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HAMILTON, Bermuda-Captive management firm USA Risk Group's first international venture, USA International Risk Group Ltd., is now licensed as a manager of Bermuda captives.

The move lets USA Risk Group offer captive clients both U.S. and offshore domiciles, depending on their needs. USA Risk Group's domestic affiliates include Vermont Insurance Management Inc., Risk Retention Management Inc., USA Employee Benefits Group Inc., USA Risk Services Inc., Hawaii Captive Insurance Management Inc. and Regulatory Assistance Corp.

USA International Risk Group will be managed in Bermuda by Stephen W. Pearce. Other officers include: H. Lincoln Miller Jr., president; Michael T. Rogers, chief operating officer; and Jon Harkavy, general counsel.

For more information about USA International Risk Group, contact Michael T. Rogers, who also is president of Vermont Insurance Management, at 800-872-7475; or Stephen W. Pearce at P.O. Box HM 397, Hamilton, HM BX, Bermuda; 809-295-4591.


FLORHAM PARK, N.J.-Signet Star Reinsurance Co. is forming an alternative markets division specializing in providing custom-designed reinsurance products and services to mechanisms such as captive insurance companies, risk retention groups, public entity insurance trusts, and joint powers authorities.

Based in Florham Park, N.J., the alternative markets division will function as an independently operated unit of Signet Star Re beginning in January. Charles E. Erickson will be president.

For more information, call 201-301-8000.


WOODLAND HILLS, Calif.-Amwest Insurance Group Inc. will buy Condor Services Inc. in a stock-for-stock deal that is worth about $17 million and has been approved by both boards.

Condor shareholders are to get 0.5 shares of Amwest common stock for each Condor share. The rate is subject to adjustment if the average daily closing price of Amwest common stock for the 30 consecutive trading days prior to closing is less than $12.50 or more than $17.50.

The deal, which is subject to the approval of California regulators as well as both companies' shareholders, is scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 1996.

After the merger, Amwest's board and executive officers will continue to serve in the same capacities in the new company. Condor Chairman Guy Main will join Amwest as an executive vp and will be Condor's president.

Amwest is a Woodland Hills, Calif.-based insurance holding company, specializing in surety bonds, including contract performance, court, contractors' license and sales tax bonds.

Condor Services is an insurance holding company based in El Segundo, Calif. Through operating subsidiaries Condor Insurance Co. and Raven Claims Services Inc., it provides property and casualty coverages and services primarily to specialized segments of the trucking industry in California and Arizona and private passenger automotive coverages in Arizona.


MINNEAPOLIS-A new E.W. Blanch Holdings Inc. unit, E.W. Blanch Capital Risk Solutions, has been established to help insurance and reinsurance buyers manage balance sheet risks through the use of insurance, reinsurance and the capital markets.

The unit will identify and integrate risk transfer, risk financing and capital strategies that best fit clients' needs. It will work with capital markets and reinsurers to develop capital market capacity and solutions for insurance and reinsurance needs that the market is not currently meeting.

Stephen A. Korducki, senior vp of E.W. Blanch's Paragon Reinsurance Risk Management Services division, has been named president of the new division, while Frank S. Wilkinson Jr., executive vp of E.W. Blanch Holdings and chairman and CEO of Paragon, was named chairman and CEO of the new subsidiary.

Minneapolis-based E.W. Blanch Holdings is a reinsurance brokerage with branch offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio and San Francisco.

For more information, call 612-835-3310.


NEW YORK-Transatlantic Reinsurance Co. has opened a branch office in Paris to serve continental Europe. It will be managed by Bertrand Levy and is located at 92 Avenue de Wagram, Paris 75017 France. The phone number is 331/42/27-62-00 and the fax number is 331/42/27-61-62.

Other Transatlantic Holding Inc. offices, operated through the Transatlantic Re and Putnam Reinsurance Co. units, serving non-U.S. clients are in Miami, serving Latin America and the Caribbean, and London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Toronto.

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich.-Wholesale broker Burns & Wilcox Ltd. has acquired Cravens, Dargan & Co. and Cravens Dargan Energy & Marine Co. of Houston.

Oscar Perez has been named branch manager of the new Cravens, Dargan & Co./Burns & Wilcox Ltd. operation in a new Burns & Wilcox office to be located at Brookhollow Central II, 2900 North Loop West, Suite 500, Houston, Texas 77092.

The new office will join Burns & Wilcox's Arlington, Texas, branch and Floyd West & Co./Burns & Wilcox Ltd. of Dallas in providing specialty lines coverage throughout Texas.

For more information or applications, call the new office at 713-525-6100.

BALTIMORE-HCIA Inc. has agreed to pay $17.5 million in cash for a William M. Mercer Inc. unit that helps employers analyze health care costs. About 80 employers with 3 million people in their plans use the unit, Comprehensive Healthcare Analysis & Management Program, or CHAMP.

The acquisition is subject to federal regulatory approval and is expected to close by year end.

As part of the transaction, the Baltimore-based health care information company HCIA and the benefit consulting firm will form a strategic alliance to speed development of the CHAMP episode-of-illness software, expand its focus to include clinical quality and outcomes and expand CHAMP's focus to include a managed care model.

HCIA expects that it will retain CHAMP employees, who will remain at the unit's facilities in Deerfield, Ill.