Insurer seized in VirginiaVirginia regulators have seized...


Insurer seized in Virginia

Virginia regulators have seized HOW Insurance Co., the nation's leading insurer of new-home warranties, and will temporarily process emergency claims of the financially troubled company while they sort out its assets.

The State Corporation Commission is assessing whether those assets will be enough to cover major claims filed from policyholders in and out of state, spokesman Ken Schrad said yesterday.

Under an agreement reached Tuesday between state officials and lawyers for HOW, the Virginia Bureau of Insurance will process major claims until a court can decide whether HOW is insolvent.

Casualty firm quits Calif. market

Baltimore-based Maryland Casualty Corp. yesterday became the latest insurer to announce its withdrawal from the homeowners insurance market in California, blaming losses from this year's Northridge earthquake, a hostile regulatory climate and the financial risk of future earthquakes.

Maryland Casualty said it would begin canceling homeowners policies upon their renewal dates early in 1995.

Since the Jan. 17 temblor, most major insurance companies have halted new sales of homeowners insurance.

USX, Nucor in joint venture

USX Corp., the nation's largest steelmaker, is forming an unlikely alliance with competitor Nucor Corp. and another company to develop a cleaner, cheaper way to make steel.

USX's U.S. Steel Group, Nucor and Praxair Inc. said yesterday that they have agreed to form a joint venture to develop technology to make steel directly from iron carbide, a granular powder produced from iron ore and natural gas.

Polk Audio reports earnings

Polk Audio Inc., a Baltimore-based manufacturer of loudspeaker systems, said yesterday that net income more than doubled, to $501,540, and sales grew 29.5 percent, to $10.3 million, in the quarter that ended Sept. 25.

Polk shares gained $1, to $9.50, in Nasdaq trading yesterday.

Ford's Gilmour to retire

Ford Motor Co. Vice Chairman Allan Gilmour, once considered a front-runner to head the second-largest U.S. automaker, said yesterday that he will retire at year's end.

Mr. Gilmour, 60, joined Ford in 1960 as a financial analyst and moved up the ranks. He was appointed vice chairman in 1992. Alex Trotman was named Ford chairman in October 1993 after a two-year search in which he and Mr. Gilmour had emerged as likely successors to Harold Poling.


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