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Insurance News 08/2009

Insurance spokesman decries 'fishing expedition' (AP via Yahoo! News)
A spokesman for the health insurance industry accused Democrats of mounting a "fishing expedition" on Wednesday, as individual insurers decided whether to honor a request for financial records sought in a House committee's investigation.

Report: Health insurance costs up 95%; income up 17.5% (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
A report released today crunches some numbers to confirm what most of us already probably knew: The cost of our health insurance is going up much faster than our pay.

Michigan House takes aim at insurance denials (AP via Yahoo! Finance)
Democrats in the state House took aim Wednesday at insurance companies that deny or delay valid claims, voting to toughen penalties for insurers who treat their customers badly.

Democrats investigate insurance execs as health care debate wages on (BizJournals)
Democrats in Congress are investigating the private health insurance industry, requesting data on CEO salaries and bonuses, profit margins, corporate retreats and spending and premium charges from the largest insurance companies.

Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums projected to double by 2020 (EurekAlert!)
( Commonwealth Fund ) Nationally, family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance increased 119 percent between 1999 and 2008, and could increase another 94 percent to an average $23,842 per family by 2020 if cost growth continues on its current course, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

Celtic Insurance Automates Approvals (Insurance and Technology)
Celtic Insurance automates key decision-making processes to speed application approvals and differentiate itself from competitors on eHealthInsurance.com.

Obama: Public health insurance option "good idea" (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he considered a government-run health insurance plan to be a "good idea" but insisted it was not the only aspect of healthcare reform under consideration.

Selective CEO, Gregory Murphy, and CFO, Dale Thatcher, To Present at the Keefe, Bruyette & Woods 2009 Insurance ... (redOrbit)
Event: Selective Insurance Group, Inc., Chairman, President & CEO, Gregory Murphy and EVP, Chief Financial Officer, Dale Thatcher to speak at the Keefe, Bruyette & Woods 2009 Insurance Conference

Government halves price of £5bn credit insurance scheme (Daily Telegraph)
The Government has slashed the price of its £5bn credit insurance guarantee scheme and doubled the amount per company it is prepared to underwrite in the third revision since the scheme's launch on May 1.

Florida Hearing on Citizens Insurance Rates for 2010 Postponed (Insurance Journal)
A Florida hearing into rate changes for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. for next year that had been scheduled for Aug. 25 has been postponed due to a glitch in the electronic transfer of data ...

Insurance Australia Group Returns to Full-Year Profit (Update3) (Bloomberg)
Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Insurance Australia Group Ltd. , the nation’s largest insurer of cars and houses, returned to an annual profit as earnings in its local market recovered and insurance margins widened.

European Stocks Pare Losses; Banks, Insurance Companies Advance (Bloomberg)
Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- European stocks pared their decline as banks and insurance companies advanced. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index was little changed at 229.68 as of 8:25 a.m. in London, having earlier dropped as much as 0.3 percent.

Vienna Insurance Seeks Purchases in Poland, Germany, CEO Says (Bloomberg)
Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Vienna Insurance Group , Austria’s biggest insurer, wants to acquire life and general insurance business in Poland, Hungary and Germany, Chief Executive Officer Guenter Geyer said.

Government bucks up credit insurance ideas (V3.co.uk via Yahoo! UK & Ireland News)
The government has improved its £5bn credit insurance top-up scheme after figures revealed it has provided just £7m of assistance to 52 companies since its launch in May.

Public Option Divides Obama, Insurance Industry (NPR)
In the health care debate, insurance companies have come under criticism from the Obama administration. The insurance companies say they support changes to health care, though they oppose a so-called public option that would establish government-run insurance to compete with them.

HCC Insurance increases dividend to 13.5 cents (AP via Yahoo! News)
HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. on Friday said that its board increased its dividend by 8 percent, to 13.5 cents per share from 12.5 cents per share.

HCC Insurance increases dividend to 13.5 cents (Newsday)
HOUSTON (AP) — HCC Insurance Holdings Inc . on Friday said that its board increased its dividend by 8 percent, to 13.5 cents per share from 12.5 cents per share. The provider of property and casualty insurance said the dividend will be paid around Oct. 14 to shareholders of record Oct. 1.

HCC Insurance increases dividend to 13.5 cents (San Francisco Chronicle)
HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. on Friday said that its board increased its dividend by 8 percent, to 13.5 cents per share from 12.5 cents per share. The provider of property and casualty insurance said the dividend will be paid around Oct. 14 to shareholders of... Sponsored Topics: Insurance - Business - HCC Insurance Holdings - Financial services - Dividend

Employer-Sponsored Insurance Premiums Rose 119% Over Past Decade (BusinessWeek)
Family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in the U.S. increased 119% between 1999 and 2008, far, far higher than any increase in wages, according to a

Finding cheap health insurance (stocks) (CNN Money)
Public options? A co-op? Or how about sticking with the status quo of good old-fashioned private medical insurance plans?

Waxman insurance probe began in July (Politico via Yahoo! News)
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman raised eyebrows this week when he launched a financial probe into the nation’s largest insurance companies, which are at the center of the health reform battle.

Constitutionality of Health Insurance Mandate Questioned (Washington Post)
Congress can't require anyone to obtain health insurance.

Bay State health insurance premiums highest in country (Boston Globe)
Massachusetts has the most expensive family health insurance premiums in the country, according to a new analysis that highlights the state’s challenge in trying to rein in medical costs after passage of a landmark 2006 law that mandated coverage for nearly everyone.

Health care reform advocates say insurance companies already ration coverage (Denver Post)
Critics who attack health care reform for handing too many medical decisions to government "bureaucrats" ignore the role of private insurance companies who already make those same crucial decisions behind closed doors, reform advocates say.

Insurance agency hurt by slow law suits, upfront court costs (Thanh Nien Daily)
The Ho Chi Minh City Social Insurance Agency has complained of time-consuming trial procedures and up-front court fees to sue enterprises for unpaid insurance fees.

Baltimore police officer indicted on insurance fraud charge (Baltimore Sun)
Baltimore man accused of insurance scheme A Baltimore police officer who overcame the odds growing up in West Baltimore to patrol his old neighborhood, was indicted Friday on charges of insurance fraud and attempted felony theft, the state attorney general said.

Latham: Narrow focus on health insurance (The Globe Gazette)
MASON CITY — U.S. Rep.Tom Latham said Friday that health insurance reforms should target people who don’t have insurance but would have it if they could afford it.

After the storm: a homeowners' insurance primer (CTV.ca)
As homeowners in southern Ontario assess the damage from a string of suspected tornados, and those in Atlantic Canada batten down the hatches, insurance experts are warning people to check their policy and know exactly what they're covered for.

Ask Kim: Make Insurance Adjustments for College Students (Washington Post)
Q My daughter will start college in a few weeks. What do I need to do about insurance for her?

ShopSmart: Getting the best homeowner's insurance (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Will your insurance company be there for you in the aftermath of a disaster, when you most need it? The answer might be "no," according to the editors of Consumer Reports.

UNC system mandates health insurance (The News & Observer)
Starting in 2010, students must either prove they have their own, or buy insurance through a new plan designed to leverage the system's buying power to offer reasonable premiums.

UNI donors lose out on insurance benefits (The Des Moines Register)
Nearly 1,700 contributors to a UNI athletic scholarship fund lost millions in accumulated insurance when school officials determined the benefit violated federal tax law.

Family of killed Minn. man sues insurance provider (The Bismarck Tribune)
SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. (AP) - The family of a Sauk Rapids maintenance worker who was killed by a car when he emerged from a manhole is suing the city's insurance provider.

International General Insurance Holdings Limited announces 2009 half yearly results (Mena Report)
International General Insurance Holdings Limited (IGIH) today reported earnings for the first half year ended 30th June, 2009. The Group announces net earnings of US$ 11.1 million for the period compared to US$ 6.4 million in the first half of 2008.

Social-insurance misuse prompts legal action (Việt Nam News)
HCM city — HCM City’s Social Insurance Agency has taken legal action against enterprises found abusing the social insurance fund.

Dems: Act now on health insurance (Casper Star-Tribune)
CHEYENNE -- Health insurance reform is one of the greatest issues of this generation, the Wyoming Democratic Party chairwoman said Friday.

KSA insurance stocks gain (AME Info)
Riyadh's Tadawul All Share Index (Tasi) started strogly but was dragged down due to profit bookings at market bellwether and petrochemical giant Sabic (down 2.09% at SR70.25). The Saudi gauge ended at 5,717.51 points (down 0.59%). AXA Cooperative Insurance (up 9.89% at SR28.90), SABB Takaful (gaining 8.52% at SR53.50) and ACE Arabia Cooperative Insurance Co. (5.38% higher at SR58.75) posted the ...

Conservative MPs support tax relief on private health insurance poll shows (Daily Telegraph)
The row over the Tories' support for the NHS has been reignited after a poll found that two thirds of the party's MP's backed tax relief on private health insurance.

Insurance adjusters look at Ky. prison after riot (USA Today)
Officials said Sunday that investigators and insurance adjusters have started probing what's left of a Kentucky prison in the wake of a fiery riot that injured 16 people and forced 700 inmates to be relocated.

Increasingly, seniors realizing nest egg in life insurance policies (Dallas Morning News)
Seniors battered by the tough economy are selling their life insurance policies to replenish their retirement nest eggs.

Insurance and Transport (Mondaq)
Do so-called "back-to-back" reinsurance contracts provide cover co-extensive with the insurance, particularly where similar terminology is used?

Investment losses drag down insurance profits (AME Info)
Major UAE insurance companies will be forced to bolster core underwriting activity to strengthen profitability after burning their fingers on investments during the first half of this year. This is in stark contrast to the support investments provided to the bottom line last year.

Insurance Dept. lends hand in Gowanda (WIVB Buffalo)
The New York State Insurance Department is lending a hand to anyone with storm recovery questions.

Economic professors at Baylor suggest that insurance reform must expand coverage to the uninsured 37 million Americans (News-Medical-Net)
Two professors at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business lay out a universal health care plan in their new book Health Care for Us All: Getting More for Our Investment, published by Cambridge University Press, that does not create a government entitlement program or threaten in any way the insurance coverage or health care of Americans who currently have coverage.

Andhra Bank in expansion mode, forays into insurance (Business Standard India)
Andhra Bank Mumbai Zone General Manager today announced the bank's expansion plans with emphasis on increasing exposure to the SMEs, lending to farmers and launching a life insurance product by next year.

Itau, Porto Seguro to Merge Home, Car Insurance Operations (Bloomberg)
Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Itau Unibanco Holding SA said it reached an agreement with Porto Seguro SA to merge the two companies’ home and car-insurance operations.

HMU switches insurance; cuts premium cost (The Harlan Tribune)
HARLAN -- In a move that mimics what the City of Harlan has done, Harlan Municipal Utilities switched health, dental and short-term disability insurance coverage to the Holmes Murphy / Iowa Governmental Health Care Plan and hopes to save a bit over $100,000 compared to current coverage.

This NFL insurance policy is no fantasy (USA Today)
To most die-hard fantasy football drafters, insurance comes in handcuffing studs with low-round selections.

Lloyds cuts 200 jobs in general insurance  (Reuters via Yahoo! UK & Ireland News)
Lloyds Banking Group, 43 percent owned by the government, will cut 200 jobs in its general insurance division by the end of January in a shake-up of back office functions, the bank said on Tuesday.

Lloyds cuts 200 jobs in general insurance division (AP via Yahoo! Finance)
Lloyds Banking Group PLC said Tuesday it plans to cut 200 positions in its general insurance business, bringing the total number of job losses at the bank this year to 7,500.