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Late News


CSU team reduces hurricane forecast

The hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University have scaled back their predictions for this year's hurricane activity yet again. In its latest update, the team forecast only two more named tropical storms, one of which would grow to hurricane strength, for the rest of the year. That would bring the total of named storms for 2006 to 11, six of which would be hurricanes. At the beginning of the hurricane season, the team had predicted 17 named storms, nine of which it said would grow into hurricanes.

Greenberg wins right to see AIG memos

American International Group Inc. was ordered last week to share with former AIG Chairman Maurice R. Greenberg certain attorney memos the insurer provided to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer related to his investigation of AIG. Under the New York state Supreme Court ruling, the insurer's legal team had until Oct. 4 to supply the information to Mr. Greenberg's attorneys, who have been seeking the documents to help build their client's defense against civil fraud charges leveled by Mr. Spitzer. "We have received some of the documents and are awaiting more," a spokesman for Mr. Greenberg said last week. A spokesman for AIG declined to comment, while representatives for Mr. Spitzer could not be reached.

Senators seek GAO analysis of PBGC

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the panel's ranking minority member have asked the Government Accountability Office to analyze whether the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has sufficient resources to meet the demands on it. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., in a letter said federal legislators want to be sure that the PBGC is structured properly to meet unprecedented administrative challenges. In their letter to the GAO, the senators noted that the PBGC in fiscal 2005 paid out $3.7 billion in benefits to 698,000 participants in plans the agency has taken over. That's a huge increase from fiscal 2000, when the PBGC paid out $900 million in benefits to 243,000 participants.

Dubois leaves LIU to join Ariel Re

Gary Dubois has left his post as chief underwriting officer of New York-based Liberty International Underwriters, a unit of Liberty Mutual Group Inc., to join Bermuda-based reinsurer Ariel Reinsurance Co. Ltd. Ariel Re is in the process of diversifying and expanding its business to include both U.S. and European operations, said an Ariel Re spokesman. Mr. Dubois will help the company identify potential business opportunities. Although he did not rule out the possibility, the spokesman noted that it would be "unlikely" that a U.S.-based Ariel Re business will be up and running in time for Jan. 1 renewals.

AIG marine unit buys Arch U.S. marine book

American International Group Inc.'s global marine unit has struck a deal to purchase Arch Insurance Co.'s U.S. ocean marine book of business for an undisclosed sum. Among the lines of coverage included in Arch's U.S. marine portfolio are ocean cargo, hull protection and indemnity, and marine liabilities. Under the agreement, all U.S. ocean marine insurance policies underwritten by Arch Insurance Co., a unit of Hamilton, Bermuda-based Arch Capital Group Ltd., will be serviced by AIG Global Marine.

P/C industry profit drops in first half: ISO

The U.S. property/casualty insurance industry's net aftertax income for the first half of this year dropped 9.3% to $28.3 billion compared with the same period of 2005, according to an analysis by the Insurance Services Office Inc. and the Property Casualty Insurers Assn. of America. Declining investment results coupled with increased taxes played key roles in the decline in income, according to the analysis, which was based on the reports of insurers representing 96% of the nation's private property/casualty business. The industry's combined ratio also improved a full percentage point to 92% during the first half of this year compared with the first half of last year. Net written premiums climbed $6.4 billion to $223.3 billion.

S.C. judge approves 18.4% comp rate hike

A South Carolina judge has ruled that workers compensation pure premium rates should increase by 18.4% beginning in December, according to the state's Department of Insurance. NCCI Holdings Inc. recommended last year that the state increase the rates by 32.9%, but the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce fought the proposal.