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Travelers readies mobile claim centers; also: UnitedHealth starts storm help line, survey aligns shopping with voting

Minnesota companies are mobilizing for Hurricane Gustav. St. Paul-based Travelers Insurance has a catastrophe response team and five mobile claim centers ready to move into the Gulf Coast region as soon as the recovery starts. The mobile claim centers are housed in custom-built RVs equipped to offer immediate services, including issuing debit cards on-the-spot to customers in need.

More Gustav: UnitedHealth Group has activated a toll-free help line for Gulf Coast residents with stress and anxiety caused by the storm. Operators will also make referrals for people with legal and financial questions, the company said. (By the way, the number is 1-800-689-5703.) The Minnetonka HMO is authorizing early prescription refills for customers in the region, and it said it will help people get in-network benefits at out-of-network providers if necessary.

And now, the other big story: politics. A new survey says if you shop at Target you probably support Barack Obama, and if you’re a Wal-Mart patron you likely back John McCain. CNBC reports on the poll by BIGresearch, but doesn’t offer any sample size or margin of error. The survey shows 41.5 percent of Target shoppers plan to vote Obama, while 41.4 percent of Wal-Mart shoppers said they’re voting McCain. About 30 percent supported the other candidate and 20 percent of all shoppers were undecided.

Barron’s is bullish on Lawson Software.
The St. Paul company is poised for growth as soon as corporate tech spending rebounds, the financial journal predicts. Lawson has recovered from financial hiccups and undergone a major transformation. Good for investors, but I wonder if the news is as good for the Twin Cities: The plan to fatten margins includes shipping research and development operations to the Philippines.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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