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Goldman selling Rothesay Life stake; Anthem to submit data breach response plan

A major deal has been announced this morning. Confirming an earlier report, funds managed or advised by Blackstone Group LP's Tactical Opportunities business, Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. agreed to acquire Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s entire shareholding in U.K.-based Rothesay Life Plc.

In more M&A news, Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc. agreed to acquire Narragansett Bay Insurance Co.'s parent company, NBIC Holdings Inc., for $250 million, subject to post-closing adjustments.

CF Corp. shareholders approved the company's pending acquisition of Fidelity & Guaranty Life for about $1.84 billion.

And a Reuters report identified the previously undisclosed buyer of select assets from the Beechwood family of reinsurance and asset management companies as Eli Global LLC unit Global Bankers Insurance Group. The Beechwood reinsurance companies were earlier said to be in talks to sell most or all of their operations as its relationship with Platinum Partners, the hedge fund manager facing multiple federal investigations, had dented the company's reputation.

A regulator exiting a closed-door meeting with Anthem Inc. executives told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the health insurer will have to explain to regulators how it will handle its most recent cybersecurity incident. Anthem on its website said July 24 that a third-party vendor, LaunchPoint Ventures LLC, discovered a privacy incident that affects approximately 18,580 Medicare members. The incident involved an employee likely involved in identity theft-related activities.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' effort to create a cybersecurity standard has passed a major hurdle as a key committee signed off on a draft model law. The Insurance Data Security Model Law must still be approved by a vote of the entire NAIC in a plenary session, but if it passes muster, it could become a state accreditation standard.

Turning to earnings, Baldwin & Lyons Inc., Ambac Financial Group Inc., Manulife Financial Corp., Sun Life Financial Inc., Athene Holding Ltd., Conifer Holdings Inc. and Echelon Financial Holdings Inc. are expected to release quarterly results today.

Click here to read a summary of earnings reported Aug. 8 by select insurance companies covered by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

In other news, New York-based rental insurance startup Jetty closed an $11.5 million series A round of financing, led by Valar Ventures. Original Jetty seed investors, including Ribbit Capital, SV Angel, BoxGroup and Red Swan, also participated in the latest funding round.

The Texas House has given initial approval to H.B. 214, a bill that would ban insurers from including general abortion coverage in private health plans, state-offered insurance and insurance acquired through the Affordable Care Act, unless there's a life threatening situation, the Austin American-Statesman reported. A final vote on the measure is expected today.

AmTrust Financial Services Inc. intends to sign a quota share agreement with third-party reinsurers in the third quarter to reduce volatility related to the personal lines segment of its Republic business, CFO Adam Karkowsky said during an earnings call.

W. R. Berkley Corp. board increased the company's share repurchase authorization back to its previous level of 10 million common shares.

And, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina's board of trustees elected Patrick Conway as the company's new president and CEO. Conway currently serves as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' deputy administrator for innovation and quality, and director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

Featured news

Trump's opioid vows; Novo Nordisk, Lundbeck report Q2 results: U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to fight the country's opioid epidemic by working together with healthcare and law enforcement experts; and Novo Nordisk reported second quarter net income of 9.95 billion Danish kroner.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: CBA full-year cash profit up 5%; Sumitomo Mitsui, Yahoo Japan to form fintech JV

Europe: Munich Re Q2 profit drops 25%; Vantiv, Worldpay reach deal; Ageas Q2 profit down

Middle East & Africa: Incumbent takes lead in Kenya election; Qatar Insurance unit to launch IPO

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.35% to 27,757.09, and the Nikkei 225 was down 1.29% to 19,738.71.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 had dropped 0.80% to 7,482.53, and the Euronext 100 had fallen 1.38% to 1,001.33.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report, the productivity and costs report, the wholesale trade report and the EIA petroleum status report are due out today.