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Late News


Best ups SCOR rating to A-

A.M. Best Co. Inc. has upgraded Paris-based SCOR S.A.'s financial strength rating to A- from B++. The move reflects SCOR's risk-adjusted capitalization, strong business profile in Europe and "improving operating performance," Best said. Separately, the Oldwick, N.J.-based rating agency also said it upgraded New York-based SCOR Reinsurance Co. and its subsidiaries' financial strength rating to A- from B++.

No rehearing of IBM cash balance ruling

The full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has, as expected, refused to rehear a landmark ruling by a 7th Circuit panel that found IBM Corp.'s cash balance pension plan does not discriminate against IBM's older employees. The court noted that none of its judges who considered the issue requested a vote on the petition by the plaintiffs to rehear the case, while all three judges who ruled in favor of IBM voted against a rehearing. The unanimous Aug. 7 ruling by the three-judge panel in Chicago was the first time that an appeals court has ruled on whether cash balance plans are age discriminatory. Plaintiffs still can request a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Suit asks Alberta to allow private care

A lawsuit filed last week in Alberta seeks to overturn the Canadian province's ban on private health insurance for basic health services provided by the government. The lawsuit seeks to compel the Alberta government to comply with the June 8, 2005, ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in Chaoulli vs. Quebec (Attorney General) that found Quebec's ban on private insurance for health care services that are already provided by the province to be unconstitutional (BI, June 20, 2005).

Calif. single-payer bill faces veto

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto a measure, passed earlier this month, to eliminate all public and private health insurance in California and replace it with a single-payer system. But Gov. Schwarzenegger said he planned to work with state legislators next year to develop health care reform legislation that would promote personal responsibility and recognize the shared responsibility of individuals, employers and government.

Destiny Health names CEO, adds PPO plan

Consumer-driven health plan provider Destiny Health has named Arthur C. Carlos president and chief executive officer. Mr. Carlos joined Chicago-based Destiny Health in 2005 from Aon Consulting, where he was chairman of its national retirement practice council and senior vp in charge of its U.S. central region retirement consulting practice. As he takes over as head of the Discovery Holdings unit, one the company's key strategies will be to introduce a preferred provider organization plan to ease the migration into consumer-driven products for companies that support the concept but are not ready to adopt CDHPs as a full-replacement solution, Mr. Carlos said.

Aon gets OK for MGA commissions

Aon Corp. can now accept extra profit-based commissions from insurers when it acts as a managing general agent or underwriting manager under an agreement it has reached with authorities in Connecticut, Illinois and New York. Aon's agreement amends its March 2005 settlement with the state authorities, in which it agreed to cease collecting contingent commissions from insurers, which authorities alleged created a conflict of interest with insurance buyers that compensate Aon for its services. Marsh Inc. and Willis Group Holdings Ltd. recently reached similar agreements with state officials.

P/C rates down 7% in August

U.S. property/casualty rates fell by 7% on average in August, marking the second straight month of such a decrease, according to a survey of insurance agents and buyers released by Internet-based insurance exchange MarketScout. While there were minor price increases in certain classes, such as directors and officers liability, many lines--including inland marine, general liability, professional liability, workers compensation and excess coverage--saw average rate decreases between 3% and 8%, the survey said. Employment practices liability, fiduciary liability and surety rates, meanwhile, remained unchanged, the survey found.

AIG appoints general counsel

American International Group Inc. has hired Anastasia D. Kelly as its executive vp, general counsel and senior regulatory and compliance officer. Ms. Kelly comes to New York-based AIG from MCI/WorldCom, where she was executive vp and general counsel. She succeeds Ernest T. Patrikis, AIG's former general counsel, who left in April.

Briefly noted

American Re-Insurance Co., a Princeton, N.J.-based unit of the Munich Re Group, has formally changed its name to Munich Reinsurance America Inc....California lawmakers have voted to reinstate through June 30, 2011, a law that requires that 75% of any punitive damages award to be paid to the state.The original 2004 so-called split recovery law expired on June 30....The Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s Spencer Educational Foundation Inc. affiliate has appointed Thomas R. Tizzio as honorary fund-raising chairman. Mr. Tizzio served as president of American International Group Inc. from 1991 to 1997 and is currently senior adviser at AIG....XL Capital Ltd. and Brazil's Banco Itau Holding Financeira S.A. are forming a joint venture to provide commercial property/casualty and specialty insurance in Brazil. The new company will be named ITAU XL Seguros Corporativos S.A....Risk Management Solutions Inc. has opened an office in Zurich, Switzerland. Newark, Calif.-based RMS said it opened the office to service its growing client base in continental Europe.