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McConnell mulls bipartisan plan to pay insurers; Berkshire's underwriting loss


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McConnell mulls bipartisan plan to pay insurers; Berkshire's underwriting loss

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Saturday said he is willing to consider a bipartisan approach to continue cost-sharing reduction payments under the Affordable Care Act and prevent the destabilization of individual markets, according to The Associated Press.

Health insurers could cut their costs for providing nonemergency transportation for patients by using ride-sharing services. Anthem Inc. unit CareMore Health System saved more than $1 million by working with Lyft to provide consumers transportation, according to a CNBC report.

Insurance companies are automating the auto or home insurance claims process by using drones, photo-taking apps and artificial intelligence, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In ratings actions, Moody's downgraded Molina Healthcare Inc. over poor financial results in the second quarter and its company-wide restructuring.

Security National Financial Corp. declared financial statements for the years ended Dec. 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016 unreliable due to errors identified by the company's management.

In earnings news, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has reported lower second-quarter operating earnings and net earnings attributable to shareholders year over year. The company posted an insurance underwriting loss of $22 million, compared to income of $337 million in the year-ago period.

GEICO Corp.'s growth rate in premiums written continued to rise during the second quarter as the company benefited from a sharp increase in new business.

To read a summary of earnings reported Aug. 4 by select insurance companies covered by S&P Global Market Intelligence, click here.

On earnings calls, health insurance companies discussed growth opportunities. Cigna Corp. CEO, President and Director David Cordani said the company is looking to expand its Medicare Advantage portfolio footprint in 2018. WellCare Health Plans Inc. CEO Kenneth Burdick said his company is not likely to embrace the individual health insurance exchange marketplace anytime soon and is not straying from its current focus on growing its existing Medicaid and Medicare businesses.

In the insurance-linked securities market, the catastrophe bond issuance reached $6.38 billion in the second quarter of 2017, exceeding the previous $4.49 billion quarterly record set in 2014, according to a report by industry observer Aon Benfield.

In accounting developments, Fidelity National Financial Inc.'s audit committee approved the dismissal of KPMG LLP as its auditing firm. Ernst & Young LLP is the company's new public accounting firm for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31.

Featured news

McConnell on insurer payments; Gilead, GSK considering United Therapeutics buy: Gilead Sciences Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline plc are among suitors weighing bids for biotechnology company United Therapeutics Corp., the Evening Standard reported, citing anonymous sources. According to the sources, United could be worth as much as $200 per share in a sale, making the purchase price around $8.7 billion.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Mirae Asset Life merger gets nod; ex-China Development Bank exec imprisoned

Europe: UBI Banca swings to profit; Banco BPM sells unit; Goldman to sell Rothesay stake

Middle East & Africa: QNB weighing funding options; S&P changes Israel outlook, cuts DR Congo

The day ahead

Argo Group International Holdings Ltd., Atlas Financial Holdings Inc., Federated National Holding Co., National General Holdings Corp. and ProAssurance Corp. are also expected to report quarterly results today.

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.46% to 27690.36. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.52% to 20,055.89.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.14% to 7,522.26, and the Euronext 100 slid 0.04% to 1,011.71.

On the macro front

Gallup US consumer spending measure, the labor market conditions Index, the TD Ameritrade IMX and the consumer credit report are due out today.