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Weekly news through Aug. 4


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Weekly news through Aug. 4

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week.

Risk and regulation

Taking a cue from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who demanded that Congress find a bipartisan solution to fixing the U.S. healthcare system, 43 Republican and Democratic House members unveiled a five-point plan aimed at tweaking and shoring up, rather than dismantling, the Affordable Care Act. Earlier, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the administration was considering following through with President Donald Trump's January executive order to waive the individual mandate under the ACA.


The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit put the legal case over MetLife Inc.'s designation as a systemically important financial institution in abeyance until further court order.


The New York Department of Financial Services subpoenaed two units of Wells Fargo & Co. — Wells Fargo Bank NA and Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc. — over the sale of auto insurance to customers who did not need policies, Reuters reported. State insurance regulators have been working for months to figure out how to track lender-placed insurance, the policies at the center of Wells Fargo's most recent scandal, and will soon consider adopting a new program to aid in that effort.


The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts ordered the rehabilitation and conservation of assets of Minuteman Health Inc. and named state Acting Commissioner of Insurance Gary Anderson receiver.

A Maryland judge signed an order placing Evergreen Health Inc. into receivership.

Conference call roundup

American International Group Inc.'s President and CEO Brian Duperreault warned that commercial insurance written premiums could fall further as the company continues to trim business that does not meet profit hurdles even as he highlighted a broader mission to pursue profitable growth.

The withdrawal of one of Assured Guaranty Ltd.'s two primary competitors in the bond insurance market does not drastically change the competitive landscape, the company's top executive said.

With its auto insurance rates largely stabilizing, Allstate Corp. executives said the company is in a sweet spot as most of its competitors either have "large indications" or are still boosting rates.

Uncertainty about the final outcome of the Department of Labor's Conflict of Interest Rule continues to impact sales of annuities, according to Prudential Financial Inc. executives.

Aetna Inc. submitted bids with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in June to help it grow its share of the Medicare population. Cigna Corp. is looking to expand its Medicare Advantage portfolio footprint in 2018. And WellCare Health Plans Inc. CEO Kenneth Burdick expects Medicare Advantage to present growth opportunities for the entire industry.

Humana Inc. has "overcome" the health insurance fee that it previously projected would hurt long-term EPS growth, CEO and President Bruce Broussard noted.

MetLife will remain "vigilant" in fixing or exiting businesses that do not create value, according to Chairman, President and CEO Steven Kandarian.

Life and health

All 11 health insurance companies in Covered California this year will stay on for 2018, but their proposed rates average a weighted increase of 12.5%. Meanwhile, Anthem Inc. is withdrawing its participation from 16 out of 19 pricing regions for California's Affordable Care Act market.

Five Ohio health insurers plan to offer plans on the state's federal exchange in 19 counties that would have been without an insurer in 2018.


A number of companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Inc. and Centene's Ambetter from Health Net, have requested rate hikes for 2018 plans.

Health insurers are proposing average rate increases of up to 43% for individual plans sold through the Affordable Care Act health exchange in Illinois in 2018. Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska is requesting an average rate decrease of 21.6% for individual ACA health plans.

In Minnesota, health insurers filed proposed rates for individual health plans to be offered through the state's exchange, MNsure, in 2018.


Under the terms of an agreement, Athene Holding Ltd.'s insurance subsidiaries will reinsure traditional fixed and fixed indexed annuities sold by Lincoln Financial Group.


Molina Healthcare Inc. is planning to close the Midwest Health Center P.C. in Dearborn, Mich., as part of a national pullout from primary care.


Kevin Counihan, who had been CEO until January, joined Centene Corp.


MetLife Inc. will receive about $3.0 billion in assets from Brighthouse Financial Inc in connection with the latter's spinoff, resulting in a cash payment of about $1.8 billion.

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