Chubb Disowns Syria ‘Adjusters’ After SEC Inquiry

Chubb Corp. has distanced itself from insurance adjusters in Sudan and Syria after a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into business in nations blacklisted by the U.S. because of terrorism ties.

The third-party adjusters who examine marine claims are now being called “surveyors” rather than “representatives,” according a letter from the insurer to the SEC that was released today. Chubb said that while it doesn’t sell coverage in Sudan or Syria, the insurer provides a list of surveyors available in those countries in case they are needed by clients with multinational operations.

“The company is strongly committed to compliance with U.S. economic sanction laws,” Maureen Brundage, Chubb’s general counsel, wrote in the Sept. 18 letter. Warren, New Jersey-based Chubb doesn’t have any “operations, employees or agents” in Sudan and Syria and hasn’t made payments to entities listed in the marine-claim document in either country, she said.

The SEC contacted Chubb on Aug. 7 about a document on the insurer’s website that identified claim representatives in the two countries. U.S. regulators are cracking down on firms with ties to nations designated as state sponsors of terrorism.

BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, agreed this year to plead guilty and pay a $8.97 billion fine for transactions in Sudan, Iran and Cuba. American International Group Inc., which competes against Chubb selling commercial insurance, agreed to a $279,038 settlement after telling regulators it violated sanctions tied to Cuba, the Treasury Department said in May.

John Nester, a spokesman for the SEC, said correspondence such as the letters with Chubb are released about 20 business days after a review is completed, and declined to comment further.