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In Brief


U.S. cat losses total $8.8 billion in 2006

Catastrophes caused an estimated $8.8 billion in U.S. insured property damage in 2006, the Insurance Services Office Inc.'s Property Claim Services reported. PCS said 33 U.S. catastrophes--which it defines as events that cause at least $25 million in insured property losses and that affect a significant number of policyholders and insurers--occurred last year. The catastrophes generated more than 2.27 million claims, according to PCS, of which about 9% were for commercial lines.

Aon to cut 550 back-office jobs

Aon Corp. is consolidating its U.S. retail insurance brokerage support operations into a single domestic service center based in Glenview, Ill. The move will result in approximately 550 job eliminations and the closure of its existing Houston and New York-based service centers, the Chicago-based brokerage said. Aon said that "more routine" administrative functions will be outsourced to Genpact, a business process outsourcing firm.

MMC names vice chairman

Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. has appointed David Nadler as vice chairman, Office of the CEO, for the company. Mr. Nadler will have primary responsibility for developing MMC's major North American account relationships. He will continue to directly serve clients as a senior partner and chairman of Mercer Delta Consulting.

Delaware enacts comp reforms

Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has signed into law comprehensive workers compensation reform legislation that establishes a new medical payment system and practice guidelines. The law also mandates that a new workers comp rating plan be filed with the insurance commissioner designed to lower employers' rates. The bill will "result in estimated savings of 20% or more," Gov. Minner said in her State of the State address to the Assembly last Thursday.

Lloyd's exec James to join Lockton

Julian James, director of worldwide markets, will leave Lloyd's of London in April to become an executive chairman of broker Lockton Cos. International Ltd., a newly created position. He has been at Lloyd's for nine years and previously served as head of the market's North America business unit.

Nonresident dependents get Tenn. comp benefits

Nonresident foreign nationals can be considered dependents under Tennessee's workers comp laws and receive death benefits if a family member is killed at work, said the Tennessee Supreme Court in a unanimous decision. The decision in George R. Fusner Jr., as designated representative of the Mexican Consulate vs. Coop Construction Co. L.L.C., et al., concerned Jaime Humberto Diaz Pedraza, a Mexican national who fell to his death at a Nashville construction site on Oct. 3, 2002. An attorney appointed by the Mexican consulate is representing Mr. Pedraza's parents, who live in Mexico.

Utah captive formations double

The Utah Department of Insurance licensed a record 16 captive insurance companies in 2006, doubling the state's captive roster to 30. Of the new formations, 15 were single-parent and one was a risk retention group. Additionally, one captive that was licensed in 2005 voluntarily decided not to renew its license last year. Nearly half of the new captives were formed by parents in the real estate or construction industries, said Donnie R. Spann, the state's captive insurance director.

Canadian pharmacists seek to block Rx exports

Four pharmacy groups are urging Canada's minister of health to prevent the bulk export of prescription drugs in response to a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Congress to allow prescription drugs to be re-imported from Canada. The Canadian Pharmacists Assn., the Ontario Pharmacists Assn., the Canadian Assn. for Pharmacy Distribution Management and the Best Medicines Coalition sent a letter to Minister of Health Tony Clement asking him to respond proactively to the U.S. legislation introduced recently. A bill (C-378) being considered by the Canadian government would amend Canada's Food and Drugs Act to give the minister of health the power to ban prescription drug bulk exports.

Reinsurer group seeks regulatory reforms

The Reinsurance Assn. of America said it is pursuing regulatory reform for reinsurance this year. "Reinsurance is a global business involving transactions between sophisticated parties," RAA President Franklin W. Nutter said in a statement. "An appropriate reinsurance regulatory structure should include a single regulator for reinsurance with national" oversight. That regulator should be authorized to enter agreements with other countries to "provide for recognition and enforcement of substantially equivalent regulatory standards and enforcement in other competent regulatory jurisdictions," he said.