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Insurance News 05/2008

Judge: Lawyers Cheated Other Lawyers on Same Side of Insurance Dispute (Law.com)
Two sets of lawyers on the same side of a case against Progressive Insurance got into an ugly fight over fees that produced an award of nearly $3 million and an ethics report to the Florida Bar. Judge David Crow awarded the fees plus interest to three law firms that claimed they were cheated by the attorneys who filed the suit against the insurer. Crow found the original lawyers concocted a ...

Judge: Lawyers Cheated Other Lawyers on Same Side of Insurance Dispute (Law.com via Yahoo! Finance)
Two sets of lawyers on the same side of a case against Progressive Insurance got into an ugly fight over fees that produced an award of nearly $3 million and an ethics report to the Florida Bar.

Florida legislators reach compromise on property insurance bill (Sun-Sentinel)
The state House late Wednesday night passed a sweeping property insurance bill that is touted as a "homeowners' bill of rights."

Florida legislators reach compromise on property insurance bill (Sun-Sentinel)
Florida House and Senate leaders struck a compromise late Wednesday night on a property insurance bill touted as a "homeowners' bill of rights."

Allstate to follow California's order to cut auto insurance rates (The Sacramento Bee)
Allstate Corp. said Wednesday that it will honor a state Department of Insurance order by cutting auto insurance rates an average of 15.9 percent for its California policyholders. But the company said it will continue to appeal the ruling.

Automobile insurance review faces rough road (Toronto Star)
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan wants lawyers, insurers and other critics to agree on fair and affordable changes to Ontario automobile insurance.

Insurance bill survives Senate; gill nets do not (Mobile Press-Register)
MONTGOMERY One insurance relief bill escaped the Senate late Wednesday evening, but might need a boost today to get down to the House of Representatives for a vote. And one gill net ban appears to be dead in the water.

Auto insurance may spike if Perdue signs bill (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
About 30 auto insurers will be ready to change their rates in Georgia without state approval if Gov. Sonny Perdue signs a bill passed by the Legislature in March. Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, whose office has about 30 rate-change cases pending, is worried the bill would lead to skyrocketing auto insurance premiums. He has asked the governor to veto the measure, which would allow ...

Revamped hurricane insurance (WTSP - Tampa Bay's 10 News)
Revamped insurance package passed by House

Md. Insurance Law Draws Praise From Young Adults (Washington Post)
University of Maryland sophomore Laura Calabrese is not certain what she wants to do when she graduates in two years. But she is thankful that because of recent changes in state law, she'll be able to stay on her parents' health insurance until she is 25, allowing her to consider a volunteer or...

Getting married for health insurance (Los Angeles Times)
Seven percent of Americans say they or someone in their household decided to tie the knot in the last year so they could receive healthcare benefits, a poll finds. Some people marry for love, some for companionship, and others for status or money. Now comes another reason to get hitched: health insurance.

TPG Prepares to Bid for RBS Insurance Division, Telegraph Says (Bloomberg.com)
May 2 (Bloomberg) -- TPG Inc. is getting ready to bid for Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's insurance unit, the Daily Telegraph reported, without saying where it got the information.

State Senate approves bills aiding health insurance access (Detroit Free Press)
LANSING -- Michigan's Senate approved compromise proposals Thursday designed to improve access to and affordability of individual health insurance policies purchased by an increasing number of consumers.

Congress OKs ban on job, insurance bias based on gene tests (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
WASHINGTON - Congress sent President Bush a bill yesterday forbidding employers and insurance companies from using genetic tests showing people are at risk of developing cancer, heart disease or other ailments to reject their job applications, promotions or health-care coverage, or in setting premiums.

TPG considers bid for RBS insurance arm (Reuters via Yahoo! UK & Ireland News)
Private equity firm Texas Pacific Group is considering a bid for Royal Bank of Scotland's 8 billion pound insurance arm, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Munich Re, Hero start Indian life insurance venture (Reuters via Yahoo! Malaysia News)
FRANKFURT, May 2 - Germany's Ergo Insurance Group and India's Hero Group have agreed to form a life insurance joint venture in India, Ergo parent Munich Re said on Friday.

Graduates can stay on insurance until age 25 (Baltimore Sun)
Thousands of seniors graduating from Maryland colleges this spring will be guaranteed the right to stay on their parents' health insurance until they turn 25, thanks to a law that went into effect this year.

House bars use of genetic data in jobs, insurance (Baltimore Sun)
Scientists hope bias protections will spur research The House of Representatives passed legislation yesterday barring the use of genetic information in job and health insurance decisions, moving the government to the cusp of enacting the first federal law dealing with DNA-based medical care.

Insurance costs squeeze Montanans (Billings Gazette)
Montanans who have health insurance are spending a bigger portion of their paychecks on premiums, and the increase is far outpacing the rise in wages.

Dogs of War: Insurance? What insurance? (UPI)
By DAVID ISENBERGWASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- Life in Iraq for private military contractors is dangerous. If they get killed their dependents in theory get insurance but there will be no letters from a military commander of the president, commending them for their service to the country. No chaplain shows up at their door to offer consolation.

Buffett's Berkshire Says Profit Declines on Insurance (Update2) (Bloomberg.com)
May 2 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett 's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said first-quarter profit declined 64 percent as falling rates reduced returns from insurance operations. The company had $991 million in investment losses as it marked down the value of derivative contracts.

PMA Insurance Group Follows Vendor to Java-Based Platform (Insurance and Technology)
PMA Insurance Group weighed ease of use, the merits of a single reporting platform and cost-effectiveness in deciding whether to follow Hyperion's migration to a Java-based platform.

Buffett's Berkshire Says Net Declines on Insurance, Derivatives (Bloomberg.com)
May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett 's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said profit plunged 64 percent to the lowest since 2005 as falling rates cut returns from insurance operations and the company marked down the value of derivative contracts.

La. takes insurance agent's license (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
A Lacombe-area insurance agent was stripped of her licenses and fined $5,000 for allegedly pocketing premiums meant for insurers, the Louisiana Department of Insurance announced Friday.

Florida Legislature passes plan for autism insurance coverage (Sun-Sentinel)
In dramatic fashion, the Florida Legislature voted Friday to mandate insurance coverage for children with autism, in a political cliffhanger that produced a frantic finish to the 2008 legislative session.

Traveller battles with insurance company (Toronto Star)
After buying a deluxe travel insurance policy, Sheila Gerlock thought she was covered for anything that might derail her travel plans. She was wrong. "The insurance company refused to pay.

Fukuda's Approval Rating Drops to Lowest on Gasoline, Insurance (Bloomberg.com)
May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda 's approval rating fell to its lowest, with more than 70 percent of voters saying they disapproved of the reintroduction of gasoline taxes and a new insurance system that collects premiums from the elderly, according to a newspaper survey.

$66.2B budget will roll out Crist's health-insurance plan (Orlando Sentinel)
The Florida Legislature skidded to the finish line of the 2008 session Friday, approving a $66.2 billion budget, help for children with autism, and a sweeping health-insurance plan sought by Gov. Charlie Crist.

Hospital shuts unit, revamps insurance (The Buffalo News)
NIAGARA FALLS — The city hospital on Friday announced a new health insurance plan for children and their families who don't have coverage, on the same day it closed a unit for mentally ill children and adolescents.

Home-Insurance Credits (WallStreet Journal via Yahoo! Finance)
Homeowners often don't take time to reassess home-insurance coverage when it's time to pay the premium. But with many Americans looking for ways to save a buck these days, examining that paperwork could pay off.

Covered by employer health insurance, but still feeling the pinch (International Herald Tribune)
Many of the 158 million people covered by employer health insurance are struggling to meet medical expenses that are much higher than they used to be.

Is credit-card insurance a smart move or a pricey mistake? (The Indianapolis Star)
Many banks offer a variety of insurance protection, along with their credit cards, including loss protection and credit life, disability or involuntary unemployment insurance. However, all of these services come at a cost. Do your homework to help you decide whether you need or can afford the coverage.

Health insurance for 20-somethings (Sun-Sentinel)
About one in five adults age 19 to 29 don't have health insurance. If you fall in that category, you might think you don't need the extra expenditure — after all, you're a young, strapping specimen of good health. But you're not invincible.

Health-care costs hitting even those with insurance (Seattle Times)
The economic slowdown has swelled the ranks of people without health insurance. Higher premiums and bigger co-payments bring medical costs up.

Want to Save 35 Percent on Insurance? (The Bradford Era)
(ARA) - Next to housing and transportation, your biggest expense is likely insurance. According to the latest Consumer Expenditure Survey released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, the average American spends 7.9 percent of their income protecting what they have.

Are You Over Paying for Homeowners Insurance? (Carteret County News-Times)
(ARA) - Homeowners will shop around for appliances, furniture and other necessities to get the best price for the best product. But one necessity that often goes overlooked is home insurance.

Even people with health insurance feel pain of rising costs (San Diego Union-Tribune)
The economic slowdown has swelled the ranks of people without health insurance. Now it is threatening millions of people who have insurance but find that the coverage is too limited or that they cannot afford their own share of medical costs.

Province called on to drop insurance tax (Calgary Sun)
With auto insurance premiums anticipated to rise this year, the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the province to cushion the blow by scrapping a 3% hidden sales tax.

Mr Justice Consumer Advice: Double trouble over insurance (icNewcastle - Sunday Sun)
WISH you were here, wish you were here. Ann and John Storey asked for my help when Norwich Union bungled payment of their holiday insurance policy.

Insurance Australia Faces Deadline on QBE's $7.6 Billion Offer (Bloomberg.com)
May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Insurance Australia Group Ltd. , the auto and home insurer that's posted three straight years of declining profits, may have its last chance today to accept QBE Insurance Group Ltd.'s A$8.18 billion ($7.6 billion) takeover proposal.

Buffett eyes Royal Bank of Scotland insurance unit (Market Watch)
OMAHA, Neb. (MarketWatch) -- Berkshire Hathaway will consider investing in the insurance business of U.K. banking giant Royal Bank of Scotland and is close to buying a medium-sized company in the country, Chairman Warren Buffett said Sunday.

Bankinter offers to buy RBS stake in insurance JV: report (Market Watch)
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Spain's Bankinter SA (BKT.MC) has offered to buy Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC's 50% stake in the banks' insurance joint venture, Linea Directa, the Sunday Times reported, without citing its sources. The Linea Directa stake is up for sale as part of RBS' planned sale of its insurance business. The proposed deal would value the joint venture at up to GBP700 million, the ...

Gainesville insurance agency going regional (BizJournals)
A Gainesville insurance firm, specializing in offering insurance through residential real estate agencies in metro Atlanta, has inked a deal in Alabama and plans to become a regional company.

Insurance Australia Faces Deadline on QBE's Offer (Update2) (Bloomberg.com)
May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Insurance Australia Group Ltd. , the auto and home insurer that's posted three straight years of declining profits, may have its last chance today to accept QBE Insurance Group Ltd.'s A$8.2 billion ($7.7 billion) takeover proposal.

QBE Allows Offer for Insurance Australia to Expire (Update1) (Bloomberg.com)
May 5 (Bloomberg) -- QBE Insurance Group Ltd., Australia's biggest property and casualty insurer, let its A$8.2 billion ($7.7 billion) takeover proposal for Insurance Australia Group Ltd.

Insurance costs may flood county residents (The San Francisco Examiner)
If Julie Pollock had ever heard of a flood in Foster City, she would not be balking at the prospect of being required to buy flood insurance for her home.

Buffett's Berkshire Looking at Royal Bank of Sctoland's Insurance Unit (Insurance Journal)
Warren Buffett said Sunday his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. insurance and investment company may be "close" to buying a medium-sized British company and "will look" at Royal Bank of Scotland Plc's possible

South Africa: Poor May Get Insurance Under New Proposals (AllAfrica.com)
PROPOSALS to reform micro-insurance regulation could make it easier for insurers to serve low-income households, Doubell Chamberlain of FinMark Trust and director of the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion said last week.

Berkshire Hathaway Net Off 64% on Derivatives, Insurance (Insurance Journal)
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said Friday that first- quarter profit tumbled 64 percent, hurt by losses tied to derivatives contracts and a steep slide in insurance premiums. Net income

Oklahoma: Lawmaker blocks insurance mandate bills (AP via Yahoo! Finance)
A state lawmaker who has blocked legislation that would require health insurers to cover a variety of medical procedures and conditions has accepted thousands of dollars in donations from individuals or political action committees with ties to the insurance industry, records show.