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Weekly news: MetLife vows to correct annuity payment issues; Aetna under probe

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Weekly news: MetLife vows to correct annuity payment issues; Aetna under probe

Risk and regulation

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is seeking to facilitate a market-based solution to the problems facing long-term care insurance, according to Idaho Insurance Director Dean Cameron.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation levied a fine of $140,000 on Health Insurance Innovations Inc. unit Health Plan Intermediaries Holdings LLC for operating as an insurance administrator in the state before applying for a license to do so.

Life and health

Anthem Inc. completed the purchase of America's 1st Choice, a privately held and for-profit Medicare Advantage organization that offers health maintenance organization products in Florida.

Daniel Fishbein, president of Sun Life Financial Inc.'s U.S. segment, said insurers offering group plans are more likely to use benefits from tax reform to fulfill their margin targets before passing savings onto consumers.

CNO Financial Group Inc. faces a drop in its risk-based capital ratio if certain regulatory changes are enacted in 2018, company executives explained during an earnings call.

MetLife Inc. President and CEO Steven Kandarian pledged to take actions against those who were responsible for the insurer's failure to send pension payments to thousands of retirees. In addition, MetLife unit Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.'s management determined that the company has a material weakness in internal controls over financial reporting due to the same control deficiencies that its parent disclosed.

Brighthouse Financial Inc. padded its reserves by $38 million after taxes in the fourth quarter of 2017 in connection with MetLife's missing annuitants, Brighthouse President and CEO Eric Steigerwalt said.

The U.S. government can proceed with the lawsuit alleging that UnitedHealth Group Inc. defrauded the Medicare program by submitting false information about patient conditions to collect higher payments, according to a ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald.

Molina Healthcare Inc. plans to operate its 2018 contracts in Florida and New Mexico while it works to secure the lost 2019 contracts through appeals and other means. In the early weeks of 2018, New Mexico's Human Services Department rejected Molina's proposed contract for 2019 and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration downsized the company's 2019 contract to one region from the current eight.

Aetna Inc. faces potential investigations by regulators in Connecticut and California over its practice of approving and denying claims after Dr. Jay Ken Iinuma, a former medical director for Aetna, testified that he never looked at patients' records while processing medical claims. Iinuma's testimony was reported by CNN.

Property and casualty

Allianz Group CFO Giulio Terzariol declined to comment on a recent rumor that the German insurance group was interested in buying XL Group Ltd, but said "P&C is at the top" with regards to acquisitions from a strategic perspective. During a call to discuss earnings, Terzariol said there could be opportunities in the U.S.

AXA Equitable Holdings Inc. added Citigroup Global Markets Inc. to its roster of underwriters for its IPO.

Kemper Corp. agreed to acquire Infinity Property & Casualty Corp. in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at approximately $1.4 billion, or $129 per share. The companies also disclosed $49.6 million of termination fees related to the deal.

A group of creditors holding "a substantial portion" of Puerto Rico's outstanding debt criticized the commonwealth's fiscal plan, saying it fails to provide a credible basis on which to restructure the commonwealth's debt. The creditors include insurers Ambac Financial Group Inc., Assured Guaranty Ltd., National Public Finance Guarantee Corp., and Syncora Holdings Ltd.

WMIH Corp. struck a deal for Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. under which Nationstar shareholders will receive $1.2 billion in cash and WMIH shares worth approximately $702 million. Nationstar Chairman, President and CEO Jay Bray said the transaction comes at a time when the industry is experiencing more tailwinds than it has felt in awhile. WMIH is the direct parent of WM Mortgage Reinsurance Co. Inc. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2012 as the successor to Washington Mutual Inc. The acquisition announcement came a month past the original deadline that WMIH set to repay investors with an acquisition or stock conversion, and a month later than some large investors were willing to wait.

Ambac Financial Group completed Ambac Assurance Corp. Segregated Account's rehabilitation.

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