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‘We are lucky.’

—Warren Buffett, as he addressed thousands of shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in his hometown of Omaha, Neb., on May 2. He said insurance, along with utilities, another big business for Berkshire, are sectors “relatively unaffected by the recession.” Among Berkshire’s insurance companies are the auto insurer Geico Corp., reinsurer General Re and bond insurer Berkshire Hathaway Assurance.

Few Signs

“Most risk managers continue to see flat or slightly lower premiums at renewal. The insurance market is still very competitive and, while some insurers are predicting an imminent hard market, there are few signs that rates will rise sharply anytime in the near future.”

—Daniel H. Kugler, a member of Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc. (RIMS) board of directors and assistant treasurer, risk management at Snap-on Inc., in a recent Advisen survey on the marketplace.

Keep on Drivin’

“People tend to think there is a big difference between insuring a new car versus an older one.”

—William Pearse, vice president of product strategy and design for Travelers, commenting on a poll from R.L. Polk & Co. showing that 64 percent of consumers are “very or extremely likely” to keep their current vehicle longer than they normally would due to economic conditions.

Sights on State Fund

“A healthy and efficient State Fund is essential to a functioning and efficient worker’s compensation insurance market. Additionally, every government entity must streamline operations and achieve greater efficiencies. This includes (the California) State (Compensation Insurance) Fund. I will continue to monitor the progress of State Fund to ensure they operate effectively and transparently.”

—California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner commenting on the Department of Insurance’s 2008 operational review of the state workers’ compensation insurer. In response to the report’s findings, Poizner said more issues must be resolved, and that SCIF needs to “move expeditiously.”

In for the Long Haul

“Jan Frank (SCIF CEO) has consistently said organizational change is not a sprint, but more like a long distance event.”

—Jennifer Vargen, SCIF communications director, noting California’s the workers’ comp insurer will continue to make progress on structural and operational issues that an earlier audit pointed out needed to be addressed. “The auditor’s ‘pencils’ went down on at the end of last year. State Fund has continued to make progress since that time,” she said.


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