News Roundup: AIG settlement, teen safety, odd claims, new blogs

February 13th, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

AIG settlement: Rupal Parekh writes about AIG’s $1.64 billion (that’s billion with a “B”) settlement in Business Insurance this week. Robert Ceniceros reports that, of that amount, $343.6 million is earmarked for workers comp to pay states for alleged underpayment of premium taxes and residual market assessments:

“According to terms of the settlement, AIG will pay $87,801 to New York and $42.3 million will be divided among the other 49 states and the District of Columbia by March 1 for underpayment of workers comp premium taxes for the years 1985 to 1996.

The insurer also will pay $301.2 million into a fund to settle residual market-related claims submitted by states, residual market pools, state funds, assigned risk plans and the National Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Pool administered by the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc.”

Doug MacLeod notes that the spotlight might turn to other insurers:

AIG was not the only insurer identified as colluding in the scheme, though: In previous court filings, Mr. Spitzer has alleged that other participants included ACE Ltd., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Liberty International Underwriters Inc., the Munich-American RiskPartners unit of American Re Corp. and Zurich American Insurance Co.

Fellow blogger Doug Simpson at Unintended Consequences links to some primary documents in this case.
Teens and work violence – Jordan Barab points us to a worthwhile study by Peer Leaders from MassCOSH’s Teens Lead @ Work and the Brazilian Immigrant Center’s GUMBWEB Youth Program on how teens are affected by workplace violence (PDF). Many teens start work in the retail operations, an industry with high homicide. This initiative was partly in response to this sad event:

“On February 16, 2004 18 year old Cristian Ribeiro Giambrone, who would have graduated from Boston Latin Academy in 2004, was killed by a shoplifter at a CVS in Boston. Cristian took a fatal stab wound to the neck when he and his boss pursued the robber in a chase. Cristian’s boss was also stabbed and suffered a non-fatal wound.”

The report contains recommendations to keep teens safe. It would be nice to see this initiative get some mainstream press.
Unusual claims dept. – In Lackawana County, PA, two courthouse workers have filed workers comp claims related to work exposure to pigeon dung. Apparently, since the $1.8 million cleanup of pigeon droppings, at least one part of the building has “tested positive for fungus associated with pigeon dung that can cause lung disease.” Commissioners disagree about health hazards during the removal of 20 tons of waste. (The mind boggles at 20 tons of pigeon dung.) This bears watching – employees generally face an uphill battle with claims based on environmental exposures.
In New Jersey, Tabitha Sells is awaiting a ruling from the state’s Industrial Commission on the merits of her workers comp claim based on injruies suffered in a kidnapping and assault by her manager and his wife. Allegedly, this assault was triggered because Sells was having an affair with her manager. She was beat with a baseball bat and forced into a trunk of a car, suffering injuries when the car crashed during a police chase. The kidnappers both drew long jail terms for this assault. The victim subsequently filed for workers comp against her employer, Glass Pro, claiming she can no longer work. The insurer denied the claim on the basis that the assault was the result of personal matters (the alleged affair) and was not related to her work. As a local news story notes, not all work violence is compensable – it must be shown to be work-related. This article on compensability as it relates to violence by a Georgia law firm delves into some of the issues.
New blogs – when we first started blogging insurance, it was a lonely little niche indeed, but we are happy to see new blogs cropping up with some regularity. Check out IndemniBlog, which bills itself as “exploring the exciting world of property and casualty insurance.” Heh. Insurance Scrawl, a blog by D.C. attorney Marc Mayerson, focuses on “the law of insurance, the insurance of business, and the business of insurance.”
Insurance humor. Check out The Adventures of Ed the Actuary. Dilbert, be very afraid. Where did we find this gem? Where else would we find it?