NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of specialty insurance company Assurant ( AIZ - Get Report) were plunging more than 10% on Wednesday, following a report that the company has been engaged in bad business practices regarding homeowners' insurance.

In recent trading, Assurant was down 10.6% at $35.88, up from an earlier intraday low of $33.43. The company was the subject of an article in American Banker which focused on its use of "force-placed" insurance. The article pointed to an instance in which Assurant had paid a lucrative kickback to a bank for allowing insurance to lapse with a competitor then give the policy to Assurant. It raised questions about cooperation between insurers and mortgage servicers that offer lucrative benefits to the companies while taking advantage of borrowers.

Elsewhere in the financial services industry, BlackRock ( BLK - Get Report) was trading 2.4% higher at $168.42 as Bank of America ( BAC - Get Report) continued to unload its stake in the money-management firm.

BofA stock was up 1% at $12.39, the fourth consecutive day of trading above the $12 mark. Though Bank of America had been hard hit in recent weeks due to its exposure to mortgage putback and litigation risk, confidence appears to have resumed. Directors have bought 65,000 shares recently and short interest had dropped dramatically by the end of October.

Adding to bullishness on big banks were signs that some of the harsher measures in the Dodd-Frank reform legislation may be eased. At the G-20 conference in Seoul, foreign governments are still debating the resolution of "too big to fail" entities and capital rules sketched out by the Basel Committee. Additionally, Republicans in the U.S. Congress have promised to try to repeal the bill entirely. While that's unlikely to happen, lawmakers may be urged to push through revisions to soften Dodd-Frank.

Another positive sign for financial shares was another weekly drop in unemployment applications. Recent federal data have shown that the job market, while still in bad shape, seems to be making some progress in repairing itself.

The KBW Bank Index was up 0.3% at 47.60 by Wednesday afternoon, moving the opposite direction of broader market indexes.

The top five gainers were Citigroup ( C - Get Report), which was up 1.9% at $4.38; M&T Bank ( MTB - Get Report), up 1.3% at $81.35; Bank of America; Zions ( ZION - Get Report), which was up 1.1% at $21.58; and Capital One ( COF - Get Report), which was up 1% at $39.12. The bottom five losers were SunTrust ( STI - Get Report), down 2% at $25.52; Marshall & Ilsley ( MI), down 1.5% at $5.51; The Bank of New York Mellon ( BK - Get Report), down 1.2% at $27.43; Comerica ( CMA - Get Report), down 0.7% at $37.72; and KeyCorp ( KEY - Get Report), which was tracking 0.5% lower at $8.20.

-- Written by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York.

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