Amsterdam Financial Services Correspondent
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Mar 27, 2012

How AIG will — or won’t — generate a bailout profit

BOSTON, March 27 (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), 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.

Mar 21, 2012

Under pressure, Hartford to sell some units

March 21 (Reuters) – The Hartford Financial Services Group
, under pressure from its biggest shareholder, famed
hedge fund manager John Paulson, said it would get rid of most
of its life insurance-related operations.

The Hartford, one of the oldest companies in the United
States and one of three insurers to get a government bailout
during the financial crisis, said it would shut down its annuity
business and pursue a sale or other options for its individual
life insurance, retirement plan and broker/dealer businesses.

Mar 14, 2012

Housing recovery remains weak, uneven-UGC

BOSTON, March 14 (Reuters) – More housing markets are
still seeing price weakness than price strength, though parts of
recession-hit states like California and Florida are showing
some signs of improvement, mortgage insurer United Guaranty Corp
said on Wednesday.

In total, nationwide 170 markets are considered stable but
214 are in some stage of decline.

Mar 13, 2012

Citi, MetLife surprise with stress test failures

BOSTON (Reuters) – Citigroup and MetLife led a list of financial institutions that failed the Federal Reserve’s latest round of stress testing Tuesday, a shock result for two companies that were widely expected to return billions of dollars in extra capital to shareholders soon.

MetLife, the largest life insurer in the United States, and Citigroup, the nation’s third-largest bank, were among just four of 19 banks that didn’t pass the latest round of tests. Ally Financial and SunTrust also failed the exam, which applied worst-case scenarios through the end of 2013.

Mar 8, 2012

Insurers forced to rethink tornado coverage

BOSTON, March 7 (Reuters) – The deadly start to the
2012 tornado season is forcing insurers to reconsider the risks
of coverage in the most storm-prone parts of the United States
and industry insiders say they may have to rethink how they
handle the underwriting of the reoccurring natural disasters.

Unfortunately, homeowners may find themselves either paying
substantially higher rates or not having insurance at all, as
insurers try to manage their exposure to what is clearly a
growing concern by diversifying geographically and tightening
their standards.

Mar 7, 2012

Analysis: Insurers forced to rethink tornado coverage

BOSTON (Reuters) – The deadly start to the 2012 tornado season is forcing insurers to reconsider the risks of coverage in the most storm-prone parts of the United States and industry insiders say they may have to rethink how they handle the underwriting of the reoccurring natural disasters.

Unfortunately, homeowners may find themselves either paying substantially higher rates or not having insurance at all, as insurers try to manage their exposure to what is clearly a growing concern by diversifying geographically and tightening their standards.

Mar 3, 2012

Deadly tornadoes create huge insured loss risk

BOSTON (Reuters) – Less than a year after a series of tornadoes caused some of the worse insured losses in U.S. history, the insurance industry is likely facing substantial costs again after storms killed at least 33 people on Friday.

Friday’s system has already been compared to the “Super Outbreak” of April 1974, one of the largest and most violent ever recorded in the United States, as well as to a devastating outbreak last April. In total more than 46 people have died this week from violent storms.

Feb 29, 2012

Doctors, lawyers charged in U.S. auto insurer fraud

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Three dozen people were charged with scheming to defraud automobile insurers out of more than $279 million in accident benefits, in a scheme said to involve doctors, lawyers and patients who were coached to fake injuries.

Federal and New York City investigators said the defendants took part in a “medical fraud mill” involving bogus clinics in and around New York City that billed insurers for unnecessary or nonexistent treatments.

Feb 29, 2012

Doctors, lawyers charged in U.S. insurance fraud

NEW YORK, Feb 29 (Reuters) – Three dozen people were
charged with defrauding automobile insurers out of more than
$275 million in accident benefits, a scheme that authorities
said involved doctors, lawyers and patients who were coached to
fake injuries.

The defendants are accused of creating a “medical fraud
mill” that involved starting bogus clinics in and around New
York City that billed auto insurers for treatments that were
unnecessary or never provided.

Feb 27, 2012

Berkshire identifies Buffett successor

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett told investors on Saturday the Berkshire Hathaway board has identified his successor, easing some shareholder concern about the future of the company once the famed 81-year-old investor steps down as chief executive.

Buffett did not disclose who the next CEO will be in his annual letter to Berkshire (BRKa.N: Quote, Profile, Research) shareholders. But he began the dispatch with the succession topic, one that’s been a huge issue for shareholders for years.

    • 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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