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MetLife under probe over unpaid pensions; Validus' cat bond grows to $400M

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MetLife under probe over unpaid pensions; Validus' cat bond grows to $400M

Regulators in Massachusetts and New York have opened a probe into MetLife Inc. for its alleged failure to pay pensions to potentially thousands of people, Reuters reported, citing statements from Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvi and New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo. MetLife earlier disclosed in a regulatory filing that it was not making payments to about 5% of its total group annuitant population since it could not locate the beneficiaries. Vullo told Reuters that the department was aware of the issue even before the insurer disclosed it and that the regulator would work with the insurer to resolve it.

Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, said they would support the final Republican tax bill, which contains a repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, making it more likely to pass in the Senate, Business Insider reported. Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who earlier voted against the bill, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have also expressed their support for the plan. The House reportedly plans to vote on the legislation today, and subsequently the Senate intends to approve it later today or tomorrow.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is suing rival insurance broker Alliant for allegedly poaching the former's Boston-based renewable energy risk broker Charles Long and luring a dozen clients using nonpublic information that Long had access to, The Insurance Insider reported. Arthur J. Gallagher claims to have lost nearly $1 million in business, according to the report.

Validus Holdings Ltd.'s Tailwind Re Ltd. series 2017-1 catastrophe bond has upsized by 23% to $400 million from the initial size of $325 million, Artemis reported. Meanwhile, pricing on cat bond tranches have reduced, according to the report.

The U.S. property and casualty industry is likely to produce its highest net loss and combined ratios in the homeowners line since 2011 thanks in large measure to hurricanes and wildfires, according to a new S&P Global Market Intelligence report.

An Amtrak train that derailed in Washington on Dec. 18 while traveling for the first time on a new service route has a liability cap of $294.3 million, Business Insurance reported, citing the U.S. Department of Transportation. While the publication could not immediately reach Amtrak for comments on its latest insurance coverage, it noted that a May 2015 derailment of the railroad's train included American International Group Inc., Zurich Insurance Co., Swiss Re Ltd., W. R. Berkley Corp. and Amtrak's Bermuda captive Passenger Railroad Insurance Ltd. as Amtrak's insurers.

In deal-related news, NFP Corp. acquired Ontario-based P&C insurance broker Dalton Timmis Insurance Group Inc.

Enstar Group Ltd. is set to secure a deal to acquire Lloyd's of London insurer Neon's £410 million legacy book, The Insurance Insider reported.

Featured news

Further protests at Teva; GSK ups stake in Saudi unit: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a new, risk-based enforcement approach to homeopathic treatments that have not proven to offer clinical benefits. The FDA's proposed approach prioritizes enforcement and regulatory actions involving unapproved drug products labeled as homeopathic that have the greatest potential to cause risk to patients.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: HK fines StanChart unit; AMP Capital to buy stake in US investment manager

Europe: Old Mutual agrees to sell unit; MPS gets new chair; Bankia eyes 2,500 job cuts

Middle East & Africa: South Africa's ANC picks new leader; National Bank of Kuwait plots expansion

Latin America: Bladex names new CEO, CFO; Brazil court approves bank compensation deal

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.70% to 29,253.66, while the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.15% to 22,868.00.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.11% to 7,545.49, and the Euronext 100 inched up 0.01% to 1,051.09.

On the macro front
The housing starts report, the current account report and the Redbook are due out today.