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Insurers eyeing cover for driverless cars; insurance M&A to accelerate globally

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Insurers eyeing cover for driverless cars; insurance M&A to accelerate globally

Auto insurers are following with interest an ongoing investigation of a recent pedestrian fatality involving an Uber self-driving car, according to The Wall Street Journal, as driverless technology is expected to take hold and upend the property and casualty insurance industry. As control of vehicles gradually moves from humans to computers, damage liability may shift from the driver to the providers of such vehicles. P&C insurers are engaged with developers of such autonomous vehicles to design policies and price the risk of the vehicles, according to the report.

Health insurers initially struggled to price plans precisely and some opted out of the health exchanges following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but those that remained have largely adjusted to the new business environment, the White House is expected to say in a report to be released today by the Council of Economic Advisers, The Wall Street Journal reported. Citing stock price movements, the White House report noted that the financial health of the insurers has improved in the four years of the enactment of the ACA's main provisions.

M&A activity among global insurance companies is expected to accelerate, according to an Ernst & Young report, as a number of major insurers are looking to simplify and streamline their businesses.

Capsicum Re will serve as a reinsurance broker for Arch Capital Group Ltd.'s new mortgage credit risk transfer program with Freddie Mac, The Insurance Insider reported, citing the company. Freddie Mac's pilot, known as Integrated Mortgage Insurance, or IMAGIN, launched March 1 and will target roughly $2.5 billion worth of mortgages by unpaid principal balance.

Officials in Idaho are hoping to offer state-based health plans, which do not comply with the coverage requirements of the ACA, to state consumers by the end of April, if they are able to come to reach an agreement with the federal government by then, the (Twin Falls, Idaho) Times-News reported.

Progressive Corp.'s rate of growth in private auto direct premiums written in 2017 narrowly topped that of rival GEICO Corp. for the first time in 14 years, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence report.

Featured news

Bayer/Monsanto megamerger nabs EU approval; China to cut tariffs on cancer drugs: Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, has been waiting for Congress to pass its omnibus spending bill to start up his public-private partnership aimed at accelerating the development of nonaddictive alternatives to opioids and better overdose-reversal agents.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Chinese P2P lender prices US IPO; Sony Life hits roadblocks in Australian deal

Europe: Lloyd's of London, Alpha Bank post losses; Axa ups stake in German insurer

Middle East & Africa: Ghana's uniBank placed in administration; FAB gets nod for Saudi commercial biz

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.43% to 31,414.52, and the Nikkei 225 was down 0.47% to 21,380.97.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.37% to 7,034.84, and the Euronext 100 had fallen 0.01% to 1,024.89.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report, the current account report, the existing home sales report, the EIA petroleum status report, the FOMC meeting announcement and the FOMC Forecasts are due out today.

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