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Weekly news through Dec. 23

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Weekly news through Dec. 23

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week.

Risk & Regulation

In the final weeks of 2016, many in the U.S. are pinning their hopes on the forging of an insurance and reinsurance trade rules agreement between the EU and the U.S. that will put an end to a cluster of new rules that could be expensive and burdensome.

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The New York State Department of Financial Services will introduce a revised version of its cybersecurity rules for banks and insurers doing business in the state, Reuters reported.

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Federal health officials decided not to move forward with a proposed rule to cut spending on prescription drugs after stakeholders raised concerns that it could put patients' access to important medications at risk, The New York Times reported.

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The National Association of Insurance Commissioners elected Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel as its president for 2017. Nickel is succeeding Missouri Insurance Director John Huff, who served as president of the organization in 2016.

P&C

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. will acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares of Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings AG for about $4.9 billion in cash and stock.

One of the factors that brightens the outlook of the proposed deal is the potential for an improved economic and regulatory environment in the U.S. with Donald Trump as president and Republicans in control of Congress, Fairfax Chairman and CEO Prem Watsa said. Allied World generates a substantial amount of premium from large customers in the U.S.

Following the deal announcement, Fitch Ratings, Moody's and S&P Global Ratings each acted on the ratings of Allied World and its units.

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Ongoing struggles in the auto insurance business, in combination with higher catastrophe losses, made for a sharp year-over-year decline in the underwriting profitability of the U.S. property and casualty industry during the third quarter.

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XL Catlin is planning to expand the capacity of its Galilei Re catastrophe bonds, Galilei Re Ltd. series 2016-1 and Galilei Re Ltd. series 2017-1, to approximately $1.28 billion, Artemis reported. XL Catlin is the global brand used by XL Group Ltd.'s insurance and reinsurance companies.

Life and health

Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. extended the end date of their pending merger by agreeing to waive their rights to terminate the merger agreement until 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 15, 2017.

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Government witnesses testified that Anthem Inc.'s planned acquisition of Cigna Corp. would reduce competition and harm healthcare providers and patients, Bloomberg News reported.

Also featured on SNL

Homeowners insurance premium growth slows YOY in Q3

Allied World rides momentum of $4.9B Fairfax deal to 52-week high

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