S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week.
Risk and regulation
The White House tried to put the spotlight back on President Donald Trump's healthcare and tax reform amid several other issues in Washington, including the testimony of former FBI director James Comey. While Senate Republican leaders are busy working on a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, Anthem Inc. said it will exit all but one county in the Ohio ACA exchange for 2018 because of challenges in the individual markets.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to keep insurers in the state's health insurance exchange, announcing that insurers that exit the ACA exchange cannot participate in any program related to the marketplace, including Medicaid, and cannot contract with the state. Health insurance companies in the state are seeking double-digit rate hikes for 2018 plans.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act despite oppositions from several state attorneys general. The bill would reduce the power and scope of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and strip the Financial Stability Oversight Council's authority to designate companies as systemically important financial institutions.
The U.S. Department of Justice is ending the practice of allowing parts of certain settlement commitments to be donated to third-party groups that are not involved with the case the settlement is related to.
Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jacqueline Cunningham and Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Hittner will step down from their respective posts.
Property and casualty
AmTrust Financial Services Inc. appointed Adam Karkowsky CFO, a move that could lead to greater transparency from the company as it works on gaining investors' trust after disclosing its accounting problems.
MBIA Inc. does not believe a ratings downgrade of National Public Finance Guarantee Corp. is warranted, the company said in a statement after S&P Global Ratings announced that MBIA, National Public Finance Guarantee and Build America Mutual Assurance Co. were placed on CreditWatch with negative implications.
Two of Assured Guaranty Ltd.'s bond insurance subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty Corp. and Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. challenged the legality of Puerto Rico's decision to divert special revenue bond collateral from the payment of bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority to other allegedly "unauthorized" uses.
Under a settlement with the California Department of Insurance, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. units California Insurance Co., Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Co. Inc. and Applied Underwriters Inc. have agreed to halt a practice of using "bait-and-switch" marketing tactics to sell a workers' compensation insurance product.
Total aggregated economic losses from U.S. severe weather in May could surpass $4 billion, according to the latest global catastrophe report from Aon Benfield's Impact Forecasting.
In Canada, an increase in major claims following catastrophes like the Fort McMurray, Alberta, fire and Quebec floods led to western regional carriers experiencing a 10-point year-over-year decline in customer satisfaction with the claims process, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Canadian Home Insurance Study.
Life and health
Time is running out for Genworth Financial Inc. and China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd. to close their deal by the stated midyear target, and the transaction still needs regulatory approvals. The companies have targeted the middle of 2017 for closing the deal.
Brighthouse Life Insurance Co.'s creditworthiness was questioned during a hearing that was part of the company's attempt to receive regulatory approval to spin off from MetLife Inc. In related news, MetLife Executive Vice President and General Counsel Ricardo Anzaldua, who played a role in the spinoff plan, plans to retire.
The aggregate dollar value of mortgage loans held by U.S. life insurers increased sequentially for the eighth consecutive quarter during the first three months of 2017, and some of that growth came from a commercial real estate property type that has been recently subjected to heightened scrutiny.
More companies with large financial obligations to retirees have been packaging slices of those liabilities to transfer them to others, according to Phil Waldeck, president of Prudential Financial Inc.'s retirement business.
Also featured on SNL
Democrats press for $24.6B National Flood Insurance Program debt forgiveness
GEICO had Georgia on its mind in Q1
Premiums written at Lloyd's US syndicates tick up in '16 despite headwinds
S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.