Wednesday, August 5, 2009


A.M. Best Co. has released the latest installment of the Insurance Law Podcast, a series that examines timely insurance issues from an attorney’s point of view.

The latest episode features attorneys Jack Luks and Tony Petrillo from the law firm of Luks, Santaniello, Perez, Petrillo, Gold & James in Florida.

Luks and Petrillo discuss negligent security issues related to terrorist attacks in shopping centers. Even when diligent security measures are undertaken, courts and jurors have held companies responsible for third-party criminal acts, and this continues to be an area of concern.

Listen or subscribe to the Insurance Law Podcast at

  • Zurich North America Commercial's Zurich Integrated Products unit (ZIP) has introduced a new prequalification tool for producers. Z Fit™ is an online resource that reportedly makes it faster and easier for producers to determine if ZIP offers the right insurance solution for their clients' business needs.

  • Z Fit is a password protected tool that is accessible through ZIP's Web site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All producers have to do is log on, answer a few basic questions about their customers' business and insurance coverage needs, and within minutes, Z Fit will indicate whether the submission fits the requirements for ZIP's risk categories.

  • Z Fit is available for all ZIP products, including automobile, general liability, property, umbrella, excess, workers' compensation, directors & officers, errors & omissions, employment practices liability, crime, accident & health and environmental.

  • Zurich launched its ZIP unit in April, 2008 to fill a commercial insurance need for businesses generating between $5 million and $25 million in annual revenues.

  • Life Settlement Review announced the results of their new industry survey.

  • The online survey, convened over a period of one month, found that 43% of participants claimed that new legal/regulatory restrictions had caused them to stop doing business in one or more states. Fifty percent of those who had stopped doing business in at least one state named "bonds or other licensing provisions" as the reason for their actions.

  • North Dakota, West Virginia and Vermont were the most frequently named states where laws/regulations had shut down life settlement businesses. All three states passed bans on settlements in the first five years that a life insurance policy is in force. North Dakota and West Virginia both require life settlement providers to carry a surety bond. Starting on Oct. 1, 2009, Vermont will limit brokers from earning more than 2% of the amount paid by a life settlement company to the policy owner.

  • Survey respondents cited a lack of capital (47% of responses) as the biggest threat currently facing the life settlement industry. Lack of capital was followed by "unreliable mortality estimates" (16%), "negative media reports" (11%), "fraudulent activity by industry actors" (10%) and finally, "negative state regulatory environment" (9%).

  • The survey results will be published in the August issue of Life Settlement Review, which features interviews with industry leaders and editorial commentary by life settlement experts. The survey was conducted in conjunction with the Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA).

  • The survey was conducted with 117 participants who were polled from a combination of Life Settlement Review readers and LISA members. Additional results of the survey include:

  • * Roughly 71% of respondents told Life Settlement Review that "the amount of value they bring to a transaction" should most determine the amount of commission that a life settlement broker receives on a transaction.

  • * Fifty-two percent reported that "regulatory controls" will be the next major challenge facing the life settlement industry as it grows.

  • * An average of 82% cited "lack of basic awareness of the option" as the top reason why more consumers do not avail themselves of the settlement option. On average, only 13% cited the notion that "economics do not work for particular situations" as the main reason.

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