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P/C insurers' income rises to $64 billion
Helped by low catastrophe losses, the U.S. property/casualty industry posted $63.7 billion in net income in 2006, up 44.3% compared with 2005, according to a report from Insurance Services Office Inc. and the Property Casualty Insurers Assn. of America. Insurers' combined ratio improved to 92.4% in 2006 from 100.9% in 2005, while net written premiums rose 4.3% to $443.78 billion.
Oklahoma passes broad tort reforms
Oklahoma's Legislature has sent Gov. Brad Henry a broad tort reform bill that would impose caps on punitive damages, provide guidelines for expert witness testimony, curb gunmaker and restaurant liability, and create financial consequences for parties that introduce litigation deemed to be frivolous. Gov. Henry, whose office could not be reached, has not publicly stated whether he plans to sign the bill, which cleared the House last week and was passed by the Senate earlier this year.
S&P downgrades IPC units to A-
Standard & Poor's Corp. downgraded its financial strength ratings of two reinsurance units of IPC Holdings Ltd., due largely to the high concentration of catastrophic risk on the units' books, S&P said. The downgrade to A- from A of Pembroke, Bermuda-based IPCRe Ltd. and Dublin, Ireland-based IPC Re Europe Ltd. reflects S&P's view that IPCRe's cat-related exposure to earnings and capital volatility is more in line with an A- business profile, credit analyst Laline Carvalho said in a statement.
ACE sets up M&A practice
ACE Ltd. unit ACE USA has formed a practice dedicated to providing underwriting and risk management services to the mergers and acquisitions industry. ACE USA Mergers & Acquisitions Industry Practice will offer insurance coverage and risk management services to buyers and sellers of organizations as they navigate the M&A transaction process, ACE said in a statement. Seth Gillston, senior vp of ACE Financial Solutions, has been named to lead the new practice.
New York, Connecticut confirm regulators
The New York Senate has confirmed Eric R. Dinallo as superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department. Mr. Dinallo, who previously was general counsel for Willis Group Holdings Ltd., has been acting superintendent since January. Meanwhile, the Connecticut House of Representatives has confirmed Thomas R. Sullivan as the state's new insurance commissioner. No Senate vote is needed. Mr. Sullivan most recently was senior vp of Specialty Risk Services L.L.C., a third-party administrator unit of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.
Meadowbrook acquires comp program manager
Meadowbrook Insurance Group Inc. has agreed to purchase U.S. Specialty Underwriters Inc. in a deal valued at $23 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Meadowbrook will acquire Cleveland-based USSU, a specialty program manager that produces fee-based income by underwriting excess workers compensation coverage for a select group of insurers. The purchase price is a combination of $13 million in cash and $10 million in Meadowbrook stock, Meadowbrook said in a statement.
Brown & Brown buys N.Y. broker
Insurance broker Brown & Brown Inc. has acquired broker Sobel Affiliates Inc. of Garden City, N.Y. Sobel generates about $12.1 million of revenue annually, according to Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Brown & Brown. Among Sobel's specialties are apparel, food industry, medical malpractice, pharmaceutical and real estate risks. Sobel will be a freestanding unit of Brown & Brown and will continue to operate out of its office in Garden City, N.Y. Sobel President Alan Labadorf will continue to head the operation. Terms were not disclosed.
Delos forms E&S operation
Delos Insurance Co., a New York-based program business insurer, has formed an excess and surplus lines subsidiary. Naxos Insurance Co., based in New York but currently incorporated and licensed only in Delaware, has an initial capitalization of $20 million. The operation is seeking licenses in a number of states with the ultimate goal of being licensed in 50 states over the next two years. Naxos Insurance has not targeted any specific risks but will expand on what is already offered through Delos, a spokeswoman said.
Praetorian unit to write nonadmitted property in Fla.
Praetorian Financial Group's Praetorian Specialty Insurance Co. unit has received approval from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to write surplus lines business in the state. Praetorian plans to provide surplus lines capacity for various commercial property risks in Florida, a company spokeswoman said. The capacity will be provided through managing general agents and will serve small and midsize market accounts.
Hewitt names president HR outsourcing operation
Hewitt Associates Inc. has named a new president of its human resources outsourcing business, filling a 10-month-old vacancy in its biggest revenue-producing unit. Jay Rising will join Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Hewitt next month as HR outsourcing president. Most recently, he was president of Bozeman, Mont.-based software company RightNow Technologies Inc. Mr. Rising succeeds Julie Gordon, who has been acting president of HR outsourcing since last June following the resignation of Bryan Doyle. Mr. Doyle resigned following a slowdown in Hewitt's HR outsourcing business, which generates about 70% of Hewitt's revenues.