PRIMA PICKS LEADERS
James E. Huckaby, ARM-P, risk manager for Mesquite Independent School District in Mesquite, Texas, has been elected president of the Public Risk Management Assn., the trade organization has announced. Katharine M. Peeling, ARM, CPCU, risk management specialist for Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Annapolis, Md., was elected president-elect, PRIMA has also announced.
SOFT MARKET TO CONTINUE
The 18-month-long soft market may not be near conclusion, according to research on commercial insurance premiums conducted by the Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc. Renewal prices remained flat or increased marginally for some lines, like general liability. Other leading indicators pointed to decline, such as property, which dropped 4.3 percent last quarter.
REINSURERS REAP REWARDS
U.S. reinsurers reported better first-quarter earnings compared with the same period last year, according to a report from risk intermediary Benfield. In addition, the average combined ratio of U.S. companies tracked by the firm decreased by 1 percent to 93.4 percent. Total net income increased by 7 percent, with only two companies reporting a net loss. Benfield points to underwriting discipline, as well as a lack of a major catastrophe and beneficial reserve developments, to explain its finding. Overall earnings for 2005, Benfield warns, could still be affected by the second half of the hurricane season and anticipated reserve strengthening.
GE UNDERWRITES PHILANTHROPY
GE Insurance Solutions says it has donated nearly $600,000 to nonprofits in 2005. One-quarter went to events sponsorship, while the rest represented direct grants. The funds were distributed primarily in communities where the carrier has a significant corporate presence, including its hometown of Kansas City, Mo.; Avon, Conn.; Chicago, Ill.; and Lara, Australia.
SENATE CONSIDERS CHEMICAL RISK
Congress will consider rules to further regulate the security of the U.S. chemical industry, according to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Only a portion of the 15,000 chemical facilities are now federally regulated. Approximately 300 of these sites could potentially affect 50,000 or more people in the event of a toxic release, according to the Department of Homeland Security, and about 3,400 facilities could affect more than 1,000 people if attacked. The administration and the chemical industry have expressed support of such a bill during committee hearings, according to Collins, who plans to sponsor the legislation.
PRODUCTIVITY LOST IN CYBERSPACE
American corporations lose the equivalent of $178 billion annually in lost productivity because of "cyberslacking," or employee misuse of the Internet, reports the San Diego-based Websense Inc. The firm defines cyberslacking as the time employees waste using the Web for personal or entertainment purposes while at work. A recent Websense/Harris Interactive Web@Work survey of IT decision-makers found that employees could waste an average of nearly 6 hours per week cyberslacking. About 68 million employees in the United States have access to the Internet at work.
--Compiled by staff from news and wire reports.
September 15, 2005
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