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Texas town eyes new fertilizer plant a year after deadly blast

Published April 15, 2014 - 3:11pm CST

(Reuters) — Not far from an enormous crater where a fertilizer plant stood before an explosion there killed 15 people, lifeless and uprooted trees surround boarded-up homes spray-painted with “OK.”

OFF BEAT: Sunbathers can grin and bare it in shadow of insurance giants

Published April 15, 2014 - 9:57am CST

Germans have a stereotyped reputation among other Europeans for loving both rules and getting naked, and now lawmakers in Munich have ensured that anyone who wants to bare all in the city can do so with impunity.

OFF BEAT: Elvis estate all fired up over firearms marketing ploy

Published April 15, 2014 - 9:52am CST

A gunmaker’s new Elvis-based marketing campaign has left the King’s heirs all shook up.

Zurich enterprise risk management tool aids financial institutions

By: Kate Shepherd

Published April 15, 2014 - 9:38am CST

Zurich North America, a unit of Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., has launched a new enterprise risk management assessment tool for financial institutions.

Ironshore expands coverage to include product recall crisis help

By: Kate Shepherd

Published April 15, 2014 - 9:35am CST

Ironshore Specialty Casualty, a unit of Ironshore Inc., has expanded its crisis management coverage to include a product recall enhancement for product manufacturers.

U.S. health care usage, spending resume rise in 2013: Report

Published April 15, 2014 - 9:22am CST

(Reuters) — Americans used more health services and spent more on prescription drugs in 2013, reversing a recent trend, though greater use of cheaper generic drugs helped control spending, according to a new report.

British insurer RSA names chief operating officer to oversee asset sales

Published April 15, 2014 - 9:21am CST

(Reuters) — British insurer RSA has appointed its emerging markets chief to the newly created role of chief operating officer to oversee sales of non-core businesses as the company shores up its balance sheet.

Employee shot for reporting robbery wins comp for mental, physical injuries

By: Sheena M. Harrison

Published April 14, 2014 - 3:18pm CST

The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a store manager who was shot in retaliation for reporting a robbery should receive workers compensation benefits for psychological and physical injuries he suffered.

CBO predicts 6% annual premium hikes for Obamacare plans this decade

Published April 14, 2014 - 3:14pm CST

(Reuters) — The average premium for an Obamacare benchmark plan will rise slightly in 2015 and increase about 6% a year during the rest of this decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Monday in a report the White House trumpeted as proof its healthcare reform was working.

Canada taxpayer data stolen in Heartbleed breach

Published April 14, 2014 - 2:57pm CST

(Reuters) — Canada's tax-collection agency reported on Monday that the private information of some 900 people had been stolen from its computer systems as a result of vulnerabilities caused by the Heartbleed bug.

U.S. retailers plan to share cyber threat data after Target attack

Published April 14, 2014 - 2:40pm CST

(Reuters) — U.S. retailers are planning to form an industry group for collecting and sharing intelligence about cyber security threats in the wake of last year's big attack on Target Corp.

U.S. CBO estimates slightly lower deficits as health subsidies fall

Published April 14, 2014 - 2:31pm CST

(Reuters) — U.S. budget deficits over the next decade will be $286 billion less than previously estimated, the Congressional Budget Office said on Monday, attributing much of the decline to lower estimates of subsidy costs under President Barack Obama's health insurance reform law.

Aspen Insurance rejects hostile takeover bid by Endurance

By: Matthew Lerner

Published April 14, 2014 - 12:16pm CST

Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. has rejected a $3.2 billion cash-and-stock hostile offer by Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda-based Aspen said in a statement Monday.

Rising wages squeeze Bangladesh garment makers as factories await upgrades

Published April 14, 2014 - 11:43am CST

(Reuters) — Bangladesh garment factory owners say they are soaking up much of the cost of nearly doubling wages as some global retailers balk at price hikes, leaving less money for safety improvements urged by apparel chains after last year's Rana Plaza disaster.

Severe weather, weak investment income to strain first-quarter results

By: Mark A. Hofmann

Published April 14, 2014 - 10:56am CST

Severe winter weather and disappointing investment income is likely to impact insurers’ first-quarter results, according to a pair of analyses released Monday.

Insurer Endurance offers to buy Aspen Insurance for $3.2B

Published April 14, 2014 - 10:01am CST

(Reuters) — Insurer Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. said it offered to acquire Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. for about $3.2 billion in cash and stock.

Senate bill to renew terrorism insurance backstop includes higher insurer copays

By: Mark A. Hofmann

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The prospects for the federal terrorism insurance backstop sharply improved last week with the introduction of an extension measure in the U.S. Senate. But insurer groups cautioned that proposed program modifications were too radical.

Arthur J. Gallagher accelerates global push with purchase of Australia broker

By: Mark A. Hofmann

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Arthur J. Gallagher's proposed buyout of Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers' insurance brokerage operations would instantly give Gallagher a giant footprint in Australia and position the large U.S. broker for growth in Asia.

Ukraine crisis causes insurers to stop covering political and trade credit risks

By: Judy Greenwald And Sarah Veysey

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The crisis in the Republic of Crimea has caused insurance underwriters to virtually stop writing political and trade credit risks in Ukraine, but they are still cautiously writing the coverages in Russia.

Release of painkiller Zohydro ER adds to opioid concerns

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A powerful opioid painkiller recently released to the market is raising concerns among workers compensation experts as the insurance industry continues to struggle with opioid addiction and abuse among injured workers.

Drugmaker Zogenix sues Massachusetts over Zohydro ER sales ban

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The manufacturer of Zohydro ER has sued Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick for imposing a ban on prescriptions and sales of the drug in the state.

FDA approves opioid overdose treatment Evzio

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The recently approved Evzio is a prescription treatment that patients' family members or caregivers can use to treat opioid overdoses.

Northwestern NLRB student-athlete ruling spotlights school employment practices

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Northwestern University's exposure to employment practices liability could broaden significantly even as it battles with the National Labor Relations Board over whether scholarship student-athletes qualify as employees.

Private colleges' employment policies pressured by Northwestern NLRB ruling

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Private universities worried that their scholarship student athletes might follow Northwestern University football players' lead should re-evaluate their policies, experts say.

Review political risk, trade credit policies if doing business in Russia, Ukraine

By: Judy Greenwald

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Policyholders who conduct business in Russia or Ukraine should take a close look at their political risk and trade credit policies to see what coverage if any they may have in light of the geopolitical crisis, experts say.