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State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.

Nevada Insurance Commissioner Scott J. Kipper has approved a rate change for homeowners insurance premiums as filed by State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. The rate change will become effective on April 1, 2009, for new business and on May 15, 2009, for renewals.

Depending on the individual characteristics and coverage levels, this statewide average rate change will result in a premium decrease or increase for some of State Farm’s insureds, while certain insureds’ rates will remain unchanged, the Department of Insurance indicated. The changes to individual premiums translate into an overall statewide average rate change of 0 percent. The change affects premiums for non-tenant homeowners, renters and condominium unit owners. The maximum dollar premium change for an insured with specific characteristics will not exceed $50, the DOI noted.

State Farm’s rate change filing consists of the following components:

Commissioner Kipper noted that the actuarial data furnished by State Farm in support of the changes suggests a downward trend in its current level earned premiums for Nevada in recent years. He stated that State Farm had filed several statewide average rate reductions in the past four years that have contributed to some insureds seeing a cumulative insurance premium decrease of up to 30 percent during that time period. Those reductions played a contributory role in the downward trend of State Farm’s current level earned premium. He observed that Nevada has endured a relatively “light” catastrophe experience in the past few years regarding the perils covered under homeowners insurance.

State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. provides homeowners, renters and condominium unit owners coverage for approximately 111,195 Nevada policyholders, the DOI said. The last two Nevada rate changes for the company’s policyholders were a 4.5 percent statewide average reduction in 2007, followed by a 0 percent statewide average change in 2008.

Torrent Technologies

Seattle-based Torrent Technologies Inc. has created a new subsidiary, Torrent Insurance Services LLC, to be based in Kalispell, Mont. In conjunction with TIS, the company has created another subsidiary, Torrent Government Contracting Services LLC, based outside of Washington, D.C.

TIS will house the company’s primary business operation, which is focused on providing back office services and technologies to insurance carriers that resell and administer flood insurance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program. TIS has approximately 40 technology and operational professionals.

Allstate, Personal Insurance Federation of California

The board of directors of the Personal Insurance Federation of California (PIFC) voted unanimously to accept Allstate Insurance Co. as the newest member of PIFC.

Allstate is the first new company to join PIFC in 15 years. Allstate joins the five other companies that comprise PIFC — 21st Century, Farmers Insurance Group, Progressive Insurance Group, Safeco, and State Farm Insurance Companies — that combined represent more than $12 billion of personal lines premium written in California. The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) is an associate member of PIFC.

Allstate is the fourth largest automobile insurer in California, and the third largest homeowners insurance carrier. In 2008, Allstate invested nearly $4 million into California municipal bonds, and contributed more than $660,000 to non-profit organizations through the Allstate Foundation. The Allstate Corp. is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer. The company sells 13 major lines of insurance, including auto, property, life and commercial. Allstate also offers retirement and investment products and banking services.

PIFC is California’s personal lines trade association representing the leading automobile, homeowners and earthquake insurers. PIFC represents its member companies before state executive, legislative and judicial bodies on issues of importance to the personal lines industry.

AmWINS Group Inc.

Charlotte, N.C.-based insurance wholesale brokerage AmWINS Group Inc. acquired three medical stop loss wholesalers in three separate regions of the country. The firms acquired are American Stop Loss Insurance of Worcester, Mass.; Brokerage Services, Health Benefit Solutions of Benicia, Calif.; and Insurance and National Insurance Wholesalers of Houston, Texas.

The acquisition of these three entities creates the nation’s largest wholesale broker of medical stop loss insurance, according to AmWINS.

“Diversification is key to our company’s strategy and continued growth,” said M. Steven DeCarlo, CEO of AmWINS Group. “This acquisition not only complements our existing benefit product capabilities, but also allows us to strategically expand our products and services to a broader network of retail customers and markets.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The current management teams of each entity will continue to lead the day-to-day activities for their respective company — Gerry Gates and Walter Coolidge for ASL, Rebecca Bocek for HBS and Elizabeth Ogletree for NIW.

Mark McGuire, the founder of NIW, will lead the combined operations.


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