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In Brief


Blumenthal subpoenas reinsurers on practices

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal last week said he is investigating anticompetitive practices in the reinsurance industry, with his office issuing about 20 subpoenas to companies thus far. Mr. Blumenthal declined to provide specifics of the investigation or identify companies subpoenaed.

House panel OKs adding wind cover to NFIP

The House Financial Services Committee voted last week to add windstorm coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program. The Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007 would require the NFIP to offer the multiperil coverage from damage resulting from windstorms or floods in jurisdictions that have adopted adequate land use and control measures as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The change is largely opposed by the insurance industry.

House bill calls for 401(k) disclosures

U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., has introduced legislation that would require plan administrators to disclose to plan participants all fees charged to 401(k)-type retirement savings plans in clear and simple language. The 401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act of 2007 also would require administrators to disclose to plan participants more detailed information on investment strategies, risks and returns, among other requirements.

Calif. officials launch joint probe into SCIF

The California Highway Patrol, California Department of Insurance and San Francisco District Attorney's Office said they have formed a joint task force to investigate allegations of "potential misconduct" by former employees of the State Compensation Insurance Fund. The investigation is separate from the insurance department's ongoing top-to-bottom review of San Francisco-based SCIF. In April, about half a dozen fraud investigators from the department's law enforcement division began examining whether any laws were broken in the payment of administrative fees in connection with SCIF's group insurance programs, which provide discounted workers compensation insurance for members of trade associations.

China approves units of AIG, Liberty Mutual

American International Group Inc. subsidiary AIU Insurance Co. and Liberty Mutual Group Inc. have received approval from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission to establish wholly owned subsidiaries in China. AIG General Insurance Co. China Ltd. will be headquartered in Shanghai, while Liberty Insurance Co. Ltd. will be based in Chongqing.

Validus shares priced at $22 in offering

Validus Holdings Ltd. priced its initial public offering of 15.2 million shares at $22 per share. The IPO price came in slightly lower than expected, as Hamilton, Bermuda-based Validus said earlier that it would offer 15.7 million shares between $24 and $26 per share. Underwriters had the option to purchase up to 2.3 million additional shares, which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "VR." Shares closed Friday at $21.85.

House votes to reauthorize OPIC

The House of Representatives has voted to reauthorize the Overseas Private Investment Corp. through Sept. 30, 2011. Among other things, OPIC provides up to $250 million in political risk insurance for U.S. companies involved in projects in most developing countries. Under the reauthorization bill approved by the House last week, OPIC would not be permitted to provide support in countries declared by the U.S. State Department to be state sponsors of terrorism. The Senate must also approve the four-year reauthorization.

Court upholds California disability rating schedule

A California appeals court last week sided with an employer and Zurich North America Insurance Co. by upholding the use of a post-reform workers compensation permanent disability rating schedule. California's 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled in Energetic Painting & Drywall Inc. vs. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board that a workers comp judge erred when he applied a 1997 schedule to rate a back and neck injury suffered by Jose Reyes Ramirez in July 2004. Instead, the appeals court found that reform legislation adopted in 2004 called for using a rating schedule crafted in 2005 to supersede the 1997 schedule. The date of Mr. Ramirez's injury and the dates his temporary disability benefits began and ended were at issue in the case.


SCOR S.A. will own more than 96% of Swiss reinsurer Converium Holding A.G. with the additional 14.9 million Converium shares that were tendered in an acceptance period that ended July 26....Aetna Inc. has promoted Mark Bertolini to president, effective immediately. Mr. Bertolini, who had been executive vp and head of business operations, will assume the duties of president from Aetna Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ronald Williams....Steven N. Weisbart, vp and economist for the Insurance Information Institute, has been named chief economist of the organization. Mr. Weisbart, who joined the III in 2005, succeeds Robert P. Hartwig, who was promoted to president in January....A Tulsa County District Court judge has set a Feb. 11, 2008, trial date for former Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher on a charge of filing a false 1999 income tax return.