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ACTON, Mass. -- HealthShare Technology Inc., a developer of comparative analysis software, has recently introduced its HealthShare One software in Illinois and several Northeastern states.

HealthShare One combines publicly available data on hospital performance with proprietary algorithms to provide health plans and employers with analysis on factors such as cost, charges, market share, case volume, payer mix and demographics. Each factor is adjusted taking other factors into account so that hospitals are compared on an equal basis.

HealthShare One features include:

* Decision Consultant Reports, featuring color graphics, tables and text that make recommendations and quantify (in dollars) expected results.

* General, demographic, clinical and financial analysis based on a wide range of factors.

* Analysis of direct costs as well as total costs.

* Analysis based on information at the patient level.

HealthShare One runs on desktop PC-compatible computers with Windows 3.1, 95 or NT, and the Macintosh. The application can work as a stand-alone system or in a client/server environment. HealthShare clients can purchase the software to perform analysis in-house or subscribe to a certain number of Decision Consultant Reports per year.

For information, contact Rick Siegrist, president and chief executive officer of HealthShare Technology, 978-263-6300.

Voluntary AD&D

WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. -- Sun Life of Canada has added stand-alone accidental death and dismemberment coverage to its group life insurance product portfolio.

The new product features several riders that employers can use to tailor a plan to their employees' needs. Sun Life's voluntary AD&D is offered at group rates, and premiums are paid through payroll deductions.

Highlights of the plan include:

* Standard coverage for the loss of thumb and index finger or speech and hearing, total and permanent paralysis, surgical reattachment, rehabilitation training, disappearance and exposure to the elements.

* Benefit amounts can be offered in increments of $10,000, flat-dollar amounts or up to 10 times an employee's salary.

* Dependent coverage equaling up to 50% of the employee benefit for a spouse (60% if no children) and up to 10% of the employee benefit for a child (15% if no spouse).

* Optional features include coverage for felonious assault, using a common carrier as transportation, business travel, seat belt and air bag usage, bereavement counseling, helmet usage, common accident, dependent education and child care.

For information, contact Drew Guthrie, marketing coordinator at Sun Life in Wellesley Hill, Mass., 800-432-1102, ext. 3212; or 781-446-3212.

Outcomes program

SAN FRANCISCO -- United Behavioral Health, a unit of United HealthCare Corp., has completed the development and testing of a new program that attempts to reduce the inappropriate use of psychiatric disability benefits.

Using UBH's proprietary system for assessing outcomes, the new program includes a psychiatric and functional assessment within 72 hours of the claim for disability, followed by a treatment program that includes frequent visits and case reviews, as well as a range of treatments with therapists.

A pilot study of UBH's Managed Psychiatric Disability Program demonstrated improved treatment outcomes, lost time from work reduced by an average of 27.5 days per affected employee per year, annual savings of approximately $3,400 per employee, and projected yearly direct cost savings of $6.3 million. The MEDSTAT Group Inc., a research firm, independently evaluated the program.

For information, contact Kara Dornig, vp-product development at UBH, 415-547-5273.

Integrated risk

CHICAGO -- A "dual-trigger" product offered by CNA Risk Management protects a company from the occurrence of both an insured loss and a balance sheet loss.

The "insuratization" product incorporates the financial risks of currency devaluation, interest rate increases and commodity price shifts into a program of traditional insurance products.

With insuratization, capital markets instruments are used to hedge risk exposures. For example, a trucking firm has a large liability loss at the same time fuel prices soar, resulting in a significant financial hit. CNA Risk Management's insuratization product would protect the trucking firm by reducing the deductible on the insurance coverage when a financial trigger, such as skyrocketing fuel prices, is met. So if there is an insured loss at that time, the overall cost to the company will be reduced.

Financial risks, including commodity price increases, currency devaluation and interest rate fluctuations, are incorporated into a program of traditional insurance products. The dual-trigger policy can work with property, workers compensation, auto liability or any other type of loss-sensitive insurance policy.

For information, contact Bill Lutz, vp-product development for CNA Risk Management, 312-822-7766.

Trustees handbook

BOSTON -- Manulife Financial, an international financial services company, has released a guide for business owners and their officers to help them understand the obligations and potential liabilities involved with managing their companies' retirement plans.

A Handbook for Retirement Plan Trustees, a 50-page manual, lists the steps that trustees must take to protect businesses, employees and employee retirement plans.

The manual is written for the officer or director in a small to midsize company who is responsible for administering the company's retirement plan. This responsibility is frequently assigned to a president, chief financial officer or human resources director who does not have extensive experience in this area.

Topics covered in the handbook include how to handle employees' retirement money, the responsibilities of an employer that sponsors a 401(k) plan and the fiduciary responsibilities of persons dealing with the plan.

Manulife Financial produced the manual in conjunction with the Los Angeles-based law firm of Reish & Luftman.

Fred Reish, a benefits attorney who specializes in compliance issues, IRS audits and Department of Labor investigations; and David Levin, also a benefits attorney and expert in ERISA fiduciary breaches, plan terminations, employee benefits in bankruptcy, and professional malpractice, assisted in gathering much of the information in the handbook.

Free copies of the handbook are available through Manulife Financial Savings and Retirement Services representatives, or by calling 1-888-MANULIFE.

Tech firm coverage

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co. has introduced TechFlex: Technology Premier Property Protection, a flexible property coverage for large, sophisticated technology companies.

TechFlex is designed to meet the coverage needs of companies in the technology industry. Policyholders receive an array of coverages and then may tailor the limits required to meet their particular business needs. Policyholders also control their total premium costs.

TechFlex addresses key technology property exposures, such as computer property, building ordinances, electrical damage and mechanical breakdown, boiler and machinery penalties, and global coverage for portable computer equipment and property in transit.

For information, contact Carol Beatty, technology director for St. Paul Fire & Marine, 651-310-7445.