National Association News

The U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises held a hearing regarding “Systemic Risk and Insurance.” Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the subcommittee, continues to push for federal regulation of insurance. Kanjorski has legislation that will create an Office of Insurance Information (OII) within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. This bill does not go as far as other initiatives that provide insurers with a federal or state regulatory option.
Terry Fortner, Vice President Material Damage Claims for Nationwide Insurance, will be retiring this summer after more than 30 years with the company. Fortner has held many positions within Nationwide since his joining the company in 1977 as a trainee and earning his first position as a multi-line claims adjuster. He has been claims manager, quality control leader, managing claims consultant, claims technical officer, and associate vice president prior to being named to his current post as vice president of material damage claims.

Fortner will officially retire on July 31, 2009 and plans to take some time off and relocate to the Southeast.

The recession has made retaining existing customers more important than ever for insurers. For carriers’ long-term profitability, customer retention is the most important factor, acconding to  the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Personal Insurance Retention Special Report.
The report finds that in the past 12 months, 30 percent of households with annual incomes below $50,000 shopped for a new insurance carrier and 45 percent of those customers eventually switched carriers. In contrast, only 26 percent of more affluent households (those with incomes of $100,000 or more) shopped for a new carrier, with only 31 percent of shoppers eventually switching.

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) of Arizona released the results of its 12th annual “Best Insurer” survey.  Arizona collision repair facilities were asked to rate insurance companies on a scale of one (worst) to ten (best) based on the question; “Do the insurance company’s overall policies, attitudes and payment processes focus on providing quality and timely repairs for the consumer?”

A year-long investigation by the Maryland Insurance Administration has found that 67 of the state's 119 car insurers underpaid claims, Commissioner Ralph S. Tyler said on April 17.

Deal would make Farmers the largest auto insurer in California

American International Group announced a deal to sell 21st Century, its auto insurance unit to Farmer's Insurance Group, owned by Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services. Some kind of deal has been anticipated since October of last year, and talks between the two firms were first confirmed in February.

AIG said Farmers Group will pay $1.9 billion, about $1.5 billion in cash and $400 million in notes. Farmers will also assume 21st Century’s outstanding debt of $100 million.

Zurich CEO James J. Schiro said that expansion of U.S. personal lines capabilities at Farmers “has always been one of our strategic priorities.”  Growing Farmers, he said, “reduces the overall volatility of our portfolio of businesses, while continuing our focus on profitable growth through customer, product and distribution excellence.”



Auto Repair, Credit, Catastrophic Risk Issues Top PCIs State Advocacy Agenda in 2009

Auto repair issues, credit-based insurance scoring, catastrophic risk issues, and a continued push for a more effective and efficient regulatory environment top the list of 2009 state advocacy objectives for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

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