KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A committee of credit union officials pushed. for greater flexibility in the rating and pricing of CUNA Mutual Group's surety bond.

The committee's report, released last Sunday at the Credit Union National Association's annual convention, specifically urged the insurer to take into account a credit union,s track record and risk exposure.

The committee's suggestion was based on meetings with representatives of 300 credit unions over the .past year. Many "plain vanilla" credit unions, as well as those with clean records, believed their premiums are subsidizing riskier institutions.

Kevin Shea, vice president of operations, said the Madison, Wis.-based mutual insurance company is responding. Merit ratings have been refined over the past two years, and that process will accelerate now, he said.

"In the past we rated solely based on assets," Mr. Shea said. "Now we're looking at more factors, like the overall health of an institution."

CUNA Mutual's goal is to create a new family of fidelity bonds by 1996. "That will give us the ultimate in flexibility," Mr. Shea said. "We would have an economical bond, a full-blown Coverage bond, a build4t-your-own way bond."

Members of the committee also recommended that CUNA Mutual improve communications with its credit union policyholders and provide more education. "There's. a tremendous need to raise awareness of cost control," said Nancy Pierce, president of St. Louis-based Federal Employees Credit Union and a committee member. "There is a need for greater risk management."

Mr. Shea said CUNA Mutual has been increasing its education efforts, citing five loss-prevention seminars it conducted in California this year after some credit unions fell victim to credit card fraud.

CUNA Mutual will also make credit unions aware of losses it suffers, something it hasn't done before, according to Mr. Shea.

Also, in 1995 CUNA Mutual will start giving more credits for deductibles, which should encourage greater risk controls.

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