LA County Farms Out

Workers Comp CasesA backlog of about 8,000 workers' compensation lawsuits has prompted the Los Angeles County attorney's office to parcel cases out to private law firms, a move officials said will save millions of dollars.

Hiring the law firms to handle some of the cases will allow the county to

cut the backlog and also reduce the number of cases its 14 attorneys handle, said County Counsel DeWitt Clinton. He said some county attorneys now handle as many as 800 cases apiece.

He said fewer cases to work on should mean county attorneys can devote more time to each one, thus saving taxpayers' money by winning more favorable settlements.

The wisdom in the industry is that if you can reduce your caseloads, you'll reduce your benefit pay-outs, Mr. Clinton said.

Compensation claims cost county taxpayers $61.4 million in fiscal 1987, said Travis Howland, who heads the workmens compensation claims division for the chief administrative office.

Pay-outs to injured county workers should be cut by several million

dollars within five years, said Raymond Fortner, Mr. Clinton's senior assistant. However, he and Mr. Clinton refused to reveal the anticipated savings until the contracts are completed and a report is made to the county Board of Supervisors.

An average of 1,000 county employees file workers' compensation claims each month, Mr. Howland said.

Italian Reinsurer

Plans Acquisition

Unione Italiana di Riassicurazione Group, an Italian reinsurer, has approved a letter of intent to purchase Baltica-Skandinavia Reinsurance Co. of America.

The boards of the Italian company and two Danish insurers, Baltica Holding A/S and Assurance-Compagniet Baltica, have approved the sale, which is expected to be completed in early spring.

The acquisition will not affect the operation of the Italian reinsurer's American subsidiary, Unione Italiana Reinsurance Co. of America.

Georgia Joins States

With Seat Belt Laws

DETROIT - Georgia on Monday joined the ranks of 31 other states and the District of Columbia with a safety belt-use law, according to Charles L. Spilman, president of Traffic Safety Now, Inc., a non-profit group promoting belt laws and belt use nationwide.

More than 85 percent of the nation's population - 205 million people - now live in states with safety belt-use laws, Mr. Spilman said.

Safety belt-use laws have saved more than 2,200 lives and prevented 100,000 serious injuries in the past three years, he said. The number of people who have been saved by the belt is growing every day.

Atlantis Group to Sell

Its P/C Subsidiary

MIAMI - Atlantis Group Inc. has announced it will sell its property/ casual ty insurance subsidiary, Western Pioneer Insurance Co., based in Oakland, Calif.

Atlantis Chairman Earl W. Powell said that while Western Pioneer is a fine operating company, our board of directors believes that Atlantis should direct its efforts toward the significant growth opportunities that exist in plastics and furniture manufacturing, our two major segments of business.

Western Pioneer, founded in 1948, was acquired by Atlantis Group in 1984. The company markets automobile insurance exclusively in California to a customer base that is predominantly Japanese-American.

Premium income for 1987 was approximately $16.7 million.