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In Brief


Hartford buys $248M cat bond

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. has purchased $247.5 million in multiyear, collateralized reinsurance from Foundation Re II Ltd., a Cayman Islands-based special purpose reinsurance company. The program consists of $180 million of reinsurance for losses from individual hurricane events and $67.5 million of annual aggregate reinsurance for losses resulting from certain U.S. earthquake, hurricane, tornados and hailstorm events.

Injury, illness rates decline in 2005: BLS

The rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry that required recuperation away from work declined 4% in 2005, according to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decline came as the number of hours worked during the year increased 2% while the number of injuries remained unchanged from 2004, the bureau reported. In all, 1.2 million injuries and illnesses required days away from work during 2005. The median number of days away from work—a key measure of the severity of the injury or illness—was seven days for all cases in 2005. In 2005, there were 135.7 injuries and illnesses per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers in private industry.

U.S., Russia sign trade agreement

The United States and Russia have signed a bilateral trade agreement that will open the Russian market to U.S. insurers and businesses in various other sectors. The agreement, which will ease Russia's efforts to enter the World Trade Organization, will allow branching by U.S. insurers in Russia rather than requiring them to set up a Russian company; allow U.S. insurers to underwrite certain large lines of nonlife insurance that Russians initially had resisted; and ease a Russian cap on overall foreign participation in the Russian market.

Ga. asbestos law not retroactive

Georgia's Supreme Court has upheld six lower-court decisions holding that Georgia's 2005 asbestos claims law cannot be applied retroactively. The decision notes that the asbestos claims statute "provides for the dismissal of any asbestos claim pending on April 12, 2005," unless the plaintiff can provide "prima-facie evidence of physical impairment" within 180 days of April 12, 2005. The statute holds that to do so, the plaintiff had to prove that exposure to asbestos was a "substantial contributing factor to the exposed person's medical condition," according to the court. Before the act became law, plaintiffs only had to demonstrate that exposure to asbestos was a "contributing factor to his or her medical condition," according to the court.

Illinois ex-regulator named PCI vp

The Property Casualty Insurers Assn. of America has named Deirdre Manna as vp-industry and regulatory affairs. Ms. Manna, former acting director of the Illinois Division of Insurance, will join PCI on Dec. 4. She will help PCI coordinate policy matters related to regulatory issues and lead the insurer trade group's activities with the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

N.C. comp rates to increase 7.3%

The North Carolina Rate Bureau has announced that it will raise workers compensation pure premiums by an average of 7.3% for policies incepting April 1, 2007. Employers in the office and clerical industry group will see the largest increase in pure premiums at 9.2%, the Raleigh-based NCRB said last week. In contrast, employers in the contracting category will see a 4.6% increase. Pure premiums cover losses and loss-related expenses. They do not include other insurer expenses such as taxes or commissions.