Canadian Underwriter

What’s new: In brief (April 28, 2005)

April 28, 2005   by Canadian Underwriter

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With the release of its first-quarter 2005 results, brokerage Willis Group says has laid off 500 staff members and put aside a further US$20 million to deal with litigation relating to contingent commissions. Earlier this month, Willis announced settlements totaling US$51 million with authorities in New York and Minnesota over the use of contingent commissions, a practice the company has since banned.

While the overall position of women within corporations has altered little in the last few years, p&c insurance companies are performing better than most in terms of the placement of women in corporate officer positions. The Catalyst Canada “census of women corporate officers and top earners of Canada” finds that while overall women hold 14.4% of corporate officer roles, they occupy more than 15% of such roles in the p&c industry. However, the report notes a stagnancy in the percentage of top roles being filled by women, which has increased less than one-half percent since 2002. “The question we have to address in corporate Canada is whether we are doing the most and best we can to help clear the way for qualified women to aspire to and acquire our top jobs,” says Catalyst advisory board chair Tony Comper, CEO of BMO Financial Group. “Based on the latest Catalyst census, the answer is starkly obvious.”

The introduction of a new annual hurricane deductible for homeowners in Florida should increase average insurance losses by just 3%, predicts risk modeling firm Risk Management Solutions (RMS). RMS says the new law, which goes into effect on May 1, and means homeowners will face just one deductible regardless of the number of storms in a given year, should not increase losses substantially over time because “the majority of risk is driven by years when a location is impacted by only one storm”.

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