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In Brief


Brightpoint risk manager found guilty of fraud

Brightpoint Inc.'s former director of risk management, Timothy Harcharik, was found guilty in federal court in New York court of masterminding a 1998 fraudulent finite insurance deal between Brightpoint and American International Group Inc. AIG in 2003 paid $10 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission over a 1998 finite transaction it wrote for the mobile telephone distributor. The SEC had charged that an AIG unit provided Brightpoint with an insurance contract that did not involve any actual risk transfer.

Airline provision allows higher interest rate

U.S. airlines that haven't frozen their pension plans, including AMR Corp. unit American Airlines and Continental Airlines Inc., would be allowed to use substantially higher interest rates to value plan liabilities under legislation sent to President Bush last week. The provision, tucked into a bill appropriating funds for the war in Iraq, would allow the airlines to use an interest rate of 8.25% in valuing liabilities, just over two percentage points higher than the methodology mandated by a 2006 pension funding bill. The effect of a higher interest rate assumption is to lower the value of plan liabilities for reporting purposes, reducing the contributions they must make to the plans. The airlines lobbied legislators for the change, noting that the 2006 law gave similar favorable interest rate assumption treatment to airlines that had frozen their pension plans.

Lord, Bissell agrees to merge with Texas firm

Lord, Bissell & Brook L.L.C. has announced a preliminary agreement to merge with Locke, Liddell & Sapp L.L.C., a Texas-based law firm. If approved by shareholders, the merger would create a firm with about 700 attorneys and $400 million in revenue, making the combined firm one of the largest in the United States. Lord, Bissell serves U.S. and international clients in litigation, regulatory and transactional business in insurance, reinsurance, banking, health and class actions. Locke, Liddell is known for practice in areas including corporate litigation, energy and real estate finance.

RIMS releases compensation survey

Risk management professionals with enterprisewide responsibilities received average annual salaries of $130,997, according to the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s 2007 Risk Management Compensation Survey. The survey found that insurance and risk management professionals received average annual salaries of $106,814, while claims managers received an average annual salary of $81,228.