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NEW YORK-Swiss Reinsurance Co. and Alexander Capital Consultants are marketing a new multi-year property and liability product that will provide at least $300 million in excess limits to large industrial policyholders.

The product, dubbed "Beta," aims to cut costs and increase the efficiency of high level property/casualty placements for oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, railroad and utility companies, say its developers.

In a typical Beta program, Swiss Re will write a three-year combined property and liability package with total per event limits of $300 million and an aggregate limit of $600 million over the three-year period.

The $300 million limit can be split among property and liability coverages in different ways, depending on a policyholder's needs and the risk profile of the company and its industry, said Edward K. Guzik, managing director of ACC, a unit of Alexander & Alexander Services Inc.

The attachment point of the coverage and other policy terms will also vary by company and industry, with the program using forms that are standard for each industry, he said.

The Beta program policyholders will have the option of extending their Beta coverage for an additional three years at predetermined prices.

The product, which can be purchased either directly or through a broker, aims both at reducing premium costs by combining multiple coverages and at eliminating transactional costs of yearly renewals for multiple policies.

DALLAS-A Dallas insurance brokerage and its affiliates are consolidating the roles of retailer, wholesaler and reinsurance broker, thereby reducing policyholder fees or commissions.

"We're going to capitalize on an antiquated system," said Richard K. Kerr, CEO of Lowndes Lambert of Texas Inc. and its immediate parent, Lowndes Lambert U.S. Holdings Inc. "The insurance distribution system hasn't changed since the American Revolution."

The Dallas-based companies are recently formed units of the world's 15th-largest brokerage.

"Wholesaler, retailer and reinsurance broker are all antiquated phrases," said Mr. Kerr, who noted that their services can all be provided by one company.

Removing those intermediaries from the insurance-buying process creates a triangle of insurance buyer, underwriter and "facilitator," he explained.

Lowndes Lambert's U.S. brokerage operations will charge accounts according to the amount of work that has to be done, according to Mr. Kerr.

"As long as we can make a reasonable profit, the buyer doesn't mind that. We may not make as high of a profit margin, but we will be in the hunt," he said.

The Texas broker also is putting insurance buyers in closer contact with underwriters.

"Our intention is to put the buyer face-to-face with the underwriter," Mr. Kerr explained. "All the cards (including underwriters' reinsurance arrangements) will be on the table."

Mr. Kerr said Lowndes Lambert US will expand its holdings through new offices and affiliations in areas where it finds opportunities. It plans to soon open a New York office.

OAKLAND, Calif.-A new HMO program for large, multi-state employers is available from Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente.

The National Advantage program is being targeted to more than 2,100 companies that may be interested in a program with centralized purchasing, enrollment, billing and renewals.

Previously, separate contract terms generally needed to be negotiated with multiple providers to cover all of a company's workers, generating numerous contacts, bills and plans.

To meet the scope of the plan, Kaiser last year expanded its geographic coverage from 45 metropolitan areas to 130 metropolitan areas by joining with The HMO Group, a New Brunswick, N.J.-based HMO network of group practices in 30 states nationwide.

Account management centers have been set up in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Oakland to sell and administer the multistate product.

For further information, contact Susan Baldwin, vp of national accounts, at 510-271-5679.

CHICAGO-Celtic Life Insurance Co. is offering a transplant insurance program that can be added on to existing health plans.

The program consists of a standard plan with a lifetime maximum of $2 million and coverage that covers transplants of the heart, lungs, heart and lung, liver, bone marrow and kidneys. An enhanced plan is capped at $5 million and includes kidney/pancreas transplants and certain breast cancer procedures. The enhanced plan also covers home health care.

The standard plan costs $1.60 a month for individuals and $4 a month for families, while the deluxe plan costs $2.30 a month for individuals and $5.75 a month for families. There are no deductibles or copyaments.

The insurer requires an employer to have at least 100 employees enrolled to offer the transplant program.

Celtic has contracted with the Centers of Excellence, a nationwide network of hospitals and clinics with expertise in organ and tissue donation, to serve as preferred providers. Reimbursement for out-of-network procedures is limited to a maximum of $100,000, depending on the procedure.

For more information, contact Tom McGrath, sales director-special health products, 312-332-5401, ext. 329.

AUBURN, Maine-A new accounting and payroll system that provides automatic transfers of workers compensation premiums is being offered by Auburn, Maine-based Advantage Payroll.

The program, the Workers' Compensation Premium Payment Plan, is designed to minimize the risk of year-end underpayment of workers comp premiums under retrospectively rated policies.

The program allows employers to track losses and deduct additional premium payments from payroll as needed throughout the year, rather than all at one time. The funds are transferred to the insurer.

This can help alleviate cash shortages created by uneven workers comp payouts during different times of the year.

For additional information on the program, only available to Advantage payroll clients, contact Dave McAllister at 800-876-0178.

LEXINGTON, Mass.-A comprehensive collection of health care plan reference materials and enrollment information is now available over the Internet from Lexington, Mass.-based MedAccess Corp.

Using customized interactive programs developed by MedAccess, an employer's workers can visit the Internet site and compare health care plan options, calculate their own out-of-pocket costs and enroll using the computer.

Information available includes descriptions of plan management, primary care and speciality physicians, and "audio testimonials" from plan CEOs or participants.

An interactive bulletin board is also available for employees to trade ideas on health insurance.

The online service is paid for by the employer, and pricing depends on the size of the company and the number of health plans it has.

All data is encrypted to ensure confidentiality and passwords and personal identification numbers are used to access information.

For further information, contact MedAccess Corp., 617-863-8588.

CHICAGO-A new handbook on financial planning for businesses and individuals, as well as employee benefits and estate planning, is available from Dearborn Financial Publishing of Chicago.

Solutions Handbook, at more than 500 pages, discusses new strategies on subjects such as 401(k) plans, pensions, annuities, individual retirement accounts and living trusts.

The book, at $29.95, uses planning checklists and problem-solving charts that help readers anticipate their own questions and find practical solutions. It costs $29.95.

For information, contact the publisher at 800-621-9621, ext. 3650.

DALLAS-A new reference book on indemnity and insurance contract provisions is available from the Dallas-based International Risk Management Institute Inc.

Among other features, it includes: an analysis of court interpretations of hold harmless and indemnity clauses for every state; an explanation of contractual liability insurance; and model language for contract insurance requirements.

The reference book is intended for risk managers, agents and brokers, insurers, and attorneys. It costs $198.

For more information, call IRMI at 800-827-4242.