INSURANCE BRIEFS

INSURANCE BRIEFS

PROSECUTOR TO ANNOUNCE

INSURANCE SCAM CHARGES The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York is holding a news conference today to announce indictments and guilty pleas in one of the largest insurance scams in history.As a result of the 30-month investigation, 100 public adjusters employed by "major companies" and others were nabbed for their involvement in the scheme, which involved "seven-figure" fraudulent commercial property insurance claims, according to sources in the U.S. Attorney's office.

The federal prosecutor confirmed Tuesday that one of those pleading guilty is Dick Lewis, founder of now-defunct New York electronics chain Newmark & Lewis.

ARIZONA, MAINE GAIN

NAIC'S ACCREDITATION

BOSTON - Two more states were certified Monday as meeting the accreditation standards of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Steven T. Foster, NAIC president and Virginia's insurance commissioner, presented awards to the insurance regulators of Arizona and Maine during the association's fall meeting here.

"Meeting these accreditation standards is hard work," Mr. Foster said. ''But it is also worthwhile work. I hope the citizens of Arizona and Maine appreciate the dedication of (respectively) Susan Gallinger and Brian Atchinson and their staffs demonstrated in achieving this milestone."

Arizona and Maine bring the total number of insurance departments accredited under the 3-year-old program to 22.

The accreditation program reviews state laws and regulations, regulatory practices and procedures and organizational practices and procedures.

TRAVELERS RECEIVES BIDS

FOR 5 MASS. BUILDINGS

BOSTON - Travelers Corp. has received bids on five Boston area office buildings that the insurance giant hopes to sell this year as it hacks away at its load of foreclosed real estate.

By the time bidding closed late last week, 65 offers had been received, said Robert E. Griffin Jr., a partner at Fallon Hines & O'Connor, the brokerage handling the sale for Travelers.

The five properties for sale are 176 Federal St., Boston; 1 Canal Park and American Twine Office Park, Cambridge; Riverbend Office Park, Watertown; and Westwood Business Center, Westwood.

These bids follow a separate announcement earlier this month that Hartford, Conn.-based Travelers would sell two larger area properties to a partnership headed by billionaire George Soros.

MO. INSURERS BLAST

DISCLOSURE PROPOSAL

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Insurance companies have blasted a state proposal that would require them to disclose the standards they use in determining whom to insure.

In testimony filed with the Missouri Department of Insurance on Friday, the National Association of Independent Insurers called the proposal "the most restrictive, intrusive regulation of its kind in the United States."

The Missouri Insurance Coalition said the proposal was unnecessary and would "result in boxcar loads of information, requiring an increase of staff for both insurance companies and the Department of Insurance."

More than 700 property and casualty insurance companies would be affected.