Snapshot: Declarations

August 16, 2010

Health Care Challenge

“While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate — and tax — a citizen’s decision not to participate in interstate commerce.”

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in refusing to dismiss a challenge by the state of Virginia to President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform law. Hudson allowed Virginia to go forward with its suit, which argues the requirement that its residents have health insurance was unconstitutional. Hudson decided the law was ripe for review and that the issues the state raised had not been fully tested in court.

Terrorists and Tanker

“Even if this attack was relatively low-level and caused limited damage, it clearly demonstrates the terrorist intent in these waters and against the oil and shipping sectors. The threat certainly cannot be underestimated.”

Metsa Rahimi, intelligence analyst with consultancy Janusian, after reports that terrorists may have sunk a Japanese-owned tanker near the Strait of Hormuz. A militant group called the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which is linked to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility.

Vacant Homes

“In many cases, people who have been trying to sell their homes for a while have moved forward with their plans regardless, leaving a vacant home on the market. Having an unoccupied home can create several insurance implications that typically are not covered under a standard homeowners policy.”

National Association of Insurance Commissioner (NAIC) President and West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane L. Cline warning homeowners as the U.S. housing market struggles to rebound and many homeowners are stuck with hard-to-sell properties longer than expected.

State Farm Florida Rating

“State Farm Florida’s deterioration has been driven by a sharp decline in net premiums written due to policy non-renewals, wind mitigation discounts, reinsurance costs and inadequate rates. In addition, due to its geographic business concentration, the company’s gross probable maximum loss from a 100-year hurricane is well in excess of its surplus.”

A.M. Best Co. upon downgrading the financial strength rating to B- (Fair) from B (Fair) and issuer credit rating to bb- from bb of State Farm Florida Insurance Co. The outlook for both ratings is negative.

California Workers’ Comp Rates

“They’re still working out the exact figure, but it is going to be about 30 percent.”

Jack Hannan, communications director for the California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, confirming that the bureau is considering requesting a 30-percent increase in pure premium rates for 2011 policies.

Liquidity Problem

“There are times when companies have problems and there are solvency issues. … But what I’m seeing, what’s more troubling, is not so much solvency from the standpoint of capital and surplus and assets, it is liquidity. It’s being able to move the money quickly enough so you can be able to pay claims quickly.”

Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin, who says Texas currently has 47 companies in receivership and 10 more under supervision or conservation. He said 57 troubled companies is 57 too many, but noted that the Texas insurance market is stable overall.

The Best Job Market

“For 2010, North Dakota has enjoyed the best job market in the nine-state region, with the state’s jobless rate declining … and the economy adding jobs at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent.”

Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss, who expects North Dakota’s economy will continue to grow in the second half of 2010, but the gap in job growth between North Dakota and the rest of the region will narrow.

Cleaning Up

“This is our responsibility. … This is our mess. We’re going to clean it up.”

Patrick D. Daniel, president of Canada’s Enbridge Inc., on the cleanup from a damaged Enbridge-owned pipeline that spilled nearly 20,000 barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The U.S. government has said the spilled oil had been contained about 50 miles inland from Lake Michigan.

Pump Explosion

“The oil and gas industry, and the automotive industry, are well aware of this phenomenon that’s been going on for many years. It’s certainly something that they know about and they don’t warn people about or warn them sufficiently.”

Stewart Eisenberg, lawyer for the mother Luther David Byers, a 19-year-old who was killed when a gasoline pump caught fire at a suburban Pennsylvania fill-up station. Investigators say static electricity ignited the blaze. His mother is suing BP, Toyota and others in a product liability suit. Eisenberg claims that there have been hundreds of similar fires.

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