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The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is scheduled to mark up the Product Liability Reform Act of 1997 on May 1. . . .Gov. Benjamin Cayetano has signed two bills supported by Hawaii's captive industry. One allows reciprocal insurance groups to set up association captives or risk retention groups, while the other liberalizes captives' ability to write credit life and credit disability insurance (BI, April 14). . . .New York insurance consultant John D. McAllister was sentenced last week to 18 months in federal prison after his conviction for bribing Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Risk Manager Abdoul Sesay. . . .Alan R. Gruber, recently retired chairman and chief executive officer of Orion Capital Corp., died April 18 following complications from brain cancer surgery. He was 69. . . .The Montana Legislature authorized the state workers compensation fund to provide additional coverage for employers with multistate operations beginning July 1. . . .The Medicare hospital trust fund could go broke as early as 2001, fund trustees reported last week. . . .The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week will hear oral arguments on a federal court decision that struck down a Louisiana law setting capitalization and other requirements for risk retention groups licensed in other states that want to do business in Louisiana. . . .Swiss Reinsurance Co. has increased its stake in financial guarantee insurer and reinsurer Enhance Financial Services Group Inc., based in New York, to 9.1% from 5.5% with its purchase of 700,000 shares of common stock for $39 a share, or a total of $27.3 million. . . .A second bill that would allow third-party bad faith suits against insurers in California has passed a legislative panel. S.B. 985, sponsored by Sen. Herschel Rosenthal, passed the state Senate Insurance Committee last week and now goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The first third-party suit bill to be introduced, A.B. 1109, was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee April 16 and is awaiting hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee (BI, March 17). . . .A San Francisco judge will hear arguments from British West Indies-based Mesa Reinsurance Co., the principal reinsurer of Golden Eagle Insurance Co., that California Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush does not have authority to take Mesa Re into conservation because it operates outside the state. Mesa Re is owned by John C. Mabee, former owner of Golden Eagle.