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Texas imposes new building codes

AUSTIN, Texas-New building codes are in place along the Texas coast to reduce hurricane and windstorm losses.

The code, adopted by the Texas Department of Insurance, applies to homes and other "non-engineered" buildings constructed within about 25 miles of the Gulf of Mexico.

Requirements of the new code call for, among other things, changes to roof construction, foundations, windows and other openings. It requires the use of specific grades and species of lumber for wood frame walls.

Buildings must meet the new standards to qualify for coverage under the state's Catpool, which provides wind and hail insurance in the area.

A 1995 study by Texas A&M University determined that the code would increase construction costs 2% to 5% but could reduce damage as much as 50% from storms as powerful as Hurricane Alicia in 1983, a Category 3 hurricane.

N.Y. broker and firm have licenses revoked

NEW YORK-The New York State Insurance Department revoked the corporate insurance licenses of Schenectady, N.Y.-based broker A.W. Lawrence & Co. Inc. and the individual license of its chairman, Albert W. Lawrence, late last month.

The revocation follows an Insurance Department audit that revealed the broker had more than a $5 million premium deficit.

The department also fined Vp William J. Mather $2,500 and President Helen A. Whimple $500 for failing to ensure that Mr. Lawrence and others at the corporation cooperated with the department's investigation.

A.W. Lawrence's parent company, Lawrence Agency Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 1997. In 1996, the last time Lawrence Agency Corp. appeared in Business Insurance's annual ranking of the world's largest brokers, it was the 47th-largest broker of U.S. business with $17.7 million in revenues.


CARSON CITY, Nev.-Nevada Gov. Bob Miller has signed into law a bill requiring that information on convictions of state-licensed professionals such as doctors or lawyers must be forwarded by the insurance commissioner and attorney general to the appropriate licensing agency.

The agency, in turn, would then be required to report back within a year on the action it took against that person. The law takes effect Oct. 1.