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UK's Equitable Life selling; Fla. Irma losses near $10B

London-based Life Co. Consolidation Group agreed to acquire Equitable Life Assurance Society, the oldest mutual life assurance company in the U.K., for what the Financial Times reported is a deal value of £1.8 billion.

Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the emirate's sovereign wealth fund, is reportedly in exclusive talks to acquire J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC's 21.4% stake in U.K.-based pension buyout firm Pension Insurance Corp. Plc.

Across the Atlantic, the New York State Office of the Attorney General approved Centene Corp.'s pending $3.75 billion acquisition of Fidelis Care, the name New York State Catholic Health Plan Inc. uses to do business.

Czech investment company Arca Capital will seek an appraisal of its AmTrust Financial Services Inc. shares through the Delaware Court of Chancery to determine the fair value of the company should its go-private transaction be approved at the June 21 special meeting. It urged shareholders to vote against the sweetened deal.

But although AmTrust investor Short Hills Capital does not consider the enhanced offer to be fair, Managing Partner Stephen Weiss told The Insurance Insider that it would still be profitable for his company. Because of a new provision in the deal terms, Short Hills will not seek an appraisal in respect of its stake in the New York-based workers' comp insurer, fearing that to do so would risk killing the deal entirely.

A European affiliate of North Carolina-based Global Bankers Insurance Group LLC agreed to acquire Milan-based Pramerica Life SpA from Prudential International Investments Corp., a unit of Prudential Financial Inc.

Hurricane Irma insured losses in Florida are nearing the $10 billion mark. According to data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, 978,767 claims had been filed as of June 12, with residential property making up the bulk. Insured losses stood at $9.70 billion as of June 12.

A federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. government does not owe health insurers billions of dollars in payments from an Affordable Care Act provision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a 2-1 decision ruled against Moda Health Plan Inc. and Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Co. which represented dozens of other companies that sought to recover $12 billion from the ACA risk corridor program.

W. Robert Berkley Jr., president and CEO of W. R. Berkley Corp., told S&P Global Market Intelligence that foreign insurers operating in the U.S. will likely have to alter their business models to remain competitive given the passage of U.S. tax reforms.

Featured news

Roche leukemia drug extends lives; generic opioid dependence drug gets FDA nod: Roche said Gazyva extended the lives of people with a type of blood cancer better than the company's MabThera under a phase 3 study; and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first generic version of Indivior's opioid dependence drug.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: India to cut stake in IDBI Bank; former chief of Chinese regulator admits guilt

Europe: ECB to halt QE after December; Deutsche Bank off-loads $1B ship loans

Middle East and Africa: Qatar's 3-way bank merger talks collapse; Kenya to repeal interest rate cap

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.43% to 30,309.49, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.50% to 22,851.75.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.75% to 7,707.44, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.15% to 1,076.62.

On the macro front

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the industrial production report, the consumer sentiment report, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count and the Treasury International Capital report are due out today.

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