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Mike McGavick has agreed to remain CEO of Safeco until a successor is named, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

Earlier this summer McGavick, who is exploring a run for the U.S. Senate, had announced he would leave that position on Aug. 31. As previously announced, McGavick will remain as chairman at least through the end of the year.

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In a statement to Safeco employees, lead director Robert Cline said the board has met with internal and external contenders for CEO. “We are working through our slate of candidates and will take the time necessary to complete the formal search process,” he said.

Workers’ comp

Premiums to go up if rate raise passes

Workers’ compensation premiums could rise an average 3.8 percent in 2006 if the state Department of Labor and Industries approves a rate increase later this year. The increases would bring in an additional $52 million next year. The 3.8 percent figure is an average; the actual rates will vary among employers and industries.

Washington is the only state where employees pay into the workers’ compensation system. If the increases are approved, workers will pay on average 13 cents an hour. The system covers 165,000 employers and 2 million workers.

Hearings are scheduled around the state during October. L&I Director Gary Weeks is expected to announce a decision on rates in mid-November. View the details at


Same-store sales higher in August

Starbucks said August same-store sales rose 7 percent.

Total sales increased 21 percent to $508 million for the four weeks ended Aug. 28, the Seattle-based coffee-shop chain said in a statement yesterday.

Starbucks, which has more than 9,500 stores, said U.S. monthly sales were boosted by its Tazo tea drink and the addition of salads and sandwiches.

The August sales news, released after the close of regular stock trading yesterday, pushed Starbucks stock up 2 cents to $49.05 in after-hours trading.

Metropolitan Mortgage

Hawaii property nets $16.7 million

Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities netted $16.7 million from the sale of some of its prime Hawaiian beachfront property, and the proceeds will go to thousands of creditors who invested in the financially troubled Spokane-based company.

The auction netted $4 million more than anticipated, CEO Maggie Lyons said. The lands are among the most valuable properties Metropolitan had left.

Met Mortgage, once a $2.7 billion financial conglomerate, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2004. The company and its affiliates owe an estimated $583 million, mostly to 16,000 small investors in the Northwest.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press