an array of complaints by members. This service has previously covered complaint ratios reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners as well as individual complaints about policy exclusions, tiered rating, post issue underwriting, higher than average renewal premium increases, inadequate customer service access and other issues. The main advantage that Assurant offers is that they have products in about 44 states, more than most other health insurance companies. We suspect that NARI remains with Assurant for financial reasons (Assurant pays commissions) and because there simply is not have a more attractive alternative. But wide availability does not mean that this is the best choice for any member in any of those individual states. In fact, it is unlikely that more than 3% of members of any national business association are best served by any single health insurance plan. This market is just too diverse for a "one size fits all" approach. Also, keep in mind that insurance product prices are fixed by law and must be offered without regard to professional association membership. That means that any business can get the same insurance as a NARI member and any NARI member can get the same insurance through any agent other than NARI. Eventually member complaints tax threaten membership retention tend to force business associations out of the health insurance business. Note that most national business associations offer other types of insurance, but none have a successful health insurance program. The only exception is that local business associations have successfully paired with local managed care companies (Blue Cross and HMOs) to offer health benefits in a geographically controlled population. A better approach is to establish a consumer-driven health plan and then give the employees a range of health insurance and other health benefits.


More resources:

Freedom Benefits small business benefit plans