RATINGS UP IN 2008
Despite catastrophe losses and an economic downturn hurting some P/C insurers, A.M. Best & Co. said there were 59 ratings upgrades for the year compared with 57 ratings downgrades. The gap was larger in 2007, with 87 upgrades and 43 downgrades. Overall, Best ratings changes comprised 20 percent of all ratings actions in 2008.
SUPPLY CHAIN DANGER
According to Aon Corp.'s annual Political Risk Map, the number of countries with supply chain vulnerability increased from 38 to 54. Risks affecting the change include government embargo or interference with a supplier, strikes, terrorism and sabotage. Companies most at risk rely on commodities, manufacturing and outsourcing.
CHICAGO PROTECTS BID
Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics includes a substantial financial safety net and insurance plan. According to Associated Press interviews of Chicago's Committee Chairman Patrick Ryan, founding chairman of Aon, the safety net consists of a $450 million "rainy day fund," as much as $375 million in International Olympic Committee cancellation insurance, another $500 million in insurance coverage, and a "last-resort'' $500 million guarantee of taxpayer money from the city of Chicago. The IOC will choose the host city Oct. 2.
LIABILITY RULING HITS ARK.
The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that not-for-profit hospitals with self-insurance plans can be sued for incidents that occurred before their liability pools were established. A 2007 law held self-insurance and pooled liability funds responsible for damages when previously the state's charitable immunity laws protected them. The court found that a negligence suit that sought to include a hospital's liability pool two years after the incident took place should be considered "remedial in nature." A Garland County Circuit Court judge had previously dismissed the suit against the liability pool, claiming the new law couldn't be applied retroactively.
INSURER PAYOUT CUT
A federal judge in Utah cut a $62.7 million jury award to an insurance company down to $3.6 million. The payout to Farm Bureau Insurance Co. was excessive, according to the judge, and the final amount was made equal to compensatory damages awarded by the jury. The verdict found that American National Insurance Co. damaged Farm Bureau's business and misappropriated trade secrets by stealing staff.
Cigna Corp. is the latest health insurer to settle in a probe by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo into how clients are reimbursed for out-of-network physician services. Cigna agreed to pay $10 million, which will help fund a nonprofit database to help determine reasonable and customary charges for reimbursement. UnitedHealth Group Inc. previously settled for $50 million, and Aetna Inc. settled for $20 million.
ASTEROID ALMOST ARRIVES
An asteroid nearly 30 yards across came within 45,000 miles of Earth--one-fifth the distance to the moon--on March 2. A similar sized rock hit Siberia in 1908, razing 800 square miles of forest.
--Compiled by staff from news and wire reports.
April 1, 2009
Copyright 2009© LRP Publications