February 25, 2007

No need to be unkind

“It’s not a popular position. I’ve had people who have said unkind things. I’ve had people who say I need to be replaced.”

— Arkansas State Sen. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, commenting on the unlikelihood that a bill requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets would make it out of the Senate Transportation Committee. According to the Associated Press, those supporting a helmet requirement say it would cut down on hospital costs from injured cyclists, which can become the state’s burden. For 20 years, motorcyclists were required to wear protective headgear while riding. But after the federal government relaxed its own helmet requirements, the Arkansas Legislature repealed the helmet law in 1997. Twenty states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, require helmets for all motorcycle riders.

All the help they can get

“Given how much damage the ice storms did in southwest Oklahoma, there’s no reason the state shouldn’t seek federal aid for those communities. … We’ve had entire communities without power for days and our infrastructure has taken a beating. Our communities need all the help they can get.”

—Oklahoma State Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon. Lawmakers representing southwest Oklahoma are urging Gov. Brad Henry to include Comanche and Tillman counties in his request for a major federal disaster declaration. Following recent ice storms, Henry requested a federal disaster declaration for much of eastern Oklahoma, but not the counties in the southwest, the lawmakers say. If a declaration is approved by President George W. Bush, individuals in the affected area may be eligible for grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help residents and business owners recover from the effects of a disaster. Communities may also seek reimbursement for infrastructure damages.

A freefall ahead?

“Barring any major disruptions in the market in 2007, premiums are likely to plummet further, and risk going into a freefall.”

—Advisen Ltd.’s “The D&O Market in 2006” report indicating that directors and officers liability premiums are likely to fall in 2007. Advisen released a report noting that changing corporate governance practices and excess capital in the insurance market have caused premiums to drop in recent years.

They’re different

“The difference between us and State Farm, in a case where a house was totally wiped out” was that Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate “did not deny those types of claims.”

— Thomas Wilson, Allstate’s president and chief executive, speaking at a Web cast insurance conference sponsored by Merrill Lynch. According to the Associated Press, Wilson said Allstate doesn’t have much to fear from a Mississippi class-action lawsuit that seeks to have insurers in the state reopen closed Hurricane Katrina claims in cases where homes were destroyed by a combination of wind and water. Wilson said Allstate sought to determine how much of the house had been destroyed by wind before the flood wiped away the rest.

From This Issue

Insurance Journal West

Insurance Journal Magazine

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