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October 2013 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Two insurance giants join forces, while the state’s auto industry celebrates two decades of acceleration.

Big & Bigger: Two of the largest names in the Alabama insurance business are working together. Company officials from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the major provider of health insurance, and Alfa, the major provider of auto, home and life insurance, announced a new partnership that will allow Alfa agents to sign people up for health and dental policies including those on the federal insurance exchange. Blue Cross is the state’s largest health insurance company. It is also the only company to offer plans on the Alabama health insurance exchange in all 67 counties in the state. At this time, only three counties have a competing company offering individual plans on the exchanges. The health insurance exchanges opened for enrollment on October1 and coverage begins January 1, 2014.

Auto Industry Turns 20: Twenty years ago, Mercedes-Benz announced their intention to build vehicles in Vance, Alabama. That decision changed the business and employment landscape in the state. Since then, photographers and reporters have covered every aspect of Alabama’s automotive manufacturing boom. One reporter recalls following a Mercedes SUV from start to finish over three days at the Vance assembly plant in 2000. He described the experience, saying it was “amazing to watch a vehicle appear before your eyes.” He also pointed to the pride Mercedes employees felt about having someone document their part in building the vehicle. It is a trait that carries through the entire auto industry in Alabama. Workers who build Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai vehicles are proud of what they produce, as they should be. All of the state’s assembly plants have expanded over the years and hired more workers. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALABAMA AUTO INDUSTRY!


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