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In Brief


RenRe sets up sidecar for Florida property cat

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. has launched a so-called sidecar dedicated to providing reinsurance capacity for the Florida homeowners market. Starbound Reinsurance II Ltd. will create approximately $375 million in reinsurance capacity. The facility was created through a fully collateralized quota-share retrocession agreement between Renaissance Reinsurance Ltd. and Starbound II, under which the reinsurer will cede to Starbound II a certain percentage of its property excess-of-loss business--mainly covering hurricane risks.

Bill proposes tax breaks for domestic partners

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would extend the same favorable tax treatment to health insurance coverage offered to employees' domestic partners that employer coverage provided to employees' spouses and dependents now receive. Under the bipartisan bill, the cost of employer-paid coverage provided to a domestic partner or other nondependent, nonspouse beneficiary, would not be added to an employee's taxable income. Employees also could withdraw on a tax-free basis funds in their health savings accounts to be reimbursed for medical expenses incurred by a domestic partner. Currently, such withdrawals would be taxable to the employee, with an additional 10% penalty tax imposed.

Supreme Court to hear FedEx age bias suit

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether an age discrimination lawsuit filed by 14 FedEx Corp. employees may proceed. FedEx asserts that the employees' suit should be dismissed because they did not file a formal charge alleging age discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before they filed suit in April 2002 against the company. Under federal law, plaintiffs must file a discrimination complaint with the EEOC at least 60 days before filing a lawsuit against their employer. The plaintiffs claim that a form they filed with the EEOC in December 2001 included the information necessary to comply with that law, and that they should be allowed to proceed with their lawsuit.

P/C, benefits broker to launch in California

Private equity fund Trident IV L.P. is committing up to $100 million to form Edgewood Partners Insurance Center, a new property/casualty and employee benefits broker in California. Edgewood will be headed by John G. Hahn and Dan R. Francis. Mr. Hahn will leave his current position as president of BISYS Commercial Insurance Services. Mr. Francis is former president and CEO of ABD Insurance & Financial Services Inc. of Redwood City, Calif., a unit of Greater Bay Bancorp. Mr. Hahn said that Edgewood will focus particularly on high-tech, biotechnology, real estate, construction and hospitality risks. It will also have a "significant" employee benefits brokerage business, he said.

Judge OKs lawsuit over UnitedHealth options

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a class action securities lawsuit filed against UnitedHealth Group Inc. related to its stock options practices. James Rosenbaum, U.S. chief district judge in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota, denied the insurer's motion to dismiss the complaint, which seeks to recover billions of dollars of alleged investor losses caused by a substantial drop in the company's share price. The decline in the company's stock price was related to the company's announcement of "significant deficiencies" in the granting and accounting for stock options to its executives and government probes into these practices, according to the complaint. A UnitedHealth spokesman could not be reached for comment.