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What’s new: In brief (January 18, 2005)


January 18, 2005   by Canadian Underwriter


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Alberta’s Agricultural Financial Services Corp. is giving out $2 million in premium rebates to about 7,400 farmers who purchased straight hail insurance in 2004. While 2004 was actually a high loss year for crops due to hail, past experience has been favorable, leading to the rebate. Farmers with a claim in 2004 will receive a 5% rebate, while those with no claim will get a 10% rebate. The straight hail program is fully-funded by farmers.

Risk Control Strategies says findings in a recent Canadian Chamber of Commerce-sponsored study on workplace violence, which show many companies feel there is nothing they can do to prevent such incidents, is alarming. Consultant Chris Mathers says, “workplace violence is absolutely preventable! Aside from a lone gunman seeking immediate gratification who suddenly snaps, which is very rare, a vast majority of offenders display what are known as ‘red flags of detection’ that reveal impending violence well ahead of the incident.” He advocates for employee training to spot such signs, something particularly important in light of last year’s legislation creating criminal penalties for failure to take steps to prevent workplace violence.

A.M. Best is expressing concern over the investment management position of life insurers, saying 2005 is unlikely to produce the same returns as 2004, and aggregate industry investment results are “masking” weakness in individual company portfolios. In a special report, the rater says, a more thorough vetting of companies’ investment risks is needed in light of the ongoing investment market volatility.