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Genworth layoffs; Argo-shareholder tussle; plane crash payout


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Genworth layoffs; Argo-shareholder tussle; plane crash payout

Genworth Financial Inc. will temporarily suspend its sales of individual long-term care insurance policies, as well as income assurance annuity, through its brokerage general agency channel, effective March 11. About 80 employees will be impacted by the decision, a spokesperson said. Staff layoffs have been confirmed by other sources as well. Shares in the company fell more than 4% in Friday trading.

Separately, General Electric Co. said reserves are "well-supported" for its GE Capital Global Holdings LLC insurance portfolio, and it will continue pursuing premium rate hikes and realigning investments to boost returns. GE has obtained approval for more than $500 million in premium increases and is seeking $1.2 billion in additional increases to help cover the rising cost of long-term care insurance policies.

Activist shareholder Voce Capital Management LLC nominated five independent directors to Argo Group International Holdings Ltd.'s board, saying the company has "failed to meaningfully address" allegations that its CEO misused corporate funds. Argo Group responded by accusing Voce of engaging in "misleading attacks" and saying Voce was making claims "designed to grab attention" but was not doing anything to "build shareholder value."

Transatlantic Holdings Inc. increased the size of the Bowline Re Ltd. (Series 2019-1) catastrophe bond that it will issue to $250 million from $200 million, Artemis reported.

The hull of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner that crashed on Sunday was insured for between $50 million and $60 million, The Insurance Insider reported. Chubb Ltd. is reportedly the lead insurer for the airline's aviation all-risks policy, which sources said could also give rise to a liability payout of between $30 million and $40 million.

China Reinsurance (Group) Corp. launched a Lloyd's of London consortium focused on offshore wind farm risk. Syndicate 2088 manages and co-leads the consortium along with Syndicate 4444 and Syndicate 5000

Shares of People's Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd. are likely to experience a long slide on increased competition and slower premium growth, Bloomberg News reported, citing analysts. The price of the stock more than doubled over 10 trading days from Feb. 22.

Life Insurance Corp. of India and IDBI Bank Ltd. are looking into possible synergies, with growing the sale of insurance policies in bank branches a short-term priority, Bloomberg News reported. The companies are also mulling a common investment strategy in the long term.

Italy's Società Cattolica di Assicurazione -Società Cooperativa reported consolidated profit pertaining to the group of €107 million in 2018, up from €41 million in the prior year.

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Nixing gender in car insurance pricing may not lead to more equitable rates: California became the latest state to ban gender as a rating factor for pricing auto insurance policies. Multiple analyses show that driving experience, rather than gender alone, tends to be a better rate equalizer between men and women.

Berkshire ups $40.1B retroactive reinsurance business with Down Under deal: Berkshire Hathaway's National Indemnity commuted one retroactive reinsurance agreement of significance and added a new one during 2018. AIG remains National Indemnity's largest cedant under agreements accounted for as retroactive reinsurance.

Shares of struggling Atlas, Maiden plunge; Aon, Willis swing amid merger reports: The S&P 500 fell 2.16% to 2,743.06, while the SNL U.S. Insurance Index lost 2.65% to close at 1,007.11.

US health department to divert HIV funds; Roche test gets nod in breast cancer: The U.S. Health and Human Services department is shifting millions of dollars away from programs that address HIV/AIDS; and Roche's Ventana assay received U.S. approval to identify breast cancer patients that could receive a Tecentriq combo.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China may let shadow banks resume ops; Westpac, CBA face customer complaints

Europe: OneSavings, Charter Court in merger talks; UBS, StanChart to settle HK IPO case

Middle East & Africa: Isracard IPO gains steam; no tax hike in Saudi Arabia; Amen Bank gets new chair

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.97% to 28,503.30. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.47% to 21,125.09.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.75% to 7,157.46 and the Euronext 100 was up 0.28% to 1,016.53.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

On the macro front

The retail sales and the business inventories reports are due out today.

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