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Weekly news through Feb. 3

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Weekly news through Feb. 3

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

Risk & Regulation

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies is calling for legislative action to abolish the Federal Insurance Office, a relatively new part of the U.S. Treasury Department.


Emphasizing the need to prioritize America's interests, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen claiming that it is "unacceptable" that the Fed continues to negotiate over international regulatory standards. McHenry, who is also the vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, ripped the Fed for its participation on the Financial Stability Board, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors.

The move could raise concerns about the Fed's independence and potentially halt the development of international regulations.


House Republicans introduced several healthcare bills that would revise coverage terms for some people who enroll in public exchanges as the GOP leadership considers ways to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., warned that millions of Americans could be left without healthcare insurance if Congress fails to take action within the next two months to stabilize the ACA's individual marketplace.


Following a Democratic boycott of the Senate Finance Committee's vote on President Donald Trump's nominees to lead the Treasury and Department of Health and Human Services, Republicans pushed through nominations of Steven Mnuchin and Tom Price by suspending committee rules requiring a member of the opposition to be in the room.


Some insurance industry representatives continue to protest revised cybersecurity requirements for financial services companies proposed by the New York Department of Financial Services.

Life and health

Anthem Inc. is lobbying the new administration and Congress to push for several changes to health insurance regulation, which are needed for the sustainability of health insurance exchanges, Chairman, President and CEO Joseph Swedish said during an earnings conference call.

Swedish described Anthem's extension of the deadline to complete its merger with Cigna Corp. as "a unilateral determination" after Cigna said that it will evaluate its options once a judge rules on the deal.

In a separate earnings call, Cigna President and CEO David Cordani expressed that the individual insurance marketplace is "fragile at best" and added that the insurer will wait to see what steps the new administration will take to change the healthcare law before it determines the extent of its own participation in health insurance exchanges in 2018.


Aetna Inc. is still reviewing its options in response to a trial court's ruling that blocked the company's planned acquisition of Humana Inc., according to Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini. Speaking during an earnings call, Bertolini said he wants to see "a significant shift" in healthcare policy, saying the ACA failed to bring down insurance costs and improve access to customers.


It could take until 2018 for the financial benefits of higher interest rates to outweigh their negative effects on MetLife Inc.'s derivatives book, according to company executives speaking during a conference call to discuss the quarter.


A perceived rise in adverse development covers around the property and casualty industry has not gone unnoticed by Chubb Ltd. Chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg, who said during an earnings call that he has no interest in participating in those transactions as either a buyer or seller.


Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. President and CEO Daniel Glaser views the operating environment in 2017 as being "broadly similar to last year" as he projected consolidated underlying revenue growth to remain between 3% and 5%.


Allstate Corp. intends to focus on growth now that it has more or less curbed the impact of the heightened frequency that its auto insurance business experienced over the previous months, executives said during an earnings call.


Buyers of insurance-linked securities — including capital market instruments such as catastrophe bonds — are holding firm in the face of cedents' demands for lower yields and more generous terms, according to industry insiders.

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