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News  »  Mgmt, Sales & Underwriting  »  Page 25
Claims Magazine - My teenage daughter is a devotee of a television program called Mystery Science Theatre. It consists of a weekly choice of the worst science fiction movies ever made. While the movie runs, the program’s characters, a man and two puppets, make running comments about what they are viewing. One recent movie had to do with a mutiny aboard a spaceship. Some of the ship’s officers were sitting around a very corporate-looking conference table, planning the details of the crime. One got cold feet and announced that he would not participate and would inform the captain forthwith. The rest seized him, pinioned him to the table, and ran him through with a spearing device conveniently located nearby. As he lay dying on the table, a puppet’s voice is heard: “Finally! A meeting where something got done.”
Thursday, March 20, 2003
 
Business Insurance - The pace of insurer insolvencies accelerated in 2002, with 38 companies being placed under regulatory supervision or into liquidation, compared with 30 insolvencies in 2001, according to A.M. Best Co. Inc. "Several years of inadequate pricing, escalating loss costs and the need to strengthen loss reserves fueled declining operating profitability and further weakened balance-sheet strength," according to a report released by the Oldwick, N.J.-based rating agency. Of the 38 insolvencies in 2002, about two-thirds were commercial insurers, with workers compensation insurers making up the bulk of the defunct companies, the report says. Although some of the insolvencies involved high-profile insurers, such as Legion Insurance Group, most of the insolvent companies were small, single-state or regional insurers, the report says.
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
 
Business Insurance - Lloyd's of London is on track to record profits of about £1.6 billion ($2.58 billion) for the 2002 year of account and £1.4 billion ($2.24 billion) for 2003, according to Moody's Investors Service in London. Lloyd's has not reported a profitable year since 1997, and Moody's predicts that Lloyd's will post a marketwide loss of £2.2 billion ($3.52 billion) for the 2001 year of account—the next to close under the market's three-year accounting system. Still, the ratings agency said that improved rates and increased writings in 2002 and 2003 should lead to substantial profits for those years. "Lloyd's in the previous upcycle showed its ability to rebound from a period of substantial losses, and history is likely to repeat itself," Mark Hewlett, managing director of Moody's European Insurance Division, said in a statement.
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
 
Claims Magazine - Legal expenses, commonly the biggest part of a property and casualty carrier’s loss adjustment expenses, have challenged the industry forever. Only recently, however, have dramatic changes come to the traditional insurer-law firm relationship with respect to managing them. The original handle-and-advise instructions to defense counsel have been replaced by corporate manuals filled with “guidelines” (actually rules), and many of these have, in turn, been replaced or supplemented by legal expense audits. While some companies used internal audit personnel, there is now a full-fledged industry dedicated to assisting companies in legal expense management. Three or four large vendors dominate the market and, with some minor variations, operate the same way. They develop a template of legal activities for which the typical defense attorney bills time.
Sunday, January 26, 2003
 
National Underwriter - Unsatisfactory fourth quarter results signal that more rating downgrades are ahead for property-casualty insurers Standard & Poor‘s Ratings Services said today. S&P comments that were released followed a company conference for the investment and brokerage communities. The firm said in spite of substantial revenue increases, current financial results do not signal a clean bill of health for insurers and the numbers coming out for fourth-quarter 2002 over the coming weeks will trigger additional downgrades. "This is not going to be a pleasant fourth quarter. Inevitably, there will be surprises that are likely to cause rating actions," said Mark Puccia, a managing director in Standard & Poor‘s insurance ratings.
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
 
Claims Magazine - Eleven years ago, Claims began the daunting task of trying to gather salary information for our segment of the insurance industry. It should come as a relief to know that compensation for claim staff, both independent and employed by carriers, has kept ahead of inflation. That’s the good news. Across the board, those working in claims are receiving fewer benefits. That change does not reflect a decade-long slide, however, but rather a precipitate drop from last summer. Other aspects of the job seemed to have remained consistent over the past decade, such as the disparity between age, benefits, and salary between independents and corporate claim staff, and the kind of complaints working in claims generates.
Monday, January 20, 2003
 
Insurance Information Institute - The property/casualty insurance industry reported a statutory rate of return of 4.4 percent during the first nine months of 2002, compared with the terrorism-impacted negative 1.2 percent during the same period in 2001. The results were released by the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) and the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII). There’s plenty of good news to be found in the property/casualty insurance industry’s financial results for the first nine months of 2002, but the “perfect storm” that ravaged insurers’ balance sheets in 2001 clearly continues to rage in 2002. The results also seem to suggest that the hard market cannot end in 2003, at least if the industry expects to post reasonable rates of return by 2004.
Thursday, January 02, 2003
 
Insurance Information Institute - Each year the Insurance Information Institute invites a panel of Wall Street stock analysts and industry professionals to review the prospects for the industry in the current and coming year. The survey reveals that 2002 was another tough year for insurers and that the industry’s underwriting and profit woes, while easing substantially in 2003, are far from over. The survey also reveals a curious split in the analyst community over the pace of growth in the industry in 2003, with some analysts forecasting accelerating growth while others foresee stable or slowing growth. Given the current state of investment markets, the survey results also seem to suggest that the hard market cannot end in 2003, at least if the industry expects to post reasonable rates of return by 2004.
Saturday, December 28, 2002
 
Insurance Information Institute - Each year the Insurance Information Institute invites a panel of Wall Street stock analysts and industry professionals to review the prospects for the industry in the current and coming year. The survey reveals that 2002 was another tough year for insurers and that the industry’s underwriting and profit woes, while easing substantially in 2003, are far from over. The survey also reveals a curious split in the analyst community over the pace of growth in the industry in 2003, with some analysts forecasting accelerating growth while others foresee stable or slowing growth. Given the current state of investment markets, the survey results also seem to suggest that the hard market cannot end in 2003, at least if the industry expects to post reasonable rates of return by 2004.
Saturday, December 28, 2002
 
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