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Several states grapple with captive efforts

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Efforts are proceeding slowly for three states that announced their intentions early last year to become new captive domiciles.

Lawmakers or regulators in Connecticut, Ohio and New Jersey revealed plans in 2006 to push legislation that would give their states the authority to license captives.

While those efforts continue, observers of the U.S. captive industry said recently that they have not heard of any other states looking to host captives.

Legislation to make New Jersey a captive domicile remained, as of late last month, in the state Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. The legislation was introduced in that committee in January 2006 by Assemblyman Neil Cohen, D-Union. The assemblyman chairs the committee.

The bill "is not dead, but it's not moving real quick," said Richard Stokes, regional manager of the Trenton, N.J., office of the Property Casualty Insurers Assn. of America.

Assemblyman Cohen did not return calls seeking comment.

Mr. Stokes noted that in New Jersey, bills have two years to be adopted or expire. So legislators have until the end of this year to act on Assemblyman Cohen's legislation.

In Connecticut, state Sen. Joseph Crisco, D-Hamden, has revived efforts to pass a captive bill. Sen. Crisco, chairman of Connecticut's Insurance and Real Estate Committee, originally introduced legislation in February 2006 that would make the state a captive domicile.

The Senate approved his bill a month after its introduction, but it expired before Connecticut's Assembly approved it.

Then this January, Sen. Crisco revived the effort by introducing S.B. 60 in his committee.

Although Sen. Crisco's office did not return calls for comment, the language of the bill reveals that it would establish a division responsible for regulating captives within Connecticut's Insurance Department.

As of late last month, S.B. 60 had not passed out of the committee where it was introduced, but a public hearing regarding the bill was held last month.

Efforts also continue in Ohio. Last year, the state's former director of the Department of Insurance, Ann Womer Benjamin, said her department was drafting captive legislation.

That effort failed to produce a captive bill, though, and Ohio's current insurance director, Mary Jo Hudson, who began serving in the post on Jan. 8, is still reviewing the idea and cannot yet say whether she would support such an effort, said a spokesman for the insurance director.

But state Sen. Steve Stivers, R-Columbus, plans to introduce a captive bill, perhaps before the end of March, a spokesman for the senator said.

"The senator is very interested in getting this done in Ohio," the spokesman said.