OFT probes Pool Re
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is investigating Pool Re's membership agreements. An OFT spokesman confirmed that in June Pool Re had voluntarily submitted details of the revised agreements with its member insurance companies for a decision on whether they were competitive.

S&P downgrades
S&P has lowered the 'pi' insurer financial strength ratings for MMA Insurance and FM Insurance Company. FM's insurer financial strength rating was lowered from BBBpi (good) to BBpi (marginal). MMA's insurer financial strength rating was lowered from BBBpi (good) to BBpi (marginal). Pi ratings provide an opinion on an insurer's financial strength based solely on information available in the public domain. They differ from Standard and Poor's interactive ratings.

BDMA dates
The British Damage Management Association (BDMA) Convention 2003 runs from 9- 11 October.

Asbestos failure
Two thirds of UK companies are unprepared for the incoming government regulations on asbestos in the workplace, according to a survey by Zurich Risk Services.

D&O help
The ABI, Biba, the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators and the City of London Law Society have produced guidance on D&O cover. It is designed to help prospective directors understand D&O insurance and to evaluate the kind of cover offered by companies before joining.

US Risk takes stake
US Risk Insurance Group (US Risk) has acquired shares in London based broker NCG Professional Risks.

Ascot capacity rise
Ascot Underwriting, the Lloyd's managing agency, has received consent to increase its underwriting capacity for 2003 by £71m to a total of £340m. Ascot's Syndicate 1414 is backed by AIG.

Claims separation
Outsourcing group Xchanging this week launched a claims handling initiative that it claims will save the general insurance market £1.5bn annually. The scheme, called Claims Office of the Future.