Friday, January 9, 2004

For-profit health insurer
wants in to Hawaii market

The firm is said to be a
sister company of HMA

A new for-profit health insurer, headquartered in Las Vegas, is planning to enter the Hawaii market.

Summerlin Life & Health Insurance Co., a subsidiary of IMX Inc., was recently admitted in the state of Nevada as an insurer. Another IMX subsidiary, HMA Inc., already does business in Hawaii as a third-party claims administrator. It has been operating in the state since July 2001.

HMA's clients include several companies and employer-union trust fund groups such as The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 480 Trust Fund, The Hawaii Teamsters Local 996 Trust Fund, Oceanic Time Warner Cable and Times Supermarkets.

State Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt announced yesterday that a new health insurer could begin doing business in Hawaii as early as March. He did not name Summerlin. But local insurance industry insiders said Summerlin is the company.

IMX Chairman Jim Dyer could not be reached for comment.

Insurance sources also said Summerlin will have to meet certain state insurance division minimum capitalization requirements and be admitted by the division as an insurer before it can begin doing business in Hawaii. Such a process would take a minimum of several months before the company could begin marketing a health insurance plan.

In the past, other for-profit health insurers interested in doing business in Hawaii have bowed out, citing difficulties competing against the state's existing health insurers who are all non-profit organizations. That makes them exempt from the state's 4 percent premium tax.


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