SEC Eases Capital Rules for Insurers

The Securities and Exchange Commission is easing rules for insurance companies to raise capital, responding to concern that the billions of dollars of losses from Katrina and Rita could make it harder for the insurers to pay victims’ claims.

The SEC announced the move Tuesday, saying it would among other things allow publicly traded insurance companies to submit reduced paperwork for registering new issues of stock with the agency.

“The SEC remains committed to doing everything possible for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita,” agency Chairman Christopher Cox said in a statement. “… We will work to ensure that our regulatory processes do not interfere with market access. The SEC will do what it can to see to it that every victim’s insurance has the capital to back it up, and that there are no unnecessary delays in paying claims due to a lack of” available money.

The changes will be in effect through Dec. 1.

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