In the news
Anthem Inc. notified Cigna Corp. that it has elected to extend the termination date of their planned merger through and including April 30. Anthem said it requires additional time to consummate the pending deal regardless of the outcome of the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit blocking the transaction.
Specialty insurer OneBeacon Insurance Group Ltd. is considering a sale and has hired Credit Suisse to get offers from other insurances companies, Bloomberg News reported. That White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd. may be open to a sale of its 76.1% stake in OneBeacon should not come as a surprise, an S&P Global Market Intelligence report noted, since White Mountains Chairman and CEO and OneBeacon Director Raymond Barrette made it clear during a June 2015 investor day that he would not rule out a sale of the specialty insurer.
ProSight Specialty Insurance Group Inc., which was reportedly put on the block by its private equity owners, has started soliciting bids from potential buyers in advance of a formal auction, The Insurance Insider reported. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s private equity arm, GS Capital Partners LP, owns a 50.1% stake in ProSight, with the remaining being held by TPG Capital and its staff.
Goddard-Talmay Agency of Walled Lake, Mich., has merged with Lake Michigan Insurance Agency of Grand Rapids, Mich., effective Jan. 1.
The 30-day go shop period included in the terms of Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings AG's merger agreement with Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has expired. During the period, Allied World actively solicited 31 potentially interested parties, none of which executed a confidentiality agreement or expressed interest in pursuing a transaction. No other party proposed an alternative transaction.
Downward pressure on premium writings in select commercial lines of business in combination with escalating private-passenger auto loss ratios through the first three quarters of 2016 may lead to slightly higher full-year combined ratios for the U.S. property and casualty industry in the near term, revised S&P Global Market Intelligence projections show.
MGIC Investment Corp. reported fourth-quarter 2016 net income of $107.5 million, or 28 cents per share, slightly up from $102.4 million, or 24 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
CastlePoint National Insurance Co. continues to move closer to a proposed liquidation expected to begin in March, having paid out $210.1 million in claims since entering conservation on July 28, 2016. Attorneys for CastlePoint National conservator Dave Jones, according to materials dated Jan. 12 and disseminated to interested parties Jan. 17, said the dollar value of claims payments during the conservation process included a $44 million "backlog" that the company faced as of the conservation date.
Rep. Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, faced tough questions related to the Affordable Care Act during his Jan. 18 confirmation hearing, CBS News reported. The plan to repeal the ACA is not intended to pull "the rug out from anybody," Price said before the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Price is scheduled for another confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Jan. 24.
Sell-side analysts are not particularly upbeat on the fourth quarter of 2016 for many of the largest property and casualty and multiline insurers, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence report. With a few exceptions, analysts are forecasting lower year-over-year operating earnings per share for the 10 largest U.S.-exchange-traded P&C and multiline insurers by market cap.
Novartis CEO discusses Roche stake; Switzerland's Galenica looks at split: Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez spoke about the company's stake in rival Roche while on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and compatriot Galenica is looking at listing a spinoff on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
Financial news in other parts of the world
Asia-Pacific: Singapore convicts former traders; South Korea eyes currency swap extension
Europe: Credit Suisse settles with US, warns on Q4; London set for financial exodus
Middle East & Africa: National Commercial Bank posts Q4'16 results; Mozambique downgraded
Latin America: Zurich Brasil merges insurance segments; S&P affirms Colombia
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.21% to 23,049.96, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.94% to 19,072.25.
In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.48% to 7,212.65, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.02% to 933.71.
On the macro front
The housing starts report, the jobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report, the EIA petroleum status report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.