From B to A
Aon Corp.'s announced purchase of Benfield Group Ltd. for $1.75 billion yielded a mixed reaction from ratings agencies. In statements, the agencies mentioned Aon's strong balance sheet for funding the acquisition yet expressed concern about integration risk and expected cash flow decline. Expected to close by end of year, the deal could save $122 million in annual costs by 2011 with the elimination of shared support services. The integrated businesses will operate under the name Aon Benfield Re.
AIG Stock Crashes
On Aug. 25, American International Group Inc. watched its stock fall to its lowest point in New York trading since 1995. AIG slid $1.09, or 5.5 percent, to $18.78 in NYSE composite trading, following Credit Suisse Group's statement that mortgage writedowns may cause a $2.41 billion third-quarter loss. AIG CEO Robert Willumstad is expected to announce the results of a strategic review on Sept. 25.
CFO No. 3 for MMC
Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. named Vanessa A. Wittman as its new chief financial officer. She will assume the role in October from Matthew Bartley, who succeeded M. Michele Burns in September 2006, when Burns, who joined MMC in March 2006, was tapped to become chairman and CEO of MMC's Mercer unit. Wittman most recently served as CFO of Adelphia Communications Corp., the bankrupt cable company.
Workplace Homicides Up
The number of workplace homicides in the United States increased 13 percent in 2007, while the number of workplace fatalities fell. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, released in August, some 5,488 people died from injuries on the job last year, the lowest number of workplace fatalities since the BLS began keeping track in 1992. However, certain types of fatal injuries increased in 2007, including workplace homicides and falls.
Wind Scale Introduced
Karen Clark & Company has introduced the KC Wind Damage Scale for assessing the likely insured wind damage to buildings, contents and business interruption caused by a tropical storm or hurricane. The scale ranges from KC 0, for a storm with winds less than 40 mph, to KC 7, denoting a hurricane with winds in excess of 160 mph. The KC Wind Damage Scale differs from the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale used to categorize hurricanes. The SS scale starts at 74 mph, even though insured damages can be experienced at lower wind speeds.
?Compiled by staff from news and wire reports.
September 15, 2008
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