Most Katrina homeowner insurance claims settled

Filed under: Banking & Finance |

Homeowners’ insurers have settled nearly 70 percent of claims resulting from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The institute estimates that as of Jan. 24 more than 732,000 homeowners’ claims have been settled for a total of $11.4 billion.

Insurers ultimately expect to pay more than 1 million homeowners claims totaling $16.4 billion

In Louisiana, insurers have settled 479,500 claims or 69 percent of expected claims totaling $7.5 billion.

In Mississippi, 253,000 or 71 percent of expected claims totaling $3.9 billion have been settled.

Also, about 90 percent of more than 300,000 claims from damaged vehicles have been settled in both states.

The institute estimate does not include claims filed with the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. or claims for flood damage filed with FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover losses from flooding.

IRS offering businesses aid

The Internal Revenue Service is offering business owners who need assistance with problematic tax issues help through its Industry Issue Resolution program.

The IIR was formed to assist businesses with the most common tax issues.

During past years, requests for assistance have been submitted by associations and others representing small and large business taxpayers.

Submissions for assistance must be received by March 31. For more information or to submit a request, go to www.irs.gov.

Kohl’s selling credit cards

Kohl’s department stores said this week that it will sell its credit card business to Chase, the banking subsidiary of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and will use the money to help buy back $2 billion worth of common stock.

The companies have entered into a multi-year program agreement whereby Kohl’s will continue to handle all customer service functions and will be responsible for all advertising and marketing related to its credit card customers.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions, and is expected to close within 90 days.

Under terms of the sale, Chase will purchase Kohl’s private label credit card accounts and the outstanding balances associated with the accounts. The total purchase price will be equal to the receivable balances purchased at the closing date, which is expected to be about $1.5 billion.

The department store retailer has 741 stores in 41 states and expects to open as many as 75 stores this year.

Wells Fargo CEO: $7M bonus

Wells Fargo CEO Dick Kovacevich got a smaller bonus this year.

His $7 million for 2005 is 7 percent less than the $7.5 million he received the last two years.

The bonus is a reward for the bank’s 2005 profit increase of 9 percent.

Kovacevich has a $995,000 base salary and options to buy 903,230 Wells Fargo stock shares at $64.49 each.

Bonuses for B of A workers

Thousands of Bank of America Corp. workers could get bonus checks if the nation’s second-largest bank meets its earnings goal in 2006, according to the Associated Press.

Last year when the bank exceeded its earnings goals, more than 140,000 workers received a bonus ranging from $500 to $3,000.

The bank’s 2006 profit target is $20.45 billion, and this year’s results will include revenue from Bank of America’s acquisition of credit card company MBNA Corp.

Analysts predict the bank will earn between $17 billion and $20.8 billion this year, including merger expenses.

Reinvestment guide issued

Federal banking agencies this week announced final guidance implementing the changes to the Community Reinvestment Act regulations.

The guide clarifies, among other things, the availability of CRA consideration for bank activities that revitalize or stabilize designated disaster areas.

The guide indicates that a bank’s loans, investments and services in support of disaster recovery that help to attract new or retain existing businesses or residents to a designated disaster area will receive CRA community development consideration for a 36-month period following designation of the area.

The guide allows for extensions of this period in unusual cases, and the agencies plan to substantially extend the time periods in the areas affected by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

The guide also addresses the availability of CRA community development consideration for bank activities that revitalize or stabilize underserved or distressed middle-income rural areas.

The other major issue it addresses is implementation of the new community development test for banks with assets between $250 million and $1 billion.

The guide, which takes the form of questions and answers, was proposed for public comment on Nov. 10. Some of the questions and answers have been revised to reflect suggestions from those who commented.

The guide is being issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.