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What’s New: In Brief (September 25, 2006)


September 25, 2006   by Canadian Underwriter


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ICBC is planning to drop a car from a 50-foot crane at the PNE fairgrounds in Vancouver to illustrate graphically the damage of a head-on crash between a car moving at 60 km-h and a stationary object.
The public event will mark the launch of Zero Crash Month, which is designed to raise public awareness of the impact of crashes.
ICBC is co-sponsoring the event, along with the provincial government and local police. Among those attending the event will be John Les, B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, and ICBC president and CEO Paul Taylor.
“This October, 22,000 car crashes are predicted to take place in British Columbia, resulting in almost 6,000 injuries,” ICBC announced in a press release to sponsor the Sept. 26 event “Communities, individuals and businesses are asked to make a commitment to road safety by pledging to drive, cycle or walk safely at www.zerocrashmonth.com.”

A.M. Best Co. has affirmed an ‘A+ (Superior)’ financial strength rating of The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. (WMIC) (Winnipeg), The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. (United States Branch) and Wawanesa General Insurance Co. (WGIC) (both of San Diego).
The outlook for all ratings is stable.
“The rating of WMIC is based upon its superior level of capitalization, strong balance sheet, above average liquidity, conservative investment portfolio, profitable operating performance and leading market position in the Canadian property and casualty insurance industry,” A.M. Best announced in a press release. “The rating also reflects WMIC’s broad geographic distribution and diversified product mix, as well as its sound risk management and experienced management team.”
The ratings agency said WMIC’s rating strengths are offset in part by the challenges it faces in the personal lines automobile market. These challenges include regulatory intervention, competitive pricing pressures (primarily on commercial lines business), below-average interest rates and volatility in the equities markets, and “the historically weaker operating performance of WGIC in the United States.”
“WMIC’s leadership position and strong regional presence have been enhanced by its long-term relationships with brokers,” A.M. Best announced.
The ratings agency observed further that in recent years, “regulatory intervention into WMIC’s automobile insurance markets in Canada appears to have had a positive impact on overall underwriting performance. However, A.M. Best remains cautious about the long-term effects these regulatory changes will have.”