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Weekly news through April 7

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Weekly news through April 7

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

Risk and regulation

A meeting between Vice President Mike Pence and other top administration officials with a group of House Republicans ended without a consensus on a new bid to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, The Wall Street Journal reported.

However, Republicans added a new amendment to the American Health Care Act to create an "invisible risk-sharing program" aimed at helping states reduce premiums by reimbursing health insurers for high-cost individuals. Republicans added the amendment just before leaving for their two-week congressional spring recess.

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Insurance regulators are in preliminary discussions about crafting fiduciary-like annuity sales and advice standards at the state level, according to industry representatives and consumer advocates.

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President Donald Trump's plans for renegotiating NAFTA include preventing restrictions on financial services companies' digital trade, according to a draft letter by Stephen Vaughn, the acting U.S. Trade Representative.

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The California Assembly Health Committee approved a bill that would require insurance companies seeking to merge or acquire other health plans to obtain approval from the state's Department of Managed Health Care, Modern Healthcare reported.

Life and health

States with only one insurer offering ACA plans in 2017 may see that number fall to zero in 2018 if state legislatures cannot convince them to stay.

Aetna Inc. will pull out of the Iowa individual health insurance market under the ACA for 2018 because of "financial risk and an uncertain outlook for the marketplace," Bloomberg News reported.

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield earlier announced it will not sell or renew individual and family ACA plans in Iowa with a Jan. 1, 2018, effective date.

In Oregon, Zoom Health Plan Inc. intends to withdraw from the state's individual and small group insurance markets in 2018. The company will also submit a plan to wind down its insurance business, effective Dec. 31.

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Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he wouldn't veto legislation that allows the use of $542 million of state funds to subsidize insurance companies, Fox 9 reported. But the governor expressed concerns that the subsidy is being offered to insurance companies, despite their refusal to provide commitments that they will stay in the state's individual market in 2018 or reduce premiums.

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The Virginia state legislature blocked Gov. Terry McAuliffe's bid to expand the state's Medicaid program.

P&C

Favorable development of reserves for prior accident years declined significantly in calendar year 2016 on an absolute basis and relative to year-end 2015 policyholders' surplus as a number of insurers addressed adverse claims trends in the personal and commercial auto liability business lines.

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Catastrophe bond and insurance-linked securities issuance reached $2.76 billion during the first quarter, surpassing the 10-year average by about $1.4 billion.
according to Artemis.

Palomar Specialty Insurance Co. is sponsoring a $143 million cat bond, while United Services Automobile Association separately launched a $300 million cat bond.

Everest Re Group Ltd.'s Kilimanjaro II Re Ltd. series 2017-1 cat bond appears set to upsize to $950 million.

The pricing of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.-sponsored cat bond Pelican IV Re Ltd. series 2017-1 settled at 2.25%, the bottom end of the reduced coupon guidance of 2.25% to 2.75%.

State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co. completed a privately placed renewal of a $300 million cat bond deal to cover U.S. earthquake risks.

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Total economic and insured losses from severe convective thunderstorms that hit parts of central and southern U.S. between March 26 and March 30 are likely to exceed $1 billion, according to Aon Benfield's Impact Forecasting.

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