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  • Insurance News

    AM Best Downgrades Ratings of Mercury in California, Wildfires a Factor
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    AM Best has downgraded the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) to A (Excellent) from A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) to “a+” from “aa-” for the members of Los Angeles, Calif.-based Mercury Casualty Group. The record wildfires …

    Refreezing Still Threatens Roads After Southern Snowstorm
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Seesawing temperatures across several southern states were gradually melting snow from a wintry storm, but also “transforming slushy roads into treacherous ice,” one governor warned Tuesday. Scores of schools in Virginia and North Carolina were closed for a second day, …

    Wet Harvest Leads to $77M Loss for Arkansas Soybean Farmers
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Agriculture experts say Arkansas soybean farmers have lost at least $77 million this year after heavy rainfall interrupted harvest season and damaged the quality of the crop. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that University of Arkansas researchers found that wet conditions …

    June 20 Still the Cut Off Date for Dicamba Use in Minnesota
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Minnesota is maintaining its June 20 cutoff date for farmers to use the herbicide dicamba, which has been blamed for drifting and damaging neighboring soybean fields. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture imposed the cutoff for 2018 after getting 253 reports …

    Texas Agency, The Nitsche Group, Named to Baylor’s Family Business Hall of Fame
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    The Nitsche Group, an independent insurance agency headquartered in Giddings, Texas, has been inducted into the Hall of Fame during this year’s Family Business of the Year Awards Program hosted by Baylor University. The Nitsche Group is among only two …

    4K Texas Businesses Share $3M in Early Qualifier Dividends from Texas Mutual
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Austin-based workers’ compensation insurer, Texas Mutual Insurance Co., has paid more than $3 million in early qualifier dividends to approximately 4,000 newer policyholder owners across the state. This payout is the final component of the company’s $280 million record dividend …

    Alera Group Acquires Ohio Employee Benefits Firm, Bailey & Company
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Alera Group has acquired Bailey & Company, an employee benefits firm headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Bailey & Company specializes in a wide variety of employee benefit programs. The firm helps its clients – …

    ‘Ineffective’ Safeguard Cited in Husky Oil Refinery Blast in Wisconsin
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    An “ineffective” safeguard failed to prevent an explosive mixing of air and fuel at a Husky Energy refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, leading to a blast and fire in the plant’s gasoline-producing unit in April, a U.S. industrial safety group says. …

    PG&E Gives Details on Tower Damage at Heart of California Fire Probe
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    PG&E Corp. revealed that on the day California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire started, its workers saw damage and a fire near one of its transmission towers, which are the focus of investigations and a lawsuit as a possible ignition …

    2 Small Earthquakes Strike Western Colorado
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Two mild earthquakes struck western Colorado, the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed. The quakes hit early Tuesday but likely weren’t strong enough to cause any damage. The quakes were both just north of Glenwood Springs. The USGS says a 3.4 quake …

    Firms to Pay $9M to Settle Suit Over Damages in 2012 California Wildfire
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Officials say a construction company and a logging firm have collectively agreed to pay $9 million for damages resulting from a 2012 wildfire that burned more than 1,600 acres of national forest land in Northern California. The U.S. Attorney’s office …

    Utilities to Cover Power Lines, Expand Weather Monitoring in High Risk Areas
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    California utilities plan to insulate power lines, increase inspections and build new weather stations in areas at high risk for wildfires in an effort to combat increasingly destructive blazes. Southern California Edison told legislative employees this week it wants to …

    The Insurance Library Association of Boston Names Tetrault Executive Director
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    The Insurance Library Association of Boston has named Paul Tetrault as its executive director. Tetrault, an attorney and former editor of The Standard, New England’s Insurance Weekly, has more than 25 years of experience serving the insurance industry in various …

    Kaplansky Insurance Acquires Massachusetts’ Burak Insurance
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Kaplansky Insurance, an independent, Needham, Mass.-based agency, has acquired Burak Insurance, located in Canton, Mass. The addition of Burak marks Kaplansky Insurance’s 31st overall acquisition and its fourth for 2018. The agency currently operates 12 locations throughout Massachusetts. Founded in …

    93 Connecticut Educators File Claims Over Mold-Related Ailments
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    More than 90 educators in a Connecticut school district have filed workers’ compensation claims over mold-related ailments. The Advocate reports that 93 staff members at six public schools in Stamford filed claims saying they became ill because of mold problems. …

    Massachusetts Lawmakers Eye Action on Natural Gas Safety Bill
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Top Statehouse Democrats say they’re hoping to pass legislation aimed at improving natural gas infrastructure safety before the end of the year. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker filed the bill. On Monday, he met with Senate President Karen Spilka and House …

    Gallagher Buys IBS Re Singapore, 40% Stake in Indonesia’s IBS Insurance Broking
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. announced it has acquired a 40 percent equity stake in Indonesian insurance broker and risk management services provider PT IBS Insurance Broking Service, as well as 100 percent of reinsurance broker, IBS Re Singapore. Other …

    Starr Insurance Cos. Expands Aviation Insurance Operations to Brazil
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Starr Insurance Cos. announced that Starr International Brasil Seguradora S.A. has been granted a local license to offer aviation insurance. “We are thrilled to be adding aviation capability in an important, growing economy like Brazil,” said Steve Blakey, president and …

    Brit Partners with Schillings Critical Risk to Create Kidnap-for-Ransom Offering
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Brit Ltd. announced it is partnering with Schillings Critical Risk to create a comprehensive kidnap-for-ransom offering. Extortion and kidnap for ransom are extreme and endemic risks for individuals and businesses operating in many countries around the world, said Brit, noting …

    Florida-Based Broker Coin Re Taps Barbican’s Crichton as EVP in London
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Florida-based catastrophe reinsurance broker COIN Re has appointed global property reinsurance professional Andy Crichton as executive vice president, effective Dec. 7, 2018. Crichton will be based in London, England, where he will manage COIN Re’s reinsurance marketing and placement strategy. …

    SoftBank, Alibaba Lead $1.1B Investment in Indonesia E-Commerce Firm Tokopedia
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    SoftBank Vision Fund and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. led a $1.1 billion investment in PT Tokopedia, a financing round that will help Indonesia’s biggest online marketplace venture beyond e-commerce into new areas such as air tickets and insurance. The company …

    Brexit to Cause Irreversible Damage to UK Financial Services, Say Industry Leaders
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Life in London’s financial district will appear little changed when Britain leaves the European Union on March 29, defying predictions of an exodus of high-flyers to rival centers like Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin. But as chaos reigns in Westminster, the …

    Brexit Uncertainties Heighten as UK Prime Minister Faces Vote of No Confidence
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Theresa May will fight for her job as British prime minister after being told she will face a vote of no confidence in her leadership, throwing the U.K. into fresh turmoil and Brexit into disarray. “I will contest that vote …

    Sweden’s Wildfires Highlight Cost of Rapidly Changing Climate in Europe
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Hannele Arvonen, the owner of one of Sweden’s largest lumber yards, is spending the winter months planning for a new and unexpected threat to her business: regular wildfires raging just south of the Arctic Circle. Her business, Setra Group AB, …

    AXA XL’s E&S Casualty Insurance Names 2 U.S. Product Leaders
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    AXA XL insurance has appointed new Excess & Surplus (E&S) Casualty product leads in the U.S. Ankur Chokshi has been promoted to head of E&S Primary Casualty and Brokerage and Binding Authority while Kimberly Smid joins AXA’s E&S team to …

    Willis Towers Watson Names Creedon Construction Leader for North America
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Insurance broker Willis Towers Watson has appointed Bill Creedon as Construction Industry leader for North America within its Corporate Risk and Broking segment. Creedon, a 30-year insurance and construction risk industry veteran, is returning to Willis Towers Watson where he …

    USG Insurance Services Adds Guidry in Covington, Louisiana
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    USG Insurance Services Inc., a national wholesaler and MGA, has hired Dylan Guidry as producer/broker in its Covington, Louisiana, branch. Guidry brings over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. Most recently he held an underwriting position at AmWINS …

    J&J Begins Settling Pinnacle Hip Implant Defect Claims
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    Johnson & Johnson has begun settling consumers’ claims that it sold artificial hips knowing they were defective, marking the first settlements in the seven-year-old litigation. A federal judge in Texas overseeing the cases said about 3,300 of 10,000 “have settled …

    Professor Fired for Publicly Criticizing Kentucky Governor Settles Suit for $620K
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    The University of Kentucky has settled a lawsuit filed by a former public health dentist who said he was fired from the school for publicly criticizing Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program. The Lexington Herald-Leader …

    Senate Passes Farm Bill with Crop Insurance, Food Stamps, Hemp Farming
    Wed, 12 Dec 2018

    The Senate passed a five-year farm bill renewing agricultural subsidies and food aid for low-income families after weeks of negotiations over work requirements for food stamp recipients and a last-minute snag over forestry provisions. The $867 billion measure, which also …