Canadian Underwriter

What’s New: In brief (June 06, 2006)

June 6, 2006   by Canadian Underwriter

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A Letter from the Desk of Dennis Gartner, Assistant Deputy Minister and Superintendent of Pensions, Insurance and Financial Institutions, regarding the Government of Alberta’s auto insurance reforms and the regulations under review:

“As with all legislation, it is necessary to review sections from time to time to see if they continue to be supported by current information and reflect the intent of the legislation. The timeline for this review or an expiry date is often written into the legislation or the associated regulations
“Since being implemented in 2004, auto insurance reforms have benefited Alberta drivers. Rates for experienced drivers with good driving records have been reduced by at least 15%, while young or inexperienced drivers have had their compulsory auto insurance premiums capped by the premium grid. As well, Accident Benefits were substantially increased to CD$50,000 and pre-approved treatments are now available for accident victims with sprain, strain and whiplash injuries.
“The “Automobile Insurance Premiums Regulation” has a provision requiring a review by September 2006. The first phase of this review considered the industry risk sharing pools and rates paid by drivers on the premium grid. This work has been completed by the Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) and is under consideration by the Ministry of Finance.
“The second phase of the review examines the full effects of the “Automobile Insurance Premiums Regulation.” With input from industry we have agreed that the date to complete this work be extended. This will ensure further recommendations are supported by adequate data.
At this time the government is also reviewing the “Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols Regulation” in conjunction with health care practitioners and insurers. This work began soon after the reforms were implemented and is ongoing.
“These are the only two portions of the insurance reforms relating to auto insurance under active review at this time and any other suggestions are inaccurate.
“This work is in addition to the annual rate setting process of the AIRB. Following public hearings in Edmonton and Calgary, it is anticipated they will determine whether further rate adjustments are required by August 1.”

Allstate Corp. has dropped its earthquake coverage of most of its homeowner insurance policies as part of a plan to limit exposure to catastrophes. In a statement made in April Allstate chairman and chief executive Edward Liddy said the company would cease its offering of coverage for earthquake damage. In addition Liddy said Allstate would not offer as much coverage in hurricane prone areas. Allstate said that earthquake coverage does not meet the insurers “needs” and would only continue to offer this product in areas which require such coverage.

Whitehill Technologies, Inc. has purchased InSystems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ohio-based Standard Register (NYSE:SR).Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal, of which the financial terms were not disclosed, will not cause any business interruption for current InSystems customers. The shared vision to build upon the domain expertise, process knowledge and service delivery success of the combined companies was a key driver of the acquisition. Currently, there are over 500 person-years and $60 Million invested in research and development between the two companies. Whitehill has already started meeting with InSystems customers to explain that its technologies, plus its increased scale of the combined organization, should facilitate new offerings above InSystems existing release plans. Whitehill Technologies, Inc. develops and implements software that facilitates business communication by automating document creation, workflow, and compliance. Its customers include over 700 large law firms and insurance carriers in 45 countries. InSystems specializes in complex document and compliance automation for insurance and financial services. InSystems clients include more than 50 of the 100 largest p&c and l&h groups in North America.

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