INSURANCE BRIEFS

INSURANCE BRIEFS

APPEALS COURT REJECTS

WASTE COVER CHALLENGEA U.S. Court of Appeals in Missouri turned aside a challenge to its previous rulings that the costs of cleaning up hazardous waste sites are not covered ''damages" under general liability insurance policies.

The trial court relied on a series of prior 8th Circuit decisions in which the term "damages" refers to sums paid to third parties to compensate for injury and does not extend to equitable remedies such as injunctions or reimbursement for government-ordered cleanup costs.

The court's decision earlier this month was rendered in United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co. vs. Citizens Electric Co. case. The court confirmed that Citizen's general liability insurer was not required to defend or indemnify the maker of electrical transformers.

RELIANCE GROUP DEBT

DOWNGRADED BY S&P

NEW YORK - Standard and Poor's Corp. Tuesday cut Reliance Group Holdings Inc. senior debt rating to BB- from BB, citing deterioration in the company's capitalization and profitability.

S and P noted that Reliance lost $118 million from continuing operations in 1991, including a net loss from discontinued operations of $145 million.

"In the near term the insurance company must either generate capital gains sufficient to meet the deficit or reduce its surplus. Given current conditions in the commercial lines property/casualty market, no improvement in operating earnings is expected in the near future," S and P said.

About $768 million of consolidated debt is affected.

INSURANCE COMMITTEE

SETS NO-FAULT HEARING

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Property-Casualty Insurance Committee of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators will hold a public hearing on no- fault automobile insurance legislation on Friday, April 3, from 9:30 am. to 11 a.m., in San Antonio, Texas.

The hearing will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio On the Riverwalk. Committee members are seeking testimony from trial lawyers, consumer advocates and motorist organizations, among others.

The hearing follows another held in November 1991, at which insurance company and trade association representatives and insurance agents gave testimony.

WM. H. MCGEE OPENS

OFFICE IN NASHVILLE

NEW YORK - Wm. H. McGee & Co., insurance underwriting managers, opened an office in Nashville.

The new operation provides full underwriting and policy-processing services to assist agents in the placement of ocean marine, inland marine, property and related risk.

The office is located at 1808 West End Ave., Suite 1126. The phone number is (615) 327-9141.

WASH. AGENTS OPPOSE

HEALTH REFORM PROPOSAL

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington insurance agents and brokers oppose any renewal of Washington Gov. Booth Gardner's health-care reform proposal.

The agents joined with the Alliance for Health Care Reform, an Olympia- based coalition of health-care providers, insurers, employers and others, in opposing the measure. They said it creates bureaucracy by establishing a health-care commission, threatens to raise taxes as a funding mechanism and cannot guarantee high-quality medical care.

"We as insurance agents and companies want reform to make sure that all of our citizens are covered," said Jay Grant, past president of the Washington State Association of Health Underwriters.

Mr. Grant also led a fax campaign for the Health Insurance Agents Political Action Committee, which he chairs.

The facsimile, transmitted to 70 offices, urged recipients to call a state legislative hot line to complain about the governor's plan.