Canadian Underwriter

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Feature Mergers and Aqcuisitions

Hub Expands East-Coast U.S. Operations

October 1, 2003 by Canadian Underwriter

Broker consolidator Hub International Ltd. (TSX: HBG] has added two U.S. brokerages to its stable: Boston-based Commonwealth Insurance Agency Inc., and New Jersey-based Sondheim & Laughlin. Commonwealth will become part of Hub’s New England “C.J. McCarthy hub”. The new brokerage

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Feature Mergers and Aqcuisitions

Atlantic Task Force Rejects Concept of Public Auto

October 1, 2003 by Canadian Underwriter

A task force established by the premiers of Atlantic Canada has rejected implementing public auto insurance in the region. The “Atlantic Insurance Harmonization Task Force” found “no significant reason to transform the private enterprise delivery system to a government monopoly

Robert Hartwig
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U.S. Insurers Triple Net Earnings for 2003 Half-Year

October 1, 2003 by Canadian Underwriter

U.S. property and casualty insurers increased net taxed income for the first half of this year to US$14.5 billion – representing a 3.3 times rise on the US$4.4 billion reported for the same period last year, according to data released

Feature Mergers and Aqcuisitions

A “Mom & Pop” Perspective

October 1, 2003 Sean van Zyl, Editor

Taking over the presidency of the largest provincial independent brokerage association in the country shortly after what could be called a historic “landslide election” resulting in a new government for Ontario could be a daunting challenge for most people. That, however, is just the beginning of what may appear to the casual observer to be “overwhelming odds” as independent brokers continue to deal with the harsh realities of a “hard market” where insurance availability and pricing have become contentious political issues across Canada. For Doug Grahlman, who will take the helm of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) at the association’s annual convention to be held this month, the top priority on his agenda for the year ahead is “communication” – at both the government and consumer levels.

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Feature Mergers and Aqcuisitions

Managing Vehicle Theft

October 1, 2003 Serge Laporte, Boomerang Tracking Inc.

Automobile theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion every year. To combat this alarming trend, vehicle owners should adopt a more proactive technological approach to risk management – and the insurer must provide the incentive to do so. Automobile insurance

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Independent Adjusters: Finding Common Technology Ground

October 1, 2003 Fred Plant, a partner at Plant Hope Adjusters Ltd.

The independent adjusting profession is experiencing a period of transition, driven by market demands and legislative considerations. Notably, insurers are under increasing pressure to reduce claims and expense costs, which has added to the challenges before adjusters. And, while new claims handling technology offers cost reduction to both parties through better service and information, true efficiency will only come through cooperation.

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Liability Exposure South of the 49th Parallel

October 1, 2003 Mark Ram, president of Markel Insurance Co. of Canada

It is the largest product liability verdict so far this year – and one unheard of within Canada’s kinder legal system. A Florida jury this past August ordered a Wisconsin pool-pump manufacturer to pay US$104 million in compensatory damages to the family of a boy who sustained permanent brain damage after his arm became stuck in a pool drain three years ago. And the whopping $104 million is just the beginning. Further punitive damage awards are reported pending, as the pool pump company was allegedly aware of a manufacturing defect for years, yet did nothing.

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The “Duffers” Guide to Mediation

October 1, 2003 Linden Rees, president of Linden Rees Consulting

Much has been written about the “trials and tribulations” of mediation. Indeed, generations of competent claims handlers have been thrown into paroxysms of fear at the very thought of having to attend a mediation conference. Notably, some insurers do have

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Coping With Change

October 1, 2003 Axiom

I tell you, all hell is going to break loose, Dave!” The face of Tony, our company’s human resources manager, reflected the displeasure he was feeling. He was normally a pretty laidback sort of fellow – but not right now.

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Liability Insurance: “Tied Selling” or Good Practice?

October 1, 2003 Craig Harris

The insistence on errors and omissions (E&O) insurance for virtually any kind of professional exposure has created some waves in this specialty market, particularly for engineers. Poor results, increasing claims and emerging exposures are prompting insurers to aggressively seek rate adjustments, carefully monitor loss trends, and re-evaluate specific coverages for many lines of E&O. In some cases, such as in Alberta, the regulator is beginning to question whether the approach of insurers falls within accepted business boundaries or whether their actions fall under “tied selling”.

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Feature Mergers and Aqcuisitions

Mid-Sized Commercial Brokers: Holding the Line

October 1, 2003 Craig Harris

Brokers serving the bigger Canadian commercial risk pool outside of the mega international corporations say that rising insurance industry profitability has not softened the tough approach of insurers to pricing, terms and availability of coverage. But, with many commercial clients across the corporate earnings spectrum suffering through their third consecutive year of premium increases, there is acknowledgement by insurers of growing “market rate fatigue”, brokers add, which is bringing about a slow softening to the pricing of property risks with even a few new underwriters looking to venture into the broader commercial marketplace.

Feature Mergers and Aqcuisitions

Capital Allocation in Canada: The Three Strikes

October 1, 2003 Vikki Spencer

With all the headaches experienced in the Canadian property and casualty insurance industry right now, not the least of which are struggling results from a volatile auto insurance product, it begs the question: “Why would any insurer want to do business here?” The Canadian industry brings many challenges – stressed financial results, strict capital requirements and a higher tax burden – sources say. These “three strikes” could add up to an “out” for global parents choosing whether or not to put precious capital into this market, they warn.