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Great-West Lifeco Inc. has agreed that it and an affiliate will pay $3.9 billion for Putnam Investments and Putnam’s 25% stake in T.H. Lee Partners L.P., a private equity firm.

Great-West Lifeco, Winnipeg, Manitoba, is the parent of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, Greenwood Village, Colo., which sells group health coverage, retirement plans and employee benefits products.

Putnam, Boston, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., is a mutual fund company with satellite offices in London and Tokyo, 3,000 employees and $192 billion in assets under management. About $35 billion of the assets are in the accounts of European and Japanese clients.

Great-West Lifeco and Marsh hope to complete the deal by June 30.

–Allison Bell

A tentative worldwide class action settlement has been reached for thousands of Holocaust-era claims against the large Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., Trieste.

Attorneys for the Philadelphia law firm Kohn, Swift & Graf P.C. said they have reached an agreement with Generali on behalf of the victims of Nazi persecution or their descendants. According to press reports, the deal won far less than the attorneys sought but was the best they felt they could reach after years of litigation.

The deal was submitted to Judge George B. Daniels of Federal District Court in Manhattan for a hearing Jan. 31. As of press time, however, it appeared the settlement was not entirely resolved. An attorney for Generali said the Jan. 31 hearing adjourned with the parties agreeing to discuss “further items,” the nature of which he would not disclose.

The judge said another hearing would be held but did not specify a date.

–Trevor Thomas

Committee leadership assignments for 2007 at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners were announced by Walter Bell, NAIC president and Alabama commissioner.

The NAIC’s Life and Annuities “A” Committee will be chaired by Julie McPeak, executive director of the Kentucky office of insurance. McPeak was vice chair of the “A” Committee in 2006. Tim Wagner, director of the Nebraska insurance department and an “A” committee member in 2006, will be vice chair this year.

Jim Poolman, North Dakota insurance commissioner and “A” chair in 2006, will continue on the “A” committee this year. Poolman has cited his interest in seeing a new principles-based reserving system advanced this year.

McPeak says principles-based reserving will be a major agenda item for the committee as it seeks to act as a conduit between its life & health actuarial task force and the NAIC’s executive committee working group, which is developing the issue at the commissioner level.

McPeak says she understands there are a number of industry groups that want further discussion on amendments to the Viatical Settlement model act and is willing to consider that possibility. The 5-year ban on the settlement of contracts in the current draft has been an issue of discussion, and she says the “A” committee would be willing to keep an open mind on the issue.

Although it has not been officially determined yet, it may be possible for the “A” committee to request that the model be returned to it from NAIC’s executive committee level for further review, she says.

Another issue she says will be addressed shortly is a change to the Unfair Trade Practices Act reflecting comment on travel underwriting. McPeak explains that the issue could be voted on prior to the March spring meeting of the NAIC in New York. However, if more time is needed, she says that a vote at the “A” committee could be deferred until the spring meeting.

And, she adds, the committee may review the NAIC’s current COLI model to see if additional changes are needed.

Joel Ario will continue as chair of the Health Insurance and Managed Care “B” Committee. Kim Holland, Oklahoma commissioner, will be vice chair.

The Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs “D” Committee will be chaired by Mike Kreidler, Washington commissioner, and vice-chaired by Julie Beneafield Bowman, Arkansas commissioner.

On the “E” committee, Al Gross, commissioner of the Virginia bureau of insurance, will remain as chair.

Joseph Torti III, Rhode Island superintendent, will continue as chair of the Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation “F” Committee. Kent Michie, Utah commissioner, will become vice chair.

Diane Koken, Pennsylvania commissioner, will remain chair of the International Insurance Relations “G” Committee and will be joined by Dorelisse Juarbe Jimenez, Puerto Rico commissioner.

Jim Long, North Carolina insurance commissioner, and Steven Orr, Maryland insurance commissioner, will continue to hold their respective posts of chair and vice-chair on the Information Resources Management “H” Committee.

–Jim Connolly


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