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Regulator to review Prudential's SIFI tag; NJ lawmakers seek insurance mandate

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Regulator to review Prudential's SIFI tag; NJ lawmakers seek insurance mandate

The U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council plans to hold a meeting next week to discuss "the annual reevaluation of the designation of a nonbank financial company," according to the council's website. While FSOC did not identify the company, Prudential Financial Inc. confirmed in a statement that its status as a systemically important financial institution would be up for a review on Feb. 21, Reuters reported. Despite next week's meeting, Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Brian Gardner expects a decision on Prudential's SIFI tag to come only later in 2018, according to the report.

The New Jersey Senate Commerce Committee narrowly approved a bill aimed at restoring the Affordable Care Act's individual insurance mandate in the state, which will require residents to have health insurance or pay a penalty, NJ Spotlight reported. The committee also passed another measure that requires the state Department of Banking and Insurance to seek federal permission before establishing a healthcare reinsurance fund, according to the report.

Elsewhere, on the second day of his Capitol Hill budget road show, several House and Senate Democratic members questioned Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar about what he was doing to stop Idaho from letting insurers sell health plans that violate the ACA. Azar said he viewed the Idaho situation as a "cry for help" and added that if Idaho submitted a waiver request to HHS, the application would undergo "great deliberation, caution and care" in its assessment.

Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, met House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., to discuss an effort to include measures to stabilize the ACA market in the long-term government funding bill due in March, The Hill reported. Walden is reportedly trying to reconcile the differences between a Collins-backed bill in the Senate and another measure from Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., which seeks to stabilize ACA markets and lower premiums by providing reinsurance funding.

Catalina's planned deal to acquire a $166 million legacy book of mostly workers' compensation liabilities held by Illinois-based Public Service Insurance Co. was terminated, The Insurance Insider reported, citing court papers.

Navigators Group Inc.'s board declared a quarterly cash dividend of 7 cents per share, up from the previous quarterly dividend of 6 cents per share.

Many insurance stocks recovered value alongside the broader markets in the week ending Feb. 15 after the selloff during the previous week, even as several of the largest underwriters posted mixed results in their quarterly earnings reports. The SNL Insurance Index rose 4.37% for the week to 1,038.12, and the S&P 500 jumped 5.82% to 2,731.20.

Click here to read a summary of earnings reported Feb. 15 by select insurance companies covered by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Featured news

Roche to buy Alphabet-backed Flatiron; US healthcare market ripe for disruption: The healthcare market in the U.S., which spent $3.3 trillion in 2016 on medical products and services, is ripe for disruption from a new entrant — especially Amazon.com Inc. — due to steep costs, growing consumerism, lack of transparency as well as strong regulatory oversight, S&P Global Ratings said in a report.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Europe: Allianz Q4'17 profit falls 22.3% YOY; AXA eyes Q2 for partial IPO of US biz

Middle East & Africa: Iran moves to stem rial slide; Ethiopia PM resigns; Egypt central bank rates cut

Latin America: S&P cuts ratings on Venezuelan bonds; Seguros Bolivar, Bupa ink agreement

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 1.97% to 31,115.43, and the Nikkei 225 was up 1.19% to 21,720.25.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 had risen 0.56% to 7,275.10, and the Euronext 100 had climbed 0.88% to 1,108.42.

On the macro front

The housing starts report, the import and export prices report, the consumer sentiment report, the e-commercial retail sales report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.