Amsterdam Financial Services Correspondent
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Apr 24, 2012

Returning soldiers have more car crashes: study

BOSTON (Reuters) – Military personnel have 13 percent more car accidents in which they are at fault in the six months after returning from overseas duty than in the six months prior, a USAA study revealed on Tuesday.

USAA, a major insurer catering specifically to the armed forces and their families, based its study on 171,000 deployments by 158,000 of its members over a three-year period ending in February 2010, when combat was still raging in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Apr 23, 2012

MetLife in multistate deal over “Death Master” use

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – MetLife Inc, the largest life insurer in the United States, will pay nearly $500 million to settle a multi-state investigation into unpaid claims for dead policy holders, state regulators and the company said on Monday.

The investigation related to the use of the Social Security “Death Master” file, which lists people who have recently died. A number of states have accused insurers of using the list to stop making annuity payments to dead customers, but at the same time not using the list to check whether any life insurance policy holders had passed away.

Apr 19, 2012

Travelers smashes estimates, insurance rates rising

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Property insurer Travelers Cos Inc (TRV.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) blew past Wall Street earnings estimates for the first quarter and raised its dividend 12 percent as natural disaster losses declined and insurance rates continued to rise after years of weakness.

The company’s shares rose 3.8 percent to $61.73 in early trading Thursday, at one point touching their highest level since June 2011.

Apr 18, 2012

Berkshire shares dip on Buffett cancer news

April 18 (Reuters) – Shares in Berkshire Hathaway Inc
(BRKa.N: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 1.3 percent in afternoon trading Wednesday, a
relatively limited reaction to the news that Chief Executive
Warren Buffett has prostate cancer and will start radiation
treatment this summer.

Buffett said on Tuesday that his illness was in Stage 1 and
“is not remotely life-threatening or even debilitating in any
meaningful way.” [ID:nL2E8FHI4Z]

Apr 18, 2012

Warren Buffett has prostate cancer

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Chief Executive Warren Buffett said he has stage 1 prostate cancer but his condition “is not remotely life-threatening or even debilitating in any meaningful way.”

Buffett, the world’s third-richest man, will begin a two-month treatment consisting of daily radiation treatments starting in mid-July, he said in a statement on Tuesday. This will limit his ability to travel during that time, Buffett added.

Apr 17, 2012

Warren Buffett has prostate cancer, sees no danger

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc Chief Executive Warren Buffett disclosed on Tuesday that he has stage 1 prostate cancer but said his condition “is not remotely life-threatening or even debilitating in any meaningful way.”

Buffett said in a statement he will begin a two-month treatment consisting of daily radiation treatments starting in mid-July. This will limit his ability to travel during that time, he added.

Apr 16, 2012

Most companies shun ‘cyberinsurance’ – study

BOSTON, April 16 (Reuters) – Nearly three in four corporate
risk managers are not buying insurance policies to cover data
breaches and damage to customers’ privacy despite the rising
threat of hacking, according to a survey released on Monday.

Not only are most North American companies shunning coverage
entirely, many of those who are taking out “cyberinsurance” are
buying policies with only limited protection in case of an
attack, consultants Towers Watson said in their annual
review of corporate risk.

Apr 12, 2012

AIG life unit reorganizes, sales under one umbrella

April 12 (Reuters) – AIG’s domestic life insurance
unit will unify its sales organizations and bring in a Goldman
Sachs executive to oversee a new separate unit dealing with
companies that want to terminate pension plans, the chief
executive of the life insurance business said on Thursday.

SunAmerica Financial Group is one of AIG’s core businesses,
along with global property insurer Chartis. Though only a
fraction of Chartis’s size on a premiums written basis,
SunAmerica is generally more profitable.

Apr 10, 2012

Court rules Pfizer can face some asbestos suits

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – A federal appellate court ruled on Tuesday that drugmaker Pfizer (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) can face asbestos liability suits in state court over products once manufactured by a bankrupt subsidiary, dragging out a dispute that has already lasted more than 30 years.

At issue is insulating products made by Pfizer unit Quigley Co Inc that contained asbestos. Quigley, which Pfizer bought in 1968, at one time faced suits by more than 160,000 plaintiffs. It filed for bankruptcy in 2004.

Mar 28, 2012

Analysis: How AIG will – or won’t – generate a bailout profit

BOSTON (Reuters) – CEO Bob Benmosche says U.S. taxpayers will earn up to $10 billion on the $182 billion rescue of American International Group (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the insurance company he runs. Of course, that depends on how one defines “profit.”

How much AIG actually borrowed after it was saved from bankruptcy in late 2008, how much it still owes and questions about the point at which the U.S. Treasury breaks even on its shares all complicate any calculation about how much the government will make on the insurer’s bailout.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Berkowitz covers the insurance industry in New York City. He rejoined Reuters in Amsterdam in May 2009, covering the Dutch banking system and economy. He originally worked for Reuters in Los Angeles and New York from 2001 to 2006 covering everything from video games to oil. In between he was business editor at AOL, head of the editing desk at AP Business News and managing editor of Fidelity.com."
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