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Insurance News 10/2008



States Act to Reduce Insurance Costs (New York Times)
In the last two years, at least three states have included health improvement in new programs intended to make health insurance more affordable for small employers.

FDIC deposit insurance limit could bump up to $250,000 (USA Today)
Savers who are frustrated with limits on federal deposit insurance could find temporary relief in the $700 billion financial rescue package pending on Capitol Hill.

FDIC Seeks Authority to Raise Deposit Insurance Limit (Update4) (Bloomberg)
Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair is seeking authority to temporarily raise deposit insurance limits from $100,000, giving banks liquidity amid a ``crisis of confidence'' in the banking industry.

Dallas-based Centex sells insurance unit 7:34 AM CT (Dallas Morning News)
Dallas-based homebuilder Centex Corp. said Wednesday that it has sold an insurance subsidiary. Centex said it sold its Westwood Insurance Agency to ZC Sterling of Atlanta for $55 million in cash and other undisclosed terms.

AIG fall revives effort to give feds insurance oversight (Newsday)
Proponents say a U.S. regulator would be better positioned than state counterparts to detect trouble. Opponents say it was federally overseen parts of AIG that were behind the firm's failure. The multibillion-dollar implosion of insurance giant American International Group Inc. has state and federal officials pointing fingers of blame at each other.

'Green' homeowners insurance now available in Ga. (USA Today)
Georgia homeowners who use environmentally friendly solar panels and recycled building materials on their houses can now get insurance specially designed for "green" homes, officials announced Tuesday.

Centex Corp. sells Westwood Insurance Agency (BizJournals)
Homebuilder Centex Corp. has sold its property and casualty insurance business Westwood Insurance Agency to ZC Sterling for $55 million in cash, the company said Wednesday. (CTX)

Senate Sets Bailout Vote, Boost to Deposit Insurance (Bloomberg via Yahoo! News)
Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate set a vote for tonight on a $700 billion financial-rescue plan, tying it to an increase in bank-deposit-insurance limits and tax breaks to win support from Republicans.

NC hurricane insurance readiness begins at coast (AP via Yahoo! Finance)
North Carolina lawmakers examining whether the insurance industry is prepared financially to handle a monster hurricane and billions of dollars in claims disagreed whether coastal residents already pay a fair share of premiums.

Senate Sets Bailout Vote, Boost to Deposit Insurance (Bloomberg via Yahoo! News)
Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate set a vote for tonight on a $700 billion financial-rescue plan, tying it to an increase in bank-deposit-insurance limits and tax breaks to win support from Republicans.

Drivers may get insurance breaks for playing computer games (CNN)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Could playing computer games enhance mental agility enough to turn people over 50 into better drivers? Allstate Corp. wants to find out, and if the answer is yes, it might offer insurance discounts to people who play the games.

Ping An Insurance Shares Are Suspended in Hong Kong (Update1) (Bloomberg)
Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. , China's second-largest insurer, had its shares traded in Hong Kong suspended. Fortis , the bank rescued by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, said Sept. 30 the 2.15 billion euro ($3 billion) sale of half its asset management arm to Ping An may collapse because of the worsening credit crisis.

Banks cheer higher insurance limit (Denver Post)
Among the many sweeteners added to the $700 billion bailout passed by the Senate on Wednesday are higher insurance limits on bank and credit-union deposits.

The Right Car Insurance, No Accident (Forbes)
Hopefully you'll never have to use car insurance, but you do have to buy it. Here's how to do it sensibly.

New law may allow kids to stay longer on parents' insurance (Orlando Sentinel)
When is it time to get off mom and dad's health insurance?

Accenture Completes Implementation of Claims Solution at Affirmative Insurance (Centre Daily Times)
Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has completed the implementation of Accenture Claim Components Solution at Affirmative Insurance Services, a distributor and producer of personal non-standard automobile insurance and a subsidiary of Affirmative Insurance Holdings, Inc.

MOVES-Huron Consulting, State Compensation Insurance (Reuters via Yahoo! Malaysia News)
(Adds Huron Consulting and State Compensation Insurance)

Blues' Study: Health Insurance Purchasing Groups Drive Up Costs (Insurance Journal)
A new actuarial analysis finds health insurance purchasing arrangements - also called connectors, exchanges, and health insurance purchasing cooperatives - lead to higher health insurance premiums and

First Guard Insurance Offers Coverage for High Value Tractors (Insurance Journal)
First Guard Insurance Co., a physical damage truck insurance company for commercial (Class 8) vehicles, now has the capability of underwriting and insuring high value tractors. A high value tracto

Reid backs off insurance company claim (Politico via Yahoo! News)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is stepping back from a claim he made Wednesday that a major insurance company is on the “verge of going bankrupt.”

Insurance stocks drop after Sen. Reid comment (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
Insurance stocks, led by Hartford Financial , Principal Financial and MetLife , fell on Thursday, a day after a top lawmaker raised the question of whether a well-known insurer could be in financial trouble.

Two in Phila. charged in insurance-fraud schemes (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office yesterday arrested two people in connection with separate cases of alleged insurance fraud.

AIG to focus on insurance, plans sale of some units (USA Today)
American International Group says it will sell off a number of business units, while retaining its U.S. property and casualty and foreign general insurance businesses, in an effort to become a smaller, more nimble company.

AIG to focus on property, casualty insurance (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
American International Group Inc , the insurer crippled by losses on bad mortgage bets, said on Friday it will focus on its property, casualty and foreign general insurance businesses.

Spike in life insurance CDS spreads said overdone (Reuters via Yahoo! Malaysia News)
NEW YORK, Oct 3 (Reuters) - A sharp increase in the cost of insuring U.S. life insurance companies' debt against the risk of default is overdone as the major players are not facing any liquidity or solvency issues, research firm CreditSights said on Friday.

New AIG Chief Says To Focus On Core Insurance Business (Fox News)
New AIG Chief Says To Focus On Core Insurance Business

AIG will sell life insurance business to pay back federal loan (Asbury Park Press)
American International Group Inc., the insurer forced to peddle businesses to repay an $85 billion government loan, will sell its life insurance operations in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, South Asia and Japan.

AIG To Refocus On P&C AIG will sell many of its business units and refocus on its core property and casualty insurance ... (Finance Technology Network)
Troubled insurer AIG announced today that it will refocus on its core P&C insurance business and that it intends to sell many of its other businesses in an effort to repay the outstanding balance on its $61 billion loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Insurance stocks bounce back (CNN Money)
Big life insurance stocks surged Friday morning, with MetLife and Hartford Financial Services leading the way after suffering steep losses Thursday.

AIG to keep core insurance, sell assets to pay U.S. loan (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
American International Group Inc , crippled by losses on bad mortgage bets, said on Friday it will focus on its main insurance operations and put the rest of its businesses up for sale to repay up to $85 billion borrowed from the U.S. government.

AIG to sell Japanese life insurance units (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
American International Group Inc, plans to sell its three Japanese life insurance businesses, an AIG spokesman said on Saturday, in sale Japanese media estimated could top $9.5 billion.

AIG plans sale of its Nashville insurance unit (The Tennessean)
Beleaguered insurer American International Group said Friday it plans to sell off a number of operations, including its Nashville-based life insurance operation, to focus on property and casualty insurance and pay off a massive government loan.

Homeowners' insurance pulled on hurricane fears (New York Daily News)
Bronx resident Joan Bellwood paid her homeowner's insurance premiums faithfully for nine years, so when she read a letter from Allstate last spring, she was furious.

AIG to sell 3 Japanese life insurance units (AP via Yahoo! Finance)
Embattled insurer American International Group Inc. said it will sell three of its Japanese life insurance businesses. As part of its effort to pay off a massive U.S. government loan, AIG has decided to unload Alico Japan, AIG Edison Life Insurance Co., and AIG Star Life Insurance Co., the company said late Friday.

AIG to sell 3 Japanese life insurance units (INO News)
(AP:TOKYO) Embattled insurer American International Group Inc. said it will sell three of its Japanese life insurance businesses.

State lifts insurance agent's license (The Cincinnati Enquirer)
The Ohio Department of Insurance has suspended the license of Randall C. Riddle for alleged violations of Ohio insurance law.

Health care advocate attacks 'insurance' (Norwalk Advocate)
The state's health care advocate wants Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell's administration to stop referring to her Charter Oak health plan as "insurance," saying that the term misleads consumers and risks landing Connecticut in court.

Erie Insurance earns J.D. Power award (Cumberland Times-News)
Erie Insurance has earned J.D. Power and Associates award for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with the Auto Insurance Purchase Experience.”

Humberto Cruz: Make sure your bank deposits don't exceed FDIC insurance limits (The Journal News)
Your letters and e-mails about bank safety reflect not only high anxiety, but also misunderstandings about federal deposit insurance. I will address common questions by sharing steps my wife, Georgina, and I have taken to protect our savings from the credit crisis.

Chew on prices, coverage when considering pet insurance (Los Angeles Times)
Your bank account and level of attachment to your pet are key factors when pondering whether insurance is worth it. Justin and Brandy Besemer were newly married and trying to pay off their wedding debt when they decided their family needed a dog -- an American Bulldog named Kaila.

Readers express anxiety, misunderstandings about Fed deposit insurance (The Scranton Times-Tribune)
Your letters and e-mails about bank safety reflect not only high anxiety but also misunderstandings about federal deposit insurance.

Insurance proceeds awarded to woman who shot husband on hunting trip (The Citizens' Voice)
A Meshoppen woman who shot her husband while on a hunting trip in Canada in 2006 will receive life insurance proceeds with the resolution of two civil lawsuits.

Insurance agent pleads not guilty to 78 counts (The Bismarck Tribune)
FARGO (AP) - A Fargo insurance agent has pleaded not guilty to stealing more than $5 million from clients.

Looking for Free or Low-cost Health Insurance? (Palatka Daily News)
(ARA) - It's no secret that accessing health care is a challenge for the 47 million Americans who are uninsured. Lack of health insurance forces many Americans to choose the health care they receive based on what they can afford, not what they actually need.

Banks to be banned from selling insurance with loan (Daily Mirror)
Grasping High Street banks face a clampdown over the £1.4billion a year they make from rip-off loan insurance.

FEMA: Texans need to contact insurance companies (Fort Bend Sun)
Many Texans, who suffered losses due to Hurricane Ike, are covered by their insurance. Even the best coverage may not cover every need, which is why state, federal and non-profit programs are made available.

Ping An Insurance Falls in Hong Kong on Fortis Investment Loss (Bloomberg)
Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. , China's second-largest insurer, fell the most in a week in Hong Kong trading after saying it will take a charge on losses from its investment in Fortis.

Insurance parity a milestone in mental health treatment (Houston Chronicle)
More than one-third of all Americans will soon get better insurance coverage of mental health treatments because of a new law that, for the first time, requires equal coverage of mental and physical illnesses.

Insurance agent suspended (The Cincinnati Enquirer)
The Ohio Department of Insurance has suspended the license of Randall C. Riddle for alleged violations of Ohio insurance law.

AXA Insurance Gulf reinforces position in marine cargo and enters 'Large Risks' arena (AME Info)
AXA Insurance Gulf has signed an agreement with AXA Corporate Solutions to further its strategic ambition to grow significantly in the Marine & Large Risks insurance and risk management sectors.