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Cat losses $71.5B, Willis says; Markel faces litigation; PG&E liability wipeout


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Cat losses $71.5B, Willis says; Markel faces litigation; PG&E liability wipeout

Insured losses from major natural catastrophes reached $71.5 billion in 2018, the third-highest total in the past eight years, reinsurance broker Willis Re said. The figure is somewhat lower than estimates from Swiss Re and Munich Re.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said total estimated insured losses from Hurricane Michael have reached approximately $5.02 billion as of Jan. 11. Willis Re estimated total Michael-related insured losses of between $6.0 billion and $10.75 billion.

Hanover Insurance Group Inc. estimated that catastrophe activity will impact its operating results in the fourth quarter of 2018 by about $50 million before taxes.

Several law firms have filed proposed class-action litigation on behalf of Markel Corp. shareholders alleging that the insurer made false statements and failed to disclose crucial information about its reserving practices.

The American International Group Inc. board elected Thomas Motamed as a director, effective Jan. 15. He retired as chairman and CEO of CNA Financial Corp. in 2016.

Tokyo-based MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. formed a business tie-up with U.S.-based CoverHound Insurance Solutions, a platform for comparing and purchasing insurance. The company plans to develop new insurance products available through the platform.

Also, ZhongAn Technologies International Group Ltd., a unit of China's ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co. Ltd., and Singapore-based Grab Holdings Inc. will form a JV to create a digital insurance marketplace in Southeast Asia.

PG&E Corp.'s pending bankruptcy filing will likely not forestall the total wipeout of its liability insurance tower, which amounts to a combined $2.2 billion for 2017 and 2018, against potential claims for wildfire damages of more than $30 billion, Artemis reported. The $1.4 billion of cover for 2018 includes a novel $200 million catastrophe bond, which is also likely to become a total loss.

A rise in the cost of retrocessional cover is likely to push up reinsurance costs later in the year, Artemis reported, citing Credit Suisse analysts. Reinsurance rate hikes in the low single digits could move into double digits as reinsurers seek to recoup the increased cost of retrocession from their insurance clients.

Greenlight Capital Re Ltd. is making an investment in Chicago-based managing general underwriter AccuRisk Solutions LLC.

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NY homeowners writer needs capital after error fix triggers 69% drop in surplus: The correction of an error related to the calculation of contingent commissions under a quota share treaty has cast doubt upon the future of a homeowners insurer focused on business in New York City and Long Island.

UnitedHealth's Optum surpasses $100B revenue mark for 1st time: UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann said the company expects continued growth from the Optum business, even after the loss of the Cigna book of business.

Bristol-Myers, Celgene deal under lens; high prices push hospital drug spending: Bristol-Myers Squibb's $74 billion takeover of Celgene has drawn scrutiny from two members of Congress; and hospital drug spending has increased by nearly 20% between fiscal years 2015 and 2017.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China denies delaying Mastercard, Visa entry; fund manager sells IOOF stake

Europe: UK lawmakers vote against Brexit deal; change of heart at Santander

Middle East & Africa: QNB FY'18 profit up YOY; Absa targets mortgage market; KFH mulls Malaysian exit

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng increased 0.27% to 26,902.10, while the Nikkei 225 decreased 0.55% to 20,442.75.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 decreased 0.51% to 6,859.68 and the Euronext 100 was up 0.03% to 934.88.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

On the macro front

The MBA Mortgage applications report, the Retail sales report, the Business inventories report, the Housing market index report, the EIA petroleum status report, the Beige book report, and the Treasury international capital report is due out today.

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