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Insurance News 11/2009

Health insurance mandate alarms some (Los Angeles Times)
Critics say it may be unconstitutional to charge a penalty for not buying a product. Supporters compare the mandate to car insurance requirements. Among some libertarians and conservatives, the most troubling aspect of the pending healthcare reform bills is the prospect of a federal requirement that Americans buy insurance.

Should I convert my term life insurance to a permanent policy? (The Indianapolis Star)
Term life insurance is affordable life insurance for a fixed number of years -- and often a stable premium -- but there is no cash value or investment component to this type of policy. However, some term policies let policyholders convert to permanent life insurance with a cash-value component that can be tapped later in life. Members of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Indiana may ...

No insurance against mass of confusion (The News & Observer)
A medical professional by training, Sherry Suprock understands her health insurance policy - even the fine print.

GOOD QUESTION: Title insurance (Asbury Park Press)
Amid the heap of obligations and expenses that come with buying a house, title insurance can be one of the most bewildering. The topic can make your eyes glaze over, but anyone buying a home for the first time needs to understand exactly what it is.

Health insurance rates already on the rise (The Republican)
Health insurance rates already on the rise The insurance company’s threats are being realized. Next year’s rates have been presented to corporations, Medicare recipients and every other holder of a health policy and the increases are astounding.

Health insurance critic to speak (The Des Moines Register)
Iowa City, Ia. — A former health insurance official who is now a prominent critic of the industry is scheduled to speak at the University of Iowa on Wednesday.

Finding travel insurance when you're over 50 can be a challenge (Guardian Unlimited)
Specialist policies for older travellers can be tempting, says Harriet Meyer, but it's always worth looking around Autumn is a prime holiday time for older people, with plenty of bargain breaks available once children have gone back to school. But while travel costs might be lower, finding reasonably priced travel insurance that provides the cover you need when you are in your 50s or older can ...

What's all the fuss? Govt insurance option seen as signing up just 2 percent of those under 65 (Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune)
WASHINGTON - What's all the fuss about? After all the noise over Democrats' push for a government insurance plan to compete with private carriers, coverage numbers are finally in: Two percent.

Life insurance policies need a very close review (SouthtownStar)
For decades, life insurance has been viewed as a buy-and-hold asset. It is seen as something you buy to protect a certain need, whether it's income replacement, estate planning or for business purposes. But in recent years, treating life insurance as a separate asset class - just like stocks, bonds, cash and real estate - has come into vogue among financial professionals. The actual process of ...

HHS Strengthens Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA) Enforcement, USA (Medical News Today)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an interim final rule with request for comments today to strengthen its enforcement of the rules promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Constitutionality of health insurance mandate is debated (Denver Post)
Among some libertarians and conservatives, the most troubling aspect of the pending health care-reform bills is the prospect of a federal requirement that Americans buy insurance.

PRESS RELEASE: Fitch: Negative Outlook on Japanese Life Insurance Industry Remains (Nasdaq)
Fitch Ratings-Tokyo/Hong Kong-02 November 2009: Fitch Ratings has today said that Japanese life insurance faced a challenging FYE09 (the financial year to end March 2009), with significant capital deterioration caused mainly by the industry's large exposure to the local equity market, the re-surfacing of negative spread burden given lower-than-expected investment returns and strong sales of low ...

Health insurance cheaper in the suburbs (Chicago Sun-Times)
Why would people who live in inner-ring suburbs such as Berwyn, Evanston, Oak Lawn and Oak Park be able to obtain health-care insurance quotes that are 14.6 percent, on average, lower than their Chicago neighbors?

Scotiabank’s Hodgson Says Insurance Ban Will Have ‘Impact’ (Bloomberg)
Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- A proposed ban on Internet insurance sales by Canadian banks will have an “impact” on Bank of Nova Scotia’s insurance business, said Christopher Hodgson , head of the bank’s Canadian unit.

Ontario Drivers to Be Offered Cheaper Insurance, Star Says (Bloomberg)
Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Ontario drivers will be offered a new basic insurance policy with lower coverage limits and fewer benefits to avert anger over an average 9 percent rise in premiums this year, the Toronto Star reported.

PRESS RELEASE: Fitch Teleconference: Italian Insurance (Nasdaq)
Fitch Ratings-London-02 November 2009: Fitch Ratings will hold teleconferences to discuss its negative outlooks for the Italian life and non-life insurance market, in English and Italian on Thursday, 5 November.

Bank Failures Buffeting FDIC Efforts to Bolster Insurance Fund (Bloomberg)
Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., replenishing funds after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, faces additional strains on its resources after spending $2.5 billion to shut nine banks last week.

Loews Swings to Profit on Insurance, Oil-Drilling (Update3) (Bloomberg)
Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Loews Corp. , the holding company run by New York’s Tisch family, swung to a third-quarter profit on improved results from its insurance and oil-drilling units.

California Arrests Bogus Auto Insurance Agent (Insurance Journal)
A woman who faked being an automobile insurance agent, Leandra Delgadillo, 32, of Canyon Country has been arrested and booked into jail at the San Fernando Police Department on felony charges of ...

Ontario to Offer Basic Auto Insurance, Minister Duncan Says (Bloomberg)
Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Ontario plans to offer drivers a new level of basic auto insurance to help lower premiums, the government announced today.

Lack of health insurance tied to child deaths (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
Hospitalized children who lack health insurance are more likely to die than those who have coverage, a large U.S. study finds.

House Republicans roll out health insurance alternatives (McClatchy Newspapers via Yahoo! News)
WASHINGTON — Small businesses would have an easier time banding together to offer insurance to employees. Consumers could cross state lines to buy coverage. There'd be no big government expansion.

Hanover Insurance swings to 3Q profit; claims down (AP via Yahoo! News)
The Hanover Insurance Group Inc. on Monday posted a third-quarter profit, reversing a year-ago loss, as it paid out fewer storm claims and had no investment losses to report.

Lloyds Bank won't join toxic asset insurance plan (AP via Yahoo! Finance)
Lloyds Banking Group PLC will not join the government insurance plan to protect against losses on toxic assets, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC has negotiated revised terms, the government announced Tuesday.

RBS to Sell Insurance, Other Assets as U.K. Increases Control (Bloomberg)
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc will sell its insurance division and bank branches after negotiations with the European Commission and the U.K. Treasury, pushing it further into government hands.

RBS to Sell Insurance, Branches as U.K. Stake Rises (Update1) (Bloomberg)
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said it will sell its insurance division and some bank branches as it agreed to take an additional 25.5 billion pounds ($41.6 billion) from the government, making its rescue the most expensive bank bailout in the world.

RBS to Sell Insurance, Branches as U.K. Stake Rises (Update2) (Bloomberg)
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said it will sell its insurance units and some branches as the lender took an additional 25.5 billion pounds ($41.6 billion) of state aid, making its rescue the world’s most expensive bank bailout.

Insurance company creates 22 jobs (BBC News)
Twenty-two jobs are created by Northern Ireland insurance broker Hughes Insurance.

Insurance giant Swiss Re returns to profit in Q3 (AP via Yahoo! Finance)
Swiss Reinsurance Co. reported a third-quarter net profit of 334 million francs Tuesday as insurance claims fell due to fewer natural disasters.

Wis. Republicans rail against insurance provisions (AP via Yahoo! News)
Republican legislators are trying to muster support for a bill that would repeal new minimum car insurance levels in Wisconsin.

Trauma Deadlier for Kids Without Insurance (HealthDay via Yahoo! News)
TUESDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Uninsured children in the United States are three times more likely to die from trauma injuries than children with private insurance, according to a new study.

Aviva insurance reports sales drop (AFP via Yahoo! News)
Insurance giant Aviva on Wednesday reported an 11-percent drop in worldwide sales during the first nine months of the year but claimed the group's profit outlook was "good."

Aviva CEO: May Look At ING's Insurance Assets (Nasdaq)
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- U.K. insurer Aviva PLC (AV.LN) said Wednesday it would look into whether it could buy some insurance assets being sold by Dutch financial services company ING Groep NV (ING).

Insurance snag in Sinsuran facelift (MalaysiaNews.net)
Kota Kinabalu: The absence of proper insurance on all 14 blocks at the 1970s-built Sinsuran Complex here is threatening to undermine a RM13 million facelift project involving the aging commercial hub ...

UPDATE: Aviva 3Q Sales -25%; May Look At ING Insurance Assets (Nasdaq)
(Rewrites and adds detail and CEO and analyst comment.) By Vladimir Guevarra Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES LONDON -(Dow Jones)- U.K. insurer Aviva PLC (AV.LN), which Wednesday posted a 25% fall in new business sales in the third quarter amid a dip in consumer spending, said it may look into buying some insurance assets being sold by Dutch financial services company ING Groep NV (ING).

Pay-per-mile car insurance (New York Post)
California moved a step closer last month to pay-as-you-drive policies that could allow motorists to buy insurance like they do gasoline -- just a little at a time. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner released regulations permitting and authorizi...

Marsh & McLennan earns $221 million on falling expenses, improving insurance business (Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune)
NEW YORK - Marsh & McLennan says it returned to profitability in the third quarter amid an improvement in its risk and insurance services division and declining expenses.

Kentucky Counties' Insurance Group to Halt Meals, Gifts for Officials (Insurance Journal)
Officials of the Kentucky Association of Counties insurance group have agreed to stop paying for most meals, trips or gifts for county officials. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that KACo ...

Insurance claims to rise because of climate change (Evening Standard)
Climate change is set to make insurance more expensive and harder to obtain, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) warned today.

A wave of insurance assets hit the block (Market Watch)
A major shake-up is underway in the insurance industry, with key assets coming on the market across the globe as the fallout from the financial crisis continues.

RSA Insurance’s Revenue Rises as Overseas Units Gain (Update2) (Bloomberg)
Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- RSA Insurance Group Plc , the U.K.’s biggest non-life insurer, said nine-month revenue rose 4 percent on higher sales in Canada and Scandinavia.

Bharti Axa to double gen insurance premium income (Reuters via Yahoo! Malaysia News)
MUMBAI, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Bharti Axa General Insurance Co Ltd expects to double premium income to 2.3 billion rupees in the year to March 2010, its top official said.

Jefferson Parish hospital insurance deal is suspect: An editorial (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
None of the politically-connected individuals benefiting from an insurance contract with the publicly-owned West Jefferson Medical Center are discussing the deal or how they landed it.

Obituary: Robin Shivers, 53, launched charity to provide health insurance to Austin musicians (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
She went to high school in Fort Worth before launching a charity to provide healthcare insurance for Austin musicians.

Phoenix Betting Life Insurance Has Good Cross-Sell Potential (Financial Planning.com)
A new initiative by Phoenix Cos. Inc. of Hartford, Conn., rests on the belief that financial services companies are still interested in life insurance -- just in a different way.

72% Say Health Plan Likely to Shift Employees from Private Insurance to Government Plan (Rasmussen Reports via Yahoo! News)
Seventy-two percent (72%) of voters nationwide say passage of the proposed health care plan could lead companies to drop private health insurance coverage for their employees. Forty-eight percent (48%) say it's very likely.

Financial Stocks: Financials rise despite sluggish insurance sector (Market Watch)
Broad gains in other areas offset insurance weakness.

IBM Contributes Technology Assets to Help Drive Standards in Insurance Industry (ebizQ.net)
IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it is donating technology assets including its IAA Business Object/Data Model and the IAA Product Specification Diagram (PSD) Notation to help promote insurance industry standards. These technology assets that ...

R.I. Man Gets 33 Months In Prison In Fraud Case Involving The Hartford Insurance Co. (FOX 61 Hartford)
A Rhode Island businessman was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Wednesday for his role in a kickback scheme in which he obtained $3.6 million in business and stole as much as $2 million in furniture from The Hartford Insurance Co.

Ambac Insurance Unit May Be Put in Receivership, JPMorgan Says (Bloomberg)
Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Ambac Financial Group Inc. ’s bond- insurance unit may be placed into receivership, leaving no value for company’s shareholders, as the minimum surplus it’s required to maintain dwindles, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.