Report: Excess and surplus market shows a shift in risk appetite | Report: Low interest rates trouble workers' comp insurers | NHTSA chief: Vehicle-to-vehicle communication may reduce crashes
April 27, 2012
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Report: Excess and surplus market shows a shift in risk appetite
Excess and surplus-lines insurers are starting to see more standard carriers showing a decreased appetite for traditional risks along with other signs that the market is changing, SNL Financial says. The amount of direct premiums written last year increased overall for E&S carriers after declining for years, an SNL analysis also found.
PropertyCasualty360 (4/26) 
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Industry News
Report: Low interest rates trouble workers' comp insurers
Workers' compensation insurers could face a harder market as they work to secure underwriting profits while interest rates are low, a Conning Research and Consulting report says. Inflation also may offset investment returns even if interest rates rise, the report says. "Historical results have shown that medical inflation often moves in the same direction as general inflation," Conning says.
PropertyCasualty360 (4/26) 
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NHTSA chief: Vehicle-to-vehicle communication may reduce crashes
Auto crashes could be reduced by as much as 80% if vehicles have features that enable them to communicate with one another, said David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Such technology "really has a tremendous amount of promise to save lives," Strickland said.
Detroit Free Press (4/26) 
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Catastrophic Risk
This year's fire season could be as active as in 2011, official says
Wildfires have occurred in many parts of the U.S. this year, indicating the country faces another active fire season, said Tom Tidwell, head of the U.S. Forest Service. "We need to understand the conditions that we're facing today. They're different than what we used to deal with," Tidwell said. Long droughts "affect the fire behavior that we see, and the more erratic weather that we're seeing, especially throughout the country this spring, those are the things we have to factor in," he said.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press (4/26) 
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U.S. may face a less-active hurricane season this year, forecaster says
This year's Atlantic hurricane season will have 11 named storms and six hurricanes, two of which could become major hurricanes, Weather Services International said in a forecast. "There is still uncertainty regarding the development of El Niño, which will impact future [forecast] updates. If the chances of El Niño development increase, our forecast numbers will likely go down even further in future updates," said Todd Crawford, a meteorologist with WSI.
Reuters (4/25) 
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Policy and Law
Lawmaker urges approval of 5-year NFIP extension
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., is calling on Congress to clear legislation that would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for five years. The House has been supportive of such measures, Schock said at a conference of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association.
PropertyCasualty360 (4/26) 
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Panel clears bill to bring Calif. in line with Dodd-Frank
The California Senate Insurance Committee has endorsed a reinsurance measure that would reconcile state laws with the Dodd-Frank Act. Under the bill, the insurance commissioner would be authorized to determine whether a domiciled carrier could become a professional reinsurer. "I am pleased that the Senate Insurance Committee has passed this important legislation to align California's reinsurance laws with federal law and the [National Association of Insurance Commissioners] revisions relating to reinsurance," Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement.
Insurance Journal (4/26) 
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Bill for alternative workers' comp system fails to clear Okla. House
A measure that would have created an alternative workers' compensation system in Oklahoma failed to clear the state House. Some employers could have opted out of the workers' compensation system under the bill, which would have established substitute benefits for injured employees.
Business Insurance (tiered subscription model) (4/26) 
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John Steinbeck,
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