INSURANCE BRIEFS

INSURANCE BRIEFS

INSURERS TO FOOT BILL

IN COPPER MINE CLOSUREMELBOURNE, Australia - Australia's Bougainville Copper Ltd. said Wednesday it had signed an agreement with its insurers for US$77.6 million to compensate for losses at its moth-balled Papua New Guinea mine.

The company's giant open-pit mine at Panguna on Bougainville Island was

closed in May last year because of attacks by militant landowners. More than 80 people have been killed in the long-running Bougainville conflict.

BCL went to court seeking to force four insurance companies to cover mine losses amounting to $300 million from October 1988 to October last year. BCL is 53.6 percent owned by Australia's CRA Ltd.

The insurers - Singapore-based Metals and Minerals Insurance Pty. Ltd., GRE Pacific Insurance Pty Ltd. of Papua New Guinea, Japan's Taisho Marine and Fire Insurance Co. and American Home Assurance Co. of the United States - had sought exemption from the claim.

DAMAGE FROM HUGO

PUT AT $4.2 BILLION

NEW YORK - Insured property damage from Hurricane Hugo in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, totaled $4.2 billion, according to American Insurance Services Group Inc., an industry trade group.

The group had previously estimated the damage from America's most costly hurricane at $4.0 billion.

The revised figures are $2.3 billion for South Carolina, $645 million for North Carolina, $10 million for Georgia and Virginia combined, $800 million for the Virgin Islands and $440 million for Puerto Rico.

NO-FAULT PLAN SOUGHT

FOR MALPRACTICE

NEW YORK - A no-fault medical insurance program would fairly compensate patients and greatly cut skyrocketing insurance premiums that are driving doctors to practice defensive medicine, a medical educator said.

Barry Manuel, associate dean of continuing medical education at Boston University School of Medicine, made the controversial proposal in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. He recommended setting up a system much like the one long used to protect injured workers.

Both New Zealand and Sweden have longstanding no-fault systems for medical injuries. In the United States, Virginia and Florida have enacted no- fault compensation for birth-related injuries to infants and the federal government has established a no-fault system for children injured by vaccines.

The system would be funded by a $60 surcharge on every health and accident insurance policy sold, yielding more than twice the $4.7 billion physicians paid for professional-liability insurance in 1987.

NJ CITIZENS GROUP

TARGETS HEALTH CARE

TRENTON, N.J. - A citizens coalition is urging Gov. Jim Florio to establish a comprehensive health care system for New Jersey residents.

"We too often fail to spend $600 for prenatal care to avoid a potential $350,000 in costs to care for a low-birth-weight baby," Jeff Patterson, a spokesman for New Jersey Citizen Action, said this week.

Mr. Patterson said current health programs allow "far too many people to fall through the cracks and . . . encourage wasteful expense of health care

dollars."

The group wants a commission to develop a "universal" health care system to provide equal health care to all residents, including those in need.

CONTINENTAL SETS UP

NEW JERSEY OFFICES

Continental Insurance Corp. has established five offices in New Jersey - two in Florham Park, two in Piscataway and one in Mt. Laurel.

The opening of the New Jersey offices, which are part of Continental's Garden State Region, represents the last phase of the group's program to restructure field operations to get closer to its agents.