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Ryan supports ACA payments to insurers; Minn. legislature OKs reinsurance bill

In the news

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said that President Donald Trump's administration should continue paying insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act's risk corridor program to prevent destabilization in the health insurance market, The Wall Street Journal reported. At the same time, House Republicans are likely to pursue their ACA subsidies lawsuit but it is not yet known how will they approach it, Ryan said.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also supported the payments to insurers saying stopping them could result in insurers dropping ACA plans midyear, Bloomberg News reported.

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Elsewhere, Jefferies analyst David Windley expects Anthem Inc. to significantly reduce its ACA individual market footprint in 2018 after a Republican effort to repeal the health law failed in the House. The insurer currently participates in 144 rating regions.

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The Minnesota House and Senate passed a $542 million reinsurance bill that will help stabilize the state's individual market by subsidizing insurance companies on high-cost claims, the (Minnesota) Star Tribune reported. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to announce his plans for the bill April 3.

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The pricing for Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.'s $100 million catastrophe bond Pelican IV Re Ltd. series 2017-1 has dropped below guidance due to strong investor demand, Artemis reported.

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Unico American Corp. reported fourth-quarter 2016 net income of $597,000, or 11 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $248,000, or 5 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Westaim Corp. also reported quarterly results.

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Global Indemnity Ltd. announced that underwriters for its offering of 7.875% subordinated notes due April 15, 2047, fully exercised their overallotment option.

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Insurance stocks took a breather after last week, when the sector tumbled amid news of healthcare reform, lawsuits and investigations. Sandler O'Neill analyst Paul Newsome pointed out that insurance stocks had relatively little news to trade on during the final week of the first quarter. The SNL Insurance Index inched higher by 0.90% to 887.59, and the S&P 500 finished 1.03% higher at 2,368.06.

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Navigators Group Inc. CFO Ciro DeFalco was named an executive vice president of the company.

Tim Prichard was named head of Wells Fargo & Co. unit Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc., effective April 3, Business Insurance reported.

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The average return of the insurance-linked securities fund market was 0.32% for February, Artemis reported, citing Eurekahedge ILS Advisers Index, which tracks 34 ILS funds. The "below average" return was attributed in part to some loss reserve adjustments in the previous month.

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Research from Accenture indicates that artificial intelligence and the internet of things account for nearly half of total investment in insurance technology startups globally. The report showed the two technologies accounted for 44%, or $711 million, of total insurtech investment in 2016, compared to just 10% of global insurtech investment in 2015.

Featured news

Biotech startups land superbug funding; Ryan supports ACA insurance payments: About a dozen biotechs landed $24 million in immediate funds to battle superbugs; and the Trump administration is likely to continue payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Ousted South Korean president arrested; YES Bank issues 49B rupees of shares

Europe: NBG, Alpha Bank swing to FY'16 profit; insurers face hit; JPMorgan eyes Dublin

Middle East & Africa: Gordhan sacked; seeking Chase Bank buyers; Hapoalim, Leumi results

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng dipped 0.78% to 24,111.59, and the Nikkei 225 declined 0.81% to 18,909.26.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.55% to 7,328.85, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.27% to 978.67.

On the macro front

The consumer sentiment report, the Chicago PMI, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count and the personal income and outlays report are due out today.