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Spitzer seeing green despite probe
Despite his far-reaching investigations into the insurance industry, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer clearly has not estranged everyone in the market.
In his campaign to
become the next governor of New York, Mr. Spitzer has had contributions from several individuals and organizations with ties to the industry.
Mr. Spitzer has vowed not to accept money from people his office is investigating, but that stipulation has not prevented him from receiving contributors from the following: the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York, which gave $1,500; the Professional Insurance Agents of New York Political Action Committee, which contributed $5,000; the Life Insurance Council of New York PAC, which gave $13,200; and the Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Co. PAC, which gave $17,000, according to the New York State Board of Elections.
Other major contributors are the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner and its high-profile partner, David Boies. The firm gave Mr. Spitzer $10,000, while David and Mary Boies together contributed $27,000 in donations during 2004 and early 2005.
That would not be so surprising but for one fact: Mr. Boies and his firm are defending Maurice R. Greenberg, the former head of American International Group Inc., against fraud charges leveled by Mr. Spitzer.
By the way, Mr. Greenberg and his wife, Corinne, did not support the attorney general's campaign; they each donated $2,000 to Mr. Spitzer's Republican rival, John Faso.
Safety rules stunt Chan
Hollywood can be such a stodgy place to work--with its frustrating overemphasis on safety, according to action film hero Jackie Chan.
Hollywood moviemakers go overboard in attempting to safeguard actors
and stunt personnel, says Mr. Chan, who performs many of his own stunts and is involved in choreographing them. Fortunately for him, his creative juices are allowed to flow freely in Hong Kong, the moviemaking mecca for Asian audiences, Mr. Chan explains on his Web site, www.jackie chan.com/scrapbook.
"In Hollywood, I am restricted when it comes to action and stunts," Mr. Chan explains. "There are so many safety and insurance rules to follow! I know that they want to make sure that I'm safe when I do my stunts, but sometimes they insist that I use protective gear for even simple things, and that is frustrating. It takes so much time!"
But when filmmaking in Hong Kong, "we just go ahead and do what needs to be done," Mr. Chan notes. "There is no safety captain on the set; I use my own stunt team because they have experience and I trust them to make the action and stunts safe."
Authorities throw flag at injured ballplayer's comp claim
While alleged injuries kept away a workers compensation claimant from her job as a youth services officer at Connecticut's Juvenile Training School in Middletown,
they apparently weren't severe enough to keep her off the football field for the National Women's Football Assn.
Inspectors from Connecticut's Chief State's Attorney's Office arrested 34-year-old Corynthia D. Smith last week for fraud and forgery.
Ms. Simpson claims she injured her neck, back, and knee when she broke up a fight between juveniles, an affidavit states. But the inspectors found that Ms. Simpson, who played as defensive and offensive lineman for the Connecticut Crush, was making a number of tackles instead of recuperating from work injuries.
In addition to collecting benefits while playing football, the warrant alleges that Ms. Simpson altered her expected return-to-work date on a workers comp form. After her arrest she was released on a promise to appear for arraignment on Oct. 30.
The charges against her carry a combined 25 years incarceration. But a press release from Connecticut's Division of Criminal Justice points out that the charges against her are merely accusations and she is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Concentrated risk of merger
One of the benefits touted as springing from the merger of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is lower costs, but in one area, the combined operations could see costs rise: terrorism insurance.
The $8 billion merger will ensure Chicago's place as a major player in worldwide trading, exchange officials said. "They used to call us the hog butchers of the world. We are now the risk managers of the world,"
Jack Sandner, retired chairman of the Merc, reportedly said. However, the managers of risk may be increasing their risk--by combining the financial institutions at the CBOT's longtime home, according to the broker for both exchanges.
"Insurers are managing their exposure to (terrorism) based on a geographic exposure, and the concentrating of operations to one geographic (location) diminishes the spread of risk and will concentrate the pricing issues to one given location," said Aaron Davis, director with Aon Corp.'s national terrorism and property practice in New York. "You are going to have higher values in a single area and that is going to drive the ability to secure terrorism insurance and will drive the prices of the coverage that is available."
"When a financial exchange is looking at its risk exposure, the main thing that will drive its pricing is terrorism," he said. The merger "concentrates the risks to one location."
As for directors and officers and business continuity, however, the exchanges likely will need less coverage as a combined entity, said Dan Wasik, Aon's Chicago-based relationship manager for both exchanges.
In most business mergers, companies tend to save money on these types of insurance because the combined coverage limits tend to be more than necessary, Mr. Wasik said, adding that such savings are often seen as advantages to mergers.