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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission



Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2005 - Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox today announced new regulatory relief designed to help ensure that insurers have the capital and liquidity to pay Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims.

With insurance rating agencies issuing ratings warnings based on concerns that losses from Katrina and Rita may cause capital shortfalls and liquidity concerns, it is vital for the Commission to take steps to eliminate delays in the process of insurers and reinsurers tapping the capital markets.

"The SEC remains committed to doing everything possible for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita," said Chairman Cox. "Our disclosure rules remain in force, but we will work to ensure that our regulatory processes do not interfere with market access. The SEC will do what it can to see to it that every victim's insurance has the capital to back it up, and that there are no unnecessary delays in paying claims due to a lack of liquidity."

The Division of Corporation Finance has taken the following actions to enable insurers for victims of Katrina and Rita to take advantage of short-form registration statements on Form S-3, and to speed the processing of new registration statements.

  • For insurance and reinsurance companies with existing shelf registrations pursuant to Rule 415(a)(1)(x), the staff will permit the extended use of the Commission's brief "notice" registration of additional securities under Rule 462(b). Under this extension, the staff will permit use of those procedures - including notice by fax and immediate effectiveness - to register additional securities in an amount up to 20% of the dollar amount of securities originally registered on that shelf registration statement (rather than the amount remaining on that registration statement).
  • The Division of Corporation Finance will process Securities Act filings by reporting insurance and reinsurance companies within not more than five business days of their receipt.

The Division of Corporation Finance has been instructed to continue these administrative steps through Dec. 1, 2005.

While today's action is addressed to the specific problem of helping the victims of Katrina and Rita to obtain prompt payment of their hurricane-related insurance claims, the Commission may find it necessary to extend similar kinds of administrative relief to other filers in the days ahead. The Commission has established both telephone and e-mail hotlines to provide immediate responses to questions, and to hear from those that want to advise the Commission of their needs.

  • Telephone calls should be directed to (202) 551-3300.
  • E-mail should be directed to cfhotline@sec.gov.

Any questions regarding the administrative relief being extended today should be addressed to Suzanne Hayes, Office of Healthcare and Insurance, at (202) 551-3290.


Modified: 10/05/2005