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In Brief


High court raises bar for securities suits

Shareholders must demonstrate a "strong inference" of corporate wrongdoing during the early stages of a suit alleging securities fraud for the suit to proceed, the Supreme Court ruled last week in Tellabs Inc. et al vs. Makor Issues & Rights Ltd. et al. The high court noted that the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 includes "exacting pleading requirements" to avoid "abusive litigation" in private securities fraud actions.

Surplus lines reform to get House vote

The full House of Representatives is likely to vote today on the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act, according to sponsor Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan. The measure would streamline regulation of nonadmitted insurers and allow easier access to nonadmitted insurance markets by qualified risk managers. It also would ease reinsurers' regulatory burden by generally subjecting them only to the solvency laws of their state of domicile.

Judge tosses suit over 401(k) fees

A federal judge last week dismissed a lawsuit filed by employees of farm equipment manufacturer Deere & Co. against Deere and units of mutual fund provider and 401(k) plan administrator Fidelity Investments, charging that 401(k)-plan related fees were excessive and that Fidelity failed to disclose certain revenue sharing agreements among the units. Judge John Shabaz of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin said it was "untenable" to suggest that fees in all the investment options available to participants had excessive expense ratios. Additionally, Judge Shabaz wrote, nothing in federal pension law requires the disclosure of revenue sharing arrangements among administrators' units.

Brit securitizes cat covers

Brit Insurance Holdings P.L.C. has secured a multiterritory, multievent catastrophe bond that will pay principal subsidiary Brit Insurance Ltd. in aggregate up to $200 million in the event of a series of predefined severe natural catastrophes including U.S. hurricanes, California earthquakes, U.K. windstorms and Japanese typhoons and earthquakes. The program was developed in conjunction with MMC Securities Ltd. and Risk Management Solutions Inc., Brit said.

Montpelier Re gets OK for Lloyd's syndicate

Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. has received approval from Lloyd's of London for its new syndicate, 5151, to begin trading on July 1. The syndicate will underwrite nonmarine property, engineering and some casualty business, Bermuda-based Montpelier said. The syndicate initially will have stamp capacity of £47 million ($93.6 million) for 2007. This will rise to £143 million ($284.7 million) in 2008, subject to market conditions, the company said in a statement.

U.K. may reform Lloyd's governance

The U.K. Treasury is to make a series of proposals regarding the governance of Lloyd's of London. The proposals, which would amend the Lloyd's Act 1982, will seek to "update the governance arrangements of the market to reduce costs and unnecessary bureaucracy," Ed Balls, the economic secretary to the Treasury, said in a statement. Following a consultation period, the proposals will be published early in 2008.

Humana to acquire dental/vision company

Humana Inc. has agreed to buy CompBenefits Corp. for $360 million. Atlanta-based CompBenefits, which provides dental and vision benefit plans to 4.8 million members, had revenues of about $345 million in 2006, Humana said in a statement. CompBenefits serves more than 14,000 employer groups in 22 states, primarily in the South and Midwest, Humana noted.

Max Bermuda names president/CEO

Angelo M. Guagliano has been promoted to president and chief executive officer of Max Bermuda Ltd. Mr. Guagliano, formerly executive vp and chief underwriting officer of Max Bermuda, succeeds W. Marston Becker, chairman and CEO of parent company Max Capital Group Ltd. Mr. Becker will continue to serve as chairman of Max Bermuda and chairman and CEO of Max Capital.

ACE Tempest Re sets up at Lloyd's in China

ACE Tempest Re Group has established an underwriting presence at Lloyd's Reinsurance Co. (China) Ltd. in Shanghai to offer all lines of property/casualty reinsurance. ACE Tempest Re also said that it will offer facultative and treaty reinsurance in the Chinese market. Bo "Boris" Zheng, director of underwriting, will represent ACE Tempest Re at Lloyd's in China, the company said.