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In Brief


CastlePoint IPO raises $111.4M

CastlePoint Holdings Ltd. said Friday that its initial public offering of about 7.7 million shares was priced at $14.50 per share, which would generate gross proceeds of $111.4 million. The reinsurer said 7.6 million shares were being sold by CastlePoint and 119,500 shares by existing shareholders. The shares, which trade on the Nasdaq, closed Friday at $16.15.

Equity firms sweeten offer for broker Hub

Apax Partners and Morgan Stanley Principal Investments have upped the ante to purchase Hub International Ltd. following bids from other suitors wanting to purchase the publicly held Chicago brokerage. The private equity firms offered Hub shareholders $41.50 in cash per common share, up from the firms' original offer of $40, Hub said Thursday. "The increased consideration followed receipt by Hub of competing proposals," Hub said in a statement.

Oil Insurance boosts limits

Oil Insurance Ltd. will increase its aggregation limit for all risks to $750 million effective June 1. The move came during the Hamilton, Bermuda-based energy mutual insurer's annual meeting on Thursday. In addition, shareholders voted to add two new sectors--onshore and offshore Atlantic Named Windstorm, or ANWS--to the company's rating and premium plan, effective June 1.

Government restates number of uninsured

The number of people in the United States without health insurance coverage is lower than previously reported, according to revised estimates released Friday by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2005, the Census Bureau now estimates that 44.8 million people, or 15.3% of the population, lacked health insurance. In an earlier report, the Census Bureau estimated that 46.6 million people, or 15.9% of the population, lacked coverage. The Census Bureau revised the figures for 2005 and other years after finding mistakes in the tabulation process.

Reinsurer results greatly improve

U.S. reinsurers reported a 94.9% combined ratio for 2006, compared with the 129.4% combined ratio reported by a comparable group for storm-beset 2005, according to a survey by the Washington-based Reinsurance Assn. of America. The 23 U.S. reinsurers included in the 2006 RAA survey reported $25.83 billion in net premiums written, a 2% increase from the total reported by a comparable group in 2005.

Senators unveil catastrophe bills

Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Mel Martinez, R-Fla., last week unveiled several bills designed to deal with natural disasters--particularly hurricanes--by steps such as creating a national backstop for state natural catastrophe insurance programs and allowing the use of pretax natural catastrophe reserves by insurers. In addition, they introduced a bill to reform the regulation of nonadmitted insurers and reinsurers.

ICHEIC concludes claims process

The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims concluded its claims and appeals processes last week after having distributed $306.2 million to 48,263 Holocaust survivors and heirs. ICHEIC was established in 1998 by the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners in conjunction with several European insurance companies, European governments, representatives of several Jewish and survivor organizations and the State of Israel to ensure the payment of valid insurance claims issued to victims of the Holocaust.

Cross-border Rx declines in 2006

Cross-border prescription drug sales from Internet pharmacies in Canada to the United States dropped nearly 50% last year, a study concludes. While 2005 sales by Canadian Internet pharmacies to the United States reached $420 million Canadian ($361.4 million), 2006 sales declined to $211 million Canadian ($181.1 million), according to pharmaceutical and health care industry researcher IMS Health Canada in Montreal.


H. Elizabeth Mitchell has been named the 2007 Insurance Woman of the Year by the Assn. of Professional Insurance Women. Ms. Mitchell is president of Platinum Underwriters Reinsurance Inc....The American Medical Assn. has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to block UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s proposed acquisition of Sierra Health Services Inc. The Chicago-based provider organization wrote to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to express its strong opposition to the acquisition, claiming that UnitedHealth's goal is to dominate the Nevada and Las Vegas health insurance markets....Winter storms in British Columbia in November and December caused an estimated $135 million Canadian ($114.7 million) in insured losses, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.