Insurance Journal - Willis Group has also issued a report on market conditions in the industry (see related articles). The international broker said it had reached the following conclusions: -- Competitive conditions return to certain segments of the marketplace. -- Capacity has grown, but not everywhere. -- Quality of risk profile is key in negotiating terms and conditions. -- Sarbanes-Oxley requirements coming on line may impact D&O liability claims and underwriting. -- Marketplace security issues remain, although industry conditions are improving. The report noted that "healthier conditions in the insurance industry have led to growth in capacity and competition, while some segments remain "hard" and continue to challenge risk managers." It examines three core marketplace segments - Property, Casualty and Directors & Officers Liability - and also looks at the overarching issue of Marketplace Security."
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Insurance Journal - Members of the Independent Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) testified before a Senate committee to make a case for renewal and reform of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Bill Stiglitz, an agent with Hyland, Block, Hyland Insurance of Louisville, Ky. and an IIABA elected national officer, testified before the Senate Banking Committee. In his remarks, Stiglitz presented IIABA's recommendations for five reforms that would improve the program's solvency and better protect property owners. In his remarks, Stiglitz reiterated that IIABA supports legislation that would renew the NFIP, which was passed by the House in 2003 and awaits action in the Senate. The House-passed bill—the Two Floods and You Are Out of the Taxpayers' Pocket Act (H.R. 253)—is undergoing serious review and discussion in the Senate.
Monday, March 29, 2004
Business Insurance - Broadspire Services Inc. has bought the third-party claims administration units of Cunningham Lindsey U.S. Inc. Lake Zurich, Ill.-based Broadspire, which was spun off from Kemper Insurance Cos. last year, will now service the existing claims operations of both of RSKCo Services Inc. and Cunningham Lindsey Claims Management Inc. The purchase price was not disclosed, but Cunningham Lindsey will pay Broadspire $22 million for the servicing of existing claims obligations. The acquisition “will position Broadspire as one of the largest independent TPAs in the country,” said Steve Zollo, an executive at Platinum L.L.C., the Los Angeles-based parent company of Broadspire. Based on 2003 revenues, Broadspire was the seventh-largest TPA in the United States. The acquisition likely would put it among the four largest.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Insurance Journal - With the condition that the combined firm keeps certain employment, tax and charitable commitments to her state, Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Susan Cogswell has approved the acquisition of Travelers Property Casualty Corp. in Hartford by St. Paul Companies. Inc. of Minnesota. Cogswell took the companies up on their promise to keep the combined St. Paul Travelers general commercial lines, personal lines, surety and construction operations in Hartford and to maintain employment around the current 5,900 mark after the anticipated 24 month transition period. Seventy-five percent of these employees currently work in the segments that will remain in Hartford. While some cuts will be made, these will be made up with other jobs transferred from Maryland, company officials vowed.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Insurance Journal - "The number of U.S. insurance failures fell to its lowest five-year level in 2003 due in part to the continued hard pricing environment enjoyed by the property/casualty and health insurance lines and the improvement in the economy, particularly in the equity markets," said Standard & Poors credit analyst Steven J. Dreyer. "In total, 28 insurance companies were put under regulatory supervision in 2003 compared with 39 in 2002 and 35 in 2001."
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Risk & Insurance - Today the underwriter is king. And if the insurance industry is to be believed, nobody is going to usurp that position any time soon. "The depressed investment market and scary legal environment has convinced insurance and reinsurance companies that maintaining a strict underwriting discipline is the only way to make a profit," says Ellen Thrower, executive director of the School of Risk Management at New Yorks St. Johns University. A discussion of "back to basics" underwriting may sound clich&eacut;--after all, the insurance industry is several years into a hard market, and the wild, price swings are beginning to stabilize.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
Claims Magazine - With the economys gaining momentum during the second half of 2003, the number of failed insurance companies declined 21.4 percent, according to Weiss Ratings. Overall, last year saw 22 insurer insolvencies, compared to 28 in 2002. Four life and health insurers and 18 property and casualty insurers failed in 2003, compared to three and 25 respective failures in 2002. “Now that the property and casualty industry has arguably reached the peak of a hard market, premium increases are expected to slow, driving underwriting earnings down and, potentially, the number of insolvencies up,” said Melissa Gannon, vice president of Weiss. “However, the upswing in the securities market should reduce the impact of the soft market.”
Friday, February 06, 2004
Insurance Journal - Due to corporate restructuring, Royal & SunAlliance has announced that they will dissolve their telephone claims operation of 55 employees in Milbank, S.D. A statement released by the South Dakota Governors Office of Economic Development touted the location and employees as a "unique opportunity" for another company to exploit. "Located three hours west of Minneapolis in a class A seven-story multiple use building featuring very reasonable rental rates and a full range of client services," according to the statement, which said all 55 employees are licensed in auto and property claims servicing in all states except Rhode Island and Wyoming.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Insurance Journal - 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 the industrys unrelenting streak of bad luck finally came to an end in 2003 and that another solid year is in store for 2004. Premium growth, while decelerating, will remain relatively strong. However, the survey also reveals a curious split in the analyst community over the pace of growth in the industry in 2004, with some analysts forecasting a much sharper deceleration in growth than others. Another bright spot for insurers is the recovery in the investment environment. Taken together, insurers could experience a rare "Goldilocks" market in 2004a brief period of time when everything is just right.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
National Underwriter - The boards of two insurance company trade groupsthe Alliance of American Insurers and the National Association of Independent Insurerssaid they have approved a merger to form the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. If approved by the member companies of the two groups, PCI would begin operations in January. Jack Ramirez, president of the Des Plaines, Ill.-based NAII said the two boards are "strongly urging their members to vote in favor of the merger. PCI will create the nations premiere trade association representing the property and casualty industry." He added that "with over 1,000 members that write approximately 40 percent of the market, PCI will have the resources and staff to provide its members with more and better services than they currently enjoy, and with the political strength to have a much more powerful voice in state capitals and in Washington
Tuesday, December 16, 2003