More than 3 in 4 contracting firms are finding it difficult to fill skilled trade positions, and more than 3 in 5 are finding project supers, estimators and engineers hard to find, according to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America conducted in August and September. The Southeast sees the largest challenge, where 86% of contractors face labor challenges; the Northeast is better off, but far from complacent as 67% of contractors there try to deal with the problem.

To deal with the issue, nearly 60% of the firms surveyed have tried raising wages to attract new workers in both the craft and professional positions. Almost half are resorting to an increased use of subcontractors while more than one-third are turning to staffing agencies.

Many of the respondents say that training and education programs in their areas are sub par and more than one-third don’t see much cause for celebration in their area’s workforce pipeline. (read more…)

One of the lesser known financial regulations implemented as part of Dodd-Frank is the requirement for swap dealers to be able to produce a full reconstruction of a trade within 72 hours of a request by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Satisfying the new requirement will require a range of technologies and processes, many of which are still in their infancy.

Bloomberg Vault sponsored a webinar “Tackling the Challenges of Trade Reconstruction,” exploring issues such as:

• Handling unstructured data, including tagging
• Weighing in-house versus outsourced solutions
• Establishing best practices around compliance

“The new rules [regarding trade reconstruction] are onerous and affect lots of different parts of the organization—front, middle and back office of firms,” said Harald Collet, Global Head of Bloomberg Vault. Those rules cover such areas as:

Recordkeeping: Records must be kept of all written and oral communications that lead to execution of swap.
Searchability: Data must be maintained in a form that identifiable and searchable by transaction and counterparty. (read more…)

The new Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow program will feature a sharply focused, timely curriculum to meet agents’ needs, according to the College for Financial Planning and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, which teamed up to develop the revised designation.

The updated version of the program came about as the result of “an outcry from designees” to keep LUTCF going after a change in the institution that administers the program, said NAIFA President Juli McNeely.

The new program is “going to be very complete, very robust. It really is designed to give a brand-new adviser what they need to be successful,” said McNeely, who holds the LUTCF designation.

The development of the new program involved a team of subject matter experts, known as the LUTCF Advisory Committee, as well as a content-validation survey to determine how the curriculum could be as relevant as possible.

The survey included all LUTCF designees in NAIFA’s database and focused on the questions of “who’s the target audience, and what do they need to their job, and how do we fill that need?” said Jason Brunner, director of institutional research and effectiveness at the College for Financial Planning. (read more…)

It appears likely that a measure to create the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers will become law, and agents need to know what that means for their business, said Jill Hoffman, assistant vice president of federal government relations with the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers.

A NARAB amendment is attached to House and Senate legislation to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act backstop. The political consensus is that NARAB will pass along with TRIA, which must be renewed before it expires at the end of this year, Hoffman said.

The bill is designed to establish a national licensing body through which agents would pay a fee to get a NARAB license in the state or states where they want to be licensed, said Scott Sinder, outside counsel with Steptoe & Johnson.

NAIFA wants to have a seat on the NARAB board of directors, which would be appointed by the president and also would include regulators, Sinder said. (read more…)

Diligent preparation is crucial for successfully addressing the heavy scrutiny that long-term disability claims are facing, said Evan Schwartz, founding partner of Quadrino Schwartz.

One of an insurance company’s first steps with a long-term disability claim is conducting a recission review to examine a policyholder’s income and medical information for any misrepresentations, Schwartz said Sunday at the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers Career Conference and Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The insurer conducts a financial review for several purposes, the initial reason being to determine that an insured was doing the type of job he or she claimed to be at the time of becoming disabled, Schwartz said.

In fact, long-term disability coverage is based on occupation at the time of disability, although many people misunderstand this and think instead that coverage is based on their job at the time they purchased a policy, he said.

A policy that remains in force beyond the two-year incontestability period isn’t necessarily exempt from concern over claims that the insurance company has the basis to dispute, Schwartz warned. (read more…)