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White House contenders Romney, Dodd, Clinton, lead in insurance donations.

The 19 declared U.S. presidential candidates raised $1.53 million from the insurance sector in the first quarter, with Democrats taking an early lead over their GOP counterparts in the race for industry cash, according to an A.M. Best Co. analysis of federal campaign filings.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, pulled in the biggest industry haul, at $349,650. Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., placed second and third, with $274,800 and $253,725, respectively.

Campaign reports filed by the candidates in April with the U.S. Federal Election Commission show the overwhelming bulk of industry contributions were made by individuals employed by insurers, producers or other insurance-related firms. Just $32,900 came from industry political action committees.

While the early date plays a part in the lack of PAC cash, according to Joel Wood, senior vice president of government relations for the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, many trade association PACs--typically among the biggest givers in congressional races--have by-laws that prohibit them from contributing to presidential campaigns.

The current field includes 11 Republicans and eight Democrats. Though speculation holds that others--such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Sen. Fred Thompson, and possibly even former Vice President AI Gore--may eventually join the fray, they have not formed exploratory committees to begin raising funds.

Overall, Democrats out-raised Republicans among industry sources $793,524.33 to $733,140. Insurance producers led the way, with agents and brokers contributing $198,575 to Republicans and $182,958.88 to Democrats, tops for both parties among any industry segment.

Republicans out-raised Democrats by $2,682.85 among health insurers; by $26,822.80 among title insurers; and by $29,523.95 among property/casualty insurers.

Democrats, in turn, out-raised Republicans by $18,150 among reinsurers; by $46,825 among multiline insurers; by $55,205.05 among life insurers; and by $15,150 in the "other" segment, which included contributions from industry consultants, actuaries, adjusters and regulators.

Appearing among the top 10 contributors to both parties were property/casualty insurer Liberty Mutual Group; life insurers Prudential Financial and ING; broker Aon Corp.; and multiline insurer American International Group.

Hometown firms helped push all three of the front-runners over the top. Hartford Financial Services was Dodd's top donor, with $46,200 in contributions.

Clinton netted $41,750 from New York Life, $11,500 from Liberty Title Agency and $11,450 from AIG, all based in the Big Apple.

But the industry's New Yorkers were less generous to their former mayor, as Republican Rudy Giuliani's $142,050 haul could land him only the fifth slot, behind the $218,200 raised by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Liberty Mutual was Romney's second-largest industry donor, behind only Cincinnati-based American Financial Group. But the $37,950 given by Liberty Mutual employees to the former Bay State governor still trailed the $38,300 they gave to Dodd.

However, Wood--a Republican who nonetheless contributed the maximum $2,300 to Dodd's campaign--considered it shocking that Romney could outdraw Dodd at all in insurance cash, given the senator's home base in Connecticut, his knowledge of industry issues, and his status as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
Early Campaign Contributions

Donations from individuals and political
action committees tied to the insurance industry

Top Ten Contributors to Democrats:

1. Hartford Financial Services $50,300.00
2. New York Life $47,200.00
3. Liberty Mutual $41,850.00
4. Prudential Financial $33,605.05
5. ING $22,450.00
6. Aon $22,100.00
7. Kaiser Permanente $20,109.42
8. AIG $18,175.00
9. First American Title $17,200.00
10. Travelers $13,850.00

Source: BestWeek analysis of Federal Election Commission filings

Top Ten Contributors to Republicans:

1. American Financial Group $44,800.00
2. Liberty Mutual $37,950.00
3. Prudential Financial $36,150.00
4. AIG $34,050.00
5. Fidelity National Financial $31,450.00
6. First American Title $23,525.00
7. NSI Insurance Group $20,700.00
8. Triwest Healthcare Alliance $20,150.00
9. Aon $18,700.00
10. ING $18,700.00

Source: BestWeek analysis of Federal Election Commission filings
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Briefing
Author:Lehmann, R.J.
Publication:Best's Review
Date:Jun 1, 2007
Words:694
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