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Insurance News 12/2008

Insurance Australia Increases Stake in AmAssurance (Update1) (Bloomberg)
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Insurance Australia Group Ltd. , which rejected a takeover proposal from QBE Insurance Group Ltd. this year, increased its stake in Malaysian insurer AmAssurance’s general insurance businesses.

MELBOURNE, Dec 1 (Bernama) -- Insurance Australia Group Ltd (IAG) has expanded its footprint in Asia, increasing its interest in its joint venture with Malaysian insurer AmAssurance to 49 per cent.

AUSSIE INSURANCE - 3 (Bernama via Yahoo! Malaysia News)
Meanwhile, AmG has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to acquire the general insurance business of Malaysian Assurance Alliance Bhd (MAA), in a move which would make AmG a top three general insurer in Malaysia by GWP, IAG said.

Two legal firm clerks claim trial to cheating insurance company RM1.7 million (The New Straits Times)
Two legal firm clerks pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here today to eight counts of cheating and three counts of attempting to cheat an insurance company involving RM1.7 million.

Hanover Insurance Completes Acquisition of Specialty Program Writer AIX (Insurance Journal)
Super regional insurance carrier The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. has completed the previously announced acquisition of AIX Holdings, Inc. Windsor, Conn.-based AIX Holdings is a specialty property

Ark. considers insurance program for self-employed (FOX 16 Little Rock)
Only 5,000 Arkansans of a potential 50,000 have enrolled in a state program to provide health insurance to low-income workers through their employers.

Brown Smith Wallace Add Staff to Insurance and Reinsurance Services (Insurance Journal)
Missouri-based Brown Smith Wallace, LLC recently added Besa Beshiri and Ryan Fedyk to its Insurance and Reinsurance Services Group. Besa Beshiri joins Brown Smith Wallace as a staff accountant in

The Co-operators introduces green insurance options (Investment Executive)
Seeking to promote socially responsible behaviour, The Co-operators is launching new initiatives in its investment portfolios, home insurance and auto insurance products.

Mexico Insurance Association See Sector Growing 2.5% In '09 (Nasdaq)
MEXICO CITY -(Dow Jones)- Mexico's insurance industry association said Monday that it expects the sector to grow 2.5% in 2009 in terms of premiums, down from an estimated 3.7% this year as a slowing economy hurts renewals and new business.

Ohio warns about auto insurance phone scam (FOX 19 Cincinnati)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Department of Insurance is warning about a telephone scam targeting auto insurance customers.

Insurance company tips $3m in Thai unrest claims (The West Australian)
One of Australia’s largest travel insurance companies expects to pay more than $3 million in claims from Australians affected by violent protests in Thailand. Hundreds of Australians caught up in a s

Health-insurance market 'blues' seek relief from high risk (The Kalamazoo Gazette)
A move to push through legislative changes to the state's health-insurance market for individuals before the end of the year could cause more problems than it fixes, state Sen. Tom George said. Related content • Business News • Read Alex Nixon's blog: Follow the Money

AIG Offers First Takaful Homeowners Insurance Product for U.S. (Insurance Journal)
Risk Specialists Companies, Inc. (RSC), a subsidiary of AIG Commercial Insurance, is introducing what it says is the first in the U.S.: a homeowners insurance product that is compliant with key Islami

Commissioner pensions, insurance cost taxpayers $51,000 per year (The Bay City Times)
Byrne will add to that total when he leaves office this month Pinconning businessman Richard L. Byrne is leaving the Bay County Board of Commissioners this month after 20 years in office. But he'll continue to collect a paycheck and taxpayer-funded health insurance from the county for the rest of his life. With nearly 26 years of service credit, which includes military time, Byrne is ...

School district’s insurance change battle continues (The Rhinelander Daily News)
Teachers and support staff in the School District of Rhinelander (SDR) are continuing to resist the board’s decision to change their insurance carrier.

Crisis shines spotlight on insurance compliance: Expert (Business Insurance)
PARIS—The financial crisis and greater cross-border cooperation between insurance supervisors and tax authorities have already led scrutiny of insurance compliance, an expert of the issue has warned.

Nationwide Insurance wants 10% residential rate increase (TCPalm.com)
Nationwide Insurance Co. of Florida wants to raise residential property insurance prices by a statewide average of 10 percent. The increase is needed primarily to beef up reserves to pay for non-hurricane weather damage.

New Auto Insurance Law Includes 'Opt-Out' Requirement (KMGH 7 Denver)
Colorado motorists are being told to look closely at their next auto insurance bill. A new law relating to medical coverage will require vehicle owners to 'opt out' of the additional coverage if they don't want it.

Donegal Group Acquires Sheboygan Falls Insurance Company (Insurance Journal)
Donegal Group Inc. recently reported that it had completed the acquisition of all of the outstanding capital stock of Sheboygan Falls Insurance Co. The acquisition was approximately $12 million, which

Iffco Tokio ventures into vintage cars, musical instruments insurance (Business Standard India)
Insurance companies are entering the least-explored domain of fine arts insurance. Iffco Tokio General Insurance (ITGI) is coming up with two new products in the niche area, particularly for vintage cars, and another one for musical instruments.

Insurance sector in India to grow 17% this fiscal - Regulator (Nasdaq)
(RTTNews) - India's insurance industry is likely to grow 17% this fiscal year, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) chairman J. Hari Narayan reported to have said at an insurance conference on Wednesday.

MoH bars doctors from promoting insurance products (Interfax)
Shanghai. December 3. INTERFAX-CHINA - The Ministry of Health (MoH) has warned medical staff against promoting insurance products, according to its circular issued on Dec. 3.

N.C. homeowners face steep increase in insurance rates (The Charlotte Observer)
(By Mark Johnson, [email protected]) Homeowners across North Carolina could face a steep increase in their insurance premium next year to help pay for damage to beach properties when the next major storm hits the coast. The N.C. Rate Bureau, an insurance-company association that helps set insurance rates, released a proposed increase Tuesday that would raise homeowners' ...

Insurance rates soon will rise along N.C. coast (The Fayetteville Observer)
RALEIGH — Property owners in 18 coastal counties soon will pay more for insurance premiums through a state-sanctioned program in a decision that could help narrow any unfunded liabilities should a monster hurricane hit North Carolina.

M & A guidelines for insurance sector soon (rediff.com)
In order to encourage consolidation in the private sector insurance industry, the regulator IRDA on Wednesday said it would come out with a framework for mergers and acquisitions (M & A) for the sector by the end of current fiscal.

Massachusetts Health Insurance Law Highlighting Shortage Of Doctors In State (Medical News Today)
While the Massachusetts health insurance law has led to about 440,000 newly insured state residents, the demand for primary care physicians has outpaced the supply, NPR's "All Things Considered" reports. The law, passed in 2006, requires most state residents to be covered either through a state-subsidized plan, an employer-sponsored plan or an individual policy.

State Web site updates insurance comparisons (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
BATON ROUGE -- An electronic guide that allows consumers to compare homeowners and auto insurance rates has been posted on the state Department of Insurance's Web site, the first time in two years the data has been revised....

SC urged to reverse ruling on insurance policy (Sun Star)
THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Court of Appeals (CA) from enforcing an order enjoining it from designating the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) as the sole insurer for private motor vehicles in the country.

WSJ Watchdogs Sketchy Conseco Insurance Move (Columbia Journalism Review)
The Journal has a nice story today shining a light on the Conseco insurance company offloading some unprofitable long-term-care policies into a trust that may not be able to cover them.

Guinea Bank, Insurance Workers Get 30% Pay Increase, End Strike (Bloomberg)
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Bank and insurance-industry workers in Guinea ended a strike over pay after employers agreed to increase their salaries by 30 percent, Radio-Television Guinea, or RTG, reported.

Struggling to keep up with insurance cost (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Linda Carruthers tries hard to be responsible, to do the right thing, to stay insured. But the 62-year-old in Upper Dublin recently found out her health-insurance premiums will rise more than 45 percent in January, from $6,384 to $9,336 a year.

Insurance sector aims for 12 percent expansion next year (Vietnam Net)
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam ’s insurance sector has set a target of attaining an average growth rate of between 12 and 13 percent during 2009, with additional goals of 8-10 percent for life insurance and 15-18 percent for other forms of insurance, according to the Ministry of Finance.

Finding Health Insurance Can Be Tricky For Grads (NPR)
Many young adults transition out of college into jobs that have limited benefits. Negotiating how to find health insurance that will meet their needs can be difficult.

Health insurance lobby urges public-private reform panel (The Washington Times)
The nation's largest health insurance lobbying group is urging Congress to create a public-private advisory board to develop a plan to cut growth in national health care spending by almost one-third - savings that could be used to help pay for universal medical coverage for all Americans.

Tow company owner charged with insurance fraud (Mid-Hudson News)
NEW WINDSOR – The New Windsor Police Detective Division arrested a New Windsor Towing Operator and Body Shop owner for Insurance Fraud. The arrest was a result of an ongoing investigation with GEICO Insurance Company into the overcharging for towing and storage services..

Cost of flood insurance may rise (Tulsa World)
OKLAHOMA CITY — More than 16,000 Oklahomans might have to pay higher premiums for flood insurance after a federal report recommended an overhaul of the program that determines rates for such coverage.

AARP’s Stealth Fees Often Sting Seniors With Costlier Insurance (Bloomberg)
Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Arthur Laupus joined AARP because he thought the nonprofit senior-citizen-advocacy group would make his retirement years easier. He signed up for an auto insurance policy endorsed by AARP, believing the advertising that said he would save money.

Health Insurance, Business Lobbyists Join Discussions About Overhauling U.S. Health Care System (Medical News Today)
The Boston Globe on Wednesday examined how "[p]owerful special interest groups that helped torpedo health care reform 16 years ago are now advocating significant changes in the nation's health insurance and delivery system" and "participating in regular discussion about how to expand health coverage and lower costs.

Insurance and Transport (Mondaq)
The facts of Ramwade are simple: the defendant insurance brokers were retained to effect comprehensive insurance cover of skip lorries owned by the claimant.

New Delaware Insurance Commissioner Names Transition Team (Insurance Journal)
Delaware's Insurance Commissioner-elect says she's chosen former New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon to serve on her transition team. Karen Weldin Stewart says she picked Gordon to evaluate ...

Critics: AARP insurance stings seniors (Orlando Sentinel)
Arthur Laupus joined AARP because he thought the nonprofit senior-citizen-advocacy group would make his retirement years easier. He signed up for an auto-insurance policy endorsed by AARP, believing the advertising that said he would save money.

"Number of headwinds" to hurt EPS of insurance brokers: JPM (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
A number of headwinds will dampen earnings per share prospects for U.S. insurance brokers unless an improvement in insurance pricing takes place, an analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities said.

City urges Natomas residents to buy federal flood insurance before Monday (The Sacramento Bee)
On Monday, new federal flood maps will take effect that place South and North Natomas in a hazard zone, meaning flood insurance becomes mandatory for homeowners with federally backed mortgages. The City of Sacramento has issued a news release reminding Natomas owners to buy lower-cost preferred risk flood insurance policies before the new maps become official. Otherwise, they could wind up ...

Zimbabwe: ZSE Crisis Affects Pension Funds And Insurance Companies (AllAfrica.com)
THE survival and "smooth" operation of pension funds and insurance companies will be affected by lack of activity on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange after the Reserve Bank came up with "riot" measures to root out rampant speculative activities that were inflating share prices.

OnStar, GM offer car insurance discount (KABC-TV Los Angeles)
How would you like to cut your car insurance in half? OnStar and GM are teaming up to reward customers for driving less.

Jets DE Shaun Ellis charged with marijuana possession, speeding and driving without insurance (Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, speeding and driving without insurance after being pulled over by police last weekend.

D.C. Warns Homeowners to Check on Insurance If Renting for Inauguration (Insurance Journal)
District of Columbia Insurance Commissioner Thomas E. Hampton of is warning residents wanting to cash in on the Presidential Inauguration festivities by renting their homes, that they may not have ...

Maryland Insurance Department Hosts Regulatory Interns from China (Insurance Journal)
The Maryland Insurance Administration is hosting of two international interns from China through the National Association of Insurance Commissioner (NAIC)'s International Internship ...

Machon & Machon Joins Insurance Services Agency Network (Insurance Journal)
Park Ridge, Ill.-based Machon & Machon, Inc. recently announced it has joined the ISU Insurance Services network. "To capitalize on the strengths and resources of ISU's coast-to-coast network, ...

Two Men Sentenced For SF Insurance Scheme (KELO Sioux Falls)
Two men have been sentenced for a conspiracy to burn a pickup in Sioux Falls to collect insurance money.