Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Tristate Summary



Auto insurance increase rejected

The Ohio Department of Insurance has rejected a 3 percent rate increase in auto insurance rates requested by Allstate Insurance.

Allstate, the fourth-largest auto insurer in Ohio with 7.5 percent of the market, made the filing Jan. 21 for an increase that would affect all auto insurance products.

"Allstate was simply unable to produce convincing evidence to justify its rate increase," Ohio Insurance Director Ann Womer Benjamin said.

The department said its actions likely prevented other insurers from seeking increases based on Allstate's filing.

Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate increased rates 1.6 percent in Ohio in 2002 after it decreased rates by 1.1 percent in 2001.

The company said the proposed increase was based on rising costs associated with medical care, motor vehicle repair and maintenance.

Sherwin-Williams: storms hurt sales

Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams Co., the maker of Dutch Boy paints and Minwax stains, Monday said first-quarter profits will be lower than previous estimates because winter storms cut sales.

Quarterly revenue will be about the same as last year's $1.16 billion because severe weather hurt U.S. sales in February, the company said in a statement. Net income will be as much as 23 cents, compared with a previous estimate of 27 cents.

Stent maker may acquire `X' today

Indianapolis-based Guidant Corp., the world's largest maker of heart stents, Monday agreed to buy catheter maker X Technologies Inc. for $200 million in cash, Globes financial daily of Israel reported on its Web site.

Guidant will announce the acquisition of the closely held U.S.-Israeli company today, Globes said without citing sources.

Guidant spokesman Steve Tragash declined to comment on the report, and Ron Solar, X Technologies' chief technology officer, didn't return a call for comment.

X Technologies makes the FX miniRail coronary catheter used to open clogged arteries.

Guidant is adding heart products because of increased competition from Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific Corp., rivals that both have newer versions of stents than Guidant, analysts say.

Stents are tiny wire tubes which keep arteries open after they've been cleared in angioplasty procedures.

- Wire reports




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