Garamendi Questions Workers' Comp Costs

Insurer costs of paying workers' comp claims dropped steeply last year, but the companies haven't passed those savings on to employers, according to state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. Garamendi said insurance companies might be making profits by withholding benefits from employees hurt on the job, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. For each dollar they were paid in premiums, insurers paid out 45 cents in treatments and benefits, Garamendi said, down from loss ratios of 60 cents in 2003 and 89 cents in 2002.

LAX Sets Foreign Travel Record
International traffic at Los Angeles International Airport sets a record in the first quarter, the Los Angeles Times reported, with more travelers to and from destinations abroad than in any previous first quarter in the site's 76-year history. About 4.1 million international travelers used the airport, up 8.3 percent from the year-ago period.

Fewer Buy Quake Insurance
Tougher bankruptcy laws and skyrocketing home values have increased the need for earthquake insurance even as fewer Californians are purchasing the coverage, the Daily News on Tuesday reported. The newspaper quoted officials and trend analysts as saying. That despite devastating earthquakes that have hit Southern and Northern California, fewer than 15 percent of the state's homeowners buy earthquake insurance.

Sears en Espa & #324;ol
Sears has launched its splashy courtship of Latina shoppers, the Daily News reported on Tuesday. Latina Life, an exclusive clothing line, is just the latest venture in an industrywide scramble to romance the burgeoning Hispanic population, and is also one of biggest apparel launches for Sears in recent times rolling out in 425 stores nationwide. "It shows the confidence we have in this market," Lee Antonio, spokeswoman for Sears, told the newspaper.

Huffingblog Coming
Author and TV talking head Arianna Huffington plans to open a "group blog"next month featuring contributions from famous friends such as former news anchor Walter Cronkite and playwright David Mamet, the Los Angeles Times reported. Wall Street Journal veteran John Fund might also contribute.

Alleged Con Man Arrested
Money manager Won Charlie Yi, who allegedly cheated fellow Koreans out of millions of dollars, was arrested in Arizona during a speeding stop on a highway, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. Yi was arrested earlier this month and expected to be returned to Los Angeles this week. The Times reported an FBI affidavit and Security Exchange Commission filings showed that Yi sold investors stock in Pacific Union Bank, but the deals appeared bogus after the stock rose on the announcement of a purchase by Hanmi Financial Corp. and investors couldn't find him when they tried to cash out.

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