Archives July 2022

AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of China Merchants Insurance Company Limited

HONG KONG, July 22, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” (Excellent) of China Merchants Insurance Company Limited (CMI) (Hong Kong). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings reflect CMI’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The ratings also reflect the parental support from China Merchants Group Limited (CMG), including capital support, brand recognition, investment management and risk oversight.

CMI’s very strong balance sheet strength assessment is underpinned by its strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalisation, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). The company’s capital and surplus continued to grow organically in 2021 through full retention of operating profits. The company maintained a conservative investment strategy, with a majority of its assets allocated to cash, bank deposits and short-duration bonds. Premium cession increased as the proportion of commercial business enlarged. The reinsurance program remains comprehensive with reinsurers of good credit quality.

CMI’s operating performance was positive in 2021, with a profit after tax of HKD 29 million (USD 3.7 million), supported by positive underwriting and investment results. The company has been profitable over the past five years with an average return on equity of 4.2% (2017-2021). Underwriting results showed a favorable improvement in 2021, with a net combined ratio of 84.9%, mainly supported by better claims experience during the year. Increased reinsurance commission income also helped to offset the upward pressure in the management expense ratio. A growing stream of interest income over the past five years also contributed to the company’s positive and stable investment results, although yields remain low.

CMI maintained a stable-yet-small market presence

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Lubbock ISD files lawsuit against insurance companies

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – Lubbock Independent School District hired a law firm to file a lawsuit against insurance companies after devastating hail and wind storms in 2019 and 2020 damaged the vast majority of Lubbock ISD buildings.

In a news release from Daly & Black, attorneys state, “The Insurers hired companies to do inspections and take photos who are well known hired guns for insurance companies who routinely delay their inspections, fail to find damage, intentionally photograph areas that lack damage rather than areas that are damaged, invent reasons for the damage that are excluded under policies (such as wear and tear, improper installation, cosmetic damage, etc.), and drastically underestimate the costs to repair or replace property.”

The news release continues with, “The damages to Lubbock ISD’s buildings and other property was massive and unmistakable. Virtually all of the roofs on Lubbock ISD’s campuses need to be replaced due to substantial hail damage. Many of the roofs are suffering from massive leaks from the storms. Nevertheless, the Insurers hired companies to do inspections and take photos who are well-known hired guns for insurance companies who routinely delay their inspections, fail to find damage, intentionally photograph areas that lack damage rather than areas that are damaged, invent reasons for the damage that are excluded under policies (such as wear and tear, improper installation, cosmetic damage, etc.), and drastically underestimate the costs to repair or replace property.”

Lubbock ISD is seeking monetary relief of $1,000,000 or more excluding interest, statutory or punitive damages and penalties, and attorneys’ fees and costs. It is estimated the damages far exceed $100,000,000, and LISD seeks treble damages, punitive damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees in addition to actual damages.

Read the lawsuit below.

Copyright 2022 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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The FTC’s Attempt to Block Meta’s Acquisition of Within Is Wrong on the Facts and the Law

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit seeking to block Meta’s planned acquisition of Within, the company behind the VR fitness app Supernatural.

The FTC’s case is based on ideology and speculation, not evidence. The idea that this acquisition would lead to anticompetitive outcomes in a dynamic space with as much entry and growth as online and connected fitness is simply not credible. By attacking this deal in a 3-2 vote, the FTC is sending a chilling message to anyone who wishes to innovate in VR. We are confident that our acquisition of Within will be good for people, developers and the VR space.

There is No Merit to the FTC’s Case

Under US law, the FTC is required to prove that an acquisition would “substantially lessen competition” in order to successfully block a deal. We believe it’s clear that neither the evidence nor the well-established law will support such a result.

It’s always been clear that our acquisition of Within will inject new investment into the VR fitness space, improve the Quest platform to better support all fitness apps and expand the VR ecosystem as a whole – all to the benefit of people and developers alike. The FTC rests its arguments on a number of flawed premises and unsupported assumptions that do not stand up to scrutiny.

First, they allege that Supernatural competes closely with Meta’s Beat Saber app, which is a music and rhythm game, and that people would be harmed by bringing them together. But this position misunderstands the nature of the space entirely and ignores the market realities. Beat Saber is a game people play to have fun and it has many competitors. Supernatural couldn’t be more different. It is a subscription-based virtual exercise service that offers boxing, flow, meditation and stretching workouts

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Society must reestablish respect for law enforcement

Six years ago, the law enforcement community experienced one of its darkest periods in recent memory.

On July 17, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, three police officers were shot and killed in an ambush-style attack by a deranged lone gunman. A fourth officer, gravely wounded in the shooting, ultimately succumbed to his injuries earlier this year after enduring years of rehabilitation. Two other officers were seriously injured.

That tragedy came on the heels of another mass-casualty event at Dallas-area police officers only a week before. Five police officers lost their lives in that shooting, with another nine seriously injured.

At the time, I was in the waning months of a nearly two-decade career in law enforcement. While I had seen police and community relations ebb and flow over the years and understood that violence directed against police officers was nothing new, the extreme violence, moral depravity, and callous indifference among some toward the murders in Dallas and Baton Rouge felt different.

In the aftermath of Baton Rouge, I wrote, “What we are experiencing right now no longer feels isolated. It no longer feels extraordinary. Sadly, this extreme violence against our men and women in blue is beginning to feel routine.”

Those attacks occurred at what at the time felt like a generational nadir in police and community relations, actively under the strain of an aggressive and growing anti-police movement spurred on by high-profile events sensationalized by a media more inclined toward inflaming public passions than being the neutral purveyor of facts.

While tensions eased over the next few years, the 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis rekindled them. The ensuing civil unrest, riots, and violence that marked the response to Mr. Floyd’s death inspired the contemptible “defund the police” movement — a misguided narrative that systematically diminished

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Jay Lee case: Sparse affidavit offers few new details

Jimmie “Jay” Lee, a 20-year-old University of Mississippi student, has been missing since Friday, July 8. Credits: Courtesy Oxford Police Department

Oxford police presented little on-the-record evidence other than the word of a detective to obtain a warrant to arrest Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr., a recent Ole Miss graduate, for the first-degree murder of Jimmie “Jay” Lee, according to an affidavit obtained by Mississippi Today.

The sparse evidence in the affidavit – one of the few documents publicly available at this stage of the case – is not unusual in Mississippi, legal experts and defense attorneys say.

Since Herrington’s arrest Friday, the Oxford Police Department has not released any new details regarding probable cause or a potential motive in the case, leaving members of the public to search for answers. Police have stated in press releases that they believe Lee, a Black student who was well-known in Oxford’s LGBTQ community, was visiting someone at Molly Barr Trails, a student housing complex, on the day he was killed.

It’s unclear who Lee was visiting, and police have yet to find his body.

The Lafayette County District Attorney’s Office did not return calls on Tuesday. Kevin Horan, Herrington’s attorney and a state representative, was not available for comment. Carlos Moore, Herrington’s uncle by marriage who is also retained in the case, told WREG Herrington is innocent.

The affidavit, obtained by Mississippi Today, shows OPD detective Ryan Baker swore an oath in Lafayette County Justice Court that Herrington “did feloniously, willfully and unlawfully with deliberate design to effect the death of Jimmie Dale Lee III” on July 8. The affidavit does not describe the evidence that led Baker to this conclusion.

Baker took that oath on Friday, July 22, and Judge Mickey Avent issued the warrant that led to Herrington’s arrest that day.

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Louisiana insurance company drops 40,000 homeowners

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More than 40,000 homeowners are looking for new insurance policies after an insurance company dropped themfollowing similar moves by two other companies.

Southern Fidelity canceled 42,000 policies Friday, leaving Louisiana homeowners with 60 days to find new coverage, state insurance officials said. That brings the number of policies dropped since June to nearly 100,000 by Southern Fidelity, Lighthouse Excalibur and Maison, WVUE-TV reported.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said six companies have pulled out of the state completely and more than 50 have stopped writing new policies below Interstate 10 and I-12, making the state’s insurer of last resort, Louisiana Citizens, the only option for most.

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“As we get further away and hopefully go unscathed through this hurricane season, more of those companies will return to the market, I am certain, as it happened 15 years ago after Katrina and Rita,” Donelon said.

Southern Fidelity customers have until Sept. 13 to find a new policy or sign with Citizens. Lighthouse Excalibur and Maison have until Aug. 28.

More than 40,000 homeowners in Louisiana have 60 days to find new coverage after Southern Fidelity dropped their coverage.

More than 40,000 homeowners in Louisiana have 60 days to find new coverage after Southern Fidelity dropped their coverage.

Since the cancellations, Donelon said the number of Louisiana Citizens’ policies has jumped from 35,000 to 82,000 and he expects it to grow to 95,000.

NEARLY 7.8M HOMES AT RISK OF HURRICANE DAMAGES: REPORT

Still, many homeowners with canceled policies have said the Citizens’ quotes they’re getting are simply unaffordable, like one Lafitte resident who was quoted $41,000, the television station reported.

“They need to contact us … because I can’t imagine any property having a homeowner’s policy at that price,” Donelon said.

Residents in areas like Lafitte fear they will be priced out of their homes, the television

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South Carolina’s 6-week ban can continue for now, court rules

COLUMBIA, SC — South Carolina can continue enforcing its six-week abortion ban after a judge on Tuesday denied a request to temporarily block it amid a legal battle that is now headed to the state Supreme Court.

since the US Supreme Court ended the federal right to the procedure last month, abortion rights advocates in conservative states have turned to state constitutions as they seek to protect abortion access. Action has returned to the state level in wake of the ruling in a Mississippi case that overturned Roe vs. Wade, a case that originated in Dallas County, as courts and legislatures are deluged with legal challenges and new proposals.

Supreme Court ends half-century of abortion rights, overturns Roe v. Wade

Much of the action this week focuses on Indiana, where thousands of people argue the abortion issue surrounded the Indiana statehouse and filled its corridors Monday as lawmakers began consideration of a Republican proposal to ban nearly all abortions in the state. Vice President Kamala Harris denied the effort during a meeting with Democratic legislators.

Also this week, lawmakers in West Virginia’s Republican majority are hurrying to advance legislation that would ban abortion in the state with few exceptions. The bill bars abortion in almost all cases and makes performing the procedure a felony. Physicians who provide abortions can face three to 10 years in prison.

Harris said during a trip to Indianapolis that the abortion ban proposal reflects a health care crisis in the country. Despite the bill’s abortion ban language, anti-abortion activists lined up before a legislative committee to argue that the bill wasn’t strict enough and lacked enforcement teeth.

Indiana is one of the first Republican-run state legislatures to debate tighter abortion laws following the US Supreme Court decision last month overturning Roe vs. Wade.

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Demotech notifies 17 property insurance companies of rating downgrades

Florida’s insurance rating agency Demotech has informed approximately 17 property insurance companies that their ratings will be downgraded upon review of 2022 hurricane season reinsurance packets, according to a letter from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR).

OIR Commissioner David Altmaier sent a letter to Demotech President Joe Petrelli on Thursday sternly requesting that the agency “perform a more comprehensive review” of rating downgrades. According to the letter, about 17 domestic insurance companies informed OIR that Demotech sent them letters advising that their ratings will be downgraded from an “A” meaning “Exceptional to an “S” meaning “Substantial” or “M” meaning “Moderate.”

These ratings are Financial Stability Ratings (FSR) that not only allow companies to operate in the state, but also, many Florida agents can only market and write policies for agencies with “A” ratings, according to the Insurance Information Institute. They also determine what kinds of loans homeowners can get.

When a company receives a “NR” or no rating, they are at high risk of entering receivership with the state, which could either result in rehabilitation or insolvency.

In a May interview with the Insurance Information Institute regarding FedNat’s rating downgrade, spokesperson Mark Friedlander explained why it hurts a company.

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“That stops them from insuring homes that have federal mortgages and in some cases, it will stop independent agents from representing them. They will no longer be able to market their products to their customers because typically independent agents will only represent A rated companies. So in other words, it’s basically freezing their business. That’s not a model that is sustainable,” Friedlander explained.

Altmaier wrote:

“As such, we have endeavored to ensure that Demotech is able to derive its ratings based upon

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Supreme Court move allows Jackson to take part in race case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday took a step that will allow new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman on the court, to take part in a case that could lead to the end of the use of race in college admissions .

Jackson, who joined the court June 30 following the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, had pledged during her confirmation hearing to sit out the case involving Harvard’s admissions policy because she was a member of the school’s board.

The Harvard dispute had been joined to a similar lawsuit involving the University of North Carolina. The court split the case in two, allowing Jackson to hear arguments and vote in the North Carolina case. Harvard is a private institution, while North Carolina is a public university.

Jackson’s participation seems unlikely to make much difference in the outcome on a court with a 6-3 conservative majority that is skeptical of the role of race in education, voting and other areas.

Arguments over one of the new term’s most highly anticipated issues will probably take place in November or December, but no date has been announced yet.


Jackson was a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers from 2016 until the spring. It is made up of alumni and is one of Harvard’s two governing bodies. She is a graduate of both of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Three other justices also got their law degrees from Harvard: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. Roberts also was a Harvard undergraduate and Kagan was the law school dean for a time.

But none of the other justices has any current or recent role with the university.

Federal law requires all judges to recuse from cases in which their “impartiality might reasonably be

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Few see quick relief in property insurance crisis

At the end of May, the Florida Legislature was called into a special session by the Governor to address the property insurance crisis in Florida, which is creating havoc for homeowners.

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Monthly, homeowners across the state are being dropped by insurance companies pulling completely out of the state, or they are seeing premiums skyrocket for the same coverage, or they cannot find coverage for their home’s roof, which was installed more than 15 years ago.

Homeowners are being forced to self-insure, which means they have no private insurance and must be diligent about setting aside money to pay for any storm damage, replace older roofs in good condition, or get insurance through the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. This quasi-public private program is known as the insurance of last resort.

The problem with the Citizens Property Insurance Program is that many legislators and experts contend the program’s $3 billion in reserves is inadequate for potential liabilities in the event of a major hurricane, which could leave homeowners or the taxpayers helpless in the aftermath of a disastrous storm.

The bill approved by the Florida Legislature and Governor addressed long-term issues which may, in time, provide help to homeowners. Still, most agree that immediate help is not eminent or certain. The bill attempts to reel in bad faith litigation by limiting assignment of benefits, allowing for potential different deductible options for older roofs, and creating a reinsurance program to encourage companies not to leave the state.

Plus, the legislation restricts insurance companies from arbitrarily requiring roof replacements and provides homeowners an opportunity through independent inspections to prove their roofs are in good shape. These measures, if not

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